Cultivating the Joy of Sexuality & Intimacy: a Ketamine-assisted Retreat for Couples | October 2023

MENLA Retreat and Dewa Spa

This is a safe, structured retreat led by a staff of licensed and highly experienced therapists and physicians in the beautiful Catskill Mountains at MENLA Retreat and Spa.

~Meet at the intersection of science and spirituality~

This retreat is for couples. If you are committed to the practice of sharing the fullness of  your being, locating and nourishing your best self, your enthusiasm and vitality, your spirit, your openness, above all, your presence~ this may be a weekend experience for you. Join us at this  retreat if you have a deep desire to find and cultivate joy in this way:  with yourself,with the other members of this retreat, and with the natural world.

We invite you to break old patterns and habits by discovering your own impediments to joy and well being in spite of ongoing stresses and distractions of everyday life, and by the accumulated weight of trauma, alienation and cultural forces which can impede our access to joy, pleasure, presence and connection.  Ketamine assisted sessions may help you open the doors of the mind, heart and body to what lies within, however lost or disengaged you may feel from these parts of yourself. Ketamine is an effective and safe medicine that can assist you to become aware in a new, clearer way, often with reduced defensiveness and increased insight and self acceptance. Mindfulness and meditation practices are taught and practiced throughout this retreat; these are skills we need for improved self regulation of emotions and thoughts, and can support the ability to meet each moment with equanimity and grace.

The retreat is structured to help  individuals to step into realms of  deep personal and interpersonal connection in a group setting with like-minded others.  Participants who have, or wish to develop skillful means to navigate non-ordinary states of consciousness and a commitment to  depth psychological/embodied  work in a group setting are invited to apply for this retreat. No experience with psychedelic medicines or Ketamine is necessary for admission.  All applications begin with a screening call to determine if this retreat is a good fit for you.  

This retreat uses ketamine as a portal to enter into the depths of our being to allow for a safe and loving exploration of the sexuality and intimacy needs and experiences in your relationship and with your partner. Sexual energy is the basic energy of the being; when it is impeded we are unable to reach our full potential. When sexual energy flows, life flows, affecting not only our sexuality but our health and happiness.

Carmen Maria Machado:   “I believe in a world where impossible things happen. Where love can outstrip brutality, can neutralize it, as though it never was, or transform it into something new and more beautiful. When love can outdo nature.”  (from “Mothers” in Her Body and Other Parties, 2017)

Combining Ketamine with mindfulness and meditative practices offers a deep dive into a  more conscious and purposeful life.  These guided practices are designed to  bring you home to yourself and to bring safety, resilience and aliveness into your life experience. Regardless of what is unfolding  moment to moment, we each have an  innate capacity and inner wisdom to choose to be present, to practice compassion and kindness with ourselves and recognize the healing power of pleasure and joy in our lives.

As noted, participation in this retreat begins with an initial screening interview (conducted by Jayne Gumpel), followed by a more extensive conversation and application process.  

Safety is a core priority, including the exploration of what safety means for each individual.  We strive to be certain that every individual attending has the readiness to be in a group setting and to experience Ketamine in a safe and constructive manner. Please note: this retreat is not a brief residential treatment retreat. It is not meant for anyone suffering from an acute mental health crisis, nor is it for those with severe and persistent psychiatric conditions.

Steps to join:

Step 1. Fill out the initial registration form and we will contact you for the phone or Zoom screening call. This 15 minute screening call is designed to determine if this retreat is a good fit for you, to answer questions you might have, and so forth.

Step 2.  If the phone or Zoom screening results in a sense that there is a good fit (mutually decided, of course) you will be asked to make a deposit of 50% of the retreat fee (not room and board).

Step 3.  After a successful screening you will be assigned to one of the  physicians on the Cultivating Joy staff for a medical interview. This interview is generally 60 minutes. There is a $500 fee for this medical interview paid directly to the prescriber. This fee includes the cost of prescribing the ketamine to you, which is done on an individual basis. This medical assessment is essential and may include  our speaking with your psychotherapist or prescribing psychopharmacologist.  Following this, you will be given  a prescription for  ketamine which you pick up from your personal pharmacy, and  then will bring the medicine to the retreat.  Alternatively, you can request the prescription to a pharmacy in Kingston and  the staff (with your permission given to the pharmacist) can pick it up from the  pharmacy we use in Kingston, New York. If for any reason the physician who conducts your medical interview does not recommend this retreat for you your deposit will be refunded in full.

Step 4. After this payment is received, a zoom preparation session will follow, with one of the group leaders. The purpose of the preparation session is for us  to get to know you better and provide education to you regarding the retreat. We will assign the session after receiving your deposit.

Step 5. When the steps  above are completed, you will need to  reserve your room accommodations (private or semi-private room) and board (delicious vegetarian and vegan meals) at Commuter participation is not an option for this retreat unless it is an air b n b within a mile of MENLA, as driving after ketamine sessions is prohibited and we are in session late into the night.

Step 6. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement that delineates  our request that you hold the names/identities of other participants as confidential.  There will also be an Informed Consent document which we ask you to read carefully and sign.  This process (Informed Consent) describes risks inherent in participation in retreats such as this one. Additionally we will be requiring you to sign a standard indemnity release form, which is required by the Menla Retreat guidelines.  

Retreat Schedule

Check-in Thursday October 19th 2023 at 4:00 PM (or earlier if you want to book a spa treatment)


4:00 PM Check-in

6:00 PM Dinner

7:00 PM Formal program begins


7:15 AM  Meditation NO BREAKFAST

8:15 AM Morning program and first dosing session:  Meet the medicine

12:00 PM  Lunch and SPA break. Optional meditation or yoga clas

3:00 PM Afternoon program

6:00 PM  Dinner

7:00-9:00 PM Evening program

9:00 PM Optional program for play, bonfire, etc


7:15 AM Meditation/yoga NO BREAKFAST

8:15 AM Integration and small groups

10:00 AM Dosing session

12:00 PM Lunch and break

Optional meditation, movement, creative writing class

6:00 PM Dinner

7:00 PM Evening event


7:15 AM Meditation

8:15 AM Integration and small groups

10:00 AM Dosing Session. (a time for spa or hike if not dosing)

12:00 PM Lunch all together

1:00 PM Afternoon program

3:00 PM Program closes

How to Apply


Cost: $1650 per person (plus choice of housing), 50% deposit upon enrollment

50% balance due by September 1, 2023

This fee does NOT include housing. Prices range from $250 to  $400 a night including delicious vegetarian meals.

-After being accepted, housing is paid directly to Menla. We will provide you with the password to register for your choice of room.

Medical Intake: Fee to be paid to medical provider $400 to $500 (this includes the Rx)

Organizer/faculty contact details

Jayne Gumpel, LCSW

Jayne's Email Address

Jayne's Phone Number

Relationship Resources LLC

914 924 1509 (C)

15 Pine Grove St, Woodstock, New York 12498 (O)

Menla's contact information

Register with the Front Desk at Menla:


Or call 845-688-6897 (Extension 101)

Apply Now
Jayne Gumpel
David Gumpel
Seema Desai
Matthias Von Reusner