- Publisher: ProQuest
- Available in: PDF, Hardback, Paperback
- ISBN: 10685781
- Published: December 7, 2017
The purpose of this transformative phenomenological study was to understand the impact attending a men’s retreat had on men’s lives months after participation. A major focus of the study was perceiving the men as their own authorities on their lives and experiences. Blending information from lifespan developmental theorists such as Levinson (1978), Lidz (1983), and Vaillant (1977), with information on the importance of community and communitas (Buber, 1961; Schwalbe, 1996) and Merleau-Ponty’s (2012) discussions of both the impossibility of separating mind and body, and the witness self, the stories of the participants demonstrated these concepts. The men discussed the necessity of participating in groups and retreats for men only, sharing how they found these to be transformational, impactful, and important for supporting them in defining and embodying their own versions of masculinity in healing and holistic ways. While the primary focus was on the impact of the retreat months after the experience, the stories involved life experiences pre-retreat, during-retreat, and post-retreat. Four categories of themes emerged for each of these segments. Pre-retreat themes were lack, isolation, resignation, and unawareness. During-retreat themes were counter-cultural masculinity, community, accessing emotions, and developing a witness self. Post-retreat themes were exploring/embodying self-defined masculinity, forming/deepening connections, shifting/solidifying personal beliefs, and accessing/increasing consciousness. Differentiations were made between first-time and returning participants.