• E Layton Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • K Collins Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town, South Africa.



The research was conducted in Cape Town amongst a non-probability sample of 16 helping practitioners who are also retreatants. A literature review describes the value of retreats and retreating and informs the empirical study. The review supports the view that helping practitioners have not only the ability but also a duty to care for themselves The empirical research explores respondents’ perceptions and explanations of their retreating experience, using their own words. Six themes surrounding the meaning of retreating emerged from the data. A discussion of findings identifies the efficacy of retreating as a self-care tool among helping practitioners. Retreatants yearn for recuperative silence and reflective opportunities that remedy the stresses and pace of modern living. By retreating, they experience not only an avoidance of burnout but also an enhancement of functioning and well-being. The tools used on retreat have as much value outside the retreat setting as in it. Eight recommendations encourage the development of self-awareness and self-care practices related to retreating, including making space for this development in the workplace.


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How to Cite

Layton, E., & Collins, K. (2014). ADVANCING THROUGH RETREATING: SELF-CARE AMONG HELPING PRACTITIONERS. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 40(4).