by Kenneth Haugk and William McKay

Download a PDF of the Retreat: Listen, Listen, Listen.


The purpose of this retreat is to equip youth with some very basic tools which they can use to do “peer counseling.” This is a big order, and the retreat reflects this in being very intense and very structured. The youth who participate in this retreat should know that they are in for a weekend of learning and hard work as well as fellowship and fun.


You will have to do quite a bit of preparation beforehand. You should become very familiar with the exercises in the retreat so that you will be able to lead them effectively.

The subjects of this retreat—reflective listening, accurate empathy, and role playing—may be subjects with which you are not very familiar. Two suggestions you may want to take to familiarize yourself with the subject matter are:

  1. Read The Helping Interview by Alfred Benjamin (Second Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1974). This is an excellent overview of the art of helping conversations written in easy to understand language.
  2. Discuss this retreat with a local counselor or mental health professional. He/she may be able to fill you in on points about which you may be unclear.

This retreat can be a beginning for the youth of your church. Encourage them to think of ways to put what they will learn into use. Perhaps you can schedule “continuing education” meetings in the months after the retreat. You might invite resource people from the mental health professions to speak at these meetings.

Good luck and good retreating.