The Untangling® Intensive


The Untangling® Intensive

with Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin


We know, we’ve been there…

It all started in 1994 when we happened to be confronted with our own most challenging life issues (addiction to alcohol and suicidal depression) just as we were about to teach three workshops together. We were both professional Focusing teachers… but years of Focusing (as we knew it then) had not helped us with our toughest issues – which seemed impossible to shift.

Somehow the urgency of it and the combination of our unique strengths resulted in our developing a new form of Focusing that did work to bring change in those most challenging, tangled life issues.

We thought our new discoveries could be kept to ourselves until we got a lot more sure about them. But the questions that people asked us about their own problems and issues kept calling for answers out of our newest learnings. We found we had to share what we were discovering, raw as it was. People loved it, and wanted more.

What IS a Tangle Anyway?

What We’ve Discovered is…

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. But there is a way to shift outside of the Tangle so that new possibilities open up.

There is some kind of trauma underneath – Underlying any Tangle is a “stoppage” of life forward energy – in other words, a trauma. Transformation and resolution come when you can be present to the stopped energy (and the pain of it) without falling in. When you can do this, you begin to get back your own life direction and your own resources.

Exiled parts play key roles
– The key player in the Tangle may be an exiled part of you that you can’t feel or hear. All the Focusing in the world doesn’t help until you invite the missing player. Having a “map” lets you know what missing part to invite… so your inner work is effective and brings real change.

You are not your Tangle
– Inside a Tangle, it’s hard to access your full, aware, freely acting Self. But you are not your Tangle. You are a resourceful, resilient, flexible Self who can be in Presence with every aspect and part. Wouldn’t it be great to really experience that? You can!

The Program

The Untangling® Intensive is an online program (via Zoom) led by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin. It meets over six days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on two successive weekends. There will be six hours of class each day, three hours (with a 15 minute break) and then another three hours after a 90-minute break.

That might seem like a lot of time in front of a screen, but there will be breaks, movement, and Focusing partnerships within each of those three-hour sessions. We want to offer you an intensive, immersive experience that supports you in going deep into the process.

Over these six days, we’ll be going on a journey of inner exploration that begins with Getting to Know Your Tangle… and then one by one we show you the Five Powers of Presence and how to apply each of them in your own Tangle.

We teach through stories from our own lives and demonstrations of each of the Powers. There are specially designed paired exercises to do with each other. After your practice partnership time, you’ll come back to the group to share your experiences and receive support.

The spirit of the retreat is respect and safety for every part of yourself. Expect to feel deeply understood and accepted… even those parts of yourself that you don’t accept (yet).


At the end of the week:

  • You have learned to use five “Powers” to create the environment for transformational change.
  • You have learned about four Territories that are common areas where people have Tangles: the Swamp of blocked actions, the Wilderness of compulsive actions, the Pit of despairing emotions and the Mountain Top of obsessive desires.
  • You have support and help to go forward with the process beyond the week, through partnerships and your own Focusing.

“When you are merged with a Part, you see the world through its eyes. You can’t see the larger picture or another person’s point of view. You can’t get a sense of the whole situation.”

-Barbara McGavin & Ann Weiser Cornell

Enrollment is now closed.

Please contact us if you’d like to be added to a wait-list and notified of future offerings.


What People Are Saying

  • A.F.
    "Before The Untangling Intensive, I was feeling stuck and I didn't know what to do about that stuckness. That often left me feeling overwhelmed and even more stuck. Now I feel clearer about what the actual issues were and how to articulate them in a way that makes them easier to understand. If you feel stuck, this course is definitely worthwhile."
  • Jules J.
    Jules Jarvis"My very old tangle is one with fears, anxieties and shoulds. It's been with me a long time. After my recent retirement, the tangle got very triggered. Worrying over questions like: Will my life still have purpose? Will I matter anymore? Will we have enough of.....? This left parts of me feeling anxious and scared. I even had a burning pain in my side! Now, I feel more grounded. I'm more familiar with the territory of my tangle and how it needs me to be with it. I no longer experience the burning pain in my side. I feel more integrated, connected, and whole. I've tried many different kinds of healing modalities since I was in my 20's. When I found Focusing, it wasn't about following a guru or having to spend tons of money or traveling to find myself. IRF has given me the tools to turn in towards my deep childhood wounds and give myself the compassion and presence that my parts so need."
  • Mary M.
    "Before The Untangling Intensive, I felt shame about naming what was really bothering me in my life. I was scared to even bring up miscarriages, not having children right now, and not really "doing" anything about it. Now, I feel it's okay to share my experience, even when I feel shame or want to hide. In the moment, I know that how I feel about my situation is okay — I'm okay. I know something shifted and it's still hard to put it all into words because it's still unfolding."
  • L.R.
    "After The Untangling Intensive, I feel more capable of being with whatever shows up within me — with acceptance and compassion. I feel more comfortable and at home with myself. The words aren't big enough to convey how good this feels."

What if I can only attend part of the Intensive?

Each section of the class builds on the one before, so please plan not to miss any meetings.

What is the schedule?

We’ll meet twice per day, March 17-29 and March 24-26, 2023:

  • Pacific Time: 6:30 AM-9:30 AM; 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
  • Mountain Time: 7:30 AM-10:30 AM; 12:00 PM-3:00 PM
  • Central Time: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM; 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Eastern Time: 9:30 AM-12:30 PM; 2:00 PM-5:00 PM
  • UK and Ireland: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM; 6:00 PM-9:00 PM
  • Central European: 2:30 PM-5:30 PM; 7:00 PM-10:00 PM
  • Eastern European: 3:30 PM-6:30 PM; 8:00 PM-11:00 PM

*On Sunday, March 26 these times will be one hour later because of Summer Time.



Is there Focusing time every day?

Yes, you’ll be Focusing in partnership each day, for longer times each day, as you gain the resources you’ll need to be with your Tangles. These Focusing sessions will be in breakout rooms via the Zoom link.

How much Focusing experience do I really need as a prerequisite?

We’d like you to have a fair amount of experience as a Focusing partner, able to direct your own Focusing process and accompany someone else. We ask people to have Parts One and Two of our Path to Lasting Change course, or the equivalent. If you’re not sure about your previous Focusing experience please check with Ann.

How does the Untangling® Intensive compare with the Treasure Maps retreat, the Introduction to Untangling®, and the Getting Free course?

The Untangling® Intensive is based on the 6-day Treasure Maps retreat, and covers approximately the same material. The Introduction to Untangling® course (which we are not currently teaching), is a simpler, less intensive course without partnership practice. The Getting Free course is a yearlong remote course which allows a significantly more in-depth engagement with the Untangling® method compared to any of the other courses. You might choose the Untangling® Intensive if you want to immerse yourself in the Untangling® method and the yearlong Getting Free course doesn’t fit your needs.

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.


You have completed a Focusing training program either Path to Lasting Change One and Two, or four Levels.

Continuing Education Credit & Record of Completion

Course meets the qualifications for 36 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 Credits. Records of Completion are awarded at the end of the course upon completion of all requirements and the course evaluation. (If you don’t want CE Credits but would like a Record of Completion, the $25 fee does still apply.)

Eligibility for CE Credits requires 90% live attendance. If you miss any hours of instruction, discuss with us how to make up what you’ve missed.

Cancellations, Changes & Refunds

Up to 14 days before the first day of class: Just let us know and we’ll refund your course fee. Or you can choose to apply the entire course fee towards a future class with us.

Cancellations received 13 days or fewer before class begins: No refund, sorry.

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.



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