How a change of setting can work wonders for those dealing with depression

When it comes to dealing with depression and learning how to be at one with yourself, breaking your current patterns of behaviour is extremely important. Unfortunately, however, despite the fact that many people are unhappy or unsatisfied with the way their life is going, they still neglect to change their daily routine.

A spiritual retreat is the perfect way to get away from your day to day life. Whether you choose a weekend, 5-day or 7-day retreat, putting physical distance between yourself and your normal surroundings can be enormously helpful and allow you to evaluate your lifestyle more effectively.

Whereas therapy healing is usually a somewhat formal affair, in the context of a spiritual retreat, you will be having breakfast, lunch and dinner with your therapist as well as engaging in activities such as yoga with them. This far more informal approach not only creates an atmosphere more conducive to personal development, resulting in clients opening up about themselves much more freely, but also helps to get clients used to incorporating self reflection and development into their daily routine – something that is incredibly useful when the time comes to return to their day-to-day lives.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a spiritual retreat can help, visit There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

What does a mental therapy retreat look like?

The Schedule

When it comes to organising your schedule, my primary focus is on providing you with the therapies and treatments which will benefit you most. Unlike other health retreats and mental therapy retreat centres, who offer largely pre-packaged deals, at Breakthrough Retreats we are acutely aware of the importance of offering a bespoke experience, whether or not you’re visiting as part of a group. What’s more, in order to ensure you gain as much as possible from your time with us, your schedule will be packed full of treatments.

For example, a typical day might consist of around four or five hours with myself, two hours with a hypnotherapist, who will help you to engage with your inner child, and yoga. Depending on whether or not I think it would help you, you may also enjoy a meditation session with one of our experts.

Some of the other treatments we offer include the following:

  • Reiki
  • Shamanic healing
  • Massage
  • Career counselling
  • Bodywork
  • Transactional analysis
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Reflexology
  • Indian head massage
  • Water therapy (if in Cornwall)
  • Group psychotherapy


Plus, as all our retreats are all-inclusive, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are covered in the price of your retreat.



Although many of the people who come to us have problems that cannot be ‘solved’ during their stay – such as those who have suffered a bereavement or abuse – visiting a mental therapy retreat centre will ensure you are far better placed to deal with your problems and enable you to return to your regular life full of positivity, confidence and optimism for the future.

So as to stop clients slipping back into negative behaviours, I am also able to offer up to three follow-up sessions after the retreat has ended, which can be conducted via Skype, telephone conversation or in person.


Find out more…

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a Breakthrough Retreat can help, visit There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

What is a personal health retreat?

Set in the heart of the countryside, a personal health retreat offers individuals a far more effective way of coming to grips with any issues they have than is possible via traditional therapy healing sessions. In the remarkable comfort of a retreat centre, and with the help of a wide range of treatments and numerous experts, clients are perfectly positioned to experience a dramatic transformation – something that can change them for the rest of their life.

Whilst hour-long sessions of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy or other such treatments can be a great help to individuals, they simply cannot compare to the impact of a retreat tailored specifically to your needs. What we are able to do on a personal health retreat equates to around 3 years’ worth of psychotherapy sessions – making these retreats not only cost-effective, but perfect for those with particularly time-consuming jobs.

As opposed to group health retreats, a personal health retreat is just that – personal! Far from simply subscribing to a set package, each individual, whether they are with us as part of a group or not, will enjoy a totally unique experience, tailored precisely to their exact needs.

During your few days with us, we will help you get to the bottom of why you’re feeling the way you are, work out ways in which you can make a positive change in your life, and help you to recognise and eradicate negative behaviour patterns. What’s more, once you leave, we are always contactable via email or telephone.

In short, Breakthrough Retreats offer quality, valuable, accessible and cost effective therapy healing in a supportive, respectful and confidential environment specifically designed to bring about positive and lasting change in the life of the individual.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a health retreat can help, visit There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

Why a bespoke health retreat is more effective than weekly therapy sessions

No matter who we are, all of us will be guilty of developing negative habits and behaviours at some stage in our lives. As such, we can all benefit greatly from taking the time to examine ourselves with the help of an expert.


For the vast majority of people who decide to take action to improve their lives, be it personal therapy or group psychotherapy, therapy healing is the go-to solution, and has indeed been proven to produce remarkable results. However, although 1-hour or 2-hour weekly sessions at a therapist’s house might well be helpful for the individual, the effectiveness of this sort of therapy healing is extremely limited by the brevity of the sessions and the fact that clients are immediately immersed in their normal routine again after leaving a session.

Having dealt with hundreds of clients as a therapist over the years, after extensive consultation and research, I developed The Courtney Process. This process forms an alternative to ongoing appointments, instead offering clients a chance to get away from their everyday lives and focus exclusively on tackling whatever issues they are struggling to overcome. With the help of me and my team of experts, in picturesque natural surroundings, we will enable you to get to the bottom of your issues and help you to devise ways for you to tackle them in the future.

Whether you’re looking to boost self esteem and self confidence, beat depression or simply feel like you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know how to get out, a bespoke health retreat will help you to make positive and lasting changes in your life.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or simply seeking advice on how to be at one with yourself and would like to learn more about how a health retreat can help, visit

How to Eliminate Stress & Anxiety from Your Life

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know – “I’m SO stressed out!”  Pressures abound in this world today.  Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick.  Literally, sick.

stress anxiety free ebookThe statistics are staggering.  One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety disorder. This totals over 19 million people!  Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse by men.


Women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twiceas much as men. Anxiety disorders are the most commonmental illness in America, surpassing even depression in numbers. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing adults over 65 years of age. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $46.6 billion annually. Anxiety sufferers see an average of fivedoctors before being successfully diagnosed.

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety go hand in hand.  In fact, one of the major symptoms of stress is anxiety.  And stress accounts for 80 percent of all illnesses either directly or indirectly.

In fact, stress is more dangerous than we thought. You’ve probably heard that it can raise your blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of a stroke in the distant future, but recently a health insurance brochure claimed that 90 percent of visits to a primary care physician were stress-related disorders.

Health Psychology magazine reports that chronic stress can interfere with the normal function of the body’s immune system. And studies have proven that stressed individuals have an increased vulnerability to catching an illness and are more susceptible to allergic, autoimmune, or cardiovascular diseases.

Doctors agree that during chronic stress, the functions of the body that are nonessential to survival, such as the digestive and immune systems, shut down. “This is why people get sick,” he says. “There are also many occurrences of psychosomatic illness, an illness with an emotional or psychological side to it.”

Furthermore, stress often prompts people to respond in unhealthy ways such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating poorly, or becoming physically inactive. This damages the body in addition to the wear and tear of the stress itself.


Find out more with our FREE Ebook from here.

Depression in Men ‘regularly ignored’

Men are twice as likely as women to have their depression written off as nothing more than feeling a little low, according to a study of our attitudes to mental health.

man depression

Society’s assumption that men are “tough” means both sexes are less likely to recognise telltale signs of depression in them, according to University of Westminster researcher.

And while one might think that men would be better at spotting symptoms in their brethren, the opposite is actually true. They are even more blind to emotional distress in other men than women are.

Researchers reached their conclusions after asking more than 1,200 people to gauge if two fictional characters were suffering from a mental health problem.

Half were asked to assess the state of a character called ‘Jack’ and half a character called ‘Kate’.

They were read a paragraph about these characters – but the only difference between them was their gender.

It started: “For the past two weeks, Kate / Jack has been feeling really down. S/he wakes up in the morning with a flat, heavy feeling that sticks with her / him all day.”

Fifty-seven per cent thought that ‘Kate’ was suffering from a mental health problem, while only 52 per cent thought that ‘Jack’ was.
And while 10 per cent were positive ‘Kate’ was not suffering from a mental health problem, twice as many (21 per cent) thought that of ‘Jack’.

The remainder were unsure.

Men and women were equally likely to think that ‘Kate’ was suffering from depression.

But men were almost twice as likely as women to think that ‘Jack’ did not have a mental disorder.

Dr Viren Swami, who wrote the article, published in the journal PLoS One, said: “In our society men are led to believe that they don’t suffer from depression.”

Dominant views of masculinity “stress toughness and strength”, he explained.

“Men tend to deny having depression in the first place. They tend to think their feelings are just part of daily life.”

This meant it was “quite possible” that they dismissed the possibility of depression in other men, he said.

Another study from Malaysia found men tend to cite specific reasons for feeling low, such as not having a girlfriend or having an unfulfilling job, rather than admitting to depression.


Original article.

Align Your Life – The Chakras

So much has been written about chakras, but very few know the importance and benefits of balancing them. So what exactly is chakra? Chakras are believed to be centres of the body from which a person can collect energy.


The meaning of the word ‘chakra’ is ‘wheel of light’ or ‘spinning wheel of energy’ in Sanskrit. They are connected to major organs or glands that govern other body parts. They have been part of many wellbeing practices for centuries.

All of your senses, perceptions, possible states of awareness, everything that you experience, can be divided into seven categories. Each category can be associated with a particular chakra. Thus, the chakras represent not only particular parts of your physical body, but also parts of your consciousness. Within our physical body, resides an energy body which houses the seven chakras.


These seven centres of energy are vertically aligned in the centre of the body close to the spine. Chakras function like valves that regulate the flow of energy through our energy system.

A proper balance in the Chakras is essential for our good health. If there is any blockage or imbalance in the chakras it can result in ill health. Each chakra has a specific location, radiates a particular colour, is connected to a specific body part, and governs one area of life.

  • The first one is known as Root Chakra. It is situated at the base of the spine and is red in colour.
  • The second one is the Sacral Chakra. It’s situated in the lower abdomen, below the belly button and is orange in colour.
  • The Third one is the Naval Chakra and is yellow in colour.
  • The fourth power centre is the Heart Chakra and is located at the centre of the chest. It is green in colour.
  • The fifth chakra is Throat Chakra and is situated in the centre of the neck. It is blue in colour.
  • The sixth one is the Third Eye Chakra – located at the centre of the forehead between your eyebrows and is Indigo in colour.
  • The seventh one is the Crown Chakra, which is situated just above the head, and is violet.

So how do we go about balancing these chakras and experience peace and good health? There are many ways to balance them, from visualisations and meditations to simply wearing colours that correspond to a specific chakra. Any and all of these may be valid and effective ways to balance them, but practicing yoga is also extremely effective in balancing the chakras.


Today, most people are forced to handle a lot of stress. Therefore it is important to do everything one can, to maintain a sense of harmony and inner calm. Healthy chakras keep the body young and vital. It helps to maintain a state of balance at all times, and when you feel out of sorts, re-energise yourself or seek help. A healthy diet, regular exercise and quiet alone time are all essential ingredients for a happy life. If you are able to practice the above you will be a great asset, not only to yourself, but also to your loved ones. Be happy, and radiate positivity by keeping your chakras balanced.


Original Article by: Shivani Adalja

Times Square: Hot Yoga to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Getting hot and sweaty in Times Square whist doing a Record Breaking group Yoga session? We at Breakthrough Retreats love the idea of this! – Being part of a group whom adhere the same belief, and want to achieve the same goal.

Breakthrough Retreats investigates the day and Summer Solstice celebrations further. 

Thousands of people stretched and posed on the streets of Times Square in a massive hot yoga practice that lived up to its name as temperatures in New York City climbed to nearly 100 degrees.

Yoga Times Square, NY
Yoga Times Square, NY

More than 14,000 people were expected on Wednesday to lay out on yoga mats and find their inner peace to celebrate the longest – and possibly hottest – day of the year with the summer solstice.

Those who joined the enormous gathering were challenged to block out the noise and congestion of one of the world’s most famous intersections and focus on their tranquility amid heat that was forecast to break records.

We offer yoga as part of our group retreats and really get a good result and feedback from it.

The mammoth crowd of yogis that turned out created the world’s largest bikram yoga class, according to DNAInfo.

Group Yoga, Times Square, NY, Summer Solstice 2012
Group Yoga, Times Square, NY, Summer Solstice 2012

Vehicles buzzed nearby the group as they did their sequences along Broadway between 42nd and 47th streets.

Four classes were held throughout the day, each running about an hour and a half long.

New York Yoga
New York Yoga

Advanced registration was required for those people who wanted to take part in the Times Square classes.

A typical class for the particular type of yoga consists of 26 poses in temperatures of 105 degrees.

The sweltering weather was actually a bit of a cool off for those participating in the bikram yoga workout.

Readings were expected to reach 100 degrees on Wednesday and again on Thursday – if not go higher – in cities including Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
Original Daily Mail article by Christine Show here (Photos used from here too).

Counsellor offers Spiritual Solution

We recently posted this article on our Facebook page and got a really good responce from it, so thought we’d share it on our blog.

The Use of music helps clients tell their stories.

THROUGH all of Ruta Yawney’s life, music has been her anchor and way of finding peace.

After working for many years as a music therapist, she decided to go back to school to receive a masters in counselling psychology.

“Now I combine the verbal psychotherapy with the music,” she says. “It’s a very powerful combination.”

Registered clinical counsellor Ruta Yawney conducts a guided imagery and music session with a client. Photograph by: photo Robert Semeniuk, for North Shore News.
Registered clinical counsellor Ruta Yawney conducts a guided imagery and music session with a client. Photograph by: photo Robert Semeniuk, for North Shore News.

A Bowen Island resident, Yawney, 49, has been working as a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in West Vancouver since fall 2011. She offers counselling and provides psychotherapy to teenagers and adults who are experiencing anxiety and stress from life transitions, including addiction, eating disorders, chronic illness, grief and loss, trauma and depression.

“I’ve even had retired people that are having a hard time transitioning into retirement,” she says. “They experience a lack of purpose in their life and a lack of meaning.”

Whenever possible, Yawney employs the method of guided imagery and music.

“It’s one of the tools in my tool box, but it’s not the only tool that I use in my counselling practice,” she says. “It’s just wherever I can, I still use the music.”

Guided imagery and music, created by Helen Bonny, is a self-exploration and helps bring people to their “heart’s centre,” explains Yawney.

“When they experience the music, they actually have access to the unconscious part of themselves,” she says. “When they are in that space, it facilitates insight for them. What happens is, they get out of their heads, they get into their hearts and they start feeling more creative about themselves. They can see the potential of them creating a new way of being.”

A session begins with a talk followed by a relaxation exercise. The music (from the Western classical tradition) is turned on and it’s combined with a psychotherapy discussion. The goal is for clients to have a visceral experience and access their imagination. “It helps them tell their stories,” says Yawney.

After the session, clients are encouraged to draw something representative of what just occurred.

“You have the felt experience and then you have the visual,” she says.

Clients also receive a transcript of what they said when the music was playing. Each session lasts for approximately an hour and 15 minutes.

It’s an honour to witness clients telling their stories through music, says Yawney, adding she has found the approach to have yielded positive results for many. “I have addicts that are in remission because they have gone far enough to self-transform themselves because of the insights they gained from telling their stories,” she says.

Yawney also conducts group work and is planning to launch a local bereavement through guided imagery and music group in the coming weeks. Those interested in finding out more, can contact her at ruta@rutayawney. com or 604-928-0883. Info:


© Copyright (c) North Shore News

Read more: