A lot has changed in the world since the current Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs) were drawn up including those relating to retreat requirements.

Discussions have been happening up for a while around whether the current GPGs concerning retreat serve the needs of BAMBA members.

It seems clear that it’s time for change.

To lead this work Pamela Duckerin, the BAMBA Register Manager, and Susan Whitehead, Ethics and Professional Issues Lead, were asked to undertake a review of the current guidance.

We know that as the people directly affected by the current requirements, you the members and Teacher Training Organisations are best placed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the current GPGs.

To capture your thoughts and idea we invited people to a series of focus groups.

The response was fantastic with three well-attended and lively groups taking place from autumn last year through to March 2023.

Key themes emerged from the focus groups: –

  • What do we mean by a “Retreat”?
  • Why do we go on retreat: clarifying our intention.
  • Practical challenges in meeting the existing requirement to attend “annual residential teacher-led mindfulness meditation retreats”. These challenges include cost, and taking the time involved to attend such retreats.
  • The relative merits of in-person v online retreat.
  • How retreat can support diversity within our membership and ensure retreat guidelines are inclusive and welcoming to all.
  • How do we make sure the choice of retreat is relevant, inclusive, flexible and meets learning needs.
  • Retreat leads – providing guidance around the who is to offer retreat.
  • Hearing the voices we’ve not heard from yet.

These themes will be taken forward as this work develops.

Thank you for your participation and interest in this important topic and we look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months.