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 individuals, couples or thruples who identify as LGBTQIA+. 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.
James Lawer M.A., M.Div., Jeffrey Guss, M.D. and DeeDee Goldpaugh LCSW are experienced in psychedelic medicine work and core faculty for Relationship Resources “Cultivating Joy” Retreats. Jeff, James and DeeDee are lead facilitators along with retreat founder Jayne Gumpel LCSW. James will be teaching and conducting experiential rituals for group visioning based on non-medicine induced trance state induction, a group process that focuses on connection and community through shared experience. Three (optional) guided Ketamine sessions are offered during the retreat.
Personal growth, life planning and creativity are central to the focus of this retreat. We hope that you will leave with an empowered narrative and action plans that will facilitate your move towards a more attuned and creative future. Participants will leave with personally developed plans of action to continue the gains made during the retreat.
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. There will be a focus on healing shame, including body shame, and the accumulated traumatic consequences that derive from living as an LGBTQIA+ person in a hostile or indifferent world. 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 45 minutes. There is a $400 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 full 90 minute preparation session, in the form of a group zoom will follow, with one of the group leaders. To be clear: this Zoom meeting will be in a small group, made up of one of the group leaders and three or 4 other people enrolling in the retreat. The purpose of the preparation session is for us to get to know you better and provide education to you regarding the retreat. You will be meeting, in small groups, with other participants who have enrolled. If this meeting results in your having a change of heart regarding attending the retreat, half the enrollment deposit will be refunded to you. This option lasts for 3 days following the group interview. It is essential to the community experience that you feel safe and committed to attend the full retreat experience.
Sign up for a 2 hour group zoom Preparation Session. Several EST options: Choose one.
9/27 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM; or 5:00 PM to 7:00PM
9/29 8:00 AM to 10AM; or 5:00 to 7:00 PM
10/4 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM;
10/23 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM
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 Frontdesk@MENLA.org. 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. In addition to the ketamine assisted exploration sessions, the retreat will offer Rhythmic Trance Induction sessions (James Lawer), nature walks, bonfire ceremonies, a talent show, a sock hop and optional yoga/movement sessions. Each evening we will enjoy optional events for fun, frolic and laughter. Mid-day from lunch to 3:00 you can schedule spa treatments, take a walk or a snooze.
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.
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
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)
Jayne Gumpel, LCSW
Relationship Resources LLC
914 924 1509 (C)
15 Pine Grove St, Woodstock, New York 12498 (O)
Register with the Front Desk at Menla:
Or call 845-688-6897 (Extension 101)