It’s meaningful to know the Pros and Cons of Mental Health Retreat Centers because the phrase “mental health retreat centers” is not protected by the law, which is why each facility can differ so wildly.
For example, there is a retreat center in the darkest corners of Europe where traumatized people are encouraged to feed endangered baby wolves. There are centers that cost thousands of dollars to attend, and others that are paid for by the government.
Sadly, since there is such a wide gap in terms of quality, it is difficult to offer pros (positives) and cons (negatives) based on the merits of health centers alone, so we’ll cover the personal health benefits of retreat centers, rather than covering things such as the quality of care, healing rates, etc.
Pro – A Mental Health Retreat Tests Your Mental Limits
It sounds a bit false and phony, but some people are able to use mental health retreats to test the limits of their mental calm.
Some people are able to visit these facilities and can stay calm, relaxed, and actually learn something about themselves.
On the other hand, there people who are a mess when they walk in and a mess when they walk out.
If you are able to sit and be still and calm, and feel relatively fine and normal, then maybe your psychological problems have less to do with your brain, and more to do with your home or work environment as well as your coping skills.
Con – Time Spent at Mental Health Retreats Is Time Wasted
Not everybody gains “something positive” from staying at mental health retreats.
In fact, two people with the same history, same condition, same lifestyle, same age, sex, and background may enter a retreat. One may walk away with a new outlook on life and a fresh attitude, whereas the other person may leave feeling the same as when they entered, and the whole experience may have been a complete waste.
There are no guarantees, and a lot of it has to do with each individual person and their match with the program.
Pro – Identify Your Poor Coping Skills
Some people use a retreat for mental health to test their coping skills.
Some people are naturally great at functioning in a work environment but do not function so well in other areas such as a romantic setting, in a large group, in a room full of strangers, in open spaces, and so forth.
While at a mental health retreat, you may examine your feelings about different scenarios. It’s often necessary to consider how you feel and act at home and work and analyze how it differs when you are at a retreat or during the daily sessions.
Is your mental health issue a result of poor coping skills in a very specific environment?
Con – You Are Able To Hide Away
We all feel like hiding away from time-to-time, and the problem with mental health retreat centers is that they allow people to hide away.
There is nothing wrong with hiding away for a little while in some circumstances, but part of being human, and part of managing your mental issue is to manage and deal with problems as they arise. Getting into the routine of running away when things get tough is a very poor habit to get into.
Pro – You Are Able To Hide Away
One cannot push the negative side of hiding away without touting the positive side too. Even Bill Gates is known to take two weeks off by going away to his cabin once a year so that he may think and escape his normal routine.
There are times when you cannot see the solution to your problems because you are too close to them. If you are able to take a break and get away somewhere, you may be able to refocus your thoughts and see your problems for what they really are.
Many times, our problems only seem so big because we are too close to them. Getting away and going to a retreat will put some distance between you and your problem, both physically and psychologically, so that you may deal with it in a more calculating and less emotional manner.
Mental Health Retreat Centers Allow People to Drop Their Characters
Before finishing, it needs to be pointed out that mental health retreat centers give everyone an opportunity to drop their character. It sounds odd, but we all create characters that suit the people we around the most often.
At some point in time, many of us find we cannot cry in front of our family, and maybe we are overly domineering around our friends, or overly needy with our partner, and so forth.
When attending a mental health retreat, we are around new people and new surroundings, which means we may drop our character more easily than we do when with family or friends.
We do not have to pretend to be tougher than we really are, nor do we have to pretend to be smarter, dumber, needier, or more submissive than we really are either.
Whatever our character is, we are able to drop it and completely be ourself without pretension.
Some people find that their mental health issues becomes less pronounced when they visit a mental health retreat. There are plenty of reasons for this, and one of them is that we are no longer acting out as a character.
We are a different version of ourself where we do not feel the need to “Act Up” or “Play Down” our psychological issues. We can drop the lies and the fake faces and be ourself for a little while. Being true to ourself, even for a short time can be very therapeutic.
For those who truly have a mental health issue that may involve alcohol or substance use as a coping mechanism, it might be necessary to consider something more focused and specialized for healing, such as dual diagnosis treatment centers.
Dr. Elena Kapustina found her true calling and completed her PsyD in Clinical Psychology after earning her MBA and spending years working as the CFO for major corporations. She founded Iris Healing to holistically work with dual diagnosis patients in order to create a more sustainable recovery. From managing 1,000 employees to creating a top of the line treatment center, Dr. Kapustina harnesses her passion to create positive experiences for others.