Rachel's Vineyard of Montana
What is the treatment model of Rachel's Vineyard Retreat?
The Rachel's Vineyard treatment model has been established as an empirically validated treatment with long-term benefits. Rachel's Vineyard is a psychological and spiritual journey for post-abortion healing.
The program is a sensory-based experience. Recent research has shown that sensory-based treatment models, rather than talk therapy, are more productive.
Rachel's Vineyard retreat weekends are specifically designed to facilitate grief work. We recognize that grief must be emptied before there is room for the grace of reconciliation, and the peace of healing.
Who comes on a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat?
People of many different faith traditions or no faith tradition come on Rachel's Vineyard Retreats. Those with varying circumstances, varying ages, stages of pregnancy, health of fetus and numbers of abortions all share the common desire to come on retreat for healing.
Rachel's Vineyard sole purpose is post-abortion healing and respects each person's individuality. RV is not about preaching, teaching or proselytizing.
How do I get the most out of this retreat?
Be yourself. Relax. Keep the focus on yourself and your own healing needs according to your own faith.
Is Rachel's Vineyard Biblical?
Yes. Rachel's Vineyard Retreat offers two versions of healing retreats - the Catholic Christian Version and Protestant Christian Version (Interdenominational). The foundation is identical for both - Biblical. The retreat process uses Living Scripture exercises, unique to Rachel's Vineyard. We draw upon scriptural passages in both Old and New Testament. Individuals of many different faiths, as well as those with no faith at all, have journeyed through Rachel's Vineyard and found it to be very comforting and healing.
Explanation of Living Scripture
Throughout the Rachel's Vineyard weekend there are spiritual exercises called "Living Scriptures". Basically what Living Scripture does is to re-enact some of the Scripture stories. Jesus is present to us through the Word. Each person on retreat will have an opportunity to experience the reality of Christ in an intimate way and respond to Him.
Each Living Scripture exercise begins with a reading from one of the Gospels. These readings are followed by a meditation. We begin each meditation with deep breathing. This is to help you relax and center yourselves into the Word. The facilitator will lead you through a meditation where you are invited to identify with a person in Scripture and imagine yourself in the scene. These meditations are followed by an invitation to do some kind of action or respond in conversation with Christ.
What is different between the Catholic and Protestant Versions of Rachel's Vineyard Retreat?
While the foundation of both retreat models is identical, the Catholic version has elements that are important to the healing process of the Catholics present on retreat, such as Reconciliation (confession). While the Catholics go to confession Saturday night, the Protestants and others will have an opportunity to visit with our Licensed Professional Counselor if desired.
The Rachel's Vineyard Retreat is a sensory based treatment.
In this excerpt from "Sharing the Heart of Christ", we examine the limits of "talk therapy" with those who have suffered trauma:
Why A Sensory Based Treatment?
Traditional talk therapy may well be ineffective, and perhaps detrimental if it serves as the exclusive
form of treatment for those who have suffered traumas according to Daniel Sweeney, Ph.D., a Professor of Counseling at George Fox University in Portland. 
As trauma specialist Bessel Van der Kolk, MD shares, "Trauma by definition involves speechless terror: patients often are simply unable to put what they feel into words and are left with intense emotions..."
Experts in the field of trauma conclude that treatment with clients must be multidisciplinary including group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapies, and psycho- educational groups. Specialists in neuroscience recommend that trauma therapy should stimulate the right-brain through creative imagination, ritual and prayer. A sensory based experience prevents individuals being re-traumatized or dissociating during counseling, as can occur in ongoing talk-therapy treatment. It is important to keep people "grounded" so they can process and move through the deeply painful event.
That's exactly what Rachel's Vineyard is able to accomplish through the use of music, ritual, breathing, movement, and a stimulation of all 5 senses: sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell. Hence the importance of the retreat "props" such as rose petals, lighting candles, water, the cup of bitterness and blessing, music etc. that serve to engage the senses and calm the participant as they access painful emotions and memories.
Many professionals and laity working with those suffering traumatic loss now have a better understanding of why a program like Rachel's Vineyard has been so successful and popular among post aborted women and men, the consumers of the pastoral care. They are the best judge of what makes them feel better and heals their relationship with God.
 The Neurobiology of Psychic Trauma and Treatment Considerations. Christian Counseling Connection 2007, Issue 1.
The Charisms of Rachel's Vineyard
Some of the Key charisms of Rachel's Vineyard are a spirit of gentleness, peace, understanding and surrender. These charisms, held in the heart of each team member, are passed on to the participants, facilitating their ability to surrender and trust God in the retreat process.
The retreat location is private, confidential, very beautiful, peaceful and amongst the rolling hills in a country setting.
Our retreat facility is homey, full service, modern and has private sleeping rooms. Our retreat counselor, Robyn, is a gentle soul who keeps the gourmet coffee brewing and baskets full of an abundance of specialty chocolates. We have our own private kitchen that is well stocked with snacks and a variety of beverages.
We keep our retreats small so there is time for more personal sharing and a gentle retreat flow which allows for some down time for a walk, nap or visit with newly found friends. As the retreat progresses, we truly seem to become like a little family - compassionate, gentle and loving to one another.
So while the retreat is firmly psychological healing, it is not "clinical" feeling. And while it is soundly Christian, it is not stodgy. There is a sense of becoming Companions on the Journey - friends in Christ. Participants often respond to the feelings they felt toward the team, location, and spirit of the healing process.
A few past retreat evaluations had this to say:
- "Wonderful! Difficult, moving and extremely well done."
- "AMAZING beyond my expectations - life changing."
- "This is a fantastic retreat for finding healing. The people & location make it a truly safe, sharing & healing place."
- "Amazing, powerful, genuine."
- "I was apprehensive in what I may or may not gain or overcome in coming here, but I must say I have by far exceeded all I thought. For the first time in years I feel at peace. You all are beautiful caring women! Thank you."
- "Rachel's Vineyard put together a miracle."
It is hard to put the retreat charisma in simple terms, as Rachel's Vineyard goes beyond teaching, preaching or talking and gets to the heart of the matter - healing.
HELP US FIND OUR MOTHERS
(FATHERS AND GRANDPARENTS TOO!)
By Susan Gliko
It was Saturday night at a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in Rapid City S.D. We were preparing for the upcoming Living Scripture, Meeting the Children with Christ. The flowers had arrived and inventory was done. There were only enough flowers for the mothers who had lost children to abortion or miscarriage. There were not enough flowers for Lyle Seavy, who was trained by Project Rachel about post-abortion healing and who has now traveled from Billings Mont. to learn about Rachel's Vineyard. Lyle is not post-abortive himself but has a heart as big and gentle as Saint Joseph.
Lyle needed to enter the retreat process as a participant to find some part of his life that was aborted in some way. He was trying hard to enter each Living Scripture but was having difficulty staying focused; the Holy Spirit was stirring deep within his soul. The lights were turned off and Lyle listened to the Scripture reading in John 14 where Jesus tells us that in His Father's house He has prepared a place for us and since He has prepared a place for us, He will come back for us. Then he heard Isaiah 30 which tells us that with our own eyes we would see our Teacher. He then heard the team pray for the Holy Spirit to anoint each one of us.
He was told to sit back get comfortable and breathe in the mercy of our Lord and breathe out any feelings of darkness -- breathe in the tenderness of Jesus and breathe out any fear -- breathe in the hope of Jesus Christ and breathe out any despair and feelings of shame. With music playing softly in the background, the meditation led him through a dark forest. He was surprised at how clearly he was seeing everything in this meditation and actually felt twigs break beneath his feet and branches catch on his clothing.
He emerged from the dark forest into a sunny, flower filled meadow. In the distance he saw Jesus surrounded by all the children. His heart was moved with the reality of all of those children. They were so happy and full of life. Lyle stood off to the side as Jesus began to introduce the children to their mothers and his heart was moved with merciful compassion and quiet joy at watching the bond of mother and child be restored by our dear precious Lord.
Then suddenly Lyle noticed two little children, left unattended with no mothers. They looked at him standing off to the side watching the mothers and children hug and hold each other. With flowers in their hands they ran up to him, gave him the meadow blossoms and said, "Help us find our mothers."
It was at this time the team found they had two extra flowers. They double checked to make sure each mother had received a flower representing her lost children and they all had. They decided to give the extra two flowers to Lyle, who still had his eyes closed, with tears streaming down his face.
When he was handed the flowers, that God had multiplied, Lyle exclaimed, "Two children came up to me, gave me flowers and asked me to help them find their mothers!"
As he shared his experience in the meadow with Christ and the children, we all wept. Several of the women begged Lyle not to quit searching for the mothers of those children.
This event was the confirmation that shed light on Lyle's discernment of whether he was called to this post-abortion healing ministry of Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. He has been called. The children from heaven have asked him to "Help us find our mothers."
With each retreat Lyle sees those children. They have not yet found their mothers.
Lyle holds a master of science in counseling, and is a nationally certified counselor, certified mental health counselor and licensed professional counselor. He has also acquired his Ph.D. in healthcare administration from Cappella University.
Rachel's Vineyard not only helps mothers find their children but also fathers, grandparents and all the others deeply wounded by an abortion experience. For more information about Rachel's Vineyard Retreat, check out the web at www.rachelsvineyard.org