Embracing Holistic Approaches: Occupational Therapy in Retreats

Embracing Holistic Approaches: Occupational Therapy in Retreats

By Jen Vogtmann OTD, OTRL

With a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and over 20 years of experience in traditional care, I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact that holistic approaches can have on individuals’ lives. Transitioning from traditional care to holistic care has been a profoundly transformative journey for me, both personally and professionally. My journey into holistic healing began with a heartfelt desire to assist individuals in achieving overall well-being, addressing not only their physical needs but also nurturing their emotional and spiritual selves.

This passion led me to complete Emmy’s Holistic Healing Certificate Program and explore various modalities and practices, including mindfulness, reiki, The Work of Byron Katie, and building intuition using a coaching model. Through these explorations, I gained valuable insights into the intricate relationship between the mind, body, and spirit, recognizing the profound influence that stress-inducing thoughts have on our physical well-being.

As an occupational therapist, I was able to blend the coaching model when providing these interventions. I worked directly with clients on their unique challenges and coached them to create a lifestyle outside of our sessions with natural practices to sustain wellbeing and to become more resilient to life stressors.

I began offering unique services on the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit in my private practice, and clients experienced transformative shifts in their thinking resulting in improved wellness rapidly. Clients’ challenges included feeling stuck, burnout, grief, and going through transitions including retirement or the loss of a partner. After services, many had built-in practices to become more present and connected to themselves daily, experiencing increased joy and gratitude, while others expressed a new sense of confidence moving through transitions and finding peace with grief.

Recognizing the increased need to support the community in wellbeing after the pandemic and limited access to care, I decided to bridge the gap by offering retreats. I began collaborating with experts in the field and integrated holistic approaches into event planning, curating retreats and events that inspire participants to explore self-care, wellness, and grief. My vision included providing multiple services under one roof for three days consecutively while creating opportunities to disconnect from the noise of everyday life, reconnect with nature, and engage in transformative experiences that nourish the mind, body, and soul.

Participants of the “Renew, Restore, Retreat Wellness Retreat” arrived with concerns including a new life change, feeling stuck, and burnout. This retreat focused on grounding, relaxing one’s nervous system, and coming home to oneself. Participants were pampered with Reiki, Massage, Sunrise Yoga on the beach, Sound Baths, and Chakra Dancing. During this retreat, I combined services with a sacred sound practitioner/certified yoga instructor and a massage therapist. Participants shared their experiences, highlighting the profound impact the retreat had on their well-being. Many expressed feelings of healing, renewal, and inner peace, reinforcing the transformative nature of the retreats and the need to do more!

Retreat Participants Experiences in Quotes:

“When you need a break from chaos in the world, when you are overdue for time just for you, this wellness retreat is like heaven on earth. Healing and recharging, comfort and acceptance. Many healing modalities.”

“You will experience the beauty of coming away with an inner peace of mind, body, and soul.”

“Having the opportunity to attend this retreat was the best gift I’d ever given myself. I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone contemplating a life change or transition.”

The “Safe Place to Heal – Grief Retreat” targeted anyone experiencing grief, not only from the death of a loved one but even the loss of a marriage. Participants found solace and support in a community of individuals navigating grief. Through various holistic healing modalities such as reiki, neuro emotional technique, creating talking sticks, grief support, mindfulness practices, sound baths, and yoga, participants made heartfelt connections and experienced healing, renewed coping skills, and a sense of empowerment to stand in their power. During this retreat I collaborated with a funeral director, chiropractor/shaman, multimedia artist, sacred sound practitioner, and a certified yoga instructor.

“When I arrived at the retreat. I had no idea what to expect. My experience was more than I could ever have imagined. The various healing modalities certainly helped me to come to a peaceful place about the passing of my mother. I feel lighter. I feel peaceful and grateful for having experienced this wonderful healing weekend.”

“This grief retreat was transformational. It opened my eyes to the power of grieving in a group and opened my heart to allow me to stand in MY power. I am eternally grateful for the love and knowledge shared by a multitude of practitioners from energetic and practical viewpoints.”

“I totally rejuvenated my inner self. A type of mental clarity. This retreat was amazing.”

My journey into holistic care has been deeply rewarding, and my commitment to fostering spaces for healing and transformation remains steadfast. The “Nourish Your Soul Self-Love Retreat” was a three-day/two-night getaway on Lake Huron, offering participants a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and holistic healing. Through immersive workshops, activities, and mindful exercises, attendees explored tools and practices including neuro emotional technique (NET), The Work of Byron Katie, writing love letters to self, a sound bath, chakra dance, and meditation, all designed to cultivate self-love and nurture their overall well-being, making it a special celebration for Valentine’s Day.

Challenges that participants experienced prior to coming included always being the caregiver and never cared for, feeling invisible, loss of a partner, trauma, and negative body image. During this retreat, I combined services with a chiropractor/shaman, sacred sound practitioner, and a somatic dance instructor. There were lifelong friendships that developed this weekend. A participant reported feeling seen for the very first time and feeling like they were a part of the retreat community. Transformative shifts were made with body image with 100% of participants and limited beliefs were released allowing renewal.

Jen Vogtmann OTD, OTRL

As an occupational therapist dedicated to holistic care, I invite fellow Holistic OTs to explore ways in which we can collaborate with like-minded professionals and offer healing and transformation. Our training equips us to adapt to the needs of the community in all settings. Explore inspiredbyjen.info for further details on upcoming retreats, services, and events fostering wellness in the community. For inquiries or collaboration opportunities, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

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