Getting Free: A Year of Untangling

Are you stalled out when you could be running with the wind?
Join Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin for

Getting Free: A Year of Untangling™

Enrollment opens only once a year.

Are you bumping along the ground when you want to be soaring?

Are you drawing stick figures when you want to paint masterpieces?

Are you hiding at the back of the room when you want to be out there making a difference?

Is there is so much more “living” you could be doing? And yet you’re stalled… like there’s a wall, or a roadblock… like you just can’t get out of second gear…

Pause and sense what your life could be if you were free… free to live your full life, the life that fits you just right, the life that is the unique expression of your gifts, your talents, your heart, your soul… Your unique aliveness.

You probably feel a dissonance… a gap between how it could be, and how it is now. Or maybe you don’t have a clear picture of how it could be… but you do know that how it is now ain’t it! And you can feel your unlived potential in your bones… the sense of a life that’s frustratingly beyond your reach…

So often – when you long to live as yourself – start selling your own art online, take a year off to write the book you’ve always had in you – you strive and struggle to make it happen — “This time, I’m just going to do it!” — then collapse when you come up against too familiar roadblocks. Something inside says, “See? You’ll never be able to do it.” You feel doomed to an endless cycle of trying and failing. We know what that’s like!

We (Barbara and Ann) created Untangling™ when we were facing impossibly tough life issues that resisted all attempts at change. And now you can get our guidance through the impossibly tough issues you’re facing… so you can live the life you long to live.

“Inside a Tangle, no road leads to freedom. There are dead ends everywhere. Resolution is literally impossible at that level. Everything you try just keeps you even more stuck.”

– Barbara McGavin

Barbara McGavin

What is Getting Free: A Year of Untangling™ all about?

You long to make your unique contribution to the world but it feels impossible.

Whenever you try to live more freely, you keep slamming into the same invisible wall of anxiety and self-doubt. You make some progress — you get your hopes up that you’re going to make it through this time — only to find yourself stalled again.

Somewhere in your life you are impossibly stuck.

You’ve tried everything you can think of to get free. You’ve tried being logical. You’ve tried getting help. You’ve even tried giving up and settling for how things are. Nothing works. You feel as “up against it” as ever. And you probably also feel inadequate, defective, and worthless… at least some of the time.

There isn’t anything wrong with you. You are not defective or inadequate. You have a Tangle.

Your Tangle actually makes sense. It’s created by the life-saving attempts by parts of you to deal with an impossible situation. Unfortunately, their efforts were mutually self-defeating. And that left you with confusing inner conflicts (such as “I want to and I don’t want to…”) and undermining beliefs (such as “I’m not the kind of person who can…”).

Most of what you’ve tried so far to get free from your Tangle has probably just made it worse.

When you’re inside a Tangle, all your thoughts and ideas, all your actions come from parts. Parts can’t get us free from Tangles. They create the Tangle! All the strategies of parts just dig us in deeper. No wonder this all feels so impossible!

You still long for something that really works to get free.

Free from the frustrating cycle of finding temporary relief only to have the same problems come back later. Free from the soul-stealing belief that something must be wrong with you. Free from the debilitating despair that comes when something in you says, “It’s too late now.” Free from the gnawing fear that what you want will never actually happen. Free from the Tangle!

We developed the Untangling™ method over more than 25 years of research into what really does work.

It started when we faced our own impossibly tough issues, and desperately needed something that would get us free. What we learned from our experience, first with ourselves and then with our clients, made us re-think everything we knew about trauma and change… and Focusing. Combined with our deep study of Gendlin’s ground-breaking Philosophy of the Implicit, the result was Untangling™ – a powerful set of processes to untangle any Tangle without getting stuck in despair or limitations.

Getting Free is our first program to support you through a whole year of Untangling™.

Tangles are tough. Untangling™ needs time. Time for learning new powers, trying them out in your life, coming back and getting help with your questions and challenges. It’s really important to have steady, ongoing support so that these new ways of living can take root. In this program, you’ll be with the two of us AND with a community of other Untanglers for inspiration and encouragement. We’ve carefully designed it that way. Yes, you’ll learn our whole method (and our cutting-edge theory), but most importantly, you’ll have personalized support for your ongoing journey with your Tangles.

When your Tangle shifts… everything shifts.

Your life opens up in surprising ways. Delightful. Unpredictable. Easeful. Satisfying. Ways that were impossible to imagine from inside your Tangle. You feel more at ease being yourself. You free your abilities and gifts so that you are effortlessly more authentic, creative, emotionally available, playful, loving, compassionate… Best of all, you have what you need to meet new Tangles as you encounter them. More fully and freely yourself… and confident in your ability to meet new Tangles… what could be better than that?

“Being healthy isn’t having no problems, it’s having new problems.”
– Gene Gendlin

3 Steps to Getting Free


Strengthen Your Powers

As you master the four Powers of Presence, what feels impossibly stuck can shift.


Transform Your Tangle

Become the environment that allows the life at the heart of each Tangle to live freely.


Confidently Embrace Your Life

Find yourself living in ways you couldn’t even imagine from inside your Tangle.

This is advanced training: You’ll need four Levels of Focusing (now taught under the name Path to Lasting Change, Parts One and Two), or a 6-day Treasure Maps retreat, in order to join us.

What stops core dreams from being realized are Tangles. It’s got nothing to do with how smart you are or the opportunities you’re given in life. The things that hold us back are Tangled up parts inside us that we don’t know how to shift. But we can learn…

Seasons of Change

Boot Camp

Tangles are tough. They tie you up in knots. They mystify, frustrate and confuse you. You end up feeling desperate and discouraged. To engage with your Tangle at the level that brings real change, you need to radically strengthen your Powers of Presence. By the end of Boot Camp, you will be well equipped to move to the next level of Untangling™.

March 19 – Taking up the Challenge
March 26 – Showing Up as Your Biggest Self
April 2 – As Big as Montana
April 9 – Deeply Listening
April 23 -Deeply Understanding
May 7 – Deeply Empathizing

Into the Maze

In a Tangle, things are not what they seem. Tangles can fool you. Being entangled is like being lost in a maze. You think you’ve finally found the way out and then realize you’re actually going around in circles. There are dead ends everywhere. During this season, you learn the keys to unlocking the secrets of the maze. You gain the clarity and spaciousness to be able to spend time with the deep places that really need attention. You discover that every dead end is actually a doorway to transformation.

May 28 – Lost in the Maze
June 4 – “Did I just do that?”
June 18 – “Who’s pulling my strings?”
July 9 – “Who’s that hiding in the bushes?”
July 23 – “This is never going to work!”

Diving Beneath the Surface

For a Tangle to untangle, you need to dive deep, to the heart of the Tangle. At these depths, you find wounded and struggling parts of you clustered around a frozen core. You become the compassionate healing environment that these wounded parts need. You’re able to bear what has been unbearable. As you sense the frozen core of the Tangle directly, it melts, and the life within is released. Profound change follows spontaneously.

August 13 – Diving Deep
August 27 – Desperately Evading the Abyss
September 10 – True Love
October 1 – Touching the Frozen Core
October 15 – Dancing with the Dragon of Despair
October 29 – Widening the Horizon of Possibility
November 19 – Life Emerging

Into the World

As your Tangles untangle, every area of your life starts to open in unexpected ways. Whether it’s in your work, or your relationships or your creative endeavors, you are freer and you encounter new challenges. You can embrace your new challenges as precious opportunities for even more growth. Living with greater freedom and greater scope, you feel strong and confident in your powers, able to go out into the world — and deep into yourself — to meet what life will bring.

December 3 – Easier – and Harder
December 17 – It Takes Two to Tangle
January 14 – Dancing with the Mystery
January 28 – Life Beyond Tangles?
February 11 – Bring It On, World!
February 25 – Getting Free

The Structure of the Program

24 Live Meetings (Online)

Ann and Barbara both plan to be present at all meetings. We meet with the group and offer supportive guidance with your Tangles. As you share and listen and know you’re not alone in what you’re facing, our community grows. You benefit from listening along with other participants’ processes and feel other people’s encouragement for your own.


Meeting in Focusing partnership with other Getting Free participants is a key part of the program. We give you a specific partnership practice theme each time the group meets. You can choose to have a different partner each time or stay with the same partner for longer.

In-Depth Manual/Workbook with Video Support

A new Untangling™ Manual by Ann and Barbara lays out the whole theory and method, supported by audio and video. This means class time can be used almost entirely for coaching you in how to apply the process to your Tangle.

Online Community

Stay connected to other group members and Barbara and Ann. Experience group support whenever you need it on a private, password-protected online community space where you can share your process, your insights and your questions.

“In every tough situation I can be curious. Even in the hardest times, I know I’m OK.”

– Ann Weiser Cornell

Are You Ready to Get Free?

You Can Start by Registering Here

Get started with a $500 deposit or pay in full.

Want to find out more about how Getting Free can help you step into your calm, confident, courageous life? Just email to schedule a chat with Ann Weiser Cornell, or you may want to listen in to our free webinar…

More about our free 90-minute Open House Webinar:

You will learn:

  • Why some areas of our lives resist change and stay stuck no matter what we try
  • How to create an environment of change instead of trying to change
  • A view of stages and layers: Why working with deeply entrenched Tangles takes time

We will also talk about the Getting Free: A Year of Untangling™ program and answer your questions about whether it is right for you.

Download the Recording of Our Free Webinar Here

This course is currently closed for registration. Click here to email Allison if you’d like to be notified when registration reopens.

What People Are Saying…

  • F.C.S.
    "What's different about Focusing? I found, and still find, something new and curious every time I venture into the Focusing space. That surprises me and I love it. After Treasure Maps, I know there's something undeniably important about Focusing that I must and deeply want to pursue. I now have a connection to the wider community of Focusers, including some I hope I can continue the journey with."
  • Stéphanie RS
    "All my life, I've suffered from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, and impostor syndrome. Focusing already helped me tremendously, but I still felt stuck. I love the Treasure Maps framework of Untangling a Tangle. For a long time, I felt like I bumped into the same invisible wall, without the ability to really see it. Now, I feel changed. It's subtle, but I definitely made a step forward. After Treasure Maps, I feel more compassion toward myself, more patience, more ability to hold it all. And I have a clear process/map to keep working on my Tangle."
  • Sylvie M.
    "Before Treasure Maps, I was often merged with parts of me and there was a feeling of being blocked...always at the same place. During the workshop, I started to notice a lot of what I was experiencing in my body and was shown a bigger picture of the situation. I found I could understand more deeply, without judging. I learned a lot about my issues. I'm now more able to welcome my inner critics. And sometimes it's like there's silence inside. I feel like I'm better able to show up to the process of Focusing, especially as a companion."
  • Terri Thayer Micene
    Terri Thayer Micene photo"My life has changed since Treasure Maps. I no longer spend several hours a day playing games on my phone. What was once an irresistible siren call was shut off just like a water tap. My eating habits (my main tangle) are no longer a problem. My stomach is behaving as it should and I don’t fight off cravings or the desire to eat foods that don’t agree with me. Eating has become an easeful process for me, for the first time in my life."
  • Marie Sherry McDonald
    "For me, Treasure Maps is a spiritual adventure. When I cultivate unconditional presence for all that arises in me, I feel peaceful and I can be myself. As a result, I have better relationships, feel longer periods of calm, and appreciate most of my life experiences."
  • Bie D.
    "Before Treasure Maps, I was always trying to understand and change my relationship with the world in order to find a better place for me "out there." Now, I often spend more time with myself. It's easier to be alone. I'm more in the here and now, so I enjoy life more."
  • Jennifer Edwards
    "Treasure Maps was absolutely amazing in content, the way it was organized, the experiential work we did. Even down to the way the course was delivered. It's clear that Ann and Barbara have developed this work over many years and are teaching from their personal experience. Halfway through the retreat, I was confident that whatever happens in my life from now on, I have a way of being with that in a compassionate, nonjudgmental way. My inner world feels more friendly now. I have more "space" inside - more peace. I discovered I really can be the environment for change. It's like being given a priceless gift. I am so grateful to Ann and Barbara for their work."
  • Gaye B.
    "Treasure Maps gave me the tools to bring about transformative, sustainable change. When I returned home and found I wasn't irritable (like I used to be) and didn't even have to try to be open and loving, I felt free. It's been a dynamic and effective transformation."
  • Lynette T.
    "Treasure Maps offers a comprehensive process that enables one to really do deeper work in a continuous way so you don't lose the thread of the issues you're working through. You really have the space to get to the heart of all that's needed to make lasting change. After the retreat, I feel freer to just be me and go with my own flow. I don't feel the same pressure to be something I'm not or to perform to the standards of others. What really matters now is that I feel satisfied and fulfilled by my actions. I keep learning and growing, experiencing life in whatever way feels right for me at the time."
  • Heather Rogers
    "I gained a profound sense of transformation and healing from my childhood. There were things there, in the past, that felt like a dark shadow with deep longings. They needed compassionate, nurturing attention and they found it in Treasure Maps. I now know how to be aware of and present with two conflicting aspects of myself without taking sides. I have tools to work with states of depression, shame and despair, procrastination, addictive behaviors, and obsession in my work with others. This workshop - the immediacy, depth of respect for one another, and profound wisdom of the body - is an experience I will always treasure."
  • Georgia Simone
    "I came to Treasure Maps hoping to untangle a life-long, debilitating self-doubt and fear of public speaking. No one (as in not one single person) has been able to support me in overcoming the intense nervous energy I sometimes experience when speaking in public or sharing in groups. This left me feeling confused and like there was something wrong with me. Treasure Maps handed me the keys to not only begin to untangle this nervous knot but also to gain great insight into what has prevented me from fulfilling my potential. After Treasure Maps, I feel different in ways that are difficult to articulate - as if the very foundation that has been holding this whole tangle together has been weakened beyond repair. I've spoken twice in public since the retreat and both times felt so different. There was some nervous energy, but unlike other times, it did not take over. I was able to stay in presence without being consumed by it, and I was able to speak from my heart authentically and powerfully. This is huge! Furthermore, I simply feel more confident - in a natural and quiet kind of way, like I don't need to prove or defend myself. I feel more myself. And it feels good. Really good."
  • S.S.
    "I came to Treasure Maps with an intention to find a method to help me be with difficult feelings in intimate relationships, and as a tool to facilitate deeper connections for my patients. Other methods I'd tried before left me feeling like I needed to be fixed or changed, but Focusing wasn't like that. Instead of "managing" myself, I developed an appreciation of my experiences that allowed acceptance and compassion. As a result, my relationships (with myself and others) feel more connected, loving and warm. I knew this course was making a difference when I noticed that I felt more settled when difficult feelings came. I began to "be with" them and give them space instead of resisting the experiences that activated them. It made all the difference. Now, I have a more solid sense of trust in myself (and others). I know I will move forward, confident that I can and will take good care of myself (and others) as a result."

About the Teachers

Ann and Barbara

Ann Weiser Cornell

Ann Weiser Cornell struggled with painful addiction, anxiety in social situations, and an inability to do the thing she most wanted to do – write.

Ann created Inner Relationship Focusing with her long-time colleague, Barbara McGavin, to help alleviate the thinking and feeling cycles that kept her stuck in hard places. It changed her life, and it became her mission to help others create quiet miracles in their lives too.

For over 35 years now, Ann’s been teaching this practical, revolutionary process to people all over the world.

Barbara McGavin

Barbara McGavin’s greatest joy is exploring the frontiers of the Focusing process – what it is and how it can be applied in daily life.

Since 1991, she has been developing Inner Relationship Focusing with Ann Weiser Cornell. Since 1994, the two of them have been exploring Focusing in some of the most difficult areas of life. Untangling™ has grown out of this and is the core of Barbara’s own Focusing practice.

Barbara’s other great interest is in how Focusing can be used in the creative arts. She has developed a process called From Spark to Beacon to help people develop and release their creative capacities.

Additional Information

How Online Courses Work

We use Zoom, an online video conference platform, to connect you to other students and the teacher. Before the class starts you will receive a Zoom link to use each time the class meets. You can join us via your camera-equipped computer, tablet, or smart phone. Prefer not to be on video? You can turn off your camera. Don’t want to call via computer? You can call in by phone. Zoom is free and easy to use. You will be able to sign on in advance to make sure you can access it, but we’ve had very few problems with it. Students also receive access to a private webpage where course materials can be found.

We use Ruzuku, an online course content platform, to provide your course materials, recordings, and a discussion forum. During the checkout process, you’ll be invited to create a Ruzuku account (if you don’t already have one) or add the course to your existing Ruzuku account. Please be sure to watch for this step and contact our Customer Happiness Manager right away if you don’t see it.


This is advanced training: You’ll need four Levels of Focusing (now taught under the name Path to Lasting Change, Parts One and Two), or a 6-day Treasure Maps retreat, in order to join us.


Continuing Education Credit & Course Completion Certificate

Course meets the qualifications for 48 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Focusing Resources, CAMFT Approved CE Provider #62524.

Focusing Resources is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Focusing Resources maintains responsibility for this course and its content.

There is a $25 administrative fee for CE units. Course completion certificates are awarded at the end of the course upon completion of all requirements and the course evaluation. (If you don’t want CE units but would like a completion certificate, the $25 fee does still apply.)

Eligibility for CE units requires at least 80% live attendance. Missed classes must be made up.

Cancellations, Changes & Refunds

Until end of day March 31, 2020: We will refund your course fee less the $$200 non-refundable portion of your initial payment.

From April 1, 2020 onward: 100% of course fees are non-refundable.

When Something Doesn't Go As You'd Hoped...

We are always open to discussing experiences with our courses that didn’t work for you or didn’t go the way you expected. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to email your course instructor, the staff member in charge of your course, or Ann Weiser Cornell. Email addresses for all these people will be supplied on registration. We will work with you to find a way to meet your needs.

Got Questions? We’ve Got Your Answers…

Do I have to be present for every class? What about recordings?

This is a participatory partnership class and your presence at most of the classes is important, but there is no precise number of classes you need to attend — unless you want CEUs, in which case you need to attend 80% of the classes and make up any missed classes. Every class will be recorded and the recordings will be available to every registered participant.

Can I take this course remotely, by listening to recordings?

Yes, that would be possible. You would not be able to receive CEUs but you could participate in class discussions using the online forum, and you would be able to be in partnerships.

How does this compare to the Untangling™ course which was five weeks long?

Whenever we taught that 5-week Untangling™ course (or 10 weeks with Untangling™ 2 added), we wished we had the time and the structure to offer real support over time to the inner journey of the participants. Getting Free is not only longer. It also offers more support and more depth. Because it is an advanced course, requiring either four levels of Focusing training or the 6-day retreat, we are able to work at an advanced level from the start.

How does this compare to the retreats, the 6-day regular retreat, and the 6-day advanced retreat?

There is nothing like meeting in person! We love doing retreats because of the power of an in-person group in a beautiful place in the world. That said, the down-side of a retreat is that you go home in a week… and except for Focusing partnerships and emails, you are basically on your own. We’ve been longing for a way to support people over time to make the Untangling™ process a deep and enduring part of their lives.



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