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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Nonprofit veterinary resources tools programs | veterinary continued education | Bringing Our Core Values Mindfully To Our Professional And Personal Lives - A mindfulness retreat for veterinarians, veterinary technicians/technologists, staff, and veterinary students

A mindfulness retreat for veterinarians, veterinary technicians/technologists, staff, and veterinary students

Thursday, October 17, 2024 – Sunday, October 20, 2024
University of St. Mary’s of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois


Gratitude is considered to be a cornerstone of good mental health.  Increasingly, many find it difficult, if not impossible, to feel gratitude amidst a seemingly chaotic world and personal and professional challenges.  In this retreat, we will consider what it means to be grateful, how to cultivate it and attend to the mourning that is often required in order for us to be truly grateful.

VIN Foundation is inviting interested members of the veterinary profession the opportunity to take time and participate in a weekend of didactics and dialogues that help participants return to our professional and personal lives with  greater clarity,  meaning and gratitude. The didactics will be a combination of group discussion and speaker presentation.

While formal meditation training is not a requirement, in order for this retreat to be most beneficial, familiarity with meditation and yoga practice is highly recommended. Also highly recommended is the ability to maintain a quiet posture for approximately 30 minutes several times daily will be helpful.

Retreat participants should plan to attend all didactics, group discussions, yoga, art and meditation sessions. 

There will be ample opportunities for private time, so that participants can enjoy University of St. Mary of the Lake beautiful facilities and grounds. 


ACCREDITATION: This course has been approved for 7 hours of continuing education credit for veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists in jurisdictions that recognize RACE, NY State, and CVPM approval.

View course agenda, learning objectives, and retreat details. 

LECTURE 1: Envy and Gratitude: Strange Bedfellows (Friday, October 18, 2024; 9am – 11am CDT (USA))
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, MA, LCPC
CE Credits: 2
Description: The lecture will provide background on Melanie Klein’s theory regarding envy and gratitude. Klein maintained that gratitude is foundational to good mental health and considered envy to be a normal human emotion that is present when one desires another’s capacity. How do we become aware of our envy and how do we develop the gratitude that Klein identified as the antidote to envy? How does envy impact “imposter syndrome” and how does it present in professional and personal relationships? These are some of the questions we will address in the lecture and ensuing discussion.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand Melanie Klein’s theory on the development of gratitude.
  • Develop an understanding of how internal “good objects” are fundamental to gratitude.
  • Understand how envy appears in our everyday lives and develop coping strategies.

LECTURE 2: Is Gratitude a Positive Feedback Loop? (Friday, October 18, 2024; 3pm – 5pm CDT (USA))
Presenter: Rabbi Michael Oblath, PhD
CE Credits: 2
Description: This lecture will consider the theory that we (“beneficiaries”) are more inclined to express gratitude when others (“benefactors”) behave in a way that promotes the beneficiaries’ well-being. Gratitude has been considered the emotion that may be the origin of all virtues. We will consider that gratitude is understood as the motivation for well-being, honesty, social organization, self-esteem and optimism.  The lecture will also consider that there may be a toxic form of gratitude. If this is so, how do we avoid this?  Can we learn to feel and express gratitude as a moral guide for our lives?

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of Michael McCullough’s theory that gratitude is fundamental to the development of other virtues and values.
  •  Understand the difference between “toxic gratitude” and “genuine gratitude” and develop strategies to avoid the former.
  • Develop an ability to learn and feel gratitude as a moral guide for our lives.

LECTURE 3: Finding Gratitude In Mystery (Saturday, October 19, 2024; 9am – 12pm CDT (USA))
Presenter: Ann Raney, LCSW
CE Credits: 3
Description: In this lecture, Ms. Raney will address how one can develop a gratitude practice to deal with the uncertainty of modern times and the uncertainty and disappointment that often arises in clinical veterinary practice and our personal lives.  She will use theory and technique to help participants develop a gratitude practice that enables them to care for themselves, their patients and clients, and loved ones.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the challenges to the development of gratitude in our professional lives.
  • Be able to discuss various theories of gratitude development
  • Develop techniques, rooted in theory, that allow for the development of gratitude in professional and personal situations.

Completing the course evaluation by the course close date (Monday, October 21, 2024) is required to be considered for a course certificate of completion.

Course Materials: Course materials will be available on the course website page prior to each course session.

Tuition includes a private room, eight meals, snacks and refreshments, daily yoga, and all group activities.
All prices are listed in US dollars.
Once you register for the course, you will receive an email with instructions including course attendance, course materials, and requirements for earning the CE certificate.

To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close on August 30, 2024 at 2 pm PT or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN Foundation CE courses are open to veterinarians, veterinary students, and veterinary support staff
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. For further assistance call 888-616-6506 or email Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to August 15, 2024.

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