How To Overcome Mental Health Struggles And Press On With Success

Deciding to go to a mental health retreat can be difficult and scary. Most people have little issue with looking out for their physical health, but choosing to get help for your mental health takes a great deal of strength and bravery. While the stigma surrounding mental health concerns is dissipating, thanks largely to greater awareness of mental health services in daily life, it may still make things more difficult when you’re dealing with a mental health condition.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, especially these days. With the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, social distancing, and other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health problems and substance use have increased. Common mental health conditions seen during the pandemic include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal ideation, and more. Fortunately, access to mental health professionals continues to increase, and there are ways to overcome mental health issues and succeed with the right help, regardless of the source of your struggles. Here are some general mental health tips, as well as some information on how our treatment plans work at Intensive Therapy Retreats.

Finding a Therapist Who Works for You


No matter what sort of mental illness you may struggle with, finding a mental health provider who you feel comfortable with and who can support your specific needs is the most important first step to take on the road toward mental wellness. Our private retreat spaces are located in Northampton, MA, which is central to all major cities in the Northeast of the United States like New York and Boston. We encourage our guests to enjoy the natural beauty of the area during their time in our wellness retreat on the East Coast as part of the coping process.

Our team is made up of kind, effective, and caring psychologists and educators. We’re confident that you can find a clinician who fits your need to start overcoming mental health disorders. Here are some of our team members who you may work with from our department of psychiatry.

Bambi Rattner, Psy.D.

Dr. Rattner earned her doctorate in psychology in 1997 and has worked as a clinical psychologist ever since. She started her work in inpatient psychiatric units and sheltered workshops and has since worked in practically any setting you can think of. She’s worked in schools, making her a great choice for adolescent psychiatry, and she’s also worked in nursing homes. With patients ranging from three years old to 103, she’s used her abilities to provide care for many mental health needs.

She trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and found it to be a great way to treat new people both quickly and effectively.

Ross Hackerson

Ross has worked with people suffering through the trauma of childhood neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and a lack of connection with family members for over 40 years. He combines his psychology knowledge and skills with his skills as an educator and helps people achieve better emotional health through teaching self-care strategies and coaching people at our retreat. He has dedicated himself to many years and forms of clinical research to help people as effectively as possible at our wellness retreat.

Brian Powell, MSW

Brian has over 25 years of experience in both social work and as a counselor, and he’s worked as a psychiatrist and provided counseling for people struggling with emotional pain and symptoms. He’s specialized in areas like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addictions, family counseling, attachment disorders, and more.

As a therapist, Brian seeks to promote your emotional safety, growth, and resilience, and as a social worker, he can connect you to the resources and mental health support systems to help you succeed in all areas of life. He uses a variety of techniques, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), EMDR, art therapy, hypnotherapy, and more to help people, regardless of their mental state. He is also a committed ally to the LGBT+ community and has a record of supporting client transformations and consistent positive results.

The team at our resort provides effective professional help to help people overcome negative thoughts, difficult situations and emotions, and much more with proven psychotherapy methods. Once you’ve found a professional you’re comfortable with, the real work can begin.

Our Specialties


At Intensive Therapy Retreats, we provide adolescents and adults alike with the treatment they need to get back on their feet and succeed without medication. While we can provide care and coping skills for virtually any mental health or emotional problem, there are a few areas that we specialize in.


Effective trauma treatment is built on understanding the common reactions people have to stress hormones and difficult situations. Our mental health providers help people deal with adult and childhood trauma with their unique situations, whether they struggle with long-term consequences of trauma or have the resilience to suffer only short-term issues before intervention.

At our retreat, we focus on helping clients release their negative emotions and self-limiting ideas through rapid methods like EMDR, rather than placing much emphasis on longer treatment methods like CBT.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a huge challenge for people who survive traumatic events. It can be a source of negative emotions like sadness, frustration, and anger, and it may even cause physical symptoms like headaches. There is no single best way for treating PTSD, so part of the process will be finding a routine that works for you. We’ve seen great success using EMDR to help patients process their emotional pain in a safe and supportive environment at our mental health retreat.

PTSD is often a long-term struggle, but our team is dedicated to helping you find ways to process and work through your traumatic experiences without triggering the negative feelings associated with them.

Childhood Abuse

Child abuse can result in long-lasting trauma for survivors, and unfortunately, there are about 3 million reported cases of child abuse in the United States each year. The majority of child abuse cases involve neglect, but there are also incidents of physical and sexual abuse, all of which can result in long-lasting consequences for the abused. We help survivors undo the mental and emotional burdens that have been placed on them since childhood.

Our Techniques

At Intensive Therapy Retreat, we’re dedicated to helping our guests overcome trauma and negative emotions quickly, often with stays that last just a few days. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one of the techniques that make this possible. Compared to other psychotherapy methods, EMDR has been proven to show long-lasting results in just a few sessions. Something that makes it a success with participants is that this form of psychotherapy doesn’t require a patient to talk in-depth about their traumatic experiences, and there are no projects to complete between sessions.

EMDR is founded on the idea that moving your eyes rapidly back and forth while focusing on negative thoughts can cause the negative emotions associated with them to subside. These eye movements help to deactivate the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that produces alarm and fear responses, while negative thoughts are being processed. This technique helps to disconnect the negative thoughts from the fear responses the brain would typically produce. In practice, your therapist will most likely guide you through a complex protocol to make the most of this technique.

We also focus on Internal Family Systems (IFS) to address various “parts” of the personality. These “parts” can become conflicted with our “core self” following traumatic events. Our mental health providers can help you give voice to these “parts” and acknowledge them in a healthy way to ease pain.

How It All Works


Every mental health retreat is unique, but we’re generally trying to take you away from your normal daily routine and place you in a relaxing environment away from work, electronics, and social media. Wellness retreats are meant to be places of rejuvenation and focusing on what’s going on inside you.

You’ll have a quick orientation with your therapist on intake day to go over what you’re struggling with and what you hope to accomplish with our program. We’ll then spend a couple of days guiding you through coping techniques that you can use during and after therapy before we dive into your traumas and treatment plan.

Trauma processing is where the bulk of the work takes place, and it’s the longest stage of your mental health retreat. This is where you’ll be tackling the tough questions and working through your emotions with your therapist. This process often takes three to five days, but we’ll go at the pace that’s right for your individual needs. When you graduate from our program, your therapist will connect you with resources and tools you can keep using.

A wellness retreat like this can be a great way to recover from traumatic events, process negative emotions, and even find ways to enjoy your hobbies more and improve your overall energy flow. It’s just important to realize that retreats don’t do everything. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, a hospital may be your best course for treatment.

If you need some assistance promoting your mental wellness and getting back to success in your life, schedule a call with us for more information on Intensive Therapy Retreats and to see if our way is right for you.