Mind-Body Medicine Retreat Program
Friday October 24th – Wednesday October 29th, 2014
6-day intensive in wild unspoilt nature

Open program

A 6-day intensive retreat program focusing on guiding participants in how to create increased health and wellbeing. Blending therapy based on the healing power of nature with concepts, tools and techniques based on cognitive behavioral therapy. Our program is restorative and comprehensive for all those who choose to realize personal growth and increased quality of life through mind-body medicine. The purpose of this work is to create a healthy state of mind in order to better deal with physical and life challenges.

If one is currently dealing with an illness please know that the program supports people in the treatments they are already following – offering an additional treatment. One will learn what oneself can do or in other words how to impact one's health and wellbeing. The program is helpful at any time: before and after treatment and has proven to be very effective in finding balance after healing.

Most of the scientific underpinnings of the work we do are based on research with people who have dealt with cancer. The staff of Hekademos relies on its long and varied educational and training background – as staff at the Simonton Cancer Center in California – as well as on their work as therapists and facilitators in working with people who deal with a life-threatening illness. In addition, our staff is experienced in programs in Spirit of Nature philosophy as well as in change/leadership programs in organizations.

Comprehensive Mind-Body Medicine Program
The Hekademos programs are based on ancient knowledge and current scientific research. The focus is on learning self-help tools that create more happiness and decrease emotional or physical pain. One learns how to think healthier, feel better and connect with surrounding and inner nature.

The program is designed to impact quality of life, boost the immune system, make one feel better/cope better and recover faster, while learning how to deal with stresses in life and how to resolve emotions like guilt, fear or anger. Our program is an intervention program and therefore aims to increase survival time in case one deals with a life-threatening illness. Healing does not always mean the body gets well or recurrence can be prevented. The program includes learning how to deal with recurrence and how to create peace of mind around death and dying in order to live one's life to the fullest today and to enhance quality of death as well.

This retreat program take place at Bergplaas Nature Reserve, with its core mission to enable you to find, restore and develop your personal inner connection with Nature. Hippocrates, father of Western medicine, pointed to the value of understanding the connectedness between the healing power of nature surrounding us and the healing power of the nature residing within us. We consider Nature a co-teacher in our programs.

Training Program
Hekademos Foundation offers a training program to educate therapists, social workers, nurses, doctors, psychologists, coaches and volunteers in understanding the concepts of our Mind-Body Medicine Program. By offering training programs we hope to serve the community in two ways. First of all we wish to support professionals in their personal as well as professional life so they can work in good health themselves and enjoy a good quality of life. Secondly we hope to serve their clients who deal with an illness, by training others to serve them in a holistic and comprehensive way, with hope, camaraderie and compassion.

We invite all professionals and volunteers who want to gain knowledge about mind-body medicine or who want to learn more about the psychosocial dynamics that patients may experience, to participate in our program. We aim to support professionals in strengthening their own inner connection with nature. One will learn how to apply the tools to one's self and to create and strengthen healthy beliefs about ones own life and death as well as about life, illness and death in general.

Participation in only one 6-day retreat session generates immense knowledge and insight. For those who, after having had this introductory session, desire to help their clients through mind-body medicine, we offer tailor-made training to meet the needs of the trainee. In addition, we offer a 2-year training program that can lead to certification as a Hekademos Mind-Body Counselor. One will develop competencies in guiding clients through emotional distress and becoming well equipped to approach clients in a c0mprehensive way - including the emotional, cognitive, behavorial, social and spiritual aspects of our being.

Also the people of Hekademos are available for organisations to tailor-made train their staff and volunteers.

Schedule and more about the 6 -day program
The program is a 6-day residential program and includes lectures, assignments, exercises in working groups, and one-to-one therapy. There are guided walks with a 'Spirit of the Wild' touch for those who choose to and lots of time to be outside on your own as well.

We start on day 1 with an afternoon program. On day 2, 3, 4 and 5 the morning program is from 9 till 12 and the afternoon program from 14.30 till 17.00. We close on day 6 at 12.30.

Groups are small to ensure personal attention; we intend to limit the number of participants to 14. If a session is full we can put you on the waiting list; you will then be invited to attend in case of cancellations and we will give you preference by securing your place at the next session.

For those with a diagnosis we strongly advise you to bring a support person to the program. If you have a partner we do hope your husband or wife can join you for this week. Otherwise bringing a parent, son/daughter or friend is recommended. You will thus be assured to have someone in your life that shares your frame of reference in this work. We know how helpful this can be when you return home and are implementing all you will have learned into your daily life. If you attend alone however, you'll be fine as well and we will pay attention to your support network at home.

Bergplaas Nature Reserve
Hekademos Mind-Body Medicine Foundation has its home base at Bergplaas Nature Reserve and Bergplaas is co-teacher in all programs that take place at this reserve. We thank Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld, creator of this reserve, who has increased worldwide awareness of our human connection with the nature surrounding us. As she often has stated: "We are Nature" Many experiences at Bergplaas Nature Reserve are designed to help you reconnect with inner and outer nature. It is the core mission of Bergplaas to enable you to find, restore and develop this personal inner connection with Nature.

We encourage you to develop and strengthen healthy beliefs about the healing power of the nature surrounding you as well as about the healing power of the nature that resides within you. Hippocrates wrote about the value of understanding the connectedness between these two. The more we understand this connection, the more we can draw upon this universal healing energy in the getting well process. We are grateful to Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld for creating this reserve, where nature was given back to itself, and where participants can experience nature as a teacher.

Teaching Staff, Dates & Costs
Our programs are facilitated by members of our Teaching Staff: Dr Patricia Palmer, Cindy and Wayne Maspero and Barbara de Beukelaar Msc. Additionally we may have Guest Teachers. As staff will be training others in the Hekademos Mind-Body Medicine program we may ask trainees to sit in or lead a working group.

For elaborate information about our staff please check out the website:

The next Mind-Body Medicine Retreat Program at Bergplaas will take place:
Friday October 24th – Wednesday October 29th 2014

Cost of the program is ZAR 9.500 - including lodging and all food/drinks – per participant who attends for the first time. The support person pays half of this amount, ZAR 4.750. The extra costs for a single room are ZAR 1.600.

For people not living in South Africa the price is € 1.500,– including lodging and all food/drinks. The support person pays half of this amount, € 750,–. Extra costs for a single room: € 250,–.

Excluded are travel costs to/from Bergplaas Nature Reserve. We can advise you on the best ways to travel to Bergplaas.

We request to pay 1/3 at registration. In case of a cancellation we will refund your full payment if someone can take your place. When cancellation is communicated less than three weeks before the start of the program ànd your place cannot be taken by someone else, the initial payment of 1/3 will not be refunded.

Characteristics of the location
Since nature has an important role in the program we will be outside whenever possible. In case this is undesirable the training hall at the Kraal offers a lovely group-learning environment. Housed in a converted barn where sheep once were shorn in days gone by, the main hall is now a warm, light-filled and welcoming space for our course work. Sessions are also held outdoors in the sunny courtyard of the Kraal on nice days, in full view of the Sneeuberg Mountains.

On a note related to height, Bergplaas is situated in the Sneeuberg Mountains and it can be cold at any time of the year, not only in winter but also in spring and fall. In case your body has difficulty staying warm you may want to bring warm night gear. Please bring warm clothes for daytime as well - even a down jacket can be helpful during spring and autumn sessions.
It must be noted that medical care is not available on the premises. The closest physician lives in Graaff-Reinet, which is a 75-minute drive from Bergplaas. If you expect to need medical help this is not the right course for you. Also, Bergplaas is situated at an altitude of 1.600 meters so if you have a problem with heights in terms of worsening your condition or danger to your breathing we advise you strongly to find other ways of support.

To be able to experience the benefits of the land a bit of walking in rocky areas will be part of the program. We aren't talking about long or intense walks – you may but it's not necessary – but you do want to be outside to experience the transformative healing land. If you have difficulty walking outside after dark, please let us know so we can try to assign a room for you in the main house.

Lodging and food
Bergplaas has a guesthouse, a beautifully restored farmhouse with wooden floors, cozy fireplaces and lazy lounges. Rooms are found in three buildings: the Hill Cottage has 2 rooms that share one bathroom, the Kraal has 3 rooms that share 2 bathrooms and the former farmhouse has 3 rooms with en suite bathrooms and another 3 rooms that share 2 bathrooms. A Hekademos Mind-Body group will stay in the guesthouse exclusively. Staff will stay on the premises as well.

An incredible variety of vegetarian dishes is served daily. A cook will be on the grounds for the duration of the session and she is assisted by 2 persons of the Bergplaas staff. All meals are freshly cooked including freshly baked bread in the morning and a sweet and savoury tart in the afternoon. Meals are healthy and since meal planning is done especially for our group, all requests can be taken into account. Alcohol is not served on the premises. If you have any dietary requests, please send them to us together with your registration form.

For the purpose of our mind-body program Bergplaas Nature Reserve is our Hekademeia – here we can contemplate our human nature and our relationship to the nature surrounding us... experiencing wild unspoiled nature as we reconnect with our own...

For further information or a registration form please contact:

Cindy Maspero | cindy@hekademos.org | + 27 (0) 49 84 11 367

Barbara de Beukelaar |barbara@hekademos.org | + 31 (0) 35 625 00 50 or
+ 31 (0) 654 77 38 95