Desperate or Needy: OK for Many Men to be Needy?

Sadly, too many men define themselves as desperate rather than needy when the going gets tough.

man - desperate or needyIn this culture, it is not OK for many men to be needy. Too often they see themselves as desperate and sometimes justifying desperate behavior, often with terrible consequences for themselves and others. I was recently talking to a young man who laughed and said that he wasn’t sure that he wanted to see himself as having needs that weren’t being met. He was more comfortable seeing himself as desperate!

Here’s the deal:
I said to him, “It’s human to have needs and be needy at times in our lives. To have needs is part of what it means to be human, to be part of the human race. To define oneself as desperate in effect is to see oneself as apart from humanity, and to set up the justification of inhuman and entitled behavior towards oneself or others.”

He said he had never believed that it might be OK for him to be needy, but he was willing to think about it and to think about what he might be needing.

It might beat feeling desperate after all.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The Integral Living Room: Sharing an Integral and Evolutionary Vision

I recently attended “The Integral Living Room,” an event held in Boulder and sponsored by The Integral Life Institute, itself a spin off of the life work of Ken Wilber. I have studied Ken’s work for many years, and I believe that he is truly a national treasure, much like Joseph Campbell. Ken’s “Magnum Opus,” Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, changed my life, and I am deeply grateful.

The event in Boulder was attended by a hundred people from many countries around the world. I felt like it was an incredible luxury to be there – in many ways, at a leading edge of consciousness development about the evolving WE spaces that we are all a part of.

I was able to reflect on our work at RRC and appreciate how we are evolving integral psychotherapy in our daily lives. I have shared what I know of Ken’s integral model or, more accurately, his integral “map” over the last fifteen years, and I believe it has been useful in many ways in our development both individually and in evolving our group practice together.

living roomThe Integral Living Room will convene again in Boulder over Memorial weekend in 2014. It is an elite group to which everyone is welcome. You can check it out at and see if it calls to you.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Self-Esteem: A Frequently Misunderstood Concept

I am deeply grateful to Pia Melody and Terry Real for their work on self-esteem, and their clarification of an extremely important and frequently misunderstood concept.

In contemporary society, it is all too common to base our self-esteem on WHAT WE HAVE (e.g., how much money do we have or not have), WHAT WE DO (a doctor is more important than a janitor), or THE OPINION OF OTHERS (if others have a good opinion of me, I’m OK, and if they don’t, then I’m not OK). While these are indeed powerful influences in our lives, we cannot let them be the basis of our self-esteem or self-worth, in part because they are all three subject to change, often in very short order!

The solid basis of self-esteem is what is intrinsic to myself and all human beings.


This is essentially what it means to be human. As simple and true as these words are, they are often disturbing and challenging to us. We often don’t believe that we are enough, we matter and others are enough and they matter, too. But if we are willing to let this good news begin to sink in, it might just change our lives.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker