The Quest Program for Gay Men, the acclaimed London-based program designed to help gay men achieve higher levels of self-knowledge and self-actualization, is coming to the Texas Hill Country next month.
The program’s founders, Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady, will travel from Britain to facilitate the three-day, two-night immersive experience at The Prairie in Roundtop, Texas, which is a 90-minute drive from Houston.
The goal of Quest is to help gay men “cultivate self-nurturing behaviors and engage wholeheartedly with self, others, and the world that they inhabit.” The program draws on the latest evidence-based practices, including self-inquiry, discussions in small and large groups, sharing memories, psychological exploration, visualization, book work, journaling, coaching, and self-reflection. Quest also incorporates material from best-selling Houston author Brené Brown, a University of Houston professor and researcher on the topics of shame, vulnerability, and emotional resilience; and David Richo, a California-based psychotherapist.
Quest groups are capped at sixteen, and they are led by professional group facilitators and certified coaches. The program is billed by its promoters as “a life-changing experience that is intense, revealing, nurturing, and profound.”
Quest’s founders started their own journey in 2011. In 2010, the gay British magazine Attitude had devoted an entire issue to the theme of being gay and happy. Adeniji and Brady attended the magazine’s in-depth public forum on that topic at a London theater.
“It was the first time that I had seen gay men talking in public about addiction, about suicidal thoughts, about anxiety, and about depression,” remembers Adeniji. “That was really powerful.
“When I looked at my life, there were things that I had struggled with in terms of my sense of self, sense of worthiness, and the feeling of not being good enough. But I had not really shared that in public. There was something so liberating in hearing these men talk about these issues so publicly,”
Adeniji and Brady began a series of six evening discussions for gay men, using The Velvet Rage (Alan Downs’ trenchant examination of shame and internalized homophobia in gay men) as a springboard for discussion.
“There was a hunger for those types of conversations,” recalls Adeniji.
The conversations evolved into Quest’s intensive weekend program for gay men that were first held in London before expanding across the globe. They created the tagline “Gay men transforming their lives” to brand the experience.
English marketing professional Tobias Oliver attended the Quest program in November 2014. “It’s tough to express how profound an experience the workshop was. I have never before been so honest and open with other gay men, apart from my partner. I shared things that I have never shared before,” he commented.
“Yes, it was very challenging. Yes, it was very emotional. Yes, it made me take a long, hard look at myself. Yes, this was scary. But it was worth it. Really worth it.
“The workshop gave me an amazing gift. It gave me the opportunity to take back control of my life. It helped me to explore my childhood, and to understand why I behave and think in ways that are not helpful. It forced me to acknowledge some things I have been denying, and gave me insights that I hadn’t had before.”
“Quest points to a journey rather than a destination,” commented Darren Brady. “There’s nowhere specific to get to. It’s an ongoing pursuit, an ongoing investigation.”
For more information about Quest, visit thequestawaitsyou.com.
What: The Quest Program for Gay Men
When: May 24–26
Where: The Prairie, 5808 Wagner Rd, Round Top, TX
Use the code OutSmartFriend at the link below for $50 off registration!
This article appears in the May 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.