Men’s Page

NEW FOR  2016



This group is designed for men ages 20-30 who are looking for support in navigating the challenges that many men face in life: academics, professional life, friendships, and romantic relationships.

Our groups offer men a unique blend of training in mindfulness meditation and a focus on personal sharing and feedback between group members. In a confidential and safe environment, our groups serve as a catalyst for addressing and overcoming the individual and relationship challenges that each member brings with them. While not required, this group works very well in conjunction with individual or couples therapy.
The group is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 10th, 2016 and will meet bi-weekly
from 3-5pm through June
with potential for continuing in the fall. Meetings take place at the Men’s Resource Center at 1601 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA. The cost is $50 for each two-hour group session.

Because this is a “closed” group, final registration is required by Dec 21st.  We will interview each applicant prior to the start of the group to determine whether the group would be a good for the prospective group member.

The Facilitators:

Rob and Isaac Garfield have worked together as a father-son team for the past 5 years collaborating clinically and presenting together at local and national conferences on mindfulness and emotional connection in men’s friendships.
Robert Garfield MD is a psychotherapist and clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He has practiced psychotherapy for the past 40 years, has written extensively about and presented on men’ issues all over the country. Over the past 2 decades, he has developed a unique model of group therapy for men called  “ The Friendship Labs.” described in his recent book, * Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship  (Penguin/Random House, 2015).  See (
Isaac Garfield LCSW is a psychotherapist with a clinical practice where he specializes in working with young adult men.  Isaac has studied and practiced mindfulness for 15 years, trained in mindfulness instruction, and runs mindfulness based men’s groups.  (

 Please contact Isaac at 484-278-1391 (, or Rob at 610-668-8685 (  for more information and registration

Men Today

  Perhaps it’s the age of communication, encouragement from women, the absence of our fathers in early years, or the wish to be closer to our children that accounts for the changes in men today. Whatever the reasons,  I’ve found that men of all ages seem to want to connect with each other in deeper ways than ever before. The desire for more time, emotional contact and support has reached a groundswell. Working with men in their important relationships has become a central part of my professional practice over the past decades. My health, my psyche, my marriage, my parenting and patients have been beneficiaries of this endeavor.  I am grateful.

Men’s Friendships: “Breaking the Male Code”

   Friendship is one of the most powerful, yet undervalued, resources for men in our culture. I always ask guys who their friends are, because I know there is often an untapped wellspring of support  there. As I indicate in my forthcoming book, Breaking the Male Code (May 12, 2015, Gotham Books) friendships between men are evolving. Men traditionally develop  “shoulder-to-shoulder” friendships in which they stand alongside each other, sharing some activity. Their relationships often include feelings of warmth and loyalty, but rarely involve sharing personal information or offering significant emotional support.

I believe that emotional intimacy is a key missing ingredient  in men’s friendships today. The experience of being deeply connected to another man, one who understands your most important feelings and who shares his own with you is a gift.  It is primarily a connection of the heart.

This requires, however, that we reach out more.  We must be willing to ask questions, to listen well, and to share more personal details of our own lives. When we make this effort, genuine caring and affection can develop in the friendship. We feel a sense of belonging.


Friendship Labs  

   Men often have difficulty engaging in psychotherapy. Our culture’s values about masculinity often run counter to those of psychotherapy, which encourages emotional intimacy, personal awareness and interpersonal connectedness.  Over the past 20 years my colleague, Jake Kriger and I have developed a model for therapeutic men’s groups called “Friendship Labs,” to help men bridge this gap.  Friendship Labs help men learn emotional intimacy skills – how to connect with each other, have open and emotionally honest conversations, to listen empathically, to provide loyalty and support while staying connected, and how to relate cooperatively, without competition. These skills, we emphasize, are manly.  Not only do men’s friendships  improve, but their relationships with their partners, children and colleagues are also enhanced by deeper connections.


You can read about our groups (see “Men Helping Men,” a Case Study -  The Psychotherapy Networker, May/June, 2012;  and “Male Emotional Intimacy: How Therapeutic Men’s Groups Can  Enhance Couples Therapy, in Family Process, March 2010, 49/1.)  We have presented our clinical model at several conferences – in Philadelphia (at Widener University) and Washington, DC, (at the Psychotherapy Networker Conference), in March 2012,  as well as in San Francisco (at the American Family Therapy Academy), in June, 2012. We were also interviewed on Dr. Dan Gottlieb’s radio show, Voices in the Family, (WHYY, June 16, 2012,  “Deepening Men’s Relationships“). 






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