First Things First

Nurturing your Primary Vocation, Prayer and Your Life in the Vine

February 22, 2021  12:00 PM MDT
60 minutes

Description:  The root of the word facilitation is ʻfacilʼ, or ʻeasyʼ, so facilitation means ʻto make it easyʼ. The role of the facilitator in Rachelʼs Vineyard is to facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit.

How does one ʻmake easyʼ the work of the Holy Spirit? How does one co-facilitate with the Holy Spirit?

This two-part workshop will explore the unique role of the retreat facilitator, as well as the skills, tools, and considerations essential to facilitating the retreat process.

The second part of the workshop will be a practicum where participants will apply these skills and tools through role-playing various retreat scenarios.

Some of the topics covered will include self facilitation, nurturing the environment, managing group process and group dynamics, discussion techniques, reading a group, intervention tips and strategies, and team facilitation.

Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

June 13, 2022  8:00 AM MDT
90 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:  This seminar will share groundbreaking results from a $15 million research grant awarded to the University of Pennsylvania to study the impact of sleep deprivation on brain neurochemistry.

This is relevant to our work with new mothers who may be suffering from post partum depression or babies who keep them up all night. In addition, it has ramifications for anyone impacted by trauma which interferes with their sleep.

We will discuss how the sleep cycle is controlled by the hypothalamus and is related to light and darkness (day and night) circadian rhythms. We have all heard that we should be getting 8 hours of sleep each night, but did you know that 72 diseases such as Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Anxiety, Depression, and even symptoms of schizophrenia have been linked to sleep deprivation?

During this seminar, we will examine how trauma, abortion, abuse and combat, or other threats to health and safety can impact sleep. We will explore how maintaining a healthy sleep life is paramount to maintaining a healthy waking life.

Learning Objectives:  

  1. Learn what Circadian rhythms are and how easily they can be impacted by shift work, trauma, jet lag, and other common factors we face in everyday life.
  2. Define insomnia severity and chronicity.
  3. Illustrate what constitutes the “ideal” approach to the treatment of insomnia.
  4. Summarize the medical and psychological consequences of insomnia.

Tracing the Roots, Tasting the Fruits

An Overview of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat

February 22, 2021  2:00 PM  MDT
60 minutes
This session does not offer CEU’s

Description:  Rachelʼs Vineyard is a unique combination of psychological and spiritual techniques, which provide a powerful model for assisting groups to find closure and spiritual healing after abortion.

This workshop will present a descriptive overview of the Rachelʼs Vineyard Retreat, including content and process. An in-depth explanation will be offered for the Living Scripture technique, the specific purpose of each exercise, and psychological and spiritual constructs as catharsis for memory and emotion.

We will also examine the retreat structure as a means to provide an opportunity for dialogue of the soul and opening traumatic wounds to the grace of God. We will explore how the retreat functions as a journey through the paschal mystery for the suffering body of Christ.

Panic Attacks and Other Limbic System Disturbances

February 28, 2022  10:00 AM MST
60 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:  This seminar will focus on the emotional aspects that come along with autoimmune illnesses, pain syndromes, and stress. “We will explore the limbic system, what it controls, and how it is affected by stressful environments.

Having a disruption in your limbic system can create problems with sleep, depression, poor memory, irritability, poor judgment, concentration problems, agitation, and panic attacks.

We will discuss and define the five instinctual responses to stress: Fight, Flight, Fear, Freeze, and Fawn, and practice techniques to calm and soothe these high states of anxiety.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify survival instincts of stress.
  2. Define Fight, Flight and Fear modes.
  3. Describe the Freeze and Fawning modes as biological survival states.

Understanding Dissociative Experiences

October 18, 2021  8:00 AM  MDT
90 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:   This seminar will explore the topic of Shame. Any behavior that is motivated by an inner sense of “not measuring up” is in fact a barrier to healthy relationships.  Shame impacts self-image and creates feelings of defectiveness and worthlessness.

Research shows that certain styles common in dysfunctional families can create an environment where secrets thrive and fosters incest and abuse. This is because of the shame base which their environment promotes and reinforces.

Understanding shame is fundamental to understanding abuse. These dynamics can be found in many institutional settings: schools, nursing homes, mental hospitals and church structures.

This seminar will help you identify Trauma Bonds that exist in relationships as pervasive patterns that include trauma repetition, avoidance, trauma pleasure, shame, reactivity, trauma splitting and abstinence.

We will highlight the basic indicators of shame based relational styles, fears, acting out, perfectionism and addictions. Learning how to identify unresolved feelings can free us from anxiety, frustration and a sense of helplessness to restore hope and the ability to dream.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how attachments can occur in the presence of danger, shame and exploitation and the role of seduction, deception or betrayal being intertwined with danger, risk and fear.
  2. Define the “Stockholm Syndrome” as a form of traumatic bonding.
  3. Explain how traumatic shame can lead to exploitation.
  4. Describe the difference between guilt and shame.
  5. Outline the communication problems inherent in a dysfunctional family or organizational system.
  6. Learn to recognize feelings, dreams and childhood longings as important and deserving of attention and respect.

Brain Science

How Emotional Trauma Impacts the Brain

October 18, 2021  10:00 MDT
90 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:  This seminar will explore new brain science and what we now understand about how a brain malfunctions when there has been emotional trauma.

The right and left sides of the brain are disconnected and normal cognitive processes are disrupted. With these changes, arousing events can trigger flashbacks, physical symptoms, an inability to integrate cognitive and emotional experiences, and difficulty putting words to feelings and memories.

Based on our understanding of the brain, we will explore recent research that indicates why trauma victims respond best to a sensory-based treatment model.

This brain science explains why the process of Rachelʼs Vineyard is an exceptionally powerful and effective treatment model because it helps to integrate the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma, calms and soothes the nervous system, stimulates the frontal cortex through prayer and meditation, and allows for a completion of the trauma as well as a reconnection to self, spirit and child.

This workshop will include a brief overview of the retreat and show how and where these neural connections are achieved.

Learning Objectives:

  1.  We will explore the role of different brain functions and the neurological causes of posttraumatic stress disorder as a persistent deregulation of brain chemistry.
  2. Define sensory based treatment.
  3. Understand why “talk therapy” does not always heal traumatic memories.
  4. Describe why sensory based treatment can be more appropriate for victims of trauma.
  5. Explore the role of the frontal cortex, Amygdala, brain stem and corpus coliseum in processing sensory input.
  6. Provide examples from the Rachelʼs Vineyard Retreat to explain the benefits achieved through a sensory based treatment program.

Choice Evangelism

. . . the conspiracy of the Feminist Matriarchy

October 18, 2021  2:00 PM MDT
60 minutes
CEU’s not availble for this session

Description: This class focuses on the how many feminists seek to devalue and discount pregnancy and the mothering experience.

Their idea that abortion is a fundamental right, or the only way that women can care for themselves does not reflect the way that women actually experience abortion. It is more inherently felt as a violation of oneself rather than a caring and nurturing of oneself.

Yet women who were traumatized by this loss turn a blind eye to inner feelings of grief and oppression. Instead they vent their fervent emotions onto safer targets . . . like politics, religion, and legal battles.

This class will attempt to give you a better understanding of why some feminists have worked so hard to keep abortion legal, and how you can stand up and fight back for the rights of women. Case studies include Phyllis Chesler, Gloria Steinem, Kate Michelman, Ninia Baehr, and many more.

Learning Objectives:

  1.  To identify the psychological motivation behind early feminist need to keep abortion legal.
  2. To understand the principle repetitions of trauma in the framework of feminist theology, politics, and psychology.

Understanding Shame Based Identities, Part I

Care for the Cure

June 14, 2021  8:00 AM MDT
90 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:  This seminar will explore the topic of Shame. Any behavior that is motivated by an inner sense of “not measuring up” is in fact a barrier to healthy relationships.  Shame impacts self-image and creates feelings of defectiveness and worthlessness.

Research shows that certain styles common in dysfunctional families can create an environment where secrets thrive and fosters incest and abuse. This is because of the shame base which their environment promotes and reinforces.

Understanding shame is fundamental to understanding abuse. These dynamics can be found in many institutional settings: schools, nursing homes, mental hospitals and church structures.

This seminar will help you identify Trauma Bonds that exist in relationships as pervasive patterns that include trauma repetition, avoidance, trauma pleasure, shame, reactivity, trauma splitting and abstinence.

We will highlight the basic indicators of shame based relational styles, fears, acting out, perfectionism and addictions. Learning how to identify unresolved feelings can free us from anxiety, frustration and a sense of helplessness to restore hope and the ability to dream.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how attachments can occur in the presence of danger, shame and exploitation and the role of seduction, deception or betrayal being intertwined with danger, risk and fear.
  2. Define the “Stockholm Syndrome” as a form of traumatic bonding.
  3. Explain how traumatic shame can lead to exploitation.
  4. Describe the difference between guilt and shame.
  5. Outline the communication problems inherent in a dysfunctional family or organizational system.
  6. Learn to recognize feelings, dreams and childhood longings as important and deserving of attention and respect.

Understanding Shame Based Identities, Part II

Care for the Cure

June 14, 2021  10:00 AM MDT
90 minutes
CEU’s available

Description:  This workshop will give you the opportunity to score your own Traumatic Stress Index which may indicate past traumatic experiences resulting in trauma bonds.

Building upon the information learned in Shame Based Identities Part I – this seminar will teach clinicians how to administer The Trauma Bond Questionnaire and outline therapeutic strategies that you can employ for each area of concern.

Clinical examples will be given for each category of how recognition of pervasive lifetime patterns can help expedite recovery and addiction by awareness and conscious choices that can be made regarding your response when triggers arise.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how attachments can occur in the presence of danger, shame and exploitation and the role of seduction, deception or betrayal being intertwined with danger, risk and fear.
  2. Define the “Stockholm Syndrome” as a form of traumatic bonding.
  3. Explain how traumatic shame can lead to exploitation.
  4. Describe the difference between guilt and shame.
  5. Outline the communication problems inherent in a dysfunctional family or organizational system.
  6. Learn to recognize feelings, dreams and childhood longings as important and deserving of attention and respect.

The Role of a Priest or Pastor

June 14, 2021  2:00 PM MDT
120 minutes

Description:  The goal of any psycho-spiritual healing process is not just restoration of the former self to a state of peace and hope, but to realize spiritual integration and wholeness which results in a life of holiness.

In effect, precisely because of their wounds, the individual may realize an intimacy and trust in God as they enter a process for healing and conversion.  With proper boundaries and some foreknowledge, the clergy will serve as a vital front line person representing Christ that can safely guide the wounded soul to opportunities for spiritual, psychological and emotional healing.

This class will examine the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a vital component in the healing process. However, we will also consider the dynamics of how confession itself can become a ritual for grieving and “revisiting the grave” in order to re-experience shame, grief and guilt as a connector to the aborted child.

We will explore why individuals might use the sacrament in order to memorialize their aborted children. In many cases, confession alone may not be enough to detoxify the festering wound of traumatic grief. If this is the only intervention, it can frequently lead to a pattern of repeat confession, where an individual may confess their abortions hundreds of times.  The importance of traumatic grief work is highlighted in order to embrace the fullness of the sacrament.

In addition, we will explore the value of clergy connecting the post-abortive person to a larger support system after the initial one-on-one session.

We will use case studies and examples to outline important safety measures to avoid transference and counter-transference reactions that could sabotage recovery. We will also explore how women with histories of sexual abuse are particularly vulnerable to dependency upon the priest.

Another dynamic is the tendency of some traumatized women to confuse the affection and gratitude she feels in a helping relationship with sexual intimacy.

This seminar will offer practical tips on how to set healthy boundaries at the start of any ministry relationship and the necessity of making sure the pastor’s own needs for connection and intimacy are being met.

And finally, we will explore how post-abortion ministry touches clergy; as men, as spiritual fathers, and as priests.