Women’s Retreats

Living Arts Day & Overnight Retreats

In addition to our group series for women, Living Arts provides other options for connection, healing and personal growth with our 1-day and overnight retreats. Retreats allow for the carve-out of dedicated time to make significant gains in self-understanding, absorb the new learning and bond with the other like-minded women.

All retreats are facilitated by licensed psychotherapists and certified or registered professionals in their field. Our Intensive Ketamine Treatment Retreats have the addition of direct medical monitoring and oversite via an MD &/or NP plus a CMA all with mental health training specific to mood disorders and trauma.

IKTR mountain

August 9-11, 2024
Intensive Ketamine Treatment

Living Arts is partnering with Triangle Wellness & Recovery (TWR) to provide a unique, healing retreat experience for women who are struggling from the impact of chronic trauma, depression, anxiety and/or maladaptive substance use. Our August 9th - August 11th Intensive Ketamine Treatment Retreat (IKTR) is immersed in nature with beautiful mountain views complete with horses running in the meadow located within ~2 hours for most in the Triangle area.

brain before after
nerve before and after

Research Shows Ketamine Promotes Synaptogenesis & Neuroplasticity

"...ketamine appears to promote synaptogenesis...countering the dendritic atrophy and synapse loss associated with chronic stress and depression. "  - Biological Psychology 2021

First picture shows the neural activity increasing in a depressed individual's brain after ketamine. The second picture shows new neural growth within 2 hours of receiving ketamine. Both allow for new and stronger connections allowing for “rewiring” of the brain.

What is Ketamine?

  • Ketamine is an FDA approved, safe and effective dissociative anesthetic that is used regularly to sedate children and others for medical procedures.
  • Increasingly, Ketamine is prescribed off-label to provide quick-acting relief for those suffering from depression, trauma, anxiety, compulsive behaviors and other mental health and substance use conditions.
  • Traditional antidepressants provide improvement for only 20%-40% of individuals, have undesirable side effects and take many weeks to learn if they work. Ketamine provides relief for 55%-70% of individuals, often within hours or a handful of treatments and can foster behavior change for lasting gains.
  • In discussions, Ketamine is regularly lumped together with classic psychedelics, such as MDMA & psilocybin, even though the action on the brain is very different. Classic psychedelics can provoke a challenging mental state by overwhelming the chandelier cells; whereas Ketamine gently relaxes and opens them to an expanded state of awareness.
  • The dissociative effects of Ketamine can lead to hallucinations and other changes like classic psychedelics. In addition, individuals may experience nausea, raised blood pressure and increased heart rate, all of which can be addressed by medical staff during the Ketamine treatment.
  • Misuse of Ketamine may lead to addiction, mental health problems and serious medical conditions. Ideally, Ketamine is used with in-person monitoring by medical professionals to ensure safety and increase effectiveness.
  • Treatment ideally includes Integration, psychotherapy that capitalizes on the new perspectives and increased neuroplasticity, rather than Ketamine as a stand alone treatment.

Why Ketamine?

I have been curious about Ketamine and its potential in mental health treatment since my psychiatrist friend asked me to join his boutique Ketamine clinic about 12 years ago which at the time I declined. Since then, more and more promising research has been released supporting its effectiveness especially for those “stuck” in chronic patterns related to depression, anxiety, the impacts of trauma and maladaptive coping. In addition, my observations while working with my clients receiving Ketamine treatment convinced me it was time to take the leap. While Ketamine does not provide significant benefits for all, what I experienced with my clients felt like mini miracles. Clients are able to implement strategies they knew but struggled to do because they were stuck in the rut of well-worn neural pathways. Ketamine can have the power to impact individuals after one treatment. I witnessed this with a client who was facing hospitalization for SI; however, instead we scheduled a Ketamine treatment that day and within 24 hours the SI had lifted and we could move forward together.

Why Ketamine Retreats & Groups?

After graduating with my master’s from the University of Chicago in 1993 I was lucky enough to land a psychotherapist position at the hospital. For my clinical group work I was mentored by Dr. Robert Lipgar, who at the time was the Chairman of The Chicago Center for the Study of Groups, and my love and respect for the power of groups began. Over the years I have facilitated weekly groups, full-day workshops and overnight retreats all reinforcing my belief in the unique healing benefits of the group experience that cannot be replicated in individual psychotherapy. The IKTRs add the value of the group experience with the carve-out of time and immersion in nature --- it is the perfect Trifecta!

Trainings/Certifications/Memberships

Member of American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists & Practitioners

Member of Big Tent Ketamine & PsyKe Peer Groups

TWR Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Certification – KAP privileges at Triangle Wellness & Recovery

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Global Summit: Clinical Track

IKTR copped LOGO

IKTR Registration Fee Includes:

  • Onsite Medical Monitoring - Sara Koenig, MD, MBA and her medical staff will administer Ketamine with the ability to respond as needed to ensure comfort and well-being.
  • All Medications – In addition to the Ketamine itself, the other common medications used during Ketamine will also be included in the retreat registration fee.
  • Integration and Experiential Groups – Susan Clifton, LCSW-S will facilitate groups designed to explore, discuss and assimilate the experience to foster ongoing growth and healing.
  • Live Sound Meditation – Kimberly Kornegay, who is a certified sound meditation facilitator will provide a sound meditation session on the 1st day and the music backdrop for the ketamine dosing itself the next day.
  • Room, Meals & Supplies – Each participant will have their own private Queen bed “cubby” with all meals (Lunch Friday through Brunch Sunday) & snacks provided, and our Solo Integration Workbook; Ketamine Companion Journal; and a Retreat Kit to make your retreat activities more meaningful and transformative.
IKTR 4 pic panel

IKTR Registration Next Steps:

  1. Reach out to Living Arts for more information about pricing, retreat agenda and other specifics.
  2. After deciding to participate, reserve a spot with Living Arts and then schedule your Medical and Behavioral Assessment directly with Triangle Wellness & Recovery to determine if IKTR is appropriate for what you want/need. This insurance billable service is not included in the IKTR registration fee nor are the 2 brief check-ins post retreat.
  3. If IKTR is determined to be a good fit, the registration documentation will be sent via DocuSign directly to your email for completion.
  4. Fully registered participants will be asked to join a virtual group session with Dr. Koenig and Susan Clifton, LCSW-S for preparation and Q&A a week prior to the retreat.
WWR 2024 group shot

May 1-3, 2025
3rd Annual Living Arts Women’s Wellness Retreat

We just returned from our May 2024 retreat physically tired but emotionally energized and inspired. Our cap this year was 50, next year it will be 75 given those that will be returning with friends, daughters and mothers in tow and requests already from new women to be placed on the Interest List. If you would like to stay in the loop with monthly retreat updates (starting in September) please reach out.

Attention Psychotherapists, Yoga Teachers and Providers:
Starting in September we will be recruiting our retreat group facilitator team of 15 women. Contact Living Arts if you are interested in a significantly reduced retreat registration in exchange for your energy dedicated to group facilitation. The 2024 team filled in 4 days so please reach out if you have any interest so you won’t miss out.