About The Haven - Our Purpose, Mission and Values

Since 1983 The Haven has operated it's personal development seminars with the intention of creating a relational world where everyone is responsible for themselves and their environment. Our Vision and Mission are the guiding lights that keep us on a true course. Read about our history and why we do things the way we do at The Haven on Gabriola Island BC.

Our History


The Haven is dedicated to helping people build richer relationships with others and themselves. At The Haven we see ourselves as an engage center rather than a retreat center. By meeting face-to-face, people explore their desire for deeper connection in all relationships: with friends, partners, colleagues, neighbors, family members, and themselves.


Through our facilitated group process, participants begin a journey of relational discovery through direct experience. By experimenting with new ways of being and stepping forward with curiosity for themselves and others, people learn to shape their own lives and have richer relationships.


Our innovative curriculum was created by The Haven’s co-founders Dr Bennet Wong and Dr Jock McKeen. It has been developed and practiced for over 30 years, integrating multiple east/west disciplines which include wisdom from medical science, psychotherapy, existential thought, and eastern philosophy. Our diversity of offerings reflects the people that come to learn—individuals, couples, business leaders, elders, teens, and children. Common to all of them is a willingness to risk being vulnerable and curious, and a desire for richer connections.


Our highly skilled faculty embody and model what they teach in a very personal way. They are the first to be open, vulnerable and honest. Most have been long-time students of The Haven curriculum and integrate a wide range of life experiences and professional expertise into their teaching.


The Haven is a registered not-for-profit, charitable organization. Located on beautiful Gabriola Island, BC Canada, our vibrant centre offers both ocean-side serenity and living forest—a natural environment that supports the exploration of our innermost emotions. After a transformational learning experience, people leave The Haven with the skills to live self-responsibly and relationally.

our purpose


Our purpose is to provide programs in personal and professional development that embody the principles of responsibility, communication and relationship. The Haven is a place where people of all ages can grow and fulfill their potential, while developing rewarding and respectful relationships with others.

our history


The Haven recently celebrated its 30th year at the forefront of personal and professional development. Founded in 1983 by Jock McKeen, a western physician trained in Chinese medicine, and psychiatrist Bennet Wong, The Haven attracts participants from all over North America, Europe and Asia. The central ideas and programs presented at The Haven were developed by Ben and Jock, and are now taught by our world-class faculty.


In 2004, ownership of The Haven was transferred to a charitable organization, Haven Foundation. The Foundation's principle focus is the raising and allocation of funds in order to enhance the quality of our programs and facilities and to provide financial assistance to participants who might otherwise be unable to attend. The day-to-day running of The Haven is the responsibility of our management team, headed by Executive Director Rachel Davey.

our vision


The Haven is an exceptional institution creating a relational world where every person is whole and responsible for themselves and their environment, and where all life is met with dignity and respect, open curiosity, and loving compassion.

our mission


The essence of The Haven is human connection and recognition, supported by our structure and spirit. We operate a residential training centre providing high-quality, transformational learning experiences in a group setting. We promote self-responsibility, effective communication, healthy relationships and integration of body-mind-spirit through experiential learning. We operate with love, integrity and respect for humanity and our environment and we manage our resources responsibly and effectively.

our values

  • Loving as illustrated by caring, direct honest communication, active kindness and the acceptance and consideration of self and others;
  • Integrity when expressing agreements and disagreements and in ensuring our words match our behaviour in a context of personal and collective accountability;
  • Joy in celebrating and sharing who we are and what we offer;
  • Freedom illustrated through open and passionate questioning;
  • Respect through valuing differences and through consideration of others;
  • Self-Responsibility through every person taking ownership for their part in every life situation.


our philosophy


Through the activities of The Haven Institute, Haven Foundation embodies a philosophy dedicated to the enrichment and effectiveness of people's lives. Our education programs and leadership offer people opportunities to gain new awareness, meaning and perspective in their lives. We believe human beings can best realize their full potential by embracing the principles of self-responsibility and wholesome relationship with others and the world around them. We promote a society where human beings are fully present and alive and we promote a world where all life is treated with open curiosity, a generous spirit, goodwill, compassion, dignity and respect.

our statement of purpose


The Haven philosophy involves principles of individual responsibility, taking more charge of the self, with a freedom to grow and become more of who you were meant to be, while maintaining a care and sensitivity towards others.


There is a constant state of tension between the individual and society. Children are raised to 'fit in' to the stream of normalcy through the development and rewarding of roles, a necessary endeavour if society is to survive.


However, the cost to the individual may be high; frequently, it means the loss of the sense of the authentic self. The restraint placed upon the self results in a blunting of the emotions and a loss of spontaneity, interfering with the ability to fully experience meaningful relationships.


Through learning how to access these emotions, a person may return to a fuller feeling of the self, a greater sensitivity towards others, and a greater responsiveness to the demands of the environment. The net result is a richer sense of meaning in life.

ideas in action


Ideas in Action summarizes the models and ideas presented in Come Alive and the Living Alive programs.

our teaching principles
  • Curiosity
  • Self-responsibility
  • Communication
  • Relationship
  • Embodiment
  • Experiential Learning
  • Personal Fulfillment
  • Inclusion


Give to the bursury fund
I would like to express my gratitude towards everyone who has donated to the financial aid program at the Haven. There are times in peoples' lives when they are ready to grow and move on to a better way of living and they just don't have the means to do so. For me...it was a life-changing experience.

Bursary fund recipient

Find Out More


Receive our monthly email newsletter

Document Actions