A programme of healing:
Grief to Grace is a specialised 5-day programme of spiritual and psychological healing for anyone who has suffered sexual, physical, emotional or spiritual abuse in childhood, adolescence or adulthood, including those who are the victims of rape, incest or abuse by a member of the clergy. We call it a retreat because for five days you will be in a safe, protected environment and because the process is grounded in the Scriptures, the Sacraments and prayer, enabling you to open your deepest wounds to the healing power of Christ the Divine Physician. However, this retreat programme has also been expertly and lovingly designed to make a path for that healing using therapeutic tools from the most up-to-date psychology and treatment of trauma. The human science of psychology is integrated into a Christian view of the person whose meaning and dignity is deeper than the psyche. Body, mind and spirit are all engaged and cared for.
This effective healing process combines special Living Scripture meditations with journalling, group activity and discussion, therapeutic facilitation, congnitive restructuring and grief-work. Because it is a residential course, our work is more intense than would be possible in a series of hourly consultations. No one shares more than they wish to share, and no one is pressured into doing anything that feels unsafe.
A variety of different exercises gently help to identity the pattern of response that was first a reaction to trauma and then began to have a hold over us as our bodies stored the memory and sought to tell the story of a secret we couldn't speak; a pain so deep that the mind split off from it to survive, or found ways of numbing it which turned unhealthy. Our somatic approach is crucial to effective healing .
Comprises mental health professionals, a priest spiritual director and trained volunteers. They are each committed to providing retreatants with an atmosphere of safety and confidentiality in which they can lay down the burdens of shame and secrecy. The staff have compassion and understanding not just for what you have suffered, but for what you hope to become as healing allows you to reclaim your true human dignity as a child in God's image.
Survivors often keep abusive patterns alive long after the event is over as they struggle to face the betrayal, isolation and pain. We help participants focus on correcting the distorted realities they have accepted about themselves. Awareness of these distorted beliefs and behaviours provides an opportunity to correct them in the present. We grieve what has been lost not to dwell on it, but in order to let it go and free ourselves for a different future, to find our true self long obscured behind grief and anger.
Grief to Grace is the creation of Dr Theresa Burke, Ph.D. LPS, NCP, DAPA a leading expert in the treatment of trauma. She is the author of another healing programme which is renowned worldwide for the healing of post-abortion trauma. Founded in Pennsylvania in 2005, Grief to Grace now ministers in several diocese in the USA, in Canada and in Kingston, Jamaica. With the support of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, The late Most Reverend Peter Smith, the programme was first piloted in the UK in 2011 and established as a UK charity in 2014. Fr Dominic Allain, a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark is the International Pastoral Director, ministering in the US and also overseeing the programme's work in the UK. Participants travel from Europe and from as far away as Australia to attend our five-day retreats in England which are normally scheduled twice a year.
We are based at an office in Wimbledon, London, and the five day, residential programmes are held in various retreat centres in the South of England.