Beaver Lake Retreat Programs and Philosophy

Your Host Dr. Vince Savage, owner of Beaver Lake Retreat, is a humanistic psychologist who has been a gestalt therapist, avid naturalist, artist and writer for more than 30 years in multi-cultural and international settings. He started the retreat in this splendid landscape as a small group training center with the awareness that certain exceptional places (apart from highly personalized learning and growth processes) are, in themselves healing and fulfilling to simply abide in and experience. Much of what ails modern culture is the lack of awareness that human beings removed from wilderness are human beings trying to live outside of their most authentic fluid context. Vince is fond of saying, “Grids are prisons for the heart and soul. Bureaucracy is mostly ‘bureau-crazy.’ In this environment, nature does much of the teaching and healing in the programs that I and other trainers offer here at Beaver Lake Retreat.” We encourage other trainers and group leaders of intense and private processes to inquire about use of the retreat for the trainings they offer.

Programs at the retreat are of two basic categories: 1) Humanistic approaches to clinical or organizational psychological processes offered by Dr. Savage or staff, and 2) Healing arts or creative arts programs led by other teachers or group leaders at Beaver Lake Retreat’s facility. E-mail us for current season’s program schedule.

Programs and services offered, both on-site and off-site by Dr. Savage or Human Development Resources, Inc. are:
Individual, group and family psychotherapy
Organizational Development Interventions and Consultation
Mediation Services for Civil, Civic and Marital Disputes.
Specialized Intensive Training Workshops in Group Dynamics, Clinical Psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy, Conflict Resolution, Leadership/Team-building and other human resource development processes.
Guided Aesthetic Appreciation experiences of the free and natural world surrounding us

Other trainers programs held at the retreat include:
Transpersonal Psychotherapy
Tai Chi and Integrative Body Movement
Esalen Massage for Couples
Reiki Training
Iyengar Yoga Retreats
Kriya Meditation Retreats
Landscape Painting Seminars
Inuit Stone and Bone Sculpture Workshop
Structural Integration (Rolfing)

Humanistic Psychology supports all experience that is naturally and holistically healing and human. But as Sidney Jourard said to me back in 1969, “The problem is that everything depends on what you believe humans are like. If you assume that persons are like machines, that assumption is, in a way, not an assumption alone. It is sort of an invitation and a prescription to persons to be in the world in ways that mimic machines. Now, if you assume that persons are beings like monkeys or pigeons or computers, then that too is a kind of ‘invitation to mimic’ which a person might accept.” Humanistic psychology is concerned with the implications for living and doing healing when I assume that a person is human, and hence more like me than like a machine, monkey, pigeon or computer. One implication of this assumption is that, as I learn something about myself, I will have learned a certain amount about you. When I assume that you are a being something like me, this will greatly influence the way I interact with you when you are a friend, family member, my student or my patient.

Combining Humanism with environmental awareness leads to a credo of empowering persons within a context of world community and harmony with nature, not “empowering” individuals as mere profit-making machines or power-mongering over others persons and the environment. In largely man-made surroundings, it is too easy to ignore or forget our connection to the world community and the rhythms of the earth that ultimately benefit us more than does short term material gain. This retreat place, amidst Rocky Mountain wilderness is here to support programs that are meant to nurture knowledge and skills which are natural, whole and free.

A Sense of Place as a nest or incubator, away from the mechanistic matrix that often distracts one from deeper learning of simpler truths, is what Beaver Lake Retreat offers small groups with compatible agendas. Several years ago I faced the practical decision of whether to continue residing in a mechanistic, schedule-bound grid of existence and seek the natural world through short visits to wilderness, or to live with mountains, clean air and natural rhythms and visit the un-real world when need be. I chose the background sounds of hummingbirds and waterfalls over the white noise of traffic and television. I want to continue sharing this place regularly with those of kindred spirit, from all walks of life. I must tell other group leaders that the environment here does much of the teaching, learning and growing for participants. Whether you see yourself as a facilitator, change agent, therapist, consultant or guru of one sort or another, I invite you to share Beaver Lake Retreat’s sense of place for your next retreat.

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