Embodied approaches to Life and to Therapy

encouraging aliveness......healing trauma ......promoting growth.....

         workshops and professional training  with Michael Gavin

Embodied Creative Self-Directed Learning on the island of Thassos

Residential Workshop, Thassos, Greece

for Personal and Professional Development

Michael Gavin & Tracie Peisey

with Judy Hall

Friday 13 - Friday 20 September 2019

  •  a week on the "green island" of Thassos in the kind September sunshine
  • rooted in Embodied Created Self-Directed Learning,
  • rest, relaxation, regeneration, inspiration, 
  • all varieties of creativity, with guidance - if wanted, without pressure - ever
  • with a group of curious, self-aware and self-responsible people,
  • an embodied approach cultivating presence, awareness, aliveness and enjoyment
  • with a rich variety of topics, activities, and modalities available,
  • your choice between personal work, professional development, life goals...
  •  fun, exploration, celebration



Limited early booking places

Full Price


What else is there to pay for?

Your airfare and transfers.
 Cheap airfares are still available if you book soon.  Ask Tracie.  
Accommodation is self-catering, so budget for food at home or at the various tavernas that are available.

Embodied Creative Self-Directed Learning  on the island of Thassos


Sunny weather, friendly people, good food

Magnificent scenery and Gorgeous beaches

Unique ancient culture

Contemporary standards of service, amenities and accommodation


Through the body you can become GroundedCentredContactful:

qualities that enable Presence.

The body is the seat of  your passion, and your dynamism, your vulnerability

and your tenderness.

Too much in our lives has become disembodied.


You choose your direction, your focus…

You grow in depth, vitality, wisdom, enjoyment.

You surprise yourself.

You determine the questions and themes, 

You build a programme that suits you

(in collaboration  if that helps you.)

You decide the pace.

You decide what counts as success.

We  (the Group and Group Leaders) support, challenge, encourage and bear witness.



Time to relax and enjoy

Time to explore

Time for the effects to sink in

Time to reflect on your life

Time in good company


To tap into the spirit of play.

To connect with the power of imagination

To give clarity  and  form to our vague dreams and unseen  visions

To let the unconscious speak in its own language

Thassos in September

Thassos has a little bit of everything.

 The whole island can be circumnavigated in about two hours by car or bus around a coastal road with stunning views of aqua bays to the right, with little harbours and skala (by the sea) villages. Little roads darting up to traditional mountain villages to the left.

Thassos is famous for it’s pure marble, honey, beautiful monastery and laid back atmosphere.

The little ferry journey breaks one in nicely to the island’s delights, seagulls can be fed from the open decks and dolphins are sometimes seen surfing in their wake.  I have never known a bumpy crossing.

Who is this workshop for?

  • You want deep relaxation, refreshment, wide horizons.
  • You want the chance to go deeply into yourself.
  • You want clear blue skies, warm sunshine, clean air, fresh breezes;
  • simple living, fresh food,
  • time to recharge; time to explore.
  • You want a respite, and perhaps a challenge.

Perhaps you have been doing some work on yourself

  • You are exploring your inner world, and you want to go deeper.
  • You know that the blockages and tangles in your mental, emotional and embodied life conceal vitality and passion, unexamined meanings and unlived possibilities.
  • You want something that will take you deeper in, and further on, than talking therapy may have been able to do.
  • You want space, time, warmth and companionship to enable you to dive deeper, and explore further.

Perhaps you work with and for other people

  • You want some time just for yourself: to heal, to recover and maybe to spoil yourself a little.
  • You want to shake loose, shrug off and let go what you may have picked up of other people's hurts and troubles, anxieties, tensions and preoccupations.
  • You want the chance to re-attune to your own internal rhythms, and so to revive and clarify your capacity to attune to others.

This workshop setting could be likened to an old-fashioned Lido in a warm summer:

with plenty of space to just take it easy in the sunshine; 

with a very shallow shallow-end wto dip your toe, if you want to;

with a gently sloping floor encouraging you towards the challenge of the deeper water, if you choose to follow it; 

with as deep a deep-end, and as scary a water-splash as you could wish for, if you are ready want to take the plunge. 

You will be able to use it in the way that suits you, with help and encouragement from the leaders, and support from your fellow participants.

Is this workshop for you?

Yes, if you have some commitment and enthusiasm towards your personal growth and/or your professional development.

Yes, if you are willing to ask yourself, “What would be the new thing for me here?”  That could mean a lazy self-indulgent week for the striver, and a focussed and disciplined effort for the butterfly: in any case something that enables you to surprise yourself.

Yes, if you want to immerse yourself in creative work, or study, or play, or reflection, or nature.

Yes, if you are willing to be at curious, and even at times directionless. 

No, if you are completely new to personal work, so uneasy in an unfamiliar group that you cannot function, or if you feel that any difficulties you are facing could readily and completely overwhelm you.

No, if you are seeking simply a therapy experience, rather than a time of personal and professional exploration. This experience may be therapeutic, but it is NOT therapy.

The emphasis in this workshop is on self-responsibility.   Sometimes people need a place to just give up, collapse and let others take care of them for a while.   Though I expect the group environment to be one of mutual care and support, this is probably not the right workshop for you if your need is to give up all responsibility for yourself and others.

You could also face some problems if you need to run the show, or tell us how to run the show.  Putting the  principles of collaboration and co-creation into actual practice can be a growth promoting challenge: for some that challenge is just too much.  If that is you, think twice or more about this workshop.

If you have an appetite for self-exploration, for learning new ways to experience, explore, relate to, and express yourself, or for adding new perspectives and skills to your work with people, this will be just the place for you.

If you want some fun, some relaxation and some stimulating company, that will be just fine too.

What happens at the workshop?

On Friday evening, after you have arrived in Thassos and settled into your accommodation, we will meet as a group and map out a plan for the week, taking account of everybody's goals and wishes as far as is possible.

Each day there will be at least one substantial whole group meeting, to check in, get support, and celebrate.  Other sessions, outings and activities will be developed through discussion, and will be optional. 

There will also be the opportunity to join in a variety of daily practices - Qi Gong, creative work, and different approaches to meditation, mindfulness and self-awareness.

Tracie, herself an Artist with years of experience as an Art Therapist will oversee opportunities for Art Work indoors and out, and for using images and materials to follow and develop what emerges for you.  Art materials will be available to you at all times, whenever the creative impulse arises.  

Michael will offer group and individual opportunities to explore themes using methods drawn form Radix and other body-focused approaches, as well as Imagework, and other personal development models like Focusing, Core Energy Management, TA etc. .This could lead to anything from  movement and dance in various forms, to more intensive individual or group sessions, and some skills teaching or even supervision for those who want that.  

There will be outings and activities arising from the location. Tracie has a house in the village, and knows the place and people well.

And there will be lots of free time to enjoy and explore Greek island living.

We will have our closing session on Thursday evening, with Friday (20th) as departure day.

Within an elastic group framework, you build a programme that suits youin collaboration with me and the rest of the group.

The menu

This is not a set menu, but more of a Smorgasbord, Tapas, or  Chinese Takeaway including

Personal work:
Radix Intensive , 
Somatic Trauma Therapy,
 Transactional Analysis , 
Core Energy Management  
Life and Relationship goals

Mindfulness and meditation

Creativity and fun: 
Art work, 
Qi Gong,
Story telling
Exploring Nature
The mountains 
Village life, 
The sea and the beach
Professional development:
Body Awareness,
 Boundary and Contact,
Trauma Work, 
Interpersonal Neurophysiology  (Schore, Siegel, Cozzolino)
Character Types in theory and practice, 
Developing Personal Presence and Personal Authority
Specific Skills  for Trauma 

Some feedback from our last workshop

Lesbos 2017

"My questions … were held solidly and answered throughout the week..."

"I don't know how, but I have changed, and I had a great time."

"I can control how I spend my moments, with whom and in what situation - I spent a week of moments very well indeed in Lesbos"

"Amazing being around artistic people and around those like myself that are self discovering art  .."

I felt you both held me in mind in a way that was real and true to me and without projection which was a rare and moving experience for me."

"Tracie for me you provided much-needed creative inspiration and a thoughtful, kind and attuned building of spaces that enabled a new level of exploration and painful beautiful discoveries."

"Precious messages, insight, fun and unforgettable wisdom from you Michael which were all offered within a wild yet safe container.

I experienced a huge range of emotions - my own and of others which were all nourishing and liberating and insightful at the same time."

Before and after the workshop?

Before Thassos

Once you decide to join us, choose which option you want to take for your approach to SDL ahead of the week in Thassos.

There will be a private FaceBook Group to share travel plans, encouragement, and information.


Just come for the week, and enjoy.  A couple of weeks before the Thassos workshop I will send you a few questions to help you focus on what you want from the workshop.  


Beginning in January we will be sending out  a monthly email with some ideas and questions and exercises or practices, to help you make the best use of our time in Thassos (and at our March (15 - 17) New Forest weekend, if you join us there), and beyond. There will also be a link to a webpage with more resources you might find useful.  


You join one of the coaching programmes* of monthly sessions, also beginning in January and continuing for a couple of months after the workshop, to enable you to prepare for the experience, clarify your dreams, goals, sticking places, and shady areas, so that you can arrive on the island with some clarity and perspective, make the most of the experience while you are there, and afterwards process, digest and integrate your learning, and move forward in your chosen direction.  (These programmes can also include our March weekend in the New Forest.)

After Thassos
The FaceBook Group will continue for those who want it, for support, accountability, and celebration, or what you will.


Monthly coaching continues until November.


Monthly emails continue until November.


Enjoy the changes and discoveries after you leave.


The workshop will take place in the village of Theologos, on the island of Thassos

Theologos is a village preserved by Greece for its traditional architecture.

It is a cherished traditional mountain top village with a nature trail and museum. Water cascades throughout and it is a lush fertile area of natural beauty.

It is a working village of carpenters, shoe makers and stonemason with few ( if any!) tourist shops, save for a little boutique and hairdressers.  There is simply too much to see in one visit and the pace, ‘siga-siga’ (slowly-slowly) dictates that less is more.

Nothing much moves during siesta time between 2-5pm even in high season

*Look out for details of the Coaching and Mentoring opportunities in December


Accommodation is in shared self-catering houses in the traditional village of Theologos.  Go to www.thassosestate.com/harmony for details.

The workshop leaders

Michael Gavin

Tracie Peisley

I have worked with groups for some decades and I have a deep confidence in the nurturing, creative, healing and healthily challenging power of a group of reasonably well-intentioned and responsible people to enable remarkable things to emerge for individuals and for the group as a whole.

After more than fifty years working with people, including thirty years as a psychotherapist, twenty years as a body psychotherapist, and about seventeen focusing on trauma,  I closed my individual psychotherapy practice in 2012. 

I  have finally left London behind and settled by the sea in Dorset.

I have now  reached a reflective stage in my life when  I am more focused on reflection, writing and mentoring the development of adventurous souls

I love watching people develop personally and professionally.

I have a particular interest in how people - particularly helpers, and people in positions of leadership - can survive and thrive within organisations,  how the Helping Professions can so easily take their toll on the human spirit, and what can be done to humanise this process..

I continue to be fascinated by ways of working with trauma, and with the complexities of trauma-conditioned transference and counter-transference.  This is in no small part due to my long friendship and collaboration with Babette Rothschild (The Body Remembers, Help for the Helper, 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery etc.). She has kindly said: Michael Gavin has been my closest UK colleague since 1992.… There is no one I have more confidence in as a therapist, teacher, consultant, and supervisor."

After more than twenty-five years of learning from and collaborating with Michael Randolph, our Radix Intensive Body Psychotherapy workshops remain a enduring source of surprise and delight to me.  I have long felt a calling to bring the insights of our body focused ways of working to those whose training has been in the talking therapies.

Through yoga, Tai Ji, through dancing and riding my bike, as well as Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Trauma Therapy, I continually return to the fundamental importance of embodied living and body awareness.  A relatively new project unfolding over the last couple of years has been the EveryBodyKnows  workshop series devised and delivered in collaboration with Brian Stirner, a revelation and  an affirmation of the proposition that "less is more",  and that deep learning can come for simplicity and focussed attention.

I am a certified Radix Body Psychotherapist, involved with London Radix Workshops for 30+ years.

One of only two Certified Somatic Trauma Therapists in the UK, I am an Approved Supervisor on the Somatic Trauma Therapy Certification Program.

I was External Supervisor to the London Underground’s Counselling and Trauma team from 2007 to the end of 2015.

I was in private practice as a therapist in SW London from the 1980s until the end of 2012.

I have been a Regular member of the Institute of Transactional Analysis  since 1982, and a frequent presenter at ITA Conferences over the years.  My three years of TA training in the eighties, disrupted by a prolonged encounter with ME/CFS, has formed a valued frame of reference for my thinking, and I learned much from intensive training with Bob and Mary Goulding and Richard Erskine. 

For twenty years, from 1997 to 2018, I was a regular member of a  Professional Development Group, led by the Psychoanalyst, Shirley Spitz, exploring relational psychoanalysis, transference and counter-transference and other analytic and psychodynamic themes.

My own Jungian analysis lasted from 1986 to 1998, and for the past 29 years I have been associated with the annual Champernowne Trust summer conference focussing on Jungian psychology, creativity and the Arts based approaches to therapy.  I am now myself a Trustee with particular responsibility for the Web and Social Media.

I trained additionally in Core Energy Management with William Bloom (The Endorphin Effect, Feeling Safe etc), and with Dina Glouberman in Imagework.

My awareness of Mindfulness practices began in 1966 when I joined an esoteric school based in the teachings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and the philosophy of the Advaita Vedanta. The practices and the philosophy have continued to inform my life and my work.

A range of possible professional and personal topics


  • First be comfortable
  • Grounding, Centring and Facing
  • Somatic self-awareness
  • Strawberries, Anchors and Fingerposts – applying Core Energy Management (William Bloom)


  • Expressive Bodywork: Do's, Don’ts and How-To's
  • Understanding Emotions:  In Body, Mind, And Relationship
  • What Talking Therapists Can Learn from Body Psychotherapy
  • Embodied Counter Transference: A Vital Therapeutic Tool


  • Self-Care for Working with People
  • Self-Care for Therapists and Counsellors
  • Self-Care for Trauma Therapists and Counsellors
  • Self-care for Managers and Leaders
  • Self-care for Teachers and Headteachers
  • Self-care for Parents
  • Self-care for Carers


  • Self-remembering (Mindfulness+)
  • Self-esteem – Denton Robert’s “Gentle Path to Peace”
  • Developing Personal Presence
  • Developing Personal Authority
  • Embodying Power: assertiveness in practice
  • Creative Aggression (Bach & Goldberg)
  • Six Human Needs (Madanes)


Introducing Active Imagination  (Jung)

Working with Images (Glouberman)



  • What You Need to Know about Trauma & PTSD
  • Starting Out on Trauma Therapy
  • Working safely with People Affected by Trauma


  • Assessing Clients Affected by Trauma
  • The Three-phase Model of Trauma Treatment    -in theory and in practice
  • Putting on the Brakes - managing arousal in trauma treatment
  • Risks and Remedies in Working with Trauma
  • Peter Levine's SIBAM Model: an invaluable tool for work with trauma
  • 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery in Practice


  • The Neuroscience You Need for Trauma Therapy
  • Understanding Trauma in Brain and Body


Short-Term Work with Trauma

Long-Term Work with Complex Trauma

Trauma and Counter-transference

Structural Dissociation and Trauma


For People in Leadership Roles

  • Between the Millstones –Surviving the pressures of organisations, and thriving
  • Developing Personal Authority as a Leader

For People in Education

  • School Rules
  • How to Praise and Disapprove
  • The Anatomy of Arousal (and of Calm) for Teachers
  • Developing Personal Authority as a Teacher/ Headteacher
  • Confidence in the Classroom
  • Don't Smile till Easter – the path of the classroom Ninja
  • Troubled or Troublesome - understand and manage challenging behaviour

‘I have learnt to trust the creative process and although a painter for thirty years I give myself permission to play with and make whatever comes to mind in any media. Sometimes I collect beach materials to recycle, one summer I spent each day mosaicking, I always have clay to sculpt and coil along with painting and drawing staples.’

Tracie Peisley in depth

I believe passionately in expanding upon one’s idea of what might be possible and facilitating others to follow a creative process, which given permissive environments, appropriate resources, practical direction and crucially supportive relationships, individuals can make work ready to exhibit which exceeds early expectations.

I qualified as a HCPC art therapist, with experience of working with children, families and adults creatively.  The therapy I offered followed the participant process and supported a range of abilities. The premise is to work with the artist within seeking to express something.  I am confident that everyone can achieve something through a creative process and some of course are very talented indeed. 

I have worked with non-directive and directive models depending on the needs of the individuals and groups I have worked with.  I can work closely with individuals sharing skills and ideas and equally I am willing to give space for ideas to unravel at their own pace.

In work with children I have experience of 5-11 year olds with complex needs, Physical and Emotional.  I have put together sessions that include drama, movement and play to improve social interaction and build the confidence to take risks.  These skills are taken into daily life but also the challenges of being a creative practitioner.  Trying something for the first time, baring not knowing what might happen, remaining curious, moving forward, taking risks and relaxing are all states relevant to making art.

I am a qualified teacher and can confidently structure a session, hold it’s boundaries and make the preparations necessary for a smooth running course.  I can evaluate the workshop and risk manage it.  I can differentiate a task dependent on the participant’s level of understanding, agility and experience.  I am not fazed by learning new skills and I would like to take this enthusiasm and confidence, belief that anything is possible into the workshops.

I have led community based art groups for many years, notably the Pandora’s other box project which supports women to move out of their comfort zone and to empower them to make art both individually and collaboratively around a theme with a view to staging a professional exhibition.  Many women from these groups have gone on to lead their own groups.  Most recently I supported a group of 8 women to make work for an exhibition called, ‘Still I Rise’ (based on the poetry of Maya Angelou,) at The Fish Slab Gallery in Whitstable

In terms of my own artistic practice, my training as an art therapist really set me free to work with any media.  I am a painter of 30 years but I have also worked with metal, ceramic, wood and fabric to make sculpture, create environments, make objects and clothes.  I believe that all my pieces are in a sense collages, amalgamations or assemblages of things put together to make something that is harmonious with some sense of emotional tension.

This is what you can explore
         in the creative aspects of the workshop

  • Exercises to disarm the inner critic and saboteur that can prevent playful creative expression. 
  • Exercises  to  broaden one's sense of what might be possible in the arts.
  • No fail supportive tutorials to begin or build a foundation of techniques to grow your confidence in being creative.
  • Moving in to the unconscious, untapping the rich seams of imagery through making Mandalas 
  • Moving out to connect with nature and each other using the environment to inspire and hold creative adventures. 
  • Reference to a wealth of well known and unknown Artists from the earliest to the current day... we are never alone. 
  • A held creative space with materials and support available to work with emergence if our core concerns and dreams.

That thing you want to do

                        – that thing you want to say

Take yourself seriously

Listen carefully


Reach for the good stuff

Be courageous

Tolerate stupidity

Be nice when you can

Love yourself unreservedly

Love others even more

Forgive the bastards

Take action

Think about the planet

Remember all the little things are sentient

Write poetry

Send poetry

Make touch a priority

That thing you want to do

That thing you want to say


Be creative it won’t kill anyone

from Tracie's blog

October 1 2018


 A Limited Number of Places at £875 for Accommodation and Tuition until 31 December 2018.

Then £1075

Pay £175 deposit by PayPal Now. Then 2 instalments of £300.

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