Retreat Helps Women Find Healing

By Lauren McDonald The Brunswick News, Ga.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Soul Work Rx's" first women's retreat offered a three-day experience centered on black womanhood and the vulnerability women face. Seven facilitators led healing sessions throughout the weekend.

The Brunswick News, Ga.

The women cried. They laughed. They shared. And they healed.

A retreat in August brought 36 women together for the first therapeutic experience offered by Soul Work Rx, a wellness community for women of color seeking wholeness in their lives.

Dominique Mack-Collins, community services director for Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, founded Soul Work Rx this year. Her goal is to provide women with an opportunity to heal.

"The reason that this program works is because every person came with an intention," Mack-Collins said. "They knew what they wanted to get out of it ... It works because everybody else involved in it wants healing. They want to receive what we have to give."

Soul Work Rx's first women's retreat offered a three-day experience to 36 women, some of whom traveled from out of state for the program, which took place at The Inn at Sea Island.

The retreat aimed to provide a luxurious experience that was affordable to women of all socio-economic backgrounds. The event centered on black womanhood and the vulnerability women face.

Seven facilitators led healing sessions throughout the weekend.

"Sea Island, they treated us like queens," Mack-Collins said. "They were amazing. All of the ladies loved them." The healing sessions focused on trauma, grief and loss, pain and forgiveness and more.

Mack-Collins's inspiration to create the program came while she was working with the the Community Action Authority's women's empowerment program in Bryan County.

"What we noticed was that a lot of women were dealing with issues, and they were coming in for housing support and financial support and financial resources, but they really didn't have the mind frame to maintain it," she said.

The support group in Bryan County offers women an opportunity to talk about their struggles. Mack-Collins, who has a background in therapeutic services, saw a need that she wanted to help address. So she created Soul Work Rx.

"Back in February, I went to do this grief and loss class that I facilitate, and it was so powerful," she said. "I never experienced magic really happening in a room like that, when everybody is open to healing and to sharing."

She came home that night with a mind buzzing on what could be done to create more healing opportunities like she'd witnessed.

"I really want more women to have opportunities to do things like this," she said. "And I don't want finances to be an issue."

She hoped to create opportunities for women of color and women who come from low-income situations to have an affordable luxury experience in a therapeutic environment. So she said she called Sea Island, used part of her paycheck to put down a deposit for 15 rooms, and began reaching out to women who might be interested in participating in this new program.

The diversity of speakers and the different healing opportunities created a therapeutic experience that the women raved about afterward, Mack-Collins said.

She is now working on future events and plans to host a second retreat locally Feb. 13-16. At that retreat, Mack-Collins said she will recreate the inaugural experience.

"That seems to be a magic formula, what we did," she said. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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