Petra's Programs

We invite you to discover the initial programming Petra already has in place. All of our programs are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the peacebuilders we believe in and care so much about.

Petra aims to meet the highest ethical standards in all the professionals services we offer, utilizing only coaches certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a vetted referral network of known and trusted counseling and psychologist professionals.

We believe that integrating varied approaches to humanitarian staff care—from coaching and training to personal, group and critical incident debriefing—will enable us to provide a well-rounded and practical approach to caring for and equipping people building peace, both when they come to us and also in the field.

Note to those responsible for Human Resources: We know that specialized services like debriefing and coaching greatly reduce the likelihood of peacebuilders needing to leave the field for reasons of mental and emotional health. As a confidential third-party ally who understands your organizational aims, Petra welcomes the opportunity to partner with NGOs and INGOs to provide the benefits of our programming as an outsourced part of your staff care delivery.

I'll lift you and you lift me, and we'll both ascend together."   - John Greenleaf Whittier, Quaker poet and slavery abolitionist

I'll lift you and you lift me, and we'll both ascend together." - John Greenleaf Whittier, Quaker poet and slavery abolitionist


Petra's Flagship
Resilience Training Program


People building peace need resilience skills and practices to help live and work with conscientiousness and purpose. Accountability, community and life-giving relationships with kindred spirits around the globe are also essential to maximize their long-term effectiveness in peacebuilding.


Ascend delivers a combination of tailored assessments, professional training in best resilience practices, and sustained coaching in a groundbreaking, holistic model to a peacebuilder cohort of 12-15 individuals.

The entire Ascend program lasts 6 months. The community-centered Practicum training week falls in the middle, with 2 months of pre-Practicum assessment coaching and followed by 4 months of field-based implementation coaching.

Ascend is the most comprehensive of all Petra's programming, with the strictest monitoring and evaluation (M&E) standards in place.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. -Maya Angelou, poet and activist

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. -Maya Angelou, poet and activist


Resilience Coaching Journeys


Virtually every peacebuilder needs personal or professional breakthrough at some point or another. They might be extraordinary human beings, but they are still human beings with the same blind spots and self-limiting beliefs that we all have.

Top executives pay top dollar for the best in executive coaching. We believe that people building peace should also have access to professional coaching by trained humanitarian coaches—coaches who have been in their shoes and who have been equipped to help them maximize their potential in the powerful context of the coaching relationship. Is there any group more deserving of this kind of empowering service than peacebuilders?

The world needs peacebuilders who are able to burst through the roadblocks that their lives and works present. Consistent coaching by qualified, experienced international coaches is the solution to this need. Dollar for dollar, humanitarian coaching for motivated peacebuilding professionals is perhaps the best investment for field personnel available today.


Thrive is Petra's core coaching program, created specifically for humanitarians and peacebuilders in the field. Thrive has been underway at Petra since its founding, with the majority of Thrive clients serving as peacebuilders in the Middle East.

This is the program designed to help peacebuilders go further, higher, faster, in a healthy and sustainable way that prioritizes their resilience. Petra's Thrive program brings the power of transformative decision-making as our coaches help Petra clients develop and implement a creative, personalized, empowering action plan.

The relationship with a trusted, experienced and like-minded humanitarian coach who both challenges and encourages is a critical one that has been shown to be extremely effective in keeping humanitarian field personnel healthy and motivated in their work. Thrive helps Petra actively extend this type of coaching to peacebuilders, whose need for such services has never been greater.

"Petra's Thrive program has allowed me to make continual progress on my vision without the burnout and self-sacrifice I had become so used to working with as a peacebuilder and entrepreneur. Indeed, the support gained through coaching has been transformative in how it has enabled me to accomplish goals in a healthier and more sustainable manner.

Moreover, it has engrained in me a new working mindset of realism and resilience in accomplishing my grander vision. The sky is the limit when dreams of the sky get channeled into the ground through a solid plan and mindset that keeps energy alive and channeled in the right direction. Petra's Thrive program has enabled me to do this."

Hilary Jo Caldis
Founder & Executive Director, The Female Voice

"Restore": T  o bring back or re-establish a previous right, practice or situation;   to bring back to a state of health, soundness or vigor

"Restore": To bring back or re-establish a previous right, practice or situation; to bring back to a state of health, soundness or vigor


Rest & Reflection IN Community


At Petra we consistently see that when peacebuilders and other humanitarian field staff take a "break," it often does not provide the deep rest needed for their resilience. Individuals escape to the capital city or the nearest regional hub, often alone, where the life-giving activities and environment they need for the self-care practices of their choice are not necessarily available.


Restore offers these valuable personnel an option to rest in a community where they are valued, championed and individually cared for, with in-built reflective practice to nourish the soul. While reflection is by its nature an individual process, it is not always meant to be a solitary one. True restoration that rebuilds the mind, body and soul is often best achieved in community. Petra provides that community at our European headquarters in Malaga, Spain, a bright and convenient location for intentional breaks during any season of the year.

Clients' most critical needs are assessed prior to arrival. The self-care practices, life-giving activities and healthy meals and interactions that make up the Restore program are then tailored to individually meet these needs so that clients return to their fieldwork truly refreshed and restored. Restore can accommodate both individuals and groups up to 10.

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." -Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist and author

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." -Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist and author


Critical Incident Debriefing



Peacebuilders work in difficult places where their contributions are vital. The changing dynamics in the humanitarian sector, however, are alarming in how much more dangerous this work has become. The loss of respect for international humanitarian law has led to increased violent attacks on aid workers and other peacebuilding personnel. Human-induced incidents like kidnapping, rape, murder of a team member, and other violence suffered are increasingly common. Natural disasters, political instability and evacuations of all sorts add further upheaval to work that is already difficult.

The irony is that the same places where crisis incidents are most likely to occur are the same places where people building peace are most needed.  Each and every trauma or secondary trauma suffered through these critical incidents leaves peacebuilders vulnerable.

Courageous people who have risked their health, safety and mental well-being to serve vulnerable populations in dangerous places deserve and absolutely must have a safe, professional place to come heal when danger strikes. At Petra we see crisis debriefing as a non-negotiable service in light of the all-too-common critical incidents that occur in the field.



Oasis is a systematic debriefing program designed by Petra's trained professional staff. Designed to be a safe haven to help people in crisis process in the midst of physical and psychological chaos, it also includes an individually tailored action plan for the next steps following a life-changing critical incident.

Oasis is available to individuals, couples, families, and teams up to 8 people. This program can also join together cross-organizational individuals who have experienced the same event in the same location (political crisis, natural disaster).

Critical incident debriefing is advisable as soon as 72 hours after an incident and up to 18 months afterward. Ideally, Oasis is held over 3-5 days and can be conducted year-round. Oasis participants can choose to come to Malaga, Spain to a private Petra-run facility. Options also exist for Petra to deploy Oasis debriefing staff to meet clients in the field or in a safe alternate location.

"Every door is another passage, another boundary we have to go beyond" -Rumi

"Every door is another passage, another boundary we have to go beyond" -Rumi


Personal Debriefing Retreat



As people we tend to jump from one task or role to the next without taking a breath or slowing down to assess and reflect. This tendency causes us to miss opportunities to grow, to improve, and to learn from our mistakes. We lose hold of the valuable lessons that could be learned through debriefing.

People building peace are no different. In fact, their high-stress, international lives mean they bear additional logistical, psychological and emotional burdens. Running from one real-world scenario to another, many feel they are constantly playing catch-up without allowing the time and space to truly grow. Though it may feel counterintuitive, the failure to debrief is, in the end, a waste of time.

In this sense, debriefing helps peacebuilders integrate the present and the future. As they connect the actions of their valuable work with their heart and intellect, they are able to continually integrate their service with their deepest-held values. This integrity of action and belief is at the core of what Petra Peacebuilders aims to restore and reinforce within the valiant people in our sector.

It is critical to remember that peacebuilders suffer much higher rates of secondary trauma than the normal population, which makes them susceptible to trauma-related occupational illnesses. Regular standard debriefing reduces the likelihood of long-term psychological harm for people who may not have experienced a critical incident requiring crisis debriefing, but who still have a need to process difficult experiences in the often-grueling day-to-day work of building peace.


Passage is a thorough debriefing program designed for people in transition. Particularly critical for transitions between intensive field assignments, Passage provides the intentional space for reflection in order to maximize past experience and convert it into sound decision-making for next steps.

Passage is available to individuals, couples and families. It is particularly important for families with children in transition, who may be moving back to their home country, transitioning to school in another country, etc.

The full Passage program is typically conducted over a 5-day period, though it may be shortened to 3 days under extenuating circumstances. Like Oasis and its group counterpart Caravan, Passage can be held year-round. Professionally-administered stress assessments can be incorporated into the program as desired.

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." -African proverb

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." -African proverb


Group Debriefing Retreat


"Debriefing" is originally a military term, where participants went through a debriefing after a mission. They exchanged information on what happened, broadened their experience by viewing it from the perspective of their teammates, discussed how effective the mission was, and came to terms with any problems or emotional issues related to the task.


Peacebuilding work can be extremely intense. A group or team debriefing allows all involved to obtain important information, leading to improved future processes and decisions for the sake of the work and the communities needing it. Leaders on peacebuilding teams in particular need the feedback that a group debrief provides. Without the intentionality of a debriefing, leaders lose what is otherwise very important information for continued operations.

Best practices indicate that regular debriefing sessions after a set term on the field or following an important project completion lead to increased productivity and higher morale. Often, what is needed is not merely more information or training (information overload may be one of the most significant management crises of the 21st century) but rather, processing what you already know and use in a context that helps you grow from it, i.e. debriefing.

We believe the peacebuilding sector stands to lose much by neglecting team debriefing; after all, best practices which are known but not applied often lead to frustration, a frustration that today's peacebuilding teams simply cannot afford. And given our passion for championing peacebuilders, we feel the people building peace are the most deserving of this kind of regular processing in order to continue evaluating, growing and contributing their very best.


Caravan is the group counterpart to Passage, our personal debriefing retreat. Caravan offers the same intentional space for reflection, communication and processing but in an intentional setting with a team or group that works closely in the field.

The full Caravan program is typically a 2-3 day commitment and like our other programs, it can be held year-round. Participants may choose to participate in further programming in order to benefit from further services in conjunction with Caravan, whether critical incident debriefing (Oasis), personal coaching (Thrive) or just an extended personal retreat with no explicit agenda (Restore).