MaleSurvivor Weekend of Recovery Level I: DARE TO DREAM
Guest House Retreat and Conference Center, Chester, Connecticut
July 11-13, 2014
MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery are open to any man, 18 or older, who has been sexually victimized as a child and/or as an adult. We have selected a very special place to host this weekend experience, the Guest House Retreat and Conference Center, in Chester, CT. The Guest House is a beautifully renovated country inn on private wooded land and is adjacent to the 16,000 acre Cockaponset State Forest, which has many miles of hiking trails. Cedar Lake, a 70-acre lake with a public beach, is less than half a mile away. Nearby attractions include the charming New England village of Chester. Guest House is only ten miles from the Long Island Sound and its ocean beaches.
Conveniently located midway between New York City and Boston, Guest House is easily reachable via major highways or by train. Nearby airports are in Hartford, Providence, and New Haven.
Goals of the Level I Weekend of Recovery:
1) To provide an opportunity to experience a safe environment in which participants can discover they are no longer alone in their recovery;
2) To provide an opportunity to co-create and experience safety with other survivors as they explore further aspects of their healing journey;
3) To provide an opportunity where survivors can share their inner pain, strength and hope with others who have been abused;
4) To provide an opportunity for survivors to give a voice to their experiences as a survivor;
5) To provide a safe way for participants to share the story of their abuse with others who will understand and offer support;
6) To provide a safe place for participants to experiment with letting go, opening up and being vulnerable, and practice asking for the support they need;
7) To provide an opportunity for participants to explore safe ways of going beyond their comfort zones, and to find ways to get beyond their blocks to move beyond their abuse to experience a greater sense of freedom in their minds, bodies, and spirits; and
8) To provide a safe place where participants can experience a sense of community, brotherhood and joy.
Weekends of Recovery are facilitated by trained psychotherapists, utilizing the same clinical boundaries and code of ethics as adopted by the American Psychological Association. The weekends are adjuncts to participants' ongoing recovery work with individual and/or group psychotherapy, twelve step programs, and individual spiritual work, and are not meant to substitute for the participants' local support systems that are consistent with their own recovery. Jim Struve, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 35 years of experience working with male survivors Co-Chairs the facilitator team, along with Dr. Howard Fradkin, a Psychologist with over 32 years of experience working with male survivors. The team of facilitators includes other Psychologists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors. Biographies of all staff members for this weekend can be found on the MaleSurvivor website at www.malesurvivor.org
Jim Struve will be coordinating the Guest House facilitator team. The rest of the team for this weekend includes: Peter Botteas, Sharon Imperato, Ernesto Mujica, Mikele Rauch, and Matt Stella.
MaleSurvivor reserves the right to make changes to the staff depending on enrollment.
The Role of Women Facilitators at the Weekends of Recovery:
One of the valuable resources at a Weekend of Recovery is the presence of women facilitators who bring a wealth of therapeutic experience with men who have had a history of sexual abuse. Women facilitators can offer the benefit of witness and exchange that may differ from what men have experienced. During the weekends, they share fully in the responsibilities and work of the team. The inclusion of women on the team offers men an opportunity to examine their reactions to women in a safe setting.
Is This For Me? How Can I Prepare for the Weekend?
For those working with professionals, we recommend you discuss your planned participation in this weekend to get their feedback and suggestions for how you can benefit as much as possible from the experience while keeping yourself as safe as you need to be. All participants must be able to safely and appropriately engage in structured group activities. When we receive your completed registration form, we will also send you a form for your therapist to complete and return to us. You can also download the form on our website as well. If you have an already established support system of friends/family members/significant others, we also encourage you to talk with them about your participation so they can be available both before and after the weekend as needed to help you prepare and process your experiences.
If you are not in therapy, and/or do not yet have a support network, we encourage you to consider setting up an appointment with a therapist either before you come to the retreat, or after your return, and/or encourage you to explore what types of self-help groups and resources are available in your community or near by. This way you can follow up on some of the experiences and skills you learn that will help the weekend's learning stay fresh in your mind and help you apply what skills and awareness would most help your continuing recovery. Resources for therapy and support groups are available on our website when you click on the tab, "Find Support."
One of our staff members will be contacting you by phone within two weeks of when we receive your application and deposit to talk with you about your needs for the weekend and your readiness to participate. All participants must be able to safely and appropriately engage in structured group activities. If we have any concerns about you participating, we may suggest some steps you can take to enhance your readiness for this weekend or we may ask you to wait for a future weekend while you take some additional steps we believe would be important for you to benefit from the experience. Please do not schedule your travel arrangements until after your interview is completed and you have been told you have been accepted as a participant. The facilitator team will make every effort to complete that process as quickly as possible. The earlier you register, the more possible that will be (which of course could help you save money on transportation and by getting an early registration discount).
You can read comments from other participants on our web page, by clicking on the tab for the Weekends of Recovery, and then clicking on "testimonials". Many participants have told us that the weekend is a very intense and rewarding experience, and at the same time sometimes it is quite uncomfortable. We recognize that one of the challenges male survivors have is feeling comfortable enough to ask for help, especially when they are feeling most in need of the help. For participants who are aware they have a problem with dissociation, this can be an especially difficult challenge. We would encourage you to practice asking for help before the weekend, perhaps with your own therapist, as well as with friends and significant others, and to assess for yourself what gets in your way of asking for the help you need so you can let us know when we contact you prior to the weekend. The facilitators are all very skilled therapists, and often times we can be sensitive and intuitive enough to know you need help even when you are not asking. However, we will clearly need your help and ask you to take the risk to articulate your needs during the weekend. To the extent you can help us know you are needing some extra help at any time during the weekend, this will help you to have an even safer and hopefully more beneficial experience.
During the weekend, we'll invite you to participate in a number of different types of activities. We'll spend some time helping each of you to feel as safe as possible. We'll take our time getting to know each other by sharing a little at a time. Frequently during the weekend we will meet in small groups, where you can have more individual time to talk and share your feelings and observations.
Everyone will be given some opportunities to choose how to tell your story - through words, art, movement, and/or music. We'll also introduce you to some different types of relaxation and visualization exercises you may choose to do at home to increase your abilities to cope and manage life stresses. We'll also give you time to wander the beautiful retreat grounds alone or with some of your fellow participants.
Transgender and Intersex Participants:
MaleSurvivor is committed to healing the sexual victimization of boys and men. However, MaleSurvivor recognizes that gender, as well as sexuality, exists on a continuum and many survivors of sexual assault may identify anywhere on this continuum, including being transgender or intersex. MaleSurvivor wants to honor this diversity while preserving the Weekends of Recovery as a space to heal in a community of men. It is our belief that the design of the Weekends of Recovery can best be utilized by individuals who currently identify as male and who want to heal in a male-identified space.
Survivors With A History Of Sexual Offending:
Any person who has been convicted of sexual perpetration and/or has been placed on a sexual offender registry as an adult is ineligible for participation in the regularly scheduled Weekends of Recovery. If this is true for you, we recommend you do not register now, and instead, review the last paragraph in this section to learn how you may be able to attend a specially designed weekend in the future.
In instances of adjudication on sexual perpetration charges as a youth, individuals will be considered for eligibility and readiness for the Weekends of Recovery on a case-by-case basis through an interview with one of the Co-Chairpersons. In instances in which someone has been previously convicted of sexual offending as an adult and their legal charges have been expunged, they will also be interviewed for appropriateness to participate in a Weekend of Recovery.
MaleSurvivor understands that some survivors have sexually acted out in childhood, adolescence, or even adulthood, and we do not wish to automatically exclude them from a Weekend of Recovery. Therefore, all applicants to the Weekends of Recovery must complete an interview, and during that interview they will be screened for any instances of sexual offending in their history. When a history of sexual offending is disclosed, an interview with one of the Weekends of Recovery Co-Chairpersons will be required along with a consultation with their current psychotherapist to determine if they will be accepted based on consideration of their best interest and the best interest of all participants. We have an expectation that all potential participants will be honest in their screening interview and will disclose any such history or incidents in their past because some participants may experience safety concerns with people with such histories.
The MaleSurvivor Facilitator team believes that ALL survivors have a right and an ability to heal. To facilitate that goal, we will maintain a waiting list for men who are deemed inappropriate to attend one of our regularly scheduled weekends because they have been convicted of sexual perpetration and/or have been placed on a sexual offender registry as an adult or as a youth. When we have gathered a sufficient number of names and the ability to facilitate such a weekend, it is our intention to offer a special weekend for these men to assist them to further their healing as survivors. To be placed on this waiting list, contact Howard Fradkin, PhD, Co-Chairperson, at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a brief description of why you are requesting to be placed on this waiting list.
Registration includes the costs of the facilitated Weekend of Recovery program, with our 6-8 skilled facilitators from the MaleSurvivor Weekend of Recovery Facilitator Team, plus lodging, 7 meals, and snacks. Water, juices, tea and coffee will be available throughout the weekend. We have a variety of accommodations at the center. If you are not a MaleSurvivor member, we encourage you to join the organization prior to registration both to secure a significant $75 discount and to help support the work of MaleSurvivor. Limited numbers of each type of accommodation are available, and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. You can also save $100 more by registering early! The costs shown are for Early Registration:
_____ CATEGORY A1 Single MaleSurvivor Member $895
_____ CATEGORY A2 Single Non-Member $970
_____ CATEGORY B1 Double MaleSurvivor Member $795
_____ CATEGORY B2 Double Non-Member $870
_____ CATEGORY C1 Triple MaleSurvivor Member $695
_____ CATEGORY C2 Triple Non-member $770
All prices quoted above are for Early Registration (by June 6th)
Registration after June 6th: Add $100
To register for the weekend, we ask that you complete an online registration at www.malesurvivor.org and/or mail in a registration form. To hold your spot for the weekend, we are requesting at least $150 deposit with your registration. You will have the choice on the registration form to either prepay your registration in full at the time of registration or opt for a payment plan. If you want to take advantage of the early registration discount, your total registration must be paid by June 6, 2014. Your balance will automatically be charged to your credit card on June 6, 2014, and you will still receive the early registration discount. If you register after June 6, 2014, all payments must be made by June 27, 2014. You can either pay the full amount at the time of registration, or you can choose the 2 payment option, you will owe an additional $50 for regular registration, and we will bill your credit card for the $150 deposit when you register, and the balance of the total of the registration due based on your accepted accommodation type on June 27, 2014. Holding your registration will be contingent on receipt of your additional registration fees on these dates. Any registration which is not paid in full by June 27, 2014 will be subject to cancellation and a $50 cancellation fee. Any cancellation after June 27, 2014, will be subject to the loss of all monies paid, unless we can find a replacement for your space in the weekend.
Registration will remain open until June 27, 2014, provided there is space available.
A limited number of partial scholarships will be available for this weekend. The number of scholarships we can offer is dependent on MaleSurvivor's Scholarship Fund balance. If you have a need for a scholarship, please do not register for the weekend. Instead, access the "Apply for a Scholarship" application via the Weekends of Recovery menu tab at the MaleSurvivor website. After you complete the Scholarship Application Form, email it to Jim Struve, Weekend Co-Chairperson, at email@example.com.
We ask that all scholarship recipients join as a paying member of MaleSurvivor to be eligible for a scholarship. Membership is based on a sliding fee scale according to your income. You can join MaleSurvivor by clicking on the 3rd tab down on the left hand side of the website that says "Join MaleSurvivor".
Scholarship recipients are expected to accept assignment to a triple cabin. The maximum available for scholarship grants is 75% of the registration rate for a triple cabin. We encourage you to apply for only the amount of help you need as we seek to spread our scholarship funds to as many men as possible. If your scholarship request can be granted, Jim will contact you by email with authorization to register and directions about how to enter your scholarship into our payment system. We can only provide assistance with registration costs, and cannot at this time provide any assistance with transportation costs.
Scholarship recipients who cancel their registration more than 2 weeks prior to the starting date of the weekend may transfer their financial grant to a future WoR. However, cancellations that are received less than 2 weeks prior to the starting date of the weekend will be subject to the loss of all monies paid toward registration, unless we can find a replacement for your space in the weekend. Scholarship recipients who cancel within 7 days prior to the start of the weekend or fail to show up for the weekend will be expected to repay the amount of their scholarship grant. Any scholarship recipient who adheres to these cancellation policies is eligible to apply for a new scholarship grant for a future WoR.
MaleSurvivor also has a designated Scholarship Fund for Men of Color, which has been funded by generous donors to MaleSurvivor. You can indicate on the scholarship application form if you are eligible for this fund.
If you are in a position to make a financial contribution to our scholarship fund, you can make a donation through the MaleSurvivor website by contributing to the Scholarship Fund at www.malesurvivor.org, or during the online registration process. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Dining: Executive chef Steve Matterazzo ensures that each individual's meal is delicious and delightful. Guest House menus are creative and imaginative and the meals are always satisfying and healthful. Fresh local and regional organic products are used whenever possible. Every meal offers variety and a vegetarian/vegan option is included whenever requested. With advance notice Guest House can customize menus to accommodate individuals with dietary restrictions. All of your food and snacks are included in the registration fees. Please indicate on your registration form if you have special food requests, and be sure to mention these to the facilitator who will be interviewing you.
Smoking Policy: Guests may not smoke inside the Guest House- including guest rooms - out of consideration for other guests. Cigar and pipe smoking are also prohibited. Guests may only smoke outside buildings in designated smoking areas which will be indicated to you when you arrive.
Internet Access: The Guest House has wireless internet access. However, we request that you only access the internet during break times and not during any regularly scheduled activities.
For Your Comfort While Visiting The Guest House:
The average temperature for June is 67.5; the average high is 79.3; the average low temperature is 55.6; which should make for a very comfortable stay for us. Average precipitation for the month of June is 3.4 inches.
Getting To The Guest House:
The Guest House is located at 318 West Main Street
Chester, CT 06412
Phone (860) 322-5770
Guest House is conveniently located near three major airports:
Bradley Airport (BDL), Hartford (50 minutes)
Tweed Airport (HVN), New Haven (40 minutes)
T.F. Green Airport (PVD), Providence (1 hour, 25 minutes)
Guest House is located about ten minutes from the Old Saybrook train station. Amtrak and Metro North both stop there, and from the station you can take a taxi to Guest House. From New York City it is approximately a 2 hour train trip; from Boston it takes approximately 2 hours. When you schedule your trip, please keep in mind that Amtrak is frequently late. Metro North is more reliable.
Metro North / Shore Line East Railroad: NYC to Old Saybrook, CT
Amtrak: To Old Saybrook, CT - 800-872-7245.
Directions can be found on The Guest House website at http://guesthousecenter.org/page/4441-Location
Driving times without traffic:
New York City: 2 hours
Boston: 2 hours
Providence: 1 hour, 30 minutes
New Haven: 40 minutes
Hartford: 40 minutes
After you have registered, been interviewed and accepted for the weekend, your name and email address will be provided confidentially to our webmaster, who will provide you access to the MaleSurvivor Bulletin Board. It is important that the email address you provide us during your registration is the same email address you used to register for the website. On the board, you will then have access once you sign in to talk with others who are planning on attending the Guest House Weekend so you can offer to share or give rides to those needing help in getting from the airport to Guest House. To protect your confidentiality, this part of the bulletin board will only be able to be accessed by those registered for the Guest House Weekend, and by the Weekend Co-Chairs. If you share a ride, please be respectful and offer assistance with paying for gas.
OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT GUEST HOUSE: Most cell phones do work here. There are plenty of walking trails through the woods, so bring socks, long pants, long sleeve shirts, bug protection and shoes that support you on rough terrain and are waterproof. Please bring your own flashlights. All bedding and towels are provided.
No alcohol or un-prescribed drugs may be brought to the weekend.
WHEN TO ARRIVE AND DEPART-MAKING PLANE RESERVATIONS
Please do not schedule your travel arrangements until after your interview is completed and you have been told you have been accepted as a participant. The facilitator team will make every effort to complete that process as quickly as possible. The earlier you register, the more possible that will be (which of course could help you save money on transportation and by getting an early registration discount).
The weekend begins at 12 noon on Friday, and ends Sunday at 3 pm. Please pay particular attention to the arrival policy below before making your travel plans. Given travel time, we recommend all participants plan to arrive on Friday no later than 10 am; and plan to depart on Sunday no earlier than 6 pm if you are flying. If you cannot accommodate your schedule to arrive and depart at these times, please be considerate and do not register. Late arrivals would miss important orientation information, and we ask that all participants plan to stay until the end of the weekend on Sunday to allow you sufficient time for closure. If you find that the only airline reservations you can find will require an overnight stay on either Thursday or Sunday, we are sorry, but we cannot provide overnight accommodations on Thursday or Sunday evening at the Guest House.
Safety for all participants is our utmost concern. Therefore, it is a requirement that in order to participate in the weekend, participants must arrive at the beginning of the weekend, by 12 noon on Friday. In planning your trip, you are expected to take into consideration the unpredictable delays that may accompany your travel. While we understand you may encounter delays for many reasons, we are unable to allow anyone to begin the weekend if your delay is greater than 2 hours. In other words, you cannot expect to be admitted to the weekend after 2 pm for any reason. If you are experiencing a delay, we request you to call us to inform us of your arrival status. It is important to understand that in the event of your inability to attend due to late arrival, you will forfeit all monies paid for your registration. One strategy to avoid this situation is to arrive in the city of the weekend the night before, or a city near the airport. MaleSurvivor will provide you with information about budget hotels near the facility to help facilitate your stay. Your consideration of this policy will help strengthen the feeling of safety for all participants and help us to build community.
Therapist Recommendation Letter:
When you register online, you will notice a link to a therapist recommendation letter when you click the tab Weekends of Recovery on the home page; be sure to click on the Level I letter We ask that all participants who are currently in therapy bring this letter to your therapist prior to the weekend, and ask them to complete it with you and send it back to us by June 8th. The information in this letter will help us to provide for any additional needs you may have for safety. It is our intention to use this letter to help ensure your safety, and in no way is it intended to disempower you or cast doubt on your own judgment about your readiness to participate in the weekend.
There is also a tab on the website under Weekends of Recovery which contains our Participant Consent Form-please download the Level I Consent Form. We suggest you download this form and review it before you are interviewed. We ask that you bring your copy to the weekend, where we will provide you another opportunity to ask any questions you have. All participants must sign a consent form in order to participate in the weekend.
SCHEDULE: Below is the tentative schedule for the weekend:
Male Survivor Weekend of Recovery Tentative Schedule
July 11 - 13, 2014
10-12 Registration -
And Check In to Rooms
1-1:45 Welcome and Guidelines for Participation
1:45-2:30 Co-creating Safety Guidelines
2:30-2:45 Introduction to Mind-Body Awareness
3- 4 Introducing Ourselves
4 -4:15 Break
4:15-6 First Small Groups
7:30-8:00 Break/Survivor T-shirts
8-9:30 Mind/Body Awareness: Grounding and Centering
10- Facilitator Check In
7-8 Optional Walking Meditation
9:15-10 Preparing to Tell My Story
10-12 Telling My Story-Small Groups
12:30-1:30 Mindfulness Quiet Lunch
1:30-3 Optional Hike
5:15-6:15 Small Groups
8-10 Shame Busting
10:30- Facilitator Meeting
7:00-8:00 Optional Walking Meditation
9:15-11 Community Building/Bridges to Home
11:15-12:45 Brief evaluation; last small group
2-3 Closing /Group pictures
Questions can be directed to Jim Struve at 801-364-5700, Ext. 1 or Trisha Massa, Community Outreach Director at email firstname.lastname@example.org.