B.Sc(Psych.), M.Clin. Psych(UNSW), MAPS(Coll.Clin.Psych.)
Grad.Dip. Psych., M.Clin. Psych., MAPS, FCCLP
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre, Varoville, NSW
View on a walk around Mount Carmel Retreat Centre, Varoville, NSW
View of the lake at Mount Carmel Rereat Centre, Varoville, NSW
You are invited to join us for five glorious days in a Silent Retreat to come home to yourself with kindness in friendly silence. We will gather at a beautiful place (Mount Carmel Retreat Centre in Varoville, NSW) where we can enjoy privacy, peace, and solitude to de-stress, meditate, and reconnect.
This will be a wonderful opportunity to unwind, away from the demands of work and family life to recharge. This will be a time to care for ourselves, to deepen practices in mindfulness and self-compassion, and to cultivate inner resources. During the Retreat we can pause, to better relate to ourselves in our own mind and in this way improve our relationships with others. Again and again, we can attend to ourselves like we would attend to a dear friend, giving ourselves what we need to thrive, to flourish, so in return, we can better support others. Our well-being and positive engagement will benefit everyone. The tools and practices learned during the Retreat can also be applied in our clinical work with your clients for better therapeutic outcomes.
Self-compassion and mindfulness greatly increase our ability to deal with difficulties with balance, to protect us from burnout and caregiver fatigue.
Give yourself the gift of silence!
Connect with your inner joy and sense of purpose!
Location and Access:
Mt Carmel Retreat Centre is set on 300 acres of beautiful ground in the Scenic Hills district in Macarthur in NSW on the edge of Sydney. You can explore the beautiful, lush grounds on one of several scenic walking trails.
It is in a convenient location, being close to Sydney CBD (45 min), Wollongong (60 min) and Canberra (2.5 hr). If you are flying to Sydney Airport, from the domestic terminal, you can take the train to Minto Station (45-60 min) (Macarthur line T8), and then catch a small bus to get to the Retreat Centre which is 13 minutes away.
You will have your own bedroom and en suites with free Wi-Fi. Delicious meals will be provided with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.
Why a silent self-compassion retreat?
Maintaining silence in a retreat frees us from the distraction of engaging with others so that we can begin to meet ourselves anew, with a kind awareness. We can let go of doing and striving, to allow ourselves simply to be. In addition, when we are silent, our senses are more open, we are more present, we feel more alive, and we connect to something that is greater than us, greater than our difficulties, pain and drama. Nature gives us a sense of space, allowing us to be in touch with our spirituality, connecting with a compassionate inner knowing, that is uplifting and empowering.
Who it is for?
This retreat targets professionals and caregivers, such as psychologists, social workers, counsellors, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses, medical practitioners, coaches, yoga teachers and anyone else who is in a helping role. It is an opportunity to stop, to recharge, to fill our cup so we can give back.
This retreat is also for anyone who is interested in teaching Mindful Self-Compassion, and other mindfulness-based programs (MBP) such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The five-day retreat meets the requirement to have attended a five-day, silent, teacher-led retreat to become a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher.
What to expect?
The retreat aims to deepen our capacity to respond to difficult moments with kindness, care, courage, and wisdom. The content of the retreat will consist of topics, teacher-guided and self-guided seating/movement/walking meditations, as well as self-reflective meditations in self-compassion, compassion and mindfulness to promote wellbeing and resilience. During the retreat, a workbook will be provided to promote reflective journaling on the topics and meditations included in the program.
We wish to take full advantage of the picturesque surroundings by providing ample opportunities to go on mindful walks for contemplative reflections where you can immerse yourself in nature.
We aim to provide a peaceful and relaxing retreat for a small number of participants. You will be staying in a room of your own with your own bathroom. Delicious healthy meals will be served with vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free options.
The use of mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices will be strongly discouraged but allowed for emergencies.
During the retreat, at any time, if issues arise, you will be able to communicate with one of us. Short individual interviews with Marianna or Marie can be scheduled throughout the retreat for clarification and support.
You can engage in this Retreat in a friendly silence for the five days but there will also be an option in the evening to discuss your reflections with others on the topics/exercises of the day.
Retreat Learning objectives
The retreat is based on experiential learning. The meditations/visualisation and reflective exercises are the application of various topics presented to promote mindfulness and compassion to deal with stress, burnout and other difficult emotions. We will invite you to be active in your own learning, adapting the practices to your own circumstances through a continuous cycle of understanding, applying, inquiring, reflecting, and synthesising. By integrating the formal and informal practices of mindfulness and self-compassion at a personal level in our daily life, with our own difficulties, we are more able to teach our clients to promote resilience and wellbeing.
After participating in this retreat, you will be more able to:
• Integrate the formal and informal practices of mindfulness and self-compassion in their own daily life
• Cultivate feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards self and others
• Relate to self in own mind as a friend in times of difficulties
• Motivate self and others with encouragement rather than harsh self-criticism
• Manage stress, anxiety, anger, guilt and shame with more ease
• Deal with difficult emotions with greater balance (equanimity)
• Meet difficult relationships with compassion
• Manage burnout, caregiver fatigue and vicarious trauma with more resilience
• Become more aware and able to attend skilfully to the needs of self and others
• Promote positive emotions in self and others
• Live in line with personal core values and self-appreciation
• Teach self-compassion practices to patients, clients, students, and children
Continued Professional Development (CPD)
A Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certificate providing the number of hours attended will be given to everyone to provide evidence of professional development training (i.e. psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers, medical practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, yoga teachers etc.). The Self-Compassion in Nature Retreat will provide 32 CPD hours. This Retreat also satisfies one of the requirements for the Mindful Self-Compassion teacher training to attend a five-day silent retreat.
The prerequisites are that you have already been introduced to mindfulness, self-compassion and meditation and that you have a regular practice. The expectation is that you have an understanding of Mindful Self-Compassion (Kristin Neff and Chris Germer) and/or Compassion-Focused Therapy (Paul Gilbert). Prior to the retreat, you will be required to complete a Registration Form and sign a Release of Liability.
What Self-Compassion in Nature Retreat is not:
We believe that this Retreat will be most beneficial to participants who have been introduced already to mindfulness and self-compassion. This Retreat is not group therapy and does not replace psychological or psychiatric treatment and it may not be suitable if you have certain medical conditions. If you are receiving treatment for a serious physical or health problem, or have a history of a serious physical or mental health disorder, you should consult with your medical practitioner or health care provider to check if your participation in the Retreat is suitable for someone in your condition, and inform the organiser Marie Bloomfield. The Retreat consists of an educational and self-practice program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological treatments. The emphasis is on self-skill-building to enhance emotional resources and personal capacities to learn for ourselves and to teach others.
Suggested prior reading (optional)
Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff & Christopher Germer, 2018
Fierce Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, 2021
The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert, 2013
Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy from the inside out by R. Kolts, T. Bell, J. Bennett-Levy, & C. Irons, 2018
The cancellation policy is as follows:
Marie Bloomfield B.Sc(Psych.), M.Clin. Psych(UNSW), MAPS(Coll.Clin.Psych)
Clinical Psychologist and Senior Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher. Marie is an accomplished teacher in mindful self-compassion having presented over 50 workshops most of which were targeting health professionals since 2014. As a clinical psychologist, Marie has over 40 years of experience working in mental health, including public, academic and private sectors. Marie has been using Compassion-Focused Therapy and Mindful Self-Compassion in her clinical practice since 2011. She is a leader in teaching Mindfulness and Self-Compassion to health professionals in Australia. She knows from personal and clinical experience that compassion changes and enhances lives.
Marianna Lolas Grad.Dip. Psych., M.Clin. Psych., MAPS, FCCLP.
Clinical Psychologist and trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher.