2013-2014 Healing Accomplishments

The Beginning of Retreat Replication

The re-piloting and replication of the retreat program formally began this year in Los Angeles. Joyful Heart partnered with four organizations in Southern California serving survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse for these first stages: the Center for Community Solutions in San Diego; and in Los Angeles, the YWCA, Peace Over Violence and The Village Family Services. And in April, as part of the larger retreat replication initiative, Joyful Heart held its first retreat program for 18 healers of these organizations in Ojai, California. At five days, it was the longest Heal the Healers retreat program Joyful Heart has ever held.

Throughout the five days, the healers participated in the retreat program that they will be referring survivors to in the future. Through creative expression, movement, yoga and journaling, the program addressed the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of both primary and secondary trauma that the healers experience. At all stages, researchers from Georgetown gathered qualitative and quantitative data to measure the effectiveness of the retreat and assess what makes the experience so transformational. Prior to their arrival, participants completed all measures for the pre-program data, or “baseline” collection. They included written questionnaires to measure various traits such as self-efficacy, perceived stress and self- compassion, as well as saliva samples from participants at five different points throughout the day, from which cortisol levels are being tested to determine stress levels. This biological marker in our study will greatly increase the strength and validity of the research. Participants also completed these measures one week after the retreat, at three months after and will complete them again at one year after. The Georgetown researchers are currently analyzing the results of these data.

Heal the Healers Retreat

“We are not only witnessing a dynamic change in the way trauma work is done, we are being part of that change toward a new, more holistic and effective way to treat trauma.”
- Dr. Mary Ann Dutton, Georgetown University

Providing Heal the Healers for these core partners will both support the practitioners doing frontline work and ensure that those implementing the model are ready to lead this type of deep, reflective programming for the survivors we serve. With this stage of the replication process completed, the healing team is currently preparing for the first re-piloted survivor retreat program, to take place in the coming fiscal year.

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