Are groups Australia-wide?
Nearly. We currently have a presence in every state except Tasmania and the NT. Check the section Where we are to locate your nearest support, but check back occasionally to see if DIDs has expanded into your region. Some groups cater for women affected by separation, either directly or as a partner of a Dad in distress. Grand Parents and other family members are welcome at all DIDs groups.
What happens at groups?
The typical DIDs group meeting might start with coffee before taking your seat around a circle, leaving one chair empty to remind everyone of the men who could no longer cope with the pain of separation. After a minute of silence and an introduction from the facilitator, each man is given some uninterrupted time to ‘check-in’ how they are going. It is here you get some relief and a sense of being heard and understood. After each man shares there is a minute of silent reflection – no judgments, no advice. There may be a break before returning to explore a trend that emerged or issue that arose. It is here you may get answers and direction. The evening concludes with a brief ‘check-out’ where each person can express how they feel, or what they gained from the group that night. Check out the video that gives you an insight into the DIDs Group.
Will I have to talk?
No. You can pass and just listen until you are ready to talk, even if that takes weeks. You might be surprised how much you learn this way.
Is it some kind of sook-fest or pity party?
No. It is not all doom and gloom. Sometimes tears are shed – after all, there is often a lot of bottled up emotion that we each carry. But there are often lighter moments too. You may even find your smile returning. We have learned that it is important not to push aside our grief and pain in the rush to get answers and access to our children. If the anger and resentment is not dealt with then it could surface later - affecting the mediation process, or interaction with your children or even developing trust with a new partner. It is not unusual for someone to get ‘stuck’ in their grief. The facilitator will gently move him toward thinking constructively. The group can be a very positive experience as we recognise how far we each have come.
How long will I need to go for before I see things improve?
There are way too many variables to give an estimation. Some guys get what they need in one session. For others it may take a few weeks to begin to get beyond shock or survival mode, or to see change in circumstances or a strategy emerge. For some, the complexities of their situation take many turns over several months or longer, and they need the group to help them through. Some groups have a monthly social night and friendships develop that keep them involved long term. Some men find the support so helpful they stay on as volunteers to support the steady number of men experiencing separation.