Rachel’s Vineyard – Help After Abortion Trauma
Retreats are being offered in Cape Town and Johannesburg for anyone who has been affected by the trauma of abortion.
The Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend retreats in March and May are for anyone who has been affected by the trauma of abortion—the mother, father, sibling or grandparent.
Many counsellors, clergy and lay persons in post-abortion work recognise that there is more to “just having an abortion” than most people care to acknowledge. It is an area of healing that requires an intensive process to deal with the unique nature of the abortion wound, according to Marie-Anne Te Brake, who is running the retreat in Johannesburg.
Complicating the matter, some mental-health professionals who are on referral lists have their own unresolved issues with abortion loss, which makes it difficult for them to help others through any kind of grieving or healing process, said Ms Te Brake.
“Still others in the mental-health community believe that abortion is safe, legal and beneficial, and in fact most psychological organisations and associations across the globe deny that abortion causes any significant mental-health problems at all—so counsellors and psychologists simply are not being trained to even recognise the symptoms,” she said.
“The abortion wound is often best described as a traumatic experience or memory. A trauma-sensitive process is necessary to release the deep feelings of anguish, grief, numbness, and denial in an environment of safety to heal this wound before one can internalise and accept the grace and mercy of God,” Ms Te Brake explained.
“That is why many women and men confess their abortion, and even do some initial counselling or healing work, but still do not feel peace. They may repeat their confession many times or feel stuck in their therapy,” she said.
“Clergy typically do not have the time to journey with a woman or man through the many sessions that would be required to accomplish the tedious work of grief, not to mention the more complex and complicated symptoms of trauma, which can accompany abortion.”
Rachel’s Vineyard aims to address some of these problems and provide a safe and effective treatment that will be the same no matter where one reaches out for help.
“It provides a standard of care that responds to the wounds with an integrated spiritual and psychological process,” Ms Te Brake said.
“The Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat and support group model developed an approach that utilises some of the ‘steps of healing’—but where the stages of healing are incorporated into a spiritual journey using scripture exercises, meditation, therapeutic techniques, rituals for grieving, and the sacraments to help the individual bring the deep pain and grief of their abortion to the Cross of Christ,” she explained.
“The Rachel’s Vineyard process has proven to be an invaluable resource for ministries responding to those traumatised by abortion.”
Contact Angie at 082 852-1284 for the Cape Town retreat March 28-30 or Marie-Anne at 083 449-1129 for the Johannesburg retreat May 10-12. All calls are treated with the utmost confidentiality.
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