Workshop FAQs

“Bethesda was my first major step in loving myself” - Workshop Participant

The workshop is a group experience, and individual counseling sessions are not part of the intensive. During the small group breakouts, though, each participant has extensive time to share personally. Sessions normally begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until around 8:00 p.m.

The workshop format is intense and specifically designed to maximize time and investment. This is not a retreat. Participants move between educational segments, individual work, and small groups. The approach consists of a combination of instruction, writing or drawing, small groups, interactive exercises, and activities.

The workshop is a technology-free setting that we call the “Bethesda Bubble.” Participants take a total time-out from contact with the outside world, including family and friends, by turning in all electronic devices – cell phones, laptops, tablets, iPads, etc. – for the duration of the workshop. Participants refrain from watching tv in their hotel rooms and are not allowed to make or receive calls or use the business center at the hotel.

Participants are required to arrange all work and home responsibilities before arriving so that they are totally off the grid during the duration of the workshops. Communicating with anyone or any type of work-related activity is not permitted, including during overnight hours. If participants aren’t willing to be completely disconnected from work and home, they are encouraged to attend a future workshop when they can dedicate time.

If you’re concerned about not talking with minor children, we suggest you leave notes that can be opened each day you’re gone or leave video messages the child can listen to.

Bethesda Workshops will provide participants with emergency contact information to share with immediate family so that you can be reached in the event of a serious family emergency. Staff will not interrupt your process for a work-related situation.

The workshops are held in Nashville, Tennessee. All participants (including Nashville area residents) stay together in a nearby hotel. This total time-out from normal responsibilities and distractions is an important “container” for the intensive work.

Each person shares a room with another workshop participant; there are no private rooms. Having a roommate forces you to break the isolation that’s part of the picture for both addicts and partners. It also provides accountability and safety. It’s wise to bring ear plugs in case your roommate snores. All hotel rooms are non-smoking, and smoking is only permitted in a designated outside area at Bethesda Workshops.

The hotel has a small exercise room you may use before breakfast or late evenings when you return from the workshop. You aren’t allowed to leave the hotel to use another exercise facility like the YMCA or a health club.

The Bethesda Workshops staff will handle your hotel reservation, and all lodging and meals are included in your workshop fee. If you have to stay over the day the workshop ends or need to arrive a day early, the Workshop Coordinator can arrange lodging at your expense at the workshop site. Meals during the times before and after a workshop are also at your expense.

Participants eat breakfast at the hotel, which is a complimentary buffet of continental and hot items. Lunch and supper are served at Bethesda Workshops. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and a green salad are available daily. Lunch is usually some kind of hearty sandwich, salad or soup; and supper is a meat entree with vegetables and salad. Dessert or sweets are limited to the supper meal. Beverage choices include coffee, soft drinks, iced tea, and water.

Bethesda Workshops can accommodate a vegetarian or gluten-free diet with advance notice. You must make your own arrangements for vegan meals or other special dietary needs by bringing food that can be quickly prepared in a microwave, if necessary. A refrigerator and freezer are available.

Workshops are staffed by licensed clinicians who hold at least a master’s degree. Many have earned the CSAT designation, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, which is the highest certification recognized in our field. Workshops are primarily led by same-gender therapists, though most workshops also have at least one opposite-gender therapist. All workshop leaders are committed Christians with specific clinical training in treating sexual addiction and related issues. The majority of the workshop leaders are in some form of personal recovery as an addict or a partner.

Bring clothes for four days, personal toiletries, medicine, and any other essentials you’ll need. Plan to dress in layers and bring a light jacket or sweater even during warm weather, because some find the meeting rooms cold. If you like, feel free to bring a Bible, a journal, recovery related reading or personal devotional materials. It’s helpful to bring a watch since you won’t have your cell phone. We’ll provide everything you’ll need during the workshop itself, including a workbook, paper and pen.

Participants are not permitted to use cell phones, laptops, tablets and similar items at the workshop. Please do travel with a cell phone so you can communicate with us in case there are travel difficulties. Staff will collect all cell phones and other electronics and keep them until the workshop ends. No weapons are allowed at the workshop site, at the conference hotel, or in participant vehicles.

Some participants are highly sensitive and/or allergic to perfume, cologne, and essential oils. We ask that you not use any fragrances of essential oils during your time at the workshop, including at the hotel. Please leave them at home.

Attending a Bethesda Healing Workshop is best viewed as a huge jumpstart for recovery. A specific aftercare plan is crucial. The intensive workshop often identifies core family and trauma issues which need further healing. Each participant – whether an individual, couple, or family – is helped to outline a personalized aftercare program before leaving the workshop. In general, a recommended aftercare plan consists of four main components:

• Behavioral measures to address acting out and other forms of unhealthy coping
• Regular connection with a supportive community (a 12 Step program is recommended)
• Continued counseling for core issues, especially around trauma and relationship concerns
• Cultivation of a deeper connection with God and spirituality
• Active self-care regarding nutrition, exercise, sleep and recreation

Participants are also strongly encouraged to maintain contact with each other. Many groups text or video chat regularly, and some groups even plan reunions to celebrate their recovery and connection.

If you haven’t notified Bethesda Workshops of your intent to change the date of your workshop, or you haven’t returned your registration paperwork by the Friday before your scheduled workshop, you may not be allowed to attend. In that event, your deposit will be forfeited and you will lose the opportunity to transfer to a future workshop.

Bethesda Workshops’ intensives fill up quickly. If any workshop is full, you may register for the waiting list by paying one-half of the deposit as a waiting list fee. If a spot becomes open, Bethesda Workshops will inform you about that availability no later than Monday 12 pm Central time for an individual workshop (Men’s, Women’s or Partners) or family workshop (Teen Females & Parents), and no later than Tuesday 12 pm Central time for a Couples workshop.

A participant will have 24 hours to notify Bethesda Workshops about the decision regarding attendance if no one else is on the waiting list. If other people are on the waiting list, the individual, couple, or family must notify Bethesda Workshops by 8:30 am the next day after being informed of an opening.

If a workshop spot becomes available and the participant chooses not to attend that workshop, the waiting list fee is forfeited. If a workshop spot does not become available, the individual, couple, or family may apply the waiting list fee toward the deposit of the next available workshop or receive a refund of the deposit.