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What we’re about

Real Conversations is a non-clinical, non-hierarchical, confidential space for individuals to share what’s on their mind, be heard, release some pressure, connect with others and gain insights into daily life as we drop the masks we might have been wearing and get real.

Life doesn't have to be bad to come to a talking group. We've been successfully growing - from the good, the bad and even the ugly - as individuals and as a community, since 2002, through projects like MenSpeak men’s groups, and WomenSpeak women’s groups. Real Conversations is about sitting together and allowing stuff to come up, being honest about how we feel, what's challenging for us, what is going well and what we need for ourselves and from life.

We respectfully challenge one another to be better, more authentic people, without telling each other what to do or how to be. There is no pressure and it’s fine to say "Pass” and stay in silence when it’s your turn to speak. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge who we’ve been,  and test drive who we want to be, taking the best of ourselves out into the world.

Please read our Ground Rules before attending the group: 
Real Conversations Group Ground Rules


What is said in our group stays in our group. Phrases like “I saw this on TV...” or “My friend said...” are fine, as long as no one can be identified. This is often referred to as the Chatham House Rule, and we take this very seriously.


Respect yourself, everyone’s truth, boundaries, feelings, perspectives and stories beyond judgement and projection. Respect the space when others talk, and listen. Respect of other people naturally follows on from self-respect.


Authentically take part in the group with words and in silence. Better to say "Pass", for whatever reason, than to resort to banter, put up a smokescreen, perform, or use any other tactics to hide from what you might be feeling, thinking, or whatever might be triggered inside. We practise authentic presence and connection.


Be honest with yourself and the group. That way you can own your feelings and work them through, rather than quietly internalise, suppress, then dump them on to someone else down the line. We get to know our shadows, we consciously break limiting cycles and we set ourselves free. What a relief!


Use “I” statements, rather than “you”, “one” or “we”. What you say may not be true for any other person. Depersonalising avoids ownership of feelings, experiences, opinions, and issues, making change an uphill battle. The word “we” seeks validation and acceptance of other people. “My” puts your truth before your need to fit in.


Be clear about what is true right now and what was true of the past. Words like “always” and “keeps on” limit present opportunities to past outcomes, whereas “sometimes” and “used to” make space for change.


This is a safe, inclusive space. Neither aggressive, nor passive-aggressive behaviour is an option here. No one’s safety will be compromised. Each person can learn how to better question, challenge and disagree when their buttons are pressed. Be aware of when you feel vulnerable and your defences come up.


When someone speaks, give them space with their story without commenting on how good, bad or ugly you think it is. Hijacking, or making a drama of another person’s story might limit them. Let they name it, have it witnessed, learn from it, then let it go.


If you’ve survived life by clowning about, appearing aggressive or passive, this is a space where you can experiment with hidden parts of yourself and feel what fits. Test-drive the more authentic you and take that out into the world, beyond old playground or professional personalities.


One person’s story is another person’s emotional reaction, so best name the issue triggered, talk it through and let it pass. Carrying it home and allowing it to get a hold of you feeds it and keeps it alive. We name it; we don’t shame it or blame it. Then we live beyond it.


Playing small to be ‘safe’ or ‘liked’ may keep you small and stuck. Exploring the edge of your comfort zone may bring challenges and help you grow. Live beyond your fears, fantasies and old restrictions to express a more authentic you in daily life.


Be present and stay connected with yourself and the others in online groups without reading, scrolling, fiddling or faffing. Switch off message 'alerts' and keep distractions at bay. Take part from a private, quiet, well-lit room so we can hear, see and connect with one another, with our clothes on.

This is not a therapy group, nor an encounter group, or a place to pick up partners for sex, or to sell them something. It's not a group for or against any other group, not a religious group, not a political group, not a group of anything apart from whatever the people present make it. Such boundaries are designed to keep our circle clean and free of expectation and ulterior motives.

Disclaimer: All activities are undertaken entirely at the participant's own risk. By taking part, each participant accepts full responsibility for their own safety and well-being. (If in doubt, please seek professional advice before participating). These groups are not a replacement for professional help, including help from your doctor, therapist, or counsellor.

You must be 18 or over to attend this group.

©️ Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz