An Intensive Mindfulness Retreat for Mental Health Professionals: Working with Afflictive Mind States and Their Antidotes

Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center, Vallecitos, NM
August 24-31, 2018
Bill Morgan, PsyD, Susan Morgan, MSN, RN, CS, and Janet Surrey, PhD

The world is on fire, and more than ever it is important for caregivers to take time to restore and replenish. Many in our field have been studying mindfulness and its clinical applications for years but have not prioritized more intensive meditation practice. By deliberately stepping out of everyday life and into a pristine retreat environment, the subtle habit patterns of heart and mind are more easily accessed, and mindfulness can begin to deepen in an enlivening manner.

In our experience, practitioners in this cognitively oriented and high stress culture frequently struggle with unsettling mind storms. One can feel alone when these storms arise. This week, with like-minded colleagues, we will explore afflictive mind states that plague us all. How can we find our way to right relationship with them? How can we be skillful with these states within our own mind? How can we be skillful with others? Through instruction, guided meditations, dyadic and small group practices these questions will be investigated.

Joining us for this exploration is Janet Surrey who has studied and practiced extensively in the Vipassana tradition and, in recent years, incorporated Insight Dialogue into her work. Insight Dialogue is an interpersonal mindfulness practice resting on the foundation of silent practice in the Theravada Vipassana tradition. Together we will focus on challenging mind states and their antidotes.

This yearly course provides a container in which to explore these practices with colleagues. The teaching is practical and experience-near, focusing on the establishing and developing of a mindfulness practice that is relevant to our lives and our work with others, particularly in the delivery of accurate empathy and therapeutic presence. There will be daily mindfulness meditation instruction, three to four hours of meditation each day, study modules most afternoons, dyadic or small group discussions, and individual meetings with teachers. The rest of the time we will observe silence, including during meals, to facilitate a deeper contemplative experience.

This is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in an exquisite natural environment and work closely with leaders in the growing field of clinical mindfulness meditation and compassion. Every effort will be made by the teachers and staff to give each participant a delightful, educational retreat experience, so that you can return home with renewed enthusiasm for clinical work and for cultivating mindfulness and compassion in daily life.


Registration: Click here to register or contact Jessica Denison at or (575) 751-9613 to reserve your space.


Fee: The cost of the course is $800. A deposit of $400 is required to reserve your space.


Scholarship assistance is available for this retreat.
Please click here for information on Hemera scholarships through Vallecitos, or click here for information on scholarship assistance through Bill and Susan.


The Tradition of Dana: Mindfulness and related teachings have traditionally been sustained by the 2,600 year-old tradition of dana, which literally means “generosity.” We follow this tradition by inviting participants to offer donations to the retreat leaders, who receive only reimbursement for travel expenses.



Bill and Susan Morgan are able to offer continuing education credits through the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy

Psychologists: The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for the program and its content. This course offers 20 hours of credit.

Licensed Mental Health Counselors: The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6048. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This program is approved for 20 clock hours. It is also applicable for MaMHCA/MMCEP hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 262 CMR.

Social Workers: This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886513225-6004) for 20 continuing education contact hours.

Nurses: This program carries 20 Contact Hours and meets the specifications of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Nursing (244 CMR). Nurses of other states are welcome to contact their state boards for individual consideration.


At the end of this retreat, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize afflictive mind states when they arise, in formal meditation practice and in daily living.
  2. Apply mindful speaking and listening skills to the psychotherapeutic relationship.
  3. Practice mindful and compassionate strategies for working with restlessness.
  4. Practice mindful and compassionate strategies for working with sloth and torpor.
  5. Practice mindful and compassionate strategies for working with desire.
  6. Practice mindful and compassionate strategies for working with aversion.
  7. Practice mindful and compassionate strategies for working with doubt.




7:30- 9:30 Course opening and overview


9- 12  Mindfulness instruction, practice, discussion
2- 5 Didactic presentation and clinical discussion
6:30- 8:30 Clinical talk and mindfulness practice


Silent Retreat Day: Mindfulness instruction and practice



The teachers are board members of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a non-profit organization in Boston, which offers seminars, courses, retreats and a certificate program for mental health professionals. They are contributing authors to Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, a best selling text in its second edition.

Bill Morgan, PsyD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cambridge and Quincy MA. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and has participated in eight years of intensive retreats in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan schools of Buddhism during his forty years of meditation practice. He has led mindfulness retreats for mental health professionals for the past 20 years. Bill is both a personal and group meditation mentor for mental health professionals. His book, The Meditator’s Dilemma: An Innovative Approach to Overcoming Obstacles and Revitalizing Your Practice, was published by Shambhala in 2016.

Susan Morgan, CNS is a psychotherapist in Cambridge, MA. A long time Vipassana student, Susan recently completed a 4-year silent mindfulness meditation retreat along with her partner, Bill. She has co-led retreats for psychotherapists with Bill for the past 16 years. She is a meditation teacher for the IMP Certificate Program, teaches monthly intimate online meditation practice groups for psychotherapists, and consults to therapists interested in the interface of psychotherapy and meditation. Her teaching style is grounded in the practical. Lovingkindness (metta) and mindfulness of the body are integral to her teaching.

Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Jan has studied with a number of Vipassana teachers for over 25 years, and has worked with Gregory Kramer since 2007. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Jan is dedicated to a lifelong exploration of the power of relationships to create suffering and the power of relationships to liberate and transform suffering.