Thaddeus Heffner, MMFT | Boys Are Born, Men Are Built

In Personal on March 2, 2011 at 4:57 am
Thaddeus Heffner headshot

Thaddeus Heffner MMFT

For millennia, notes Thaddeus Heffner, MMFT (Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy), different cultures around the world have had within their traditions what is known as “rite of passage” for their boys to cross the threshold into manhood.  Thaddeus Heffner suggests that in the United States, and Westernized nations in general, rites of passage have long since vanished from the cultural norm.

Thaddeus Heffner suggests that historically the U.S. turned a corner around the time of the Industrial Revolution.  “Fathers and sons used to work side-by-side on the family farm, or whatever the family trade might have been,” points out Thaddeus Heffner.  With the birth of the Industrial Revolution, fathers began to leave their sons at home to work in the cities, adds Thaddeus Heffner.  This was merely the beginning of the rift that has long since widened regarding male gender affirmation.

At first glance, Thaddeus Heffner suggests that the growing rates of absentee fathers, divorce, child abuse and addictions within the family system can seem like a bullet train speeding away at an unstoppable rate.  However, Thaddeus Heffner believes that the tide is turning in masculinity, and that slowly but surely men are stepping into wholeness.  Not perfection, acknowledges Thaddeus Heffner, but wholeness.

Thaddeus Heffner comments that, “Men today are being taught by their own inner father wounds. They are learning that they missed receiving something from their own fathers; affirmation, a blessing, to know that they have what it takes.”  Thaddeus Heffner calls this the “Terrible Gift.”

“Many men run from their wounds because they are too painful, explains Thaddeus Heffner.  It is only when a man looks at his wounds that the pain becomes transformative. This is the Terrible Gift,” says Thaddeus Heffner.  This is when men who are fathers begin turning to their own sons to bestow the blessing and affirmation that they themselves may never have received.

“This is my passion,” states Thaddeus Heffner.  “To work with men, wherever they are coming from and whatever wounds they are bringing, that the hearts of fathers and sons might once again be turned toward each other.” Day in and day out, Thaddeus Heffner gets to see his passion become a reality both in working with men in his Brentwood, Tennessee office as well as staffing several different men’s retreats each year.

About Thaddeus Heffner

Thaddeus Heffner holds a Master in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca University.  While he facilitates sessions for couples, groups and individuals, his increasing focus is working with those who wish to reduce their unwanted same-sex attraction and feel whole as men.

After spending several years working with “At-Risk Youth” in the public high school, Thaddeus Heffner went into private practice in 2008.  While his office is located in the heart of Brentwood, TN, Thaddeus Heffner also works with clients internationally who seek to focus on unwanted same-sex attraction.

For the past four years Thaddeus Heffner has involved himself in staffing experiential weekends with organizations such as People Can Change and New Adam.  Thaddeus Heffner also enjoys speaking and teaching on the root causes of homosexuality, as often as he is able.  The passion of Thaddeus Heffner is to help men understand that we each have a unique story, and to see men embrace healing in their lives while getting their needs met through healthy community.

Thaddeus Heffner is a member in good standing with both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. For more information about the work of Thaddeus Heffner please visit

  1. What a far cry from where are culture has landed, which is sad.

    • Barbara – I agree that it is sad. However, we have the power to change this. Fathers have the power to do something about this! Thank you for reading – Thaddeus Heffner

  2. For much of my life I have tended to run from my wounds as a man. I really resonated with what Thaddeus Heffner wrote here.

    • Charles – I have heard this all to often from men. I encourage you to continue to get your needs met and to know that you have others around you that love you. Thank you for your comments – Thaddeus Heffner

  3. Thank you for such a thoughtful piece.

  4. I don’t know what I think about the “wounds/terrible gift” thoughts. I guess Thaddeus Heffner has given me something to chew on.

    • I hear you Daniel. I think seeing our wounds as gifts is never easy, and sometimes quite impossible to do. Thank you for your honest and thought comment. – Thaddeus Heffner

  5. Thank you Thaddeus Heffner for the refreshing reminder of our responsibility as a culture, as parents, and adults.

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