"Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees."
- John Muir
About Our Nature Trauma
This retreat is an experiential, outdoor retreat for adults 35 and older impacted by traumatic injury.
The retreat is offered once a year and co-facilitated by Dr. Heidi Schreiber-Pan, LCPC, and founder of the Towson-based Center for Nature Informed Therapy, and trauma and addictions recovery therapist, Mary Sue McCarthy MS, LCPC, NCC who is in private practice in Hunt Valley. Together, Heidi and Mary Sue both Maryland-based licensed professionals, provide retreat participants with a unique opportunity to begin or continue their trauma-healing process. Other professionals will support the retreat with expertise in trauma-informed yoga and somatic-based therapies.
A BROADER VIEW OF TRAUMA
When most folks hear the word trauma they immediately envision devastating combat, horrific child abuse, or frightening and unexpected natural disasters. We look at this differently. Trauma can be as subtle and as personal as living as the family scapegoat, being constantly compared to siblings, considered second-best, or never good enough. Living with bullying, narcissistic gaslighting, and toxic positivity is often not classified as traumatic, but research has shown that being on the receiving end of bullying, for example, can have a lasting and subtle impact on developmental growth and self-confidence. The loss of a loved one, including a pet is a more obvious example. Religious persecution, the effects of systemic racism, and cultural cancellation can all be deemed traumatic. Witnessing climate change and destruction can have a disturbing impact, as well.
Traditional therapies for trauma healing include Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and EMDR, eye-movement desensitization, and reprocessing. While both Heidi and Mary Sue supports these traditional therapies, they believe that joining with nature provides another somatically soothing modality.
THE CHALLENGE OF
The challenge with trauma recovery is that the trauma that happens to you is often accompanied by or manifested in feelings of powerlessness, desperation, and overwhelming fear that are rarely resolved by cognitive-based therapies. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk states in his best-selling book, ‘ The Body Keeps the Score,’
trauma is stored in the body as memory, attached to strong and disturbing body sensations. These feelings can be so intense that what is happening now in the present actually feels the same as it did in the past. Triggers or memory flashbacks can take us back into the furthest reaches of our survival brain causing us to fight, flee, freeze, or feign death.
To quote awakenwithally, a transformational guide with 93.3 K Instagram followers:
“ Our nervous system is the foundation of our lived experience here on earth. To understand how the nervous system regulates itself towards safety and connection it is important to recognize that the nervous system has evolved in connection with nature, communities, and the universe at large. Disconnecting from nature and the natural elements and rhythms is dysregulating for our bodies.”
This simple understanding of our nervous system is the rationale behind the creation of a nature-informed trauma retreat. Our six-hour workshop is conducted entirely out of doors at one of Maryland‘s nature centers, or serene parks. The experience includes education on the little-known facts about trauma and the many ways it can present in our lives. Mary Sue will explore different types of trauma including relational trauma and attachment injury to post-traumatic stress, along with the healing concepts of neuroplasticity. Commenting on the nature of her practice, Mary Sue reflects that the most often asked question she receives from her clients is “why can’t I stop thinking like this, I know the trauma experience is in the past, but it feels like it’s just happening again, all over again.”
The Nature Connection
Nature offers us a sense of authentic belonging, a sense of being part of a larger whole. Nature does not pressure or judge, yet its sacred availability can be felt.
Holding this retreat in nature is an intentional choice to bring our pain, stress, or trauma to the natural world as a holding space. Heidi is a certified nature-informed therapist trained to guide individuals into a closer relationship with nature which often results in significant mental health improvement for people and better stewardship for nature.
Nature Informed Therapy is a therapeutic approach that integrates the healing elements of nature into established, evidence-based treatment modalities.
Let the healing start for those who are experiencing traumatic injury including:
Relational or Family Neglect and Abuse
Life Threatening events resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress
Loss of a loved one, a relationship, a life vision or career dream, physical capacity and wellness, a home, or companion animal.
2023 Retreat Details
(Rain date 10/22)
Time: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Max Participants: 12
Irvine Nature Center
11201 Garrison Forest Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117
RETREAT GUIDELINES FOR PRIVACY
Heidi and Mary Sue have one stipulation and that is that participants clearly understand that there is NO invitation or expectation to share, reveal or discuss personal trauma history. We understand and support our participant's rights to privacy and confidentiality. If at any time, attendees feel uncomfortable or possibly triggered, their priority will be to support the attendee in resolving the discomfort.