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Recovery From Religion Retreats Various Locations Across U S A This Spring


R. S. Martin
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For those who don't know, Marlene Winell is the author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion, a book that many people here have found very helpful.

 

Hello everybody,

 

I hope this finds you doing well. You are receiving this newsletter either because you have either been recovering from harmful aspects of authoritarian religion or you have an interest in being of assistance to others. As you may know, this has been both my personal and professional experience. Leaving the Fold is the self-help book I wrote on the subject and I am now holding weekend retreats to facilitate small groups in sharing the healing process together. Dates for more of these weekends are listed below.

 

Also in this newsletter is a description of our new website dedicated to recovery services. We are inviting you to assist with this in any way you can. You are also invited to visit my own renovated website, thanks to Ryan Wadsworth.

 

Please feel free to distribute this newsletter or post information on your website. Thank-you in advance.

 

I'd love to hear from you and find out what's new with you! If you know of any other counseling or recovery services, let me know and we'll add it to the data base in the new website.

 

Kind regards,

Marlene

 

Marlene Winell, Ph.D.

Berkeley, CA 510-292-0509

 

Upcoming "Release and Reclaim" retreats beginning March 13-15 in Massachusetts

We are currently organizing several "Release and Reclaim" retreats:

  • Amherst, Massachusetts: Friday, March 13th to Sunday March 15th
  • Orange County: Friday April 18 to Sunday April 20
  • SF Bay Area: May 22-24
  • Colorado Springs: June. Exact dates TBA.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Winell as soon as possible: 510.292.0509. Space is limited.

 

"Release and Reclaim" workshops and groups are designed to support you in releasing the toxic beliefs of religious indoctrination and reclaim your life, based on trusting yourself and building a life of your own choosing. The weekend retreat is a powerful group experience of sharing personal history, examining key issues, and exploring new concepts for life and spirituality. The group provides a safe and nurturing place to express feelings without judgment. In addition to discussion, we use experiential methods including art, guided visualization, movement, and role-play. There is also time for shared meals, relaxation, and fun. Participants are encouraged to develop networks for continued friendship and support.

 

For more information, comments from previous participants, and a video of excerpts from a recent retreat, please visit http://marlenewinell.net/page/release-and-reclaim-workshop

 

Retreat objectives are to help you:

  • Release the hold of dysfunctional religious teachings.
  • Reclaim your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Discover self-love and learn to trust yourself.
  • Recognize and draw from your own inner resources for wisdom and strength.
  • Explore new avenues for meaning in life.
  • Appreciate the freedom and power when you take personal responsibility for your life.
  • Practice enjoying life now instead of waiting for the next.

A Resource list is provided with recommended books and readings and websites. You will also be invited to join the confidential group, "Release and Reclaim" for online discussion and regular conference calls for continued support.

 

Building a website with recovery resources: RecoveryFromReligion.org

 

As many of you know, recovering from harmful religious indoctrination can be a difficult process. It helps to know you are not alone and discuss issues with others. At present, there are quite a few excellent websites with testimonials and debates. People are challenged to think for themselves and many books are suggested that challenge authoritarian religious systems.

 

We believe there is still a need for a website with resources and services designed to help people emotionally heal from the damage of toxic religion. In addition to the intellectual work needed to get free of old beliefs, there are psychological and interpersonal areas of growth that need attention.

 

Because of this, we are currently assembling a team of people motivated to help others on the path to recovery. Specifically, we will be working to organize and redesign RecoveryFromReligion.org into a content-rich site that helps visitors to know they are not alone in their struggle, that others have successfully left, and that help is available.

If you would like to be notified about an upcoming conference call where we will be getting to know each other and discussing vision and next steps, please fill out this questionnaire: http://drupal6.recoveryfromreligion.org/node/1

 

The site will be designed from the ground up to best meet the needs of people at various stages of leaving toxic religion. This will not be a site for lengthy stories of what people have endured. Rather, it will emphasize pathways to health. We will have messages of hope and information about how to recover and thrive. Resources will be listed for counseling, groups, retreats, events, and materials helpful to the recovery process.

 

Building this resource is an exciting but sizeable task with many opportunities for people to help (not just web designers!). Some possible tasks that one or more people might be able to help with include:

  • continuing to research and catalog the community of ex-fundamentalist websites. This includes collecting links and contact information, and contributing to an annotated bibliography of resources.
  • participating in conversations about long-term vision and short-term priorities.
  • editing and uploading articles about the recovery process
  • writing your own testimonial!
  • drafting and contributing to new resources, including self-assessment quizzes, articles, and faq's.
  • html/css/photoshop webdesign
  • logo design
  • editing and uploading video
  • drupal configuration. (drupal is the open-source content management system we will be using.)
  • testing the site and offering suggestions for how to make it easier to use.
  • and more...(we are open to ideas)

If you would like to be notified about an upcoming conference call where we will be getting to know each other and discussing next steps, please fill out this questionnaire: http://drupal6.recoveryfromreligion.org/node/1

 

If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Wadsworth: 510.712.6422

 

 

Refreshed!

 

We have rebuilt www.MarleneWinell.net as an easy-to-use access point for Dr. Winell's writings, recommended resources, and services. The new site features video interviews about the abusive effects of indoctrination by authoritarian religion: http://marlenewinell.net/page/recovery-harmful-religion , and excerpts from a recent "Release and Reclaim" workshop: http://marlenewinell.net/page/release-and-reclaim-workshop . Please send any feedback you have on the redesign to ryanrain@gmail.com.

 

In case anyone is interested, at the bottom it says how to post to this group:

 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Dr. Marlene Winell's recovery from religion announcement list" group.

To post to this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe from this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/recoveryfromreligion?hl=en

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Matt, thanks for that. I didn't know about it.

 

Goodfaith, and others, I got another announcement email from Marlene Winell for workshops this spring that I will post in the next post.

 

Also, you can get on her mailing list if you like so you get the announcements first hand. I think the info is in the announcement.

 

I might not always get around to posting the announcements right away.

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The following is another newsletter, announcement about workshops, etc. from Marlene Winell:

 

Hello friends,

 

We hope you are enjoying Spring! In this newsletter:

 

1. Retreat information for Massachusetts May 1-3 and Colorado in June

2. Our "virtual" support group

3. Article, "Easter, Death, and Life"

4. New recovery website

 

Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone you think might benefit. And try to come to a retreat! Even if you are not "recovering" you can be of assistance or learn to help others. This is a serious area of need.

 

Stay in touch!

 

Kind regards,

Marlene Winell,

Ryan Wadsworth, and the teams of generous volunteers

 

 

1. Retreat information:

 

Leaving Your Religion?

It's not the end of the world!

Join us for a powerful weekend with others who can understand and support you.

“RELEASE AND RECLAIM” Recovery Retreat

 

May 1-3, 2009; Oakham, Mass. (near Worcester)

 

Friday at 7pm until Sunday at 3pm, at a beautiful lakeside home on six acres

(also Denver area June 5-7 and June 12-14)

 

This program is for you if you want to let go of toxic, authoritarian beliefs and

reclaim your ability to trust your own feelings and think for yourself.

 

Leaving your faith can be a very difficult process, but you don’t have to go it alone.

 

At a Release and Reclaim Recovery Retreat participants can:

 

• Share personal stories

• Examine key issues

• Learn coping strategies

• Meet others and build a support system

• Enjoy meals, relaxation, and fun at a home with hot tub, fireplace, canoes

 

These retreats are led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. Dr. Winell has a private practice in Berkeley, CA and also consults by telephone.

 

COST: Sliding scale: $220 - $320 for workshop, $125 for room and board (all meals included). Other financial help available - PLEASE ASK. $20 off if paid in full by April 15.

TO REGISTER: Write to recoveryfromreligion@gmail.com (subject line “retreat registration”) or call Dr. Winell directly at 510.292.0509. Retreat space is limited so contact us as soon as possible.

 

WANT TO TALK? If you are unsure if this is for you, please feel welcome to call and chat. Just call Marlene at 510-292-0509. You can also talk with someone who came to a previous retreat.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, testimonials, and videos, please visit www.marlenewinell.net

MORE RETREATS in DENVER : June 5-7 & June 12-14

 

2. Support group:

“Release and Reclaim” virtual support/therapy group

What do we do? We have monthly conference CALLS for discussing subjects on our minds and providing support to each other. We also have an online group site for our FORUM and other features at http://groups.google.com/group/reclaim.

 

New members are invited to post profiles, including your religious/spiritual history and story of recovery to date. The site has profiles and discussion threads which have been very interesting. The group members are very supportive and thoughtful. I take an active role as a therapist in moving discussions forward so that we are focused on healing and growth rather than simply talking about what we have been through.

 

As a member you have access to:

- A forum for discussion. From our phone calls and the topics suggested so far, we have the following topics: relationships with friends and family in the "fold," alternative views of spirituality, creativity, sexuality, and developing new friends/social support networks. More topics can be started, and we post information from our phone talks.

- Room to post creative writing (get published!)

- Reports and photos from retreats.

- Exercises for healing and growth related to the topics we are discussing.

- Articles

- Humor

- Information on Resources such as book reviews, films, and conferences

 

This group is for people who have worked with me already on issues related to religious recovery, or who have discussed their situation with me directly. The reason for this is to have some commonality and trust. The group is confidential like any therapy group, and I safeguard everybody's safety and privacy. Membership is by invitation following an interview with me.

 

Membership involves a subscription of $30/month, and a sliding scale is available.

 

Please email me for more information or call and discuss at no obligation. 510-292-0509, mwinell@gmail.com.

 

 

3. Article

EASTER, DEATH, AND LIFE

by Marlene Winell

It’s Easter; I have memories of getting up early year after year as a child to go to Easter Sunrise Service. We gathered somewhere outdoors, simulating the women and disciples who went to Jesus’ tomb in the early morning on the day of his resurrection. We sang certain hymns that were only for Easter – “Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Ha-a-a-a-He -lelujah,” “He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me, along life’s narrow way!” I liked it – the brisk early morning, the feeling of life and hope, the joy of the music. Unlike a lot of other church experiences, it was a day of celebration. And what a profound message – death has been conquered! Just put your faith in Christ.

 

And now? It’s been many years and I’m no longer a Christian. I do not believe I will continue after I die. In my work as a psychologist, I work with people coming out of religion. There are many issues to deal with, and top or the list for many is this question of death and hellfire. The indoctrination is deep and insidious, a form of child abuse in my opinion. Even without hell, the idea of nonexistence (if that is the direction of change in belief), is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Fundamentalist Christianity downgrades a human lifetime compared to eternity and denigrates the whole world as fallen. How many times were we told to focus on where we will be in the hereafter? The result is fear, because no one is certain, and also neglect of the life that we have now.

 

For those of you who are anxious today and struggle with the idea of death, I can tell you that it is possible to stop fearing damnation. I certainly have and many other former believers have too. It is a phobia indoctrination that serves the religion. If you think you should believe “just in case,” think about what you would be missing. Essentially, your life. The greatest challenge for a human is to know about death, and live fully in the face of it. Other animals can more easily “be here now,” and we can learn from them. However, we have more awareness and it is our existential dilemma to make peace with death.

 

In a way, we do continue on. Our molecules get rearranged and become other things; nothing is lost, not one atom. This is the First Law of Thermodynamics – all matter and energy is conserved. I find it beautiful to walk in a forest and see a fallen tree where it is decomposing, nourishing the earth, and causing new life to spring up. And if you worry about your soul, ask yourself, “Where were “you” before you were born?” Is that so frightening?

 

No, we are better off paying attention to the present. This life is limited but so are a lot of things. The Christian attitude of denigrating life because it is short makes no sense. Is a wonderful meal any less wonderful because it ends? When you are listening to incredible music, are you upset because you know the piece will finish? Hopefully not, and we can extend that lesson to life itself. People who have a brush with death often learn to appreciate life in a special way. Our time on this earth is precious. Perhaps when we cherish our days, honor what is possible, love our fellow humans as best we can, and look at the world with awe and wonder, we can achieve a spirituality of a different kind. Of our own free will, we can commit acts of random kindness and dance for no reason at all. Death be damned.

 

For the recovering fundamentalist, reclaiming intuition and learning to trust one’s inner wisdom is an exciting process. We are not empty, weak, incapable, or bad. We are all interconnected and a part of our amazing universe. Even Einstein said thinking we are individuals is an illusion. One day, when I was a little discouraged, I wrote to myself from the wise part of me (yes, we are all multiples), and then wondered about that voice. This is what emerged, and it applies to all of us, so I hope you find a bit of inspiration too. I asked where the encouragement was coming from:

 

“This is from the force that makes the new shoot grow between concrete slabs. This is from the symmetry of fractals. This is from the incomprehensible distance of space, this is from the sound waves that blend and beat and tell you to dance, this is from the little child that looks at you clearly with no fear and says hi, this is from the unadulterated force of the sea under you and all around you when you swim in the ocean, the sea that takes no prisoners when the tide comes in, the sea that spawned life, and the same sea that sends a wave spreading up the sand to your bare feet, with rhythmic purring caress, bringing you the gems that make you smile - the perfect tiny shell, the fragment of blue glass that you tuck in your pocket.

 

“This is from the cosmic red afterglow of the big bang. This is from all eleven dimensions, from all the things you don't understand and like that you don't understand. This is from the parallel universes that come with the eleven dimensions, penetrating the membrane. This is from the aquifer beneath all of you, the source feeding flashes of human greatness. This is from the massive network of fungus, hidden from view under seemingly separate plants. This is from the power behind the form, the elusive explanation, the delectable mystery. I only have one thing to say to you right now - and that is REMEMBER ME. You are not alone. You always have a reason to go on. and there is no choice; you will go on anyway. Ineffable and inexorable, both. The tide is coming in again today; the ocean has not been deciding.”

 

Happy Spring!

 

Marlene Winell

marlenewinell.net

mwinell@gmail.com

510-292-0509

 

 

4. New website

Under Construction: the RecoveryFromReligion.org team is working on a major site redesign

 

This site is our effort to create a collection of resources and services that may be helpful to people who are in the process of recovering from harmful religious indoctrination.

 

A team of about a dozen of us are currently organizing and redesigning RecoveryFromReligion.org into a new content-rich site that will replace this current placeholder. We will have messages of hope and information about how to recover and thrive. Resources will be listed for counseling, groups, retreats, events, and materials helpful to the recovery process.

 

Quite a few excellent websites already exist that offer testimonials and theological debates. We believe that in addition to the intellectual work needed to get free of old beliefs, there are psychological and interpersonal areas of growth that need attention. The new recoveryfromreligion.org will emphasize pathways to health. (we are considering other names for the website since not all religion is toxic, eg. Journey Free)

 

Building this resource is an exciting but sizable task with many opportunities for people to help (not just web designers!). If you would like to be notified about upcoming conference calls and opportunities to help with this effort, contact Ryan Wadsworth: ryanrain@gmail.com

 

Even if you don't get involved, we would welcome a short paragraph from you to post under "Messages of Hope." These are to encourage folks who are struggling with letting go of a toxic belief system but are afraid. They need to know that healing is possible and that there are alternatives. If you have some supportive words, please contribute. You can write about what's better about where you are now and what was helpful in your recovery process. Thanks!!!!! It matters!

 

 

 

 

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Dr. Marlene Winell's recovery from religion announcement list" group.

To post to this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe from this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/recoveryfromreligion?hl=en

 

She included a photograph of the "Mass. retreat house" in jpg. I don't know how to copy it so it is missing here.

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  • 4 weeks later...

New Email from Marlene Winell:

Hello friends,

 

This is an update on the Release and Reclaim retreats coming up.

 

Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone you think might benefit. And try to come to a retreat! Even if you are not "recovering" you can be of assistance or learn to help others. This is a serious area of need.

 

Stay in touch!

 

Kind regards,

Marlene Winell

 

Leaving a Harmful Religion?

It's not the end of the world!

Join us for a powerful weekend with others who can understand and support you.

 

“RELEASE AND RECLAIM” Recovery Retreat

 

May 29-31, near Loveland, CO

 

Friday at 7pm until Sunday at 3pm, with an extra optional day to relax (until June 1 AM)

 

at a beautiful vacation home by a lake in the mountains

(also Berkeley July 29 - Aug. 2)

 

This program is for you if you want to let go of toxic, authoritarian beliefs and

reclaim your ability to trust your own feelings and think for yourself.

 

Leaving your faith can be a very difficult process, but you don’t have to go it alone.

 

At a Release and Reclaim Recovery Retreat participants can:

 

• Share personal stories

• Examine key issues

• Learn coping strategies

• Meet others and build a support system

• Enjoy meals, relaxation, and fun

 

These retreats are led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. Dr. Winell has a private practice in Berkeley, CA and also consults by telephone.

 

COST: Sliding scale: $220 - $320 for workshop, $125 for room and board (all meals included). Other financial help available - PLEASE ASK. $20 off if paid in full by May 12.

TO REGISTER: Write to recoveryfromreligion@gmail.com (subject line “retreat registration”) or call Dr. Winell directly at 510.292.0509. Retreat space is limited so contact us as soon as possible.

 

WANT TO TALK? If you are unsure if this is for you, please feel welcome to call and chat. Just call Marlene at 510-292-0509. You can also talk with someone who came to a previous retreat.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, testimonials, and videos, please visit www.marlenewinell.net

 

COMMENTS from previous retreat participants:

 

Speaking as a person who has attended three or so retreats organized by Marlene (intended to support the deconversion process), I would just like to say that attending a retreat, if at all possible, will be one of the smartest things you ever do. I was *very* scared to attend one. And it was really intense being at one of Marlene's retreats and confronting what I had been taught in Sunday school and coming to see it as the poisonous indoctrination it was. However, I am so, so, so glad I went and got help and had Marlene to talk with me and work with me. I know our economy is in a recession but if you have any inclination to attend one of Marlene's retreats, I can't recommend it highly enough. Super helpful! She's knowledgeable, organized, and healthfully irreverent. All the retreats I've been a part of have helped me tremendously.
 - M.K. 



 

I can speak about these retreats first hand. I attended Marlene's retreat last summer. At the time, I had been doing a lot of reading. Intellectually, I was already an atheist. Emotionally, I was a real mess. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't suicidal or anything, I was just feeling a bit like Neo in the Matrix: everything I had been taught to believe was wrong.
What the retreat did and what Marlene and the other did, was give me the courage to trust myself and follow through.
 It has been six months. I am in a much better place.
 - C.R.

 

 

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Dr. Marlene Winell's recovery from religion announcement list" group.

To post to this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe from this group, send email to recoveryfromreligion+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/recoveryfromreligion?hl=en

-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

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  • 8 months later...

Does anyone know if there's anything like this in the UK?

 

Since these retreats are being offered by an individual psychologist, it would depend whether there is a person in the UK who does this. I did a Google search just now for UK + fundamentalism. Here are a few items that came up:

 

Women Against Fundamentalism It looks like they sometimes have meetings of some kind.

 

Pickled Politics is not a support group but it shows me that Christian fundamentalism in the UK is on the same track as in the US.

 

Bane of Monotheism I think this site may lead to better links, though I'm not sure about actual counseling.

 

One thing of which I am becoming convinced is that Islamic fundamentalism is a much greater threat in the UK (and possibly in Europe in general) at this time than in North America. Maybe we just haven't woken up to it.

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Does anyone know if there's anything like this in the UK?

 

 

One thing of which I am becoming convinced is that Islamic fundamentalism is a much greater threat in the UK (and possibly in Europe in general) at this time than in North America. Maybe we just haven't woken up to it.

 

I think you're right there, we do have a bigger threat in that respect and quite a lot of the church denominations (CofE, Methodist etc) are aware of it and taking steps already....

 

One thing I've realised however is that Christianity over here is very different from the US. We don't have many fundy churches at all, yes there's the odd few, but liberal evangelicals are more prevalent. Unfortunately for me it means there's little awareness of the damage that Pentecostal/fundy churches can do.

 

Thanks for those links I shall look into them.

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  • 10 months later...

Are there going to be more of these retreats in the coming year? I would very much like to attend one if at all possible...

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  • 1 month later...

I am regret I can't attend this event. I will like to have updates about this events.

 

Are there going to be more of these retreats in the coming year? I would very much like to attend one if at all possible...

 

Sorry I didn't see these posts sooner. Here is a website that announces Dr. Winnell's up-coming events and workshops. Hopefully, something comes up that will be helpful for you even yet.

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  • 11 months later...

Dear Mods: Rather than pinning this thread and asking newcomers to wade through a few pages of irrelevant info only to find it dating back to 2008 and 2009 with nothing new having even been posted for 2011, let alone the upcoming year, why not unpin this one and create a new thread like it every year? I'm sure there are many newcomers to the forums who would like to attend a conference like this.

 

This thread has no business being pinned. It's largely obsolete information. :P

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