ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB)– For Nichol Eaton-Wolkiewicz and Lisa Balderman, it all started with a friendship.
“We worked together in our traditional setting in our therapy practices so we’d see each other every day, and over the years we became friends,” Balderman said.
After working as therapists for more than a decade, they wanted to find a way to reach women who wouldn’t normally seek counseling.
“One of the conversations we had was how do we take these conversations that we’re having over coffee, or a glass of wine, or in between clients at the office and reach people in a non-traditional setting,” Balderman said.
That’s when they started Refined Truth, hosting customized retreats designed to give women an opportunity to escape everyday life while connecting with others.
“We have one day journeys that focus on different topics. It’s a group of about 20 women and we meet for a couple of hours, do group exploration, define goals and do some challenging of one another ” said Eaton-Wolkiewicz.
The goal is to challenge women to make self-care a priority and help them find support with others who have experienced similar challenges.
“Women don’t do a lot of self care, and prioritize typically everyone else in their life except themselves, so we felt like this is a great opportunity to push women to think in this new direction.”
While the two friends are adamant these retreats are not intended to replace, they say it can help empower women to overcome the stigma sometimes associated with counseling.
“Traditional therapy is intimidating for some people. While the stigma has been greatly reduced, it’s still there in certain communities. This is not threatening, it’s not intimidating. It’s welcoming and it’s real,” Balderman said.