Message from the Author
Ever since I can remember, Aha Moments have been a source of inspiration in my life. However insignificant or important, such moments remind me of how enriching life can be when optimism and objectivity come together.
The development of this retreat has come about by a host of personal Aha Moments over a period of three decades of counselling and tramping experience in New Zealand.
Thoughts of incorporating authenticity, group and eco-therapy into a retreat programme was the last thing on my mind as I started working with a client called Mark (not his real name) back in 1995. Mark suffered from schizophrenia and believed he was the Antichrist, and valued the empathy and spiritual refocusing of the counselling relationship.
Authenticity as an
Aha Moment for Creating Change
What unfolded during several years was unearthing the persona of Mark’s repressed authentic-self amid the mental health distortion of his False-Self.
As time passed, the reality of True and False-Self took on wider application and significance until I realised that helping individuals discover their authentic-self as a means of creating change had become a counselling methodology.
It was only a question of time before the idea of a retreat incorporating the methodology of authenticity, group and eco-therapy started to simmer away on the back burner.
‘A billy on the back burner will only come to the boil if you fuel it.’
Little did I know the billy was about to boil over when I lead a tramp for the Auckland Baptist Tramping Club (ABTC) in the Whirinaki Forest Park during labour weekend of October 2017.
After sharing some thoughts on the ‘Inspiration of Creation’ at Verns Camp Shelter (New Zealand’s Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park), a sense of clarity suddenly became obvious. What emerged from that defining moment has been the development of this two/three day Retreat4Change programme and workbook.
Apart from creating a retreat where psychological, emotional, spiritual or relational well-being can occur, the Vern’s Camp experience was an Aha Moment in nature’s perfect timing, sanctuary and playground. Thank you ABTC.
For most of us, Aha Moments can mean vulnerability or risk of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Not wanting to step out of our comfort zone and allowing self-efficacy to seize the day, is a major reason why change doesn’t occur.
At eighteen, I faced a critical challenge of being profoundly dyslectic. Only able to spell a half a dozen words and with no coherent ability to read, write or understand any form of arithmetic etc, life became an Aha Moment of confusion and despair. It would have been easy to recoil as a depressed teenager had it not been for a series of defining Aha Moments. It was these experiences that turned my view of failure into the endless possibilities of hope in my greater self.
All of this seemed a distant past as my wife and I received an Unsung Hero’s Award for our counselling services to marriage and family in parliament during 2014. Being the first counsellors in New Zealand to receive this award, Jean and I were recognised for developing the STEPS (Steps To Ending Problem Sexuality) Living and Loving Freely programme for the treatment of problematic sexual behaviour/s.
Aha Moments can be life-changing encounters. They also have the power to create personal well-being, destiny and the motivation for giving back.
“Declutter your internal landscape by spending time with nature.”
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