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Mindfulness Retreat + Training.

Flint Sparks, PhD
March 16-19, 2017                                                                                           Carondelet Event and Retreat Center, St. Paul, MN

Growing Up and Waking Up:

Applied Mindfulness in Psychotherapy and Buddhist Practice

 A Retreat + Training with Flint Sparks, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 16 - Sunday, March 19, 2017

Space is limited so we encourage you to register early.
Looking forward to seeing you in March.



Flint’s academic training began with graduate degrees in both biology and psychology. He has extensive postdoctoral training in mindfulness based psychotherapies and group therapy with specialty training in both the Hakomi Method and Internal Family Systems Model. His traditional Zen training began at the San Francisco Zen Center and continued at the Austin Zen Center which he founded and nourished in its early years. Currently he is a resident teacher at Appamada, a center for Zen practice and inquiry in Austin, Texas.

Today, Flint’s teaching and consulting bridge the fields of health psychology, the psychology of contemplative practices, and traditional Zen Buddhist practice. His early research and counseling experience with the terminally ill inspired him to continue investigating the influence of consciousness in physical healing and emotional well-being. In response to witnessing the difficult struggles of both patients and family members dealing with chronic illness and death, he began to search for spiritual practices which would support and deepen his psychological work. This led him to an ever deepening commitment to Buddhist teachings and practices. Together, these two primary areas of interest—healthy human development and contemplative spiritual practices—form the complementary strands of the double-helix of full human maturity. These are the ongoing practices of growing up and waking up.

Growing Up and Waking Up:

Applied Mindfulness in Psychotherapy and Buddhist Practice

 A Retreat + Training with Flint Sparks, PhD

Thursday, March 16 - Sunday, March 19, 2017

$275 early bird; $300 regular registration


Everyone wants to be free from unnecessary suffering.  This was the Buddha’s only concern and every practice he taught served to encourage the liberation of a clear mind and a warm heart.   The relief of emotional suffering is also the focus of contemporary psychotherapy and the wide range of techniques now available all serve this important goal.  How are we, then, to understand these ancient mindfulness practices alongside the new and very potent methods for emotional and relational healing?  Both approaches are profoundly transformative and when skillfully woven together they pave the way for increased vitality and a deeper sense of peace, freeing the burden of unnecessary suffering.  Such an integrated approach shows us how to grow up (personal maturity) and wake up (spiritual maturity) to who and what we truly are. This workshop will be an integrated retreat format (practices and teachings) and will be geared toward understanding the function of mindfulness as the core practice that links both the psychological and spiritual paths to greater wellbeing. Each day we will explore these integrated teachings and actively engage in mindful practices to experientially taste their potential.  


Throughout the weekend we will be drawing primarily on two methods of contemporary psychotherapy — Hakomi and Internal Family Systems.  These remarkably skillful approaches weave together applied mindfulness with an understanding of the multiplicity of mind in ways that reveal the Buddha’s teachings as practical tools for personal and relational transformation. We will examine the ways in which our everyday sense of “self” emerges and is sustained, how the contraction of conditioning leads to unnecessary suffering, how assisted self-discovery in mindfulness opens us beyond our habits toward greater possibilities for freedom, and how being led from the deepest source of wisdom and compassion supports practical human maturity.  We will focus primarily on how the foundations of these two therapeutic models reflect the practical application of Buddhist teachings. At times we may draw on perspectives from child development, attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, and contemplative psychology, but we will be focusing primarily on personal practice and renewal.  We will also look at the ways contemporary systems research and the Buddha’s teachings on mutual causality reveal the centrality of relationship in healing unnecessary suffering.  Ultimately, we will investigate the ways that attention to relationality and mutual care opens the way to a life of freedom and joy.


Some essential topics:

  • Mindfulness as an engaged practice in psychotherapy

  • Loving Presence as the essential container for relational healing

  • Assisted self-study and the Hakomi Way

  • Multiplicity of mind and the Internal Family Systems model

  • The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths for the relief of suffering

  • Redefining symptoms and pathology

  • Distinctions between attachment in human development and in Buddhist practice

  • Mutual causality and the unfolding of the Self

  • Immediacy in the therapeutic relationship

  • Stepping beyond self-reflection and self-identification

  • The shadow side of mindfulness

  • Growing Up and Waking Up: The Double Helix of Maturity

  • Clear Care

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn the foundations of mindfulness and how the principles of Buddhist psychology support and enhance more traditional therapeutic  modalities.

  2. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with mindfulness practices which can support insight and behavior change for both clients and clinician.

  3. Participants will develop a set of personal practices for ongoing renewal and spiritual nourishment.

  4. Participants will engage in the essential experiential facets of a more traditional silent meditation retreat in oder to gain personal experience in meditation and mindfulness training.


Thursday, March 16

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: Orientation to the Retreat + Training

Friday, March 17 & Saturday March 18

8:30 AM - 5:30 PM: Retreat + Training

Sunday, March 19

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Retreat + Training & Closing

**Please note, given the importance of a safe group container, we ask that you only register

for this retreat + training  if you able to attend it in its entirety,  Thursday 7 PM - Sunday 12 PM.  

Morning and afternoon snack

and tea and coffee service will be provided.

Retreat attendees will be on their own for lunch.  

Participants are encouraged to get lunch from the St. Catherine's University Cafeteria on campus,

a short walk away from Carondelet, which provides a full lunch service daily.

St. Catherine's Cafeteria Website


You can bring your own cushion, blanket, or back jack if you’d like.  

Comfortable chairs are in the space.
Wear loose comfortable clothing and dress in layers for temperature comfort.  
Bring slippers and outdoor walking shoes.  
We will likely have an opportunity for guided walking meditation.

Please be mindful not to wear any extra scents
(perfumes or perfumed lotion, essential oils, etc.) during the retreat.  Thanks.

Outside food and snacks are not allowed at Carondelet.


While applications have been submitted for continuing education credits, this retreat + training is not exclusive to  mental health professionals.  The course is suitable for all healing professionals, including but not limited to: counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, health and social care professionals practicing in health, education and social care settings and in private practice, and who have a core professional training. It is suitable for therapists working in all modalities and for anyone in the healing professions. 

Note: This retreat is an opportunity for deep inquiry of oneself. We practice meditation to face ourselves and the conditional structures that maintain the patterns of our lives all to serve awakening and freedom from conditions. This is not a place to receive psychological or psychiatric care. If you are under the care of a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, please check with them about the appropriateness of attending a meditation retreat.


Cost for Registration:

Early Registration (through February 26)- $275

Regular Registration (February 27 and beyond) - $300

Given the nature of this event, capacity for this event will be limited!  Sign up early to reserve your spot! 

**Please note, given the importance of a safe group container, we ask that you only register for this retreat + training if you able to attend it in its entirety, Thursday 7 PM - Sunday 12 PM.  


Continuing Education Credits will be applied for and provided for those who attend the retreat. Given the hybrid retreat/training format, we are applying for credits for the teaching portions, with pending approval from:

MN Board of Psychology (LP)

MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (LADC & LPCC)

MN Board of Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT)  

MN Trauma Project is an approved continuing education provider through the MN Board of Social Work (LICSW)    


Workshop Venue:  Carondelet Retreat and Event Center


Address:  1890 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105


Parking:  Free Lot


ADA Considerations:  Handicap Parking available

Elevator available to first floor


Please contact MN Trauma Project at for any specific accomodation requests

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