Upcoming Events, Classes, and Workshops

Recovering the Sacred Body

July 13-14 2019

Finally rescheduled from 2017! This two-day retreat is an embodied and spiritual approach to re-membering the sacredness, truth, inner guidance, and joy within our bodies — something many women in recovery yearn for though don’t find reflected back in much of traditional recovery, yet alone our dominant western culture.* As sober women, we may dampen or cut ourselves off from our own power and intuition. We may also place our trust in others while mistrusting our own longings and intuitive voices.

For two heart-full days, we’ll create together a space for settling into and reconnecting with our bodily selves. Participants will experience deep grounding and meditation practices, group processing, gentle body-oriented and movement practices, time for journaling and reflection, and small and large group exercises. Through these practices, we will reconnect our bodily selves with the strength, power, and intelligence of the Sacred Feminine and the Wisdom and Consciousness of the Earth. This Intelligence is our birthright, and offers offers us immeasurable healing and transformation at the deepest levels of our being and in our day-to-day sober lives.
We’ll also attend to releasing the heavy energies of self-limiting patterns and beliefs that may persist in sobriety. We’ll engage in mindful dialogue about what it means to live an “embodied sobriety.” The retreat will culminate in a ceremony for personal and planetary healing.**

*This is not a retreat to malign or diminish traditional models or approaches to recovery, but to provide what many women feel is missing or under-acknowledged in such approaches.

**This is not a therapy or mental health group, nor is it for anyone in crisis.

Space will be limited. Registration information coming soon.

Date: July 13-14 2019

Cost: $285

Location: Pittsburgh, PA area, exact location to be determined.


Emancipating the Soul from Trauma's Grasp: An Embodied Mystical Approach


Deep within the heart lies the living energy of transformation. This energy radiates our true essence: a whole and multidimensional self. Individually and collectively, trauma and shame can thwart our best efforts toward wholeness and can have profound effects on the body and relationships. Modalities derived from epigenetics, neurobiology, and attachment and field theory can offer relief; however, emancipating the soul from trauma’s grasp also requires spiritual medicine.

Most of us think of trauma as a one-time devastating experience. However, trauma is also the result of repeated controlling, invasive and manipulative behavior by parents, partners, friends, employers or others. It often goes unrecognized because it is not acute, but the impact is devastating.

Transformative modalities including Gestalt/somatic practices, Energy Psychology, EMDR and subtle energy practices from qigong, shamanism, and Sufism will aide in the transformation of trauma energy into healing energy. Journaling, group processing, practicum and lectures will be integrated throughout the week. This integrative and immersive workshop is for all who are willing to live a courageous and whole life based upon love, understanding and intuitive clarity.

Location: Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA


Past Events, Classes, and Workshops

Body Structure from a Gestalt Perspective: Training for Gestalt and Somatic Practitioners

MAY 26-31, 2019

Patterns of our physical embodiment are revealed and expressed in our thinking, feeling, and lived histories. They are shaped through our interactions with the world, the places and spaces we inhabit, developmental contexts, and relational others. As body or character structure, these patterns become relatively fixed modes of being through which we both express and limit our evolving self and narrative. From a Gestalt perspective, these structures are creative adjustments that can be attended to and explored in the novelty of the present moment. By doing this we can support the expansion of awareness, embodiment, and possibilities for individual and collective growth and change. In this workshop we will explore these structures (including our own) through embodied experiences of place and space, world/other, and energetic and physical heart space.

Participants will develop the following skills:

  • Observation and description of somatic and energetic structural patterns
  • Relational attending to structure in development and adulthood
  • Undoing holding patterns and expanding range of choice and repertoire
  • Attunement and relational resonance

The design of the week includes theoretical content, daily practice sessions, group process, and experiential exercises.

Note: This course is designed for practitioners with preliminary Gestalt therapy and body/character structure training. CEUs available.

Dates: May 26-31, 2019

Location: Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

Revitalize Yourself, Your Practice, and Your Clients with Energy-based & Body-Oriented Techniques and Interventions

December 7, 2018

Gestalt theory and practice, somatically based interventions, and emerging Energy Therapies offer us a wealth of dynamic resources for grounding and supporting ourselves in the therapeutic relationship. As therapists, we often focus on our clients so much that we neglect to tend to our own embodiment and energy during sessions. The embodied, grounded, and attuned therapist is actually the most powerful and essential intervention in therapeutic work. Through our own presence and embodiment, we influence the resonance of the therapy environment and the nervous systems of our clients This workshop is very experiential and structured around Gestalt Theory, neuroscience, Energy Psychology, and Gestalt and somatic psychotherapy. Mini lectures will include these four areas.

We will spend time in large and small group exercises and discussions to help you learn and practice effective and evidence-based grounding and centering exercises, attunement techniques, and body-based self-supports. These will help you maintain and enliven your energy (and energy field), as well as provide clarity and effectiveness with your clients so that you can utilize and actively integrate these skills in sessions with your clients. In this lively workshop, you will learn:

  • Gestalt theory and field theory apply to the therapeutic relationship
  • To Identify the neurological and relational basis for attunement
  • Four Energy Psychology techniques to fine-tuning your and your client’s nervous systems and energy fields
  • Practice two embodied approaches to grounding
  • A simple “centering” exercise for yourself and your clients
  • To Describe the therapeutic basis for using somatic interventions with clients

Faculty: Renee Jennings, MA, MSW, LCSW

Dates: December 7, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Fee: $125

CE: 6 hrs (L/LCSW. LPC, LMFT, Psych*)

Location: **UPDATE** University Club, 123 University Place, 3rd Floor Conference Room B.

Transforming Trauma into Healing Energy: An Integrative, Mystical Approach

October 7-12, 2018

Presented by Renee Jennings and Sarah Weiss on the beautiful grounds of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.

You may not think of yourself as holding trauma patterns. Most of us think of trauma as a one-time devastating experience. However, trauma can also be the result of chronic and repeated controlling, invasive, dominating, passive-aggressive, and manipulative behavior by your parents, partner, friends or employer. It can be a mismatch where those around you have no idea of your sensitivities and do nothing, out of ignorance, to support the true you.

These attitudes create subtle forms of trauma that are insidious and difficult to identify and name. Over time, you believe that being treated like this is normal and that feeling low self-esteem is normal. You feel dismissed and learn to dismiss your own embodiment and your own true self.

This type of trauma often goes unrecognized because it is not dramatic — but the impact is devastating. It is dramatic enough to throw a huge shadow over your life and drastically limit your potential. Trauma’s heavy energies can also get trapped in your muscles, fascia and organs to the point where your health, vitality, and holistic embodiment are compromised.

The good news is that trauma energy can be transformed into healing energy. The trauma energy held in your body and consciousness can become a huge source of vital energy and healing. You can be freed of the dark veil of self-loathing.

CEUs available.

Dates: October 7-12, 2018

Location: Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

Subscribe to Renee's Newsletter

Receive updates about events, blog posts, and new meditations.