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Andrew Barnes Trauma-Informed Statement: Retreats & Events

Curious if our retreats address trauma healing? Let’s clarify this with an overview of what’s needed for healing trauma and what falls within the Tantric retreats’ scope of support.
Tantra Retreat photo on Andrew Barnes

Understanding Trauma-Informed Care for Tantra Retreats

Definition of Trauma-Informed Care for Tantra Retreat Facilitators and Assistants: 

A holistic approach that encompasses understanding and being sensitive to the widespread impact of trauma. It involves recognising signs and symptoms of trauma in participants, integrating this knowledge into practices, adapting modalities and services, and using informed consent. The goal is to avoid overwhelming or re-traumatising participants while promoting environments conducive to personal, sexual, and spiritual growth.


The Nuances of Trauma

Worldwide, the term "trauma" has gained increasing awareness over the past decades. Its definition has expanded, occasionally leading to misunderstandings among both the general public and healthcare professionals. The trauma discussed here refers to neurological adaptations, such as those causing increased feelings of fear and anxiety. These adaptations stem from overwhelming events that can alter a person’s views on self-esteem, relationships, and sexuality, among other aspects.


The healing required for resolving complex trauma is extensive and lies outside the scope, purpose, and timeframe of these personal, Tantric sexuality, and spiritual development retreats. Qualified trauma therapists possess the specialised education and skills needed to support those seeking to heal complex trauma. Moreover, healing should be pursued in an environment specifically designed for this purpose.


Principles Underpinning Andrew Barnes Tantra Retreats


​​1. Commitment to informed consent: Ensuring that participants are well-informed about activities, practices, and any other elements of the retreat allows them to make decisions based on a full understanding. This upholds the retreat's dedication to transparency, respect, and ethical considerations in all interactions and activities.

2. Participant-centred: The retreats prioritise the individual experiences, needs, and capacities of the participant. This approach acknowledges that every participant comes with their own distinct history, personal encounters, challenges, and milestones that have shaped their beliefs, emotions, and behaviours. Therefore, the structure and offerings of the retreat are designed to respect and address the diverse backgrounds and specific needs of each individual, to try and ensure a more personalised and effective experience for all.


​3. Agency and Autonomy: Participants are given the freedom and autonomy to make choices for themselves during the retreat, rather than being passively guided or directed.

​​​4. Clear communication and feedback: The facilitators and assistants actively communicate with participants and consider their feedback to adapt and improve the retreat experience. They listen and respond to the participants' needs.


​​​​5. Safe and empowering environment: The combined effect of the above points is that all our tantra retreats aim to create a setting where participants feel safe to express themselves, have control over their experience (autonomy), and leave feeling strengthened or empowered.

Scope and Approach of Our Trauma-Informed Tantra Retreats

These retreats can be supportive for individuals with varied experiences, some of which might be labelled as trauma. The role of trauma-informed facilitators and assistants isn't to treat participants’ complex traumas directly but to aptly offer and adapt our modalities and services, doing their utmost to not inadvertently cause harm.


The retreats are somatically oriented, focusing on experiential elements like bodywork, tantric practices, dance, movement, meditation, and exploration of one’s erotic identity in a secure, respectful setting. Some sections of the retreats involve participants practising techniques through mutual interaction (participation is optional). Such an environment is not conducive for resolving personal trauma.


Trauma-Informed Training for Facilitators and Assistants

All facilitators and assistants at the retreats are trained in trauma-informed care and consent, enabling them to do their utmost to:


  • Understand trauma and its effects on our minds and bodies.

  • Recognise how trauma can influence decision-making, boundary formulation, and consent.

  • Identify trauma's signs and symptoms.

  • Detect and provide appropriate support for participants showing trauma reactions. 

  • Assist participants to establish safety and encourage proper self-care.

  • Empower participants to expand their sense of agency and autonomy.

  • Guide participants on how to seek necessary support.

  • Actively avoid overwhelm or re-traumatisation by respecting participant autonomy.

  • Understand the importance of personal identity and respect for everyone’s unique capacities.  

  • Ensure participants are aware of their rights to set the pace, decline activities, or take necessary pauses.  


Important Message for Prospective Participants

Individuals with deep trauma that are wanting to attend any of our tantric retreats should first seek support for any complex trauma they might have experienced. It's advised to register for retreats only when they can confidently manage their emotional responses, even in potentially triggering situations.


However, the facilitators and assistants will always do their utmost to assist those undergoing emotional distress, and the retreats prioritise embodiment, self-care, safety, and fostering autonomy and agency. Rest assured; participants will be supported in a nurturing and aware environment should any unexpected issues arise.

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