The Meadows Blog


Workshops (38)

Monday, 09 May 2016 00:00

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Natalie felt lost. She didn’t quite understand why, but everything just felt wrong somehow. Even though it was hard for her to admit that she needed help, she reached out.

She found The Meadows Survivors workshop where, for the first time, she began to understand where she came from, where she was going, and where she wanted to be.

Survivors I is an essential component of The Meadows inpatient treatment programs. It is also offered as a stand-alone workshop for anyone who’s interested in learning more about the ways in which self-defeating thoughts and behaviors learned in childhood continue to affect their daily lives.

The intensive, 5-day workshop helps participants identify their specific emotional wounds and understand the impact they have had on their self-esteem, boundary system, level of dependency, and ability to achieve balance and harmony. For more information call 800-244-4949.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

Summer Workshops at The Meadows

Renew your mind, body and spirit this summer with an intensive workshop at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. We combine our expert-led therapeutic workshops with Yoga, Tai Chi, expressive arts, acupuncture, equine therapy, evening social events, and a beautiful, serene desert landscape to facilitate holistic healing.

Register Today!

Book your stay at a nearby resort, or at our brand new Bunkhouse. Register between now and June 30 and receive a 25 percent discount on registration fees.

Rio Retreat at The Meadows Summer Workshop Calendar

For more information, or to register, call 800-244-4949.

MAY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
May 9 - 13: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
May 9 - 13: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
May 15 - 19: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 2
May 16 - 20: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
May 23 - 27: Men's Sexual Recovery
May 30 - June 3: Survivors II
May 30 - June 3: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

JUNE 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
June 6 - 10: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
June 13 - 17: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
June 13 - 17: Men's Sexual Recovery
June 20 - 24: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 3
June 20 - 24: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Survivors II

JULY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
July 4 - 8: A Man's Way Retreat
July 11 - 15: Men's Sexual Recovery
July 11 - 15: Journey of a Woman's Heart: Finding True Intimacy
July 11 - 15: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
July 18 - 22: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction
July 18 - 22: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
July 25 - 29: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 1


Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
August 1 - 5: Healing Heartache: A Grief and Loss Workshop
August 1 - 5: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 8 - 12: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
August 8 - 12: The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
August 15 - 19: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
August 15 - 19: Survivors II
August 22 - 26: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
August 22 - 26: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 29 - September 2: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

About The Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows

Since the 1980s, The Meadows has been the forerunner in providing intensive workshops that transform lives. Our new Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows offers a variety of unique workshops available to all interested individuals. All workshops are led by world class Meadows clinicians, as well as industry leaders from around the country who specialize in specific areas of professional growth.

The Meadows is pleased to announce that we now offer on-site, overnight lodging exclusively for workshop participants at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows! And, to celebrate this great news, we’re extending our 25 percent discount on all workshop registration fees through the month of April.

The Rio Retreat Bunkhouse

The Rio Retreat Bunkhouse is designed to be conducive to the process of healing and recovery, and is purposely free of the distractions that often accompany hotel lodging.

The Bunkhouse offers workshop participants:

  • Simply appointed, double-occupancy rooms with private bath.
  • Round-trip transportation to and from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
  • Sunday evening snack and all meals through noon on Friday.
  • Use of the swimming pool.
  • Complimentary activities including expressive arts, Auricular Acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, 12-step meetings, and live entertainment.

Five nights at The Bunkhouse costs $560 including taxes. Single-occupancy rooms are available at an additional cost.

Rooms are available on a first come, first served basis; early registration is recommended.

April Discount on Workshop Registration

Register for any of our intensive workshops, now through April 30 and receive a 25 percent discount. This is a great value on our first-rate workshop programs and facilities. Check out our full workshop schedule, and contact us at 800.244.4949 to register today.


  • Workshop registration must be completed and payment made by April 30, 2016.
  • Workshop attendance can occur any time before December 31, 2016.
  • Offer applies to all workshops offered at the Rio Retreat Center.
  • This email must be mentioned to receive the discount.
  • Workshop registration is subject to availability.
  • Participant must be clinically appropriate for the workshop.
  • Lodging and travel expenses are the responsibility of the participant.
Thursday, 03 March 2016 00:00

Balancing Work, Money, and Relationships

Everyone feels stressed about money and work from time to time, and for good reason. Careers and finances can have a profound impact on our families, our relationships, and our own personal health and well-being. Money and work can play the role that other addictions often play in people’s lives—that of a coping mechanism for unaddressed trauma, emotional pain, and self-destructive personal beliefs. Money obsession, work addiction, spending addiction, under earning, gambling, high-risk investing, chaotic entrepreneurship, hoarding, deprivation, and financial codependence are all signs that unhealthy attitudes about money have taken control of your life.

Are you having trouble reconciling your emotional balance sheet? Do your friends and family complain that you work too much? Do you give up or limit social, occupational, or recreational activities because you’d rather work? Are you frugal to the point of deprivation? Are you uncertain whether your spending habits are normal, or a signal of a larger problem? If so, our Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships workshop was designed specifically for you.

Living in Abundance Workshop

Living in Abundance is a five-day intensive that will help you develop insights into your relationship to money and work. The workshop aims to help participants:

  • Discover how your behavior related to money and work developed
  • Recognize the rewards and costs of your behavior to one’s self and others
  • Obtain a treatment plan which intervenes on existing behavior and fosters a healthy relationship with money and work that will also enhance your relationship with yourself and others

Each participant will complete the Money and Work Adaptive Styles (MWASI) assessment tool created by Bonnie DenDoovan and receive the interpreted results.

For more details, call 800-244-4949 or contact us online.

Friday, 18 September 2015 00:00

A New Workshop at The Meadows

We tend to think of all bonds as being positive but, they are actually neutral. They can become positive, but they can also become negative. A betrayal bond is a type of negative bond that occurs when someone develops a strong and intense attachment to a person or an addictive process that is destructive to them.

The Meadows is excited to announce the addition of The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships to its workshop offerings. The workshop was developed under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Carnes, internationally known sex addiction expert and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows, and is based on his groundbreaking book of the same name.

Some of the goals of this innovative, intensive workshop are to:

  • Help participants recognize, acknowledge and develop insights about situations, people and processes that are exploitive in nature.
  • Break through denial, identify signs that a betrayal bond exists, and grieve losses.
  • Explore the root causes of one’s involvement in relationships, situations and processes that are destructive to them.
  • Identify key elements that drive the cycle of abuse, betrayal of trust and power.
  • Teach participants about the psychodynamic and neurobiological concepts behind exploitive situations and relationships.

Each participant will be guided through the process of designing their own individualized path to recovery.

The Meadows Director of Workshops Jean Collins-Stuckert (LCSW, LISAC, CSAT) says “We are eager to offer this intensive program highlighting Dr. Carnes innovative model and providing relief for those people trapped in patterns that are so painful.”

Register Today

The first Betrayal Bond Workshop will take place November 30 – December 4, 2015. The hours each day are from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST; The schedule is flexible, accommodating the group process.

If you’d like to learn more, or if you’re interested in signing up for the workshop, please call The Meadows Intake Department at 800-244-4949.

Thursday, 20 August 2015 00:00

Horses Can Help Uncover Personal Truths

By Colleen DeRango, MA, LISAC, SEP, Co-Facilitator of Equine Workshops

In my most quiet moments of reflection, I often recall what one client said in one of her somatic equine sessions:

"Nothing reduces my anxiety from a 9 to a 3 faster than being with a horse."

I don't know why this is, but I do know that it is my daily experience around these sacred beings who have blessed my life. In this world of addiction, trauma, and mood disorder treatment, we often spend time looking through the lens of pathology; whereas, in the presence of a horse, we seem to quite often be looking through the lens of authenticity. Horses somehow help us return to the truth of who we really are.

Horses can also often help us find a subtle, gentle, whole, connected sense of being. Being with another being. Being seen, being understood, being accepted─ it is deeper than the sensation of love. It is perhaps presence in communion.

Often-times tears will come, and I imagine that if the tears could be analyzed, they would be both pure and authentic. Acceptance overflowing.

I have a mustang in my herd; his senses are still connected to the time he spent roaming free and surviving in the mountains of Nevada. His perception and presence for "resonating with other" is simply amazing, as everyone who works with him can attest. His ability to help a person move into authenticity is beyond anything I have ever witnessed. He risks trusting humans cautiously, modeling to clients to "slow down, be thoughtful, be present, and be honoring." And when they do, the reward is his trust; and it is as if his gift of trust heals.

As a trauma healing specialist, I know well of the terms trauma reenactment; trauma repetition, and trauma bonding. As a horsewoman my herd has taught me the power of "presence reenactment, repetition and bonding." And as I have repeatedly and consistently experienced in healing work with clients, the power of "presence in communion" is stronger than the power of any trauma.

Be it a girl with a horse; a woman, or a man; the horse doesn't see the gender, size or color; or what we have done, said, or experienced; rather, the horse sees the truth, and it isn't a dark endless pit, but a gentle light of acceptance, helping us all to do the same.

Register for Spirit: A Somatic Equine Workshop

You can experience the gentle light of acceptance too, by attending one of our Spirit Equine Workshops. The Spirit workshop has a 5-day and a 3-day option. The next 5-day workshops will be offered on Sept. 7-11 and November 2-6. The next 3-day workshops are October 2-4 and Dec. 4-6. Register today as spaces are limited. Call 800-244-4949 for more information

Wednesday, 05 August 2015 00:00

The Horse Knows The Way

By Judith Freilich, MD

Recently, I had an opportunity to attend a Spirit Workshop at The Meadows. It was wonderful and I want to tell you about it.

As a 74-year-old woman physician and psychiatrist, I probably am not the workshop’s typical attendee. My lack of experience with horses was equal to my fear of large beasts. But, I still fully recall a horseback ride I took at my eighth grade picnic when I was14. It was a wonderful moment; the memory prompted me to say “go for it!”

Releasing Trauma Through Somatic Experiencing®

On the appointed morning, I showed up at Buddy’s ranch without cowgirl clothes —no fun hat, boots or jeans—for a 5 day, equine-assisted, somatic experience® (SE) workshop. What I did bring with me was a history of profound trauma that began at a very young age. I also arrived with positive, hopeful feelings about SE and its ability to help me release old trauma.

I was not a stranger to myself. I had worked diligently in all kinds of therapies for decades. I’d explored healing modalities far afield from my training and practice in western medicine and psychiatry. I’ve experienced and studied bodywork and energy work in many forms. I have a strong faith and spiritual sense that had kept me alive and caring for others well, in the face of my own immense loss and trauma.

These modalities were all helpful; I have no doubt they kept me functioning and fairly healthy. But, although layers of trauma had been peeled back through this work, there was still trauma frozen in my nervous system and body.

I viewed my remaining trauma as a huge iceberg, all of it intertwined in ways that made it difficult to tease out any one issue without flooding the whole system. I had not yet experienced trauma work through The Meadows.

Finding the Right Horse

Yet the horse knows the way, as the old song goes; especially if the horse has wise steerage by Colleen DeRango and Buddy Uldrikson. These two gifted human beings are trained in Somatic Experiencing® and in horsemanship─ deeply trained. I trusted them from the start. When Colleen and Buddy saw my trauma list, they were surprised but not daunted. They said the horse would know the way.

And they were right! There were five of us in the workshop and we formed a cohesive group of support. On the first day, it poured chilly rain. We were asked to walk past all the horses in their stalls and find one we connected with. We were to sense each horse’s response to us and ours to them. This seemed impossible to me!

I walked the line of 12-15 stalls three times, mostly scared and bewildered. I did not feel a sense of connection with any horse. At the far end of the third pass, I approached a huge horse, one that had already turned its butt to me the other two times I’d passed by. That I did feel!

As I approached him this time, he turned his face toward me as a huge tear came out of his right eye. He put his head through the fence gate, sniffed at me and nuzzled me. I felt his warm breath and I felt warmer. To my surprise, I instantly felt grounded. And a huge, healing breath went all the way through my body, naturally!

My energy had re-aligned itself in the presence of this beautiful, soft-eyed horse. He was very tall, the largest horse there. He was a rich brown with a black mane and tail, a white line on his face and white on his lower legs─ it looked like he had on knee-high socks. His breed is German Warmblood, with a fine pedigree. He had not been getting along well with the other horses, so he was in a pen by himself. He was expected to become a fine jumper. He was at Buddy’s ranch for some training.

And I fell in love! We called him Jumper. As Jumper and I worked together through the week, our bond only got stronger. Everyone could feel it. Jumper was calm and extraordinarily gentle with me. This was more than I could have imagined.

Beginning to Heal

Each day, as I drove to Buddy’s ranch, I felt stronger and better. As soon as my car got onto the ranch, I relaxed and loved every moment there. To me, the land at the ranch has a sacred quality. The horses add their presence. I loved the sounds and the smells and the earth and sky and the old mesquite tree we sat under each morning to check in and do a meditation. And all around us was the snuffling of these wonderful beings.

I learned that research done by the Heart Math Institute in California shows that the heart energy field of a horse is nine times larger than our human heart energy fields. I believe it! Under the expert guidance of Colleen and Buddy and in the warmth of Jumper, a huge piece of frozenness left me─ simply left. I felt it go! And no flooding…

I was not the only one to notice. One evening that week, I went into Phoenix to see the cranial-sacral osteopath who has treated me off and on for almost 10 years, ever since I broke a leg. Back then, my whole system was locked in ‘freeze’ from shock. It was not simply shock from the fall that broke my leg; it was deeper shock that went all the way back to a tragedy more than 20 years earlier. She has treated me throughout all the other good work I have done on myself for years.

She put her hands gently on my head. Almost immediately she said that whatever I was doing was making a remarkable change in my nervous system, more so than anything I had done to date. No question. Change, even partway through the Spirit Workshop, was already palpable. That change has been maintained and has even deepened since.

Since the workshop ended, I have been able to continue working with Colleen and Buddy. (I live nearby.) Jumper had to go back to his owner and we parted lovingly. I am fond, very fond, of the other horses, but … a first love is always a first love!

Buddy’s ranch is still a special place for me. Now I have a cowboy hat and jeans; I’m working toward boots. I continue to see the docs taking care of me. They continue to see progress in healing my nervous system at a deep level.

I am grateful!

Register for Spirit: A Somatic Equine Workshop

The Spirit workshop has a 5-day and a 3-day option. The next 5-day workshops will be offered on Sept. 7-11 and November 2-6. The next 3-day workshops are October 2-4 and Dec. 4-6. Register today as spaces are limited. Call 800-244-4949 for more information.

Georgia Fourlas, LMSW, LISAC, CSAT-C
Workshop Facilitator, The Meadows

I recently facilitated Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy, The Meadows’ workshop for women with sex addiction, sexual anorexia and other sexual disorders. I was very moved by this group of courageous and strong women. I was also moved by their pleas with me to do whatever I could to make sure this workshop gets more attention.

There is no shortage of women with sexual disorders; but, they often remain hidden and do not have the opportunity to discuss their issues with other women who share their struggles. It is amazing to watch what happens when these issues are openly discussed. They are brought from the darkness in to the light.

The Importance of Connection in Recovery

Connection with others is vital in recovery. Isolation, withdraw, detachment, and loneliness feed addiction. Connection and healthy attachments enable recovery. Many women are hard wired for relationships and connection with others. However, at times, our culture does not value connection, empathy and emotional understanding in relationships. Instead, these gifts can be seen as defects, and women can be viewed as unable to take care of themselves, overly-emotional, dramatic, and needy. Unfortunately, many women also avoid connections with other women due to their own fears about trust. They cannot trust themselves, and they project that lack of trust onto other women, leaving them isolated and alone in their fear and shame.

The Burden of Shame

Sex disorders among females seem to be particularly taboo and touchy topics ─ not only for the general public, but also for women who are suffering from a sexual disorder. This leads to major challenges in their motivation to seek treatment. It also leads to difficulties for women in seeking support in their ongoing recovery. This means that women often wait longer to get help which leaves them with increased consequences, both internal and external. One of the biggest internal consequences is the heavy burden of shame that these women carry.

Many women who struggle with sexual disorders are also extremely high functioning and struggle with perfectionism as a way to mediate the shame they feel. Addiction and shame feed one another; both hinder the ability to have truly intimate and fulfilling relationships. Women with sexual disorders desire true intimacy, but are caught in patterns that prevent them from finding that intimacy.

Tools for Recovery

The Meadows’ workshop Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy offers women with sexual disorders a chance to work through their shame and begin a healing journey.

Utilizing Patrick Carnes’ model, women have a chance to intervene on their own disordered behaviors and thought processes. Work includes identifying the participants’ own value system, and restoring their life force and their own esteem by providing a map to find their true selves and to their recovery.

Even if participants know where they want to go and have a map to get there, they also need to have methods to help them along the way. This workshop provides tools for recovery and instructions on how to use these valuable tools. It prepares women for the kinds of intimate relationships that they long for and deserve; the kind of relationships that start by nurturing an intimate and trusting relationship with one’s self, and then taking healthy risks by entering into supportive, recovery-oriented relationships with others. We provide a safe environment that allows participants to explore their own true nature, their own heart, and their own humanity.

If you would like more information or would like to enroll in Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy, or any of our workshops, please call our Intake Department at 1-800-244-4949.

When you’ve experienced a loss ─ the death of a loved one, the loss of your health, the loss of a relationship, the loss of an opportunity, etc.─ it can be helpful to take time out to lean into your grief. It’s often difficult, if not impossible, to initiate the healing process in this way while also managing the day-to-day obligations of your life.

That’s why we offer “Healing Heartache: A Grief and Loss Workshop.” This 5-day workshop creates a safe and sacred space for exploring losses you’ve experienced throughout your lifetime. The program will help will help you understand and normalize your feelings through teachings on the cycle of grief and the patterns of destructive behavior. You also will participate in experiential exercises which will allow you to release words and feelings that have not yet been expressed. At the end of workshop, we’ll offer you the resources you need to move continue moving forward with hope and dignity.

The next workshop is scheduled for June 29 - July 3. Spaces are limited, so call our intake coordinators at 800-244-4949 to enroll today. They are available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST on weekends.

If you can’t make the June session, the Healing Heartache workshop will also be offered September 28 – October 2 and November 30 – December 4.

We look forward to seeing there, and to helping you on your journey to stronger relationships and a brighter future.

Register Today

For more details, call 800-244-4949. Our Intake Coordinators are happy to assist you between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. MST on weekdays, and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST on weekends.

The 26th Annual International Trauma Conference, which focuses on psychological trauma: neuroscience, attachment, and therapeutic interventions, takes place May 27-30 and will feature a very special workshop to help soldiers rebuild trust, release pain and forge new bonds through song.

SongwritingWith:Soldiers (SW:S) uses songwriting as a catalyst for positive change. In SW:S retreat and workshop settings, service members are paired with professional songwriters to craft songs about their experiences, often about combat and their return home.

Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Conference Director, world-renowned trauma expert and Senior Fellow at The Meadows will present SongwritingWith:Soldiers work in the “Innovative Programs” session.

You can view the SongwritingWith:Soldiers video trailer here

About the International Trauma Conference

For the past three decades the conference has examined how trauma affects psychological and biological processes, and how the damage caused by overwhelming life experiences can be reversed. This year the conference will explore new frontiers in this work, frontiers that transcend old paradigms of talking, analyzing and administering drugs.

The objective of this conference is to present current research findings on how people’s brains, minds, and bodies respond to traumatic experiences; how they regulate emotional and behavioral responses; and the role of relationships in protecting and restoring safety and regulation.

When: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – Saturday, May 30, 2015

Where: Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA

More information on the conference

How The Meadows Can Help

Those who have experienced a traumatic event can benefit from seeking help. At The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona, clients are invited to recollect and share the emotions and sensations they experienced during the initial trauma or subsequent events.

At The Meadows, world renowned experts in treating psychological trauma guide each patient through a safe and effective process of uncovering and processing any issues related to unresolved trauma and PTSD.

We can help restore the sense of control and lessen the powerful hold of trauma. Contact an Intake Coordinator at 800-244-4949 and learn how The Meadows can help.


The Meadows has been selected to be part of the United Behavioral Health (UBH) Provider Network for the TRICARE Program. As a TRICARE Provider, The Meadows is honored to provide behavioral health and substance abuse inpatient services, with an emphasis on trauma, PTSD, and addictive disease disorders, to active duty military members, retirees, and dependents.

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