Serving as a Counselor on a Retreat
Thank you so much for considering serving on a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat.
The structure of the retreat was developed by Dr. Theresa Burke who has been nationally and globally recognized for her unique insights into post abortive healing. A typical retreat starts at 5 pm on Friday and ends at about 5 pm on Sunday. Most of the retreat consists of a series of “Living Scripture” exercises, built around a scripture passage, followed by a meditation, an ritual that reinforces the mediation, and a closing prayer. After the exercise, we process it as a group with discussion questions from the manual.
The last day of the retreat is a day of remembrance and memorial, but also a day of gratitude as retreatants acknowledge the life of their unborn child as a community of friends and leave with an invitation to start a new chapter of healing.
The retreat’s primary focus is spiritual healing, however by design, exercises and group discussions begin to open the door for greater insight and awareness into traumatic wounds and emotional wellness. Based on the nature of the retreat, you will not be giving individual or group therapy, but you will be responsible for a few group discussions as written in the manual. They center on sharing of stories, anger work, letter writing, and coping skills and wellness. You will also participate with retreatants and team members in the exercises and community meals and be available to offer a listening ear and reflection to retreatants who wish to talk privately.
The counselor is required to be a licensed mental health professional and assumed to have skills to assess participants, as needed, for psychological well-being and risk and to advise team members accordingly.
You will be given your own private room, with 6 meals, beverages, and snacks provided. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or needs.
We have found that retreatants connect and open up more readily to the counselor when you are present for the entire retreat. However, we understand that you may have other obligations for part of the time and if that is the case, feel free to discuss with Nancy. You can view the typical retreat schedule here.
If you have questions about what it is like to serve as a counselor, you are also welcome to contact Derek Gilde at (651) 757-6177. He has served in this role at many retreats.
One of us would also be happy to meet with you before the weekend to show you the manual, give you an overview of the exercises, and talk about what to expect.
Thank you for considering serving with us in this ministry. The retreats are always very powerful with tremendous healing for the participants!
Nancy and the Retreat Team