Circle of Men book to encourage males to open up about emotions

Circle of Men author Ross Prout. Photo: Jon Hewson
Circle of Men author Ross Prout. Photo: Jon Hewson

A SUPPORT session aimed at encouraging elderly men to come out of their shell has provided the content for a new book.

Circle of Men is based on author Ross Prout’s experiences with the Circle of Men groups he is involved with at Catholic Homes’ residential care facilities in Wilson, Duncraig, Baldivis, Belmont, East Perth and Bunbury.

The book features 16 stories from residents involved in the Circle of Men sessions, which gives them the chance to talk about anything and everything, from tales of their past to their current feelings.

Prout said the circle was built on trust and empathy, with participants allowed to share as much or as little as they wanted.

“We tried to respect guys might want to tell some very ordinary stories, but we said to them from the outset, everything which is said in the circle stays in the circle,” he said.

“If you want to talk about something closer to your heart, like the death of a loved one or your own anxiety about your declining health, we’re open to hear that.

“Some guys have made themselves quite vulnerable and talked about stuff bothering them and the other men have been really respectful of that.”

The Ascot resident said it occurred to him some of the stories were worth writing down and after asking for permission to share their stories, worked with the men to make sure every detail was recounted respectfully.

“Some of the stories in the book weren’t told in their entirety in the circle, but a guy would say something and I’d think ‘that’d be interesting,’” he said.

“When I heard Jimmy from Collie’s story, I thought ‘I want to tease that out of him’ so I went and sat down with him one-on-one.

“There were times when a guy told a story and I thought ‘that’s an illustration of a man’s resilience and courage’ and then there’d be another story told about another time, so I’ve woven them together.”