Physical and Mental Wellbeing FAQ's
Is Silent Retreat a form of therapy or a replacement for medical treatment?
It is important to understand that Retreat is not a replacement for any therapy or other medical treatment or diagnosis. Silent Retreat in the form of self inquiry is a powerful aid to self-realization. Jennifer’s teachings are not meant as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any change or discontinuation of therapeutic, psychological, psychiatric or other medical treatment should be undertaken with the supervision and guidance of a medical or other specialist mental health clinician.
Is Silent Retreat suitable for someone with a mental health or psychiatric disorder?
If you are currently receiving or have previously received any medical treatment or therapy for issues related to mental health, an environment of deep contemplation or introspection may not be suitable for you. Please check with a medical or other mental health clinician whether being in such an environment is suitable for you at this time.
When and why might Silent Retreat not be appropriate?
Those experiencing psychiatric conditions, or other unusually strong emotional upheavals might not benefit from a concentrated Retreat environment. Occasionally, being in such an environment can adversely affect pre-existing mental health conditions. It may bring up latent traumatic imprints or deep-rooted tendencies in the body-mind, which can trigger strong, seemingly overwhelming, thoughts, emotional responses and behavior. Silent Retreat may offer an opportunity to recognize, release and transcend these states. However, a participant with a mental health condition may feel overwhelmed by this, and so additional medical and psychiatric support may be required. Please be aware that we are not able to provide this type of support or expertise.
Questions to consider
These questions are intended as a guide, and do not constitute or replace medical or psychiatric advice. If the answer to any of the questions is ‘yes’, a concentrated Silent Retreat environment may not be suitable for you at this time. Please keep in mind that Silent Retreat is a group activity. And the teacher and the staff, while there to assist all participants, necessarily have to keep the safety of the group as a primary consideration.
Have you ever or are you currently suffering from and/or receiving treatment for any of the following conditions: Anxiety disorders (which includes generalized anxiety, agoraphobia and panic disorder), mood disorders (which includes clinical depression, mania and bipolar disorder), obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), personality disorders, schizophrenia, psychosis (on its own or as part of another condition)?
Are you currently taking any prescribed or non-prescribed medication for the treatment of a mental health condition?
Have you used any psychotropic (mind altering) non-prescription drugs for recreational, spiritual or self-medicating purposes within the past 6 months?
Do you currently have any substance use disorders (this includes harmful use, dependence and addiction) or have you undertaken a detoxification from substance use within the past 12 months?
Have you experienced any aggravation or deterioration of your mental health during the past 12 months irrespective of whether you have sought specialist advice for it or not?
Have you ever experienced any unpleasant or unwanted effects (these can include physical, cognitive, emotional or ‘energetic’) that have persisted beyond the duration of your participation in a spiritual practice or retreat, which may have interfered in your well-being and/or functional abilities?
Answering ‘yes’ to any of the questions does not necessarily mean you cannot attend Silent Retreat. It requires you to seek specialist advice and receive confirmation from a medical or other professionally registered clinician that your attendance is unlikely to adversely affect your mental health condition.
I have been advised or can see from the questionnaire in the previous FAQ that a concentrated Silent Retreat environment may not be suitable for me at this time. Does this mean self-inquiry is not for me?
Experiencing a mental health or psychiatric condition is not something that excludes anyone from deepening in their recognition or fully realizing their true nature. However, proper medical guidance and treatment as necessary is still very important. The two can support each other.
Can Silent Retreat be a cause of mental health imbalance?
Silent Retreat does not cause mental health or psychiatric disorders. Occasionally, it may bring up latent traumatic imprints or deep-rooted tendencies in the body-mind, which can trigger strong, seemingly overwhelming, thoughts and emotional responses and behavior. Silent Retreat may offer an opportunity to recognize, release and transcend these states. However, if there is a mental health condition, a participant may feel overwhelmed by the arising of hidden tendencies, and so additional medical and psychiatric support may be required. Please be aware that we are not able to provide this type of support or expertise.
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