Cultivating Joy: a Ketamine-assisted Therapy Retreat for Individuals

June 08 - June 11, 2023

Jayne Gumpel, LCSW

James Lawer

Jeffrey Guss, MD

David Gumpel M.A

Matthias von Reusner, MD

Donna Sorgen, LMHC,LPC

Seema Desai, MD

Welcome to Cultivate Joy ~ A Ketamine Assisted and Mindfulness Retreat for Inspired Individuals looking to Cultivate Joy in everyday life.

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. If you are committed to the practice of sharing the fullness of  your being, locating your best self, your enthusiasm and  vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence~ this may be a weekend experience for you. Join this retreat if you have a deep desire to share yourself in this way, with yourself,with the other members of this retreat,  with your family and friends, and with the world.

   We invite you to break old patterns and habits and cultivate space for joy and well being, even in the midst of all the ongoing stresses and distractions of everyday life.   Ketamine assisted sessions may be helpful in opening  the doors of the mind and heart to what lies within,  however lost or disengaged you may feel from this part of yourselfl. Ketamine is a powerful medicine that can assist you  in seeing things in a new, clearer way,  often in non-defensive and insightful ways. Mindfulness and meditation practices, taught and practiced throughout this retreat, 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 who are ready to step into realms of  deep connection and personal development  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;  we   require  all applicants, though,  to begin with a screening call to determine if this retreat  is a good fit for you.
James Lawer, an expert in guided journeys and core faculty with the Cultivating Joy project will be teaching a process for group visioning based on non-medicine induced trance state induction, a group process that focuses on  connection and community through shared experience. 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.

Viktor Frankl teaches us:   when we are no longer able to change a situation we ar challenged to change ourselves. (reference belongs here)  This retreat pays attention to that and offers a deep and effective program for individuals with self awareness and the discipline to participate with vulnerability and curiosity.

Combining ketamine with mindfulness and meditative practices offers a deep dive into a  more conscious and purposeful life. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a world renowned author and speaker, offers wisdom:   “there is more right with you than wrong with you”.  Retreat guided practices bring you home to yourself. Regardless of what is unfolding  moment to moment, we each have the innate capacity and inner wisdom to choose to be present and to practice compassion and kindness with ourselves and with each other.

 Participation in this retreat begins with an initial interview, and then a more extensive application

We take great care in the enrollment process. Safety is our number 1 priority and making sure every individual that attends has the capacity to be in a group setting and to experience ketamine in a safe and constructive manner. This retreat is not a residential treatment setting and is not meant for people suffering from acute mental health crises, nor is it for those with   chronic and persistent psychiatric conditions.

‍Steps to join:

Step 1. Screening: Every participant will have a screening call to determine if this retreat is a good fit for you.  You will be asked to complete t a series of  registration forms along with preliminary inquiry into your motivation for attending the retreat and past experiences with similar retreats.  .

Step 1.5  If the screening call shows there is a good fit,   a full intake session will follow,  with one of the group leaders.  The purpose of the intake session is for us  to get to know you better and provide education to you regarding the retreat.

Step 2. After this step,  you will be assigned to a physician on the Cultivating Joy staff for a  medical interview that may take up to one hour.  . This medical assessment is essential and may include  our speaking with your psychotherapist or prescribing psychopharmacologist.  Following this, you will be approved  the prescription for the ketamine lozenges, which you then  will bring to the retreat.

Step 3. You will be assigned to a therapist who will facilitate a zoom preparatory session with you. Fees for the  medical interview are not included. The therapist session/s are  included in the tuition for the retreat overall.  The therapist interview will last  between one hour and 90 minutes.  . This session  is an important part of the process and introduces you to the retreat in detail.  Your   therapist will be sitting with you (and one or two other participants) during the dosings. There is an unlikely  possibility that the initial preparatory session (conducted via zoom, several weeks before the retreat)  will lead to  the  decision that the retreat is not a good fit.

Step 4. When all of the above are completed, you’ll be invited to  reserve your room and accommodations (private or semi-private room and delicious vegetarian meals) at MENLA.org. In addition to the ketamine assisted exploration sessions, the retreat will offer Rhythmic Trance Induction sessions (James Lawer), nature walks, bonfire ceremonies and optional yoga/movement sessions.

Step 5. 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 release form, which is required by the Menla Retreat guidelines.

Step 6. Arrive! Check in by 4 PM Thursday June 8th!

This retreat  utilizes a powerful healing medicine, ketamine, in supervised, guided sessions.

How to Apply

Complete application and schedule your screening call to determine if this is the right retreat for you.
Cost: $1650 per person (plus choice of housing), 50% deposit upon enrollment
50% balance due by May 1, 2023This includes:
*Screening call 20 minutes
*Preparatory zoom pre retreat on zoom for every person
*Post retreat zoom in group format
*retreat materialsThis fee does NOT include housing and meals.-Housing to be paid by participants directly to MENLAMedical Intake: If it's a good fit you will be assigned to a medical doctor on staff for a medical interview.Cost: $400
Organizer/faculty contact info
Jayne Gumpel, LCSWJayne's Email AddressJayne's Phone NumberRelationship Resources LLCwww.relationshipresources.info914 924 1509 (C)15 Pine Grove St, Woodstock, New York 12498 (O)
ScheduleThursday, June 8
  • 3 pm Room check-in Begins - Optional early arrival to schedule spa treatment
  • 4 - 6 pm Check-in starts
  • 6 - 7  pm Dinner
  • 7 - 8:30 pm Evening Program
Friday, June 9
  • 7:15 am Meditation and Yoga (optional)
  • 8 am Check-in & Opening Program *no breakfast
  • 9:30 am Meeting the Medicine
  • 10:00 am Ketamine Session
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch.
  • 1:30 - 3:30 pm BREAK (book a massage or spa treatment!).
  • 3:30 - 5:30 pm Afternoon Program
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner.
  • 7 pm Evening Workshop
  • 9 pm Bonfire (weather permitting)
Saturday, June 10
  • 7:15 am Meditation and Yoga (optional).
  • 8:30 am Morning Program - *no breakfast.
  • 10 am Ketamine Session
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch.
  • 1:30 - 3:30 pm BREAK (book a massage or spa treatment!).
  • 3:30 - 5:30 pm Afternoon Program
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7 pm Evening Workshop
  • 9 pm Night Activity
Sunday, June 11
  • 7 - 11 am Check-out of Rooms for Sunday Departure Guests
  • 7:15 am Meditation and Yoga (optional).
  • 8:30 am Morning Program
  • 9:30 am  Ketamine Session (optional)
  • 11 am Group Process
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
  • 1 pm Closing Group Process
  • 3 pm End of Program
  • 6 pm Dinner *optional and participants can choose to stay Sunday night to enjoy Monday spa day - This night is not included in listed rates to book please reach out to frontdesk@menla.org or 845 688 6897 ext 101. Dinner is only available to guests staying over Sunday April 30th. 
Monday, May 1st (Optional) - This night is not included in listed rates to book please reach out to frontdesk@menla.org or 845 688 6897 ext 101.
  • 7 - 11 am Checkout of Rooms
  • Menla Spa Day
*Please note schedule is subject to change


Jayne Gumpel, LCSW

Jayne Gumpel, LCSW (she/her/hers) is a psychotherapist, trainer, and teacher with 30 years of experience working with couples, individuals, and groups in New York City and Woodstock, NY. Jayne is a professional clinical trainer in Psychedelic Integration Psychotherapy, is a membe...

James Lawer

James Lawer has graduate degrees in theatre and divinity. He studied with and was initiated into tribal traditions in North, Central and South America as well as the indigenous (Druid) traditions of Great Britain. He was an ordained Christian minister serving congregations until ...

Jeffrey Guss, MD

Lead Trainer, Fluence Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine Jeffrey Guss, MD is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher and teacher with specializations in psychoanalytic therapy and psychedelic therapy. He was Co-Principal Investigator and Director...

David Gumpel M.A

David Gumpel is an Integral Master Coach and a qualified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through UMASS medical school. David is the co-founder of Access Mindfulness and a study coordinator for the MAPS sponsored MDMA-Assisted Therapy for the treatment of post...

Matthias von Reusner, MD

Matthias von Reusner, MD (he/him/his) is a board-certified Family Physician with an active practice in the Hudson Valley. Matthias received training in Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy at the prestigious Ketamine Training Institute and is a team member of the KAP team at the Woods...

Donna Sorgen, LMHC,LPC

Donna Sorgen, LMHC, LPC (she/her/hers) is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience working with adults, children, adolescents, couples, and groups. She is the Director of the Woodstock Therapy Center and the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) Program at WTC. She is also...

Seema Desai, MD

Seema Desai, MD (she/her/hers) is a board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist with a clinical interest in the intersection of spirituality and psychiatry. She integrates principles of mindfulness into her work with patients and teaches on topics of mindfulness and...



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