It is designed especially for men to address incongruous same-sex attractions or distress over SSA — in other words, feelings or attractions that are out of alignment with a man’s faith, values, morals, self-identity or life goals.
But Journey Into Manhood is also appropriate for any man, regardless of his sexuality, who wants to address unresolved issues around men and masculinity in a safe, supportive yet challenging group environment.
- USA, Texas (midway between Dallas and Houston), Oct. 27-29, 2017
- USA, Southern California (postponed, tentatively to early 2018, due to a fire at the camp)
- Israel, January 15-17, 2018
- USA, Florida, Orlando area, February 16-18, 2018
- USA, Eastern Pennsylvania, April 13-15, 2018
- USA, Utah, East of Salt Lake City, May 18-20, 2018
- USA, Southern Indiana, August or September TBD
- Southern Poland, October 12-14, 2018
Our Personal Stories
Journey Into Manhood gave me new friends, a new community, and new life. It was a total reset in my life, and a fresh start. I’m forever grateful for my JiM weekend experience. — Victor, age 29, Florida, USA
Journey Into Manhood gave me a much stronger sense of self. It taught me how to be aware of my emotions, what I’m feeling and why. It helped diminish my shame in having SSA, as well as diminish the shame and guilt when I pursue getting my same-sex needs met in platonic ways. — Isaac, age 31, New York, USA
I have experienced a significant reduction in my SSA and in my curiosity about sexual activity with men. I have become more comfortable in my masculinity and a stronger, more decisive father and husband. — Steve, age 45, Turkey
Journey Into Manhood has shown me that I am not alone in my struggles. That there is hope, but also hard work that I need to do. Through JiM, I met a lot of other men who are on the same journey as I am, and we support each other in this journey. — Voytek, age 35, Poland
It has been an immensely positive experience for me. I did not feel as if I belonged to the world of men until after my JiM weekend. Since then I have been able to grow with and meet some of the most incredible men I have ever met in my life. I have gained self-confidence, self-awareness, sobriety, have matured, and grown in love, truth and strength. — Stephen, age 34, Tennessee, USA
Exploring Through Experience, Not Lecture
By “experiential,” we mean exploring through experience, not lecture or discussion or “therapy.” Experiential processes are participatory, not passive. These can include experiences like:
- Visualizations or “guided imagery”
- Shame release
- Profound, introspective questions
- Inner-child affirmation and healing work
- Emotional processing and release (especially around anger or grief)
- Psychodrama (role playing internal conflicts)
One simple example: You won’t just talk about what it is like to look another man in the eyes. You’ll stand eye to eye with another man while we help you process whatever beliefs and feelings might arise.
Exploring Underlying Issues
In the course of the weekend, we don’t actually address same-sex attraction directly all that much. Primarily, we are exploring common underlying issues frequently shared by so many of us who have experienced same-sex attraction. Issues like:
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of rejection, or a history of rejection by peers, family or others
- A longing to belong, to be wanted or included
- A history of being bullied or abused
- “Father hunger”
- Defensive detachment
- Not feeling like “one of the guys”
- Not feeling “man enough”
- Buried or unresolved anger, fear or grief
- Feeling wounded by men or masculinity
- Feeling wounded or smothered by women or overly identified with or immersed in the feminine
Every man is unique. Not all of us have dealt with all of these issues personally in our lives, of course. Nevertheless, these are extraordinarily common issues among men in our community who have experienced significant distress or dissonance over our same-sex attractions.
Group and Individual “Work”
We do this work in large-group sessions or small break-out groups. We allow ample time for men to do their own individual work in various small-group settings.
We consciously create a safe, supportive yet challenging environment to explore issues, challenge internal “stories” or touch emotions that you may have previously been avoiding. At Journey Into Manhood, we face our “stuff” head-on, with courage and rigorous honesty — to the extent that we are ready and willing — rather than hide it or run from it.
Nevertheless, we always honor every man’s free choice. Anyone can “pass” and choose to not participate in any particular process. If you do “pass,” our staff-volunteers will likely ask what is behind that choice for you, but they will never force or pressure you to do anything against your will or anything that may not feel quite right to you.
About the Staff-Volunteers
Journey Into Manhood is led and facilitated by men who have been where you are now — peers who have done (and continue to do) their own inner-healing and personal-growth work. About 15 to 20 men volunteer their time to staff each weekend because they care deeply about supporting men’s inner healing and personal growth. Senior staff members are men who have gained substantial real-world experience in facilitating and coaching men’s self-discovery work.
Attendees are anywhere from 21 years old to over 60 or 70. Most are in their 20s to 40s, though. The average age is about 35. Most are religious, but not all. Most are Christian, but Jews and Muslims and others also frequently attend. Most have never been “out” as gays, but some have. About a third, typically, are already married to women.
What Journey Into Manhood Is NOT
Journey Into Manhood is not “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy.” In fact, it is not therapy at all. There is no “diagnosis,” no “treatment” and no counseling. There is no assumption that there is anything wrong with you. Journey Into Manhood is a peer-led, experiential workshop or retreat for emotionally and mentally healthy men to explore unresolved issues in their lives.
It is not a “cure.” “Cure” is a deliberately offensive and mocking word used by opponents, never by us. Same-sex attraction is not a disease, illness, disorder or sickness that needs a so-called “cure.”
It is not for minors. The minimum age to attend is 21 years old, although exceptions may sometimes be made for especially mature 18- to 20-year-olds. The average age of attendees is 35.
It is not coercive. No one who feels pressured to attend against his will is eligible to attend. No set of beliefs or expectations are pushed on any attendees. We honor every individual’s free choice.
Journey Into Manhood is not a prayer- or worship-based retreat, nor is it a so-called “pray away the gay” program. We are, however, faith-affirming — within a broad spiritual framework that is welcoming of Christians of all denominations, Jews (orthodox, conservative, reform and non-observant), Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others. We are also respectful and welcoming of people who are agnostic or of no particular faith. We do not advocate a specific faith, nor do we intentionally challenge anyone’s existing religious beliefs. But we do teach the principle of “surrender” to God and his divine will, and many men find our program spiritually rejuvenating.
We do not engage in any form of gay-bashing, nor tolerate it.
Journey Into Manhood is not a place to meet potential sex partners or boyfriends.
It is not a place for shaming or ridicule. Quite the contrary: We affirm your inherent value as a man, just as you are.