live your bigger, freer, untangled life!

Untangling® Retreats

with Ann Weiser Cornell & Barbara McGavin

Do you long for life to change but keep getting tangled up when you try?

Does what you want for your life seem impossible?

It sounds like you might have a Tangle…

The Untangling® Retreats are six-day retreats for untangling your Tangles and turning your life around – so that what was impossible becomes possible.

At an Untangling® retreat you can expect to:

  • Feel a fresh sense of freedom and space, even before your issue starts to change.
  • Experience your own strong calm center even in the midst of turmoil and confusion.
  • Let your unique strengths grow and flourish as you step away from patterns of self-blame.
  • Create relationships with the various parts in your Tangle so they can finally heal in the way they have been longing for.
  • Shift the level at which you have been holding your Tangle so that it doesn’t have to keep repeating… and something really new can happen.

Do You Have a Tangle?

Your Teachers

We Know,
We’ve Been There

Barbara McGavin
Barbara McGavin
Ann Weiser Cornell

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.

Yes, our own life issues shifted. But we found there is so much more to life than just not being addicted or not being depressed! That’s why we began to talk about finding a treasure map — because we found that the very places where life feels most painful and hard are the maps to more ease, flow, and connection… to fresh new possibilities that just weren’t there before.

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!

What We Want for You

  • That in the places in your life where you feel most stuck and despairing, real hope dawns, because what was impossible becomes possible.
  • That repetitive painful patterns no longer repeat and instead begin to shift, because you can shift levels and be with your Tangle without being in it.
  • That you can move forward with your life with energy, curiosity, ease, and connection with others – in ways that felt out of the question before.

What You Can Expect From This Program

  • A living, flexible “map” of your tangled issue with the different parts separated out
  • A new way to understand your stuckness – not as something permanently wrong with you or your life, but as a “stoppage” of life energy that can resume and flow again
  • A powerful way to get underneath the repetitive patterns to what is really driving them… and give the stuck parts what they’ve always needed… at last

Join us to Untangle your Tangles.

The Program

The retreats are advanced in-person programs led by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin.

Our “regular” retreat is suitable for Focusers who have completed our Inner Relationship Focusing Training Program (Path to Lasting Change) or all four Levels. Our Advanced Retreat requires previous attendance at an Untangling retreat. We offer our retreats a few times a year in beautiful places in the world. Our schedule includes times to rest, relax, regenerate, and play… and go deep.

The group gathers on the first night to connect with each other and share our hopes and intentions. Over the next five days, we go 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 and how to apply each one to your own Tangle. On the last morning, we have three more hours together before journeying home.

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.

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 for those parts of yourself that you don’t accept (yet).

  • You have learned to use four “Powers” which are a kind of road map to transformational change
  • You can identify three types of Parts in your Tangle, each with its own feelings, and what each needs in order to heal and change
  • You have learned about the four Territories of Action Blocks, Addictions, Depression/Despair, and Unfulfilled Desire… and how they show up in your own personal Tangles
  • You have support and help to go forward with the process beyond the week, through partnerships and your own Focusing
  • A beautifully designed Workbook to follow through the week that gives you the details and specific language of every exercise
  • A leaflet that tells you where you are in the process at each step of the retreat
  • 63 pages of Workshop Handouts that go into detail about the process and the theory behind it… available before the retreat so you can read in advance if you want to
  • You have a deep commitment to your own transformation and growth, and a determination to find something that brings real change
  • You are not a beginner to Focusing – you have at least four Levels of training with practice in Focusing partnership
  • You have a longing to experience your life in a new way, free of what has been holding you back

Explore our upcoming retreats below or…are you still deciding whether this program is right for you? We welcome you to schedule a chat with Ann to set up a conversation by phone or Skype.

What Happens at the Advanced Retreat?

We start with a quick review of the Treasure Maps method – the five Powers, and the three Parts. If you’ve been away for a while, you’ll get up to speed and be ready to go deep.

You’ll encounter your Tangle in a new way, from the perspective of what is impossible… to do, to say, to think, to believe.

  • We will go deeply into the Territories, which we didn’t have time to do in the regular retreat. That would be the Swamp of Blocked Action, the Wilderness of Compulsive Action, the Pit of Endless Suffering, and the Mountain Top of Eternal Longing.
  • We learn about internal wars over actions, and over emotions like depression and longing… and how they can shift and untangle. You know that every part in those wars is trying to save you!
  • And we explore a new Territory: The Edge of the Cliff. That’s the place where the only way forward is for something really new to come. We’ll show you how to recognize the Edge of the Cliff in your Tangle and what to do when you get there.

In the Advanced retreat, we teach you our method for working with a tough Tangle over time, by writing after every session and then reading those notes before the next one. (We’ll give you a Workbook formatted for just this kind of support.)

You bet! In the Advanced retreat you’ll be taking notes after every session as Companion as well… on how the Focuser’s work applies also to your Tangle. We’re all in a shared field!

In the Advanced week, we do demonstrations with participants so you can see the subtleties of how we work with people. You’ll be able to bring more of those skills into your own partnerships and your practice.

Yes, we do recommend it. Taking both workshops back to back is an amazing experience, a deep dive into your process and a chance to make the method your own. There are two days off in between so you can have a breathing space!

And this is true even if you’ve already taken the regular retreat. People tell us that it’s very relaxing to take the regular retreat a second time, because you don’t have to worry so much about getting the method… you can sit back and take it all it at a deeper level. (There is a discount for repeating the first retreat — just ask — and another discount for signing up for both at the same time.)

Get a free taste with a mini-course

Barbara and Ann would love to tell you more about Untangling and about our upcoming retreats

  • What a Tangle is and why it’s so tough to change
  • How the Power of Self-in-Presence changes everything
  • The Three Pillars of Self-in-Presence: Recognizing, Resourcing, and Relating

They also talk about what’s special about learning Untangling in a retreat setting.

 Upcoming Retreats 

Loveland, Colorado

Regular Retreat: July 24 – 30, 2024

Advanced Retreat: August 1 – 7, 2024


Registration is now closed for this workshop. Please email us if you’d like to be added to a waitlist and notified of future offerings.

  • Regular Retreat only: July 24-30; $1250
  • Advanced Retreat only: August 1-7; $1450
  • Both retreats: $2500

Plus Room + Board.
Room + Board will be paid directly to the venue after paying retreat fees.

  • Room & Board Pricing Per Retreat: Single: $1104 • Double: $900 • Triple: $804 • Dorm: $744 • Camping: $570 • Commuter: $468
  • Prices include meals. Sunrise Ranch will collect payment directly for room and board. You’ll be redirected to their website after registering for the retreat in order to reserve and pay for your room.
  • If you’re attending both retreats: You have the option to stay at the retreat center for the days between retreats. The retreat center will let you know what the fees for staying those additional days between retreats.

Sunrise Ranch Spiritual Retreat Center is located on a 400-acre ranch in foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The first buildings were built in the 1945, and the center has grown over the decades with a focus on harmony with nature and sustainability. All of the rooms were remodeled in the spring of 2016 and are uniquely decorated to give you a sense of being in a family home, not a chain hotel. Sunrise Ranch provides a beautiful and friendly atmosphere centered around health, relaxation, and the creative life. Sunrise Ranch is located about 90 minutes from the Denver International airport. For more information on Sunrise Ranch, please visit their website:

Note: Sunrise Ranch will collect payment directly for room and board. You’ll be redirected to their website after registering for the retreat in order to reserve and pay for your room.

For reference, room and board fees per retreat can be found below.

If you are planning on attending both retreats, double those fees (plus a little extra to cover the days between retreats).

You can also contact Allison by email here if you have additional questions.

  • The Regular Retreat begins with dinner on July 24 (6:00pm) and ends with an optional lunch on the 30th (around 12:00pm).
  • The Advanced Retreat begins with dinner on August 1 and ends with an optional lunch on the 7th.
  • Each full day begins with breakfast, followed by a morning session, then lunch. There is an afternoon session that ends around 6:00pm, followed by dinner. You have your evenings free to do as you like.
  • If you are attending both retreats, you will have from the afternoon on July 30 until dinner on August 1 to do as you please.
How payplans work

Installment plans include processing fees. To set up your payment plan, choose the option labeled “PAYMENT PLAN OPTION” during checkout, then the Place Order button.

What People Are Saying

Got Questions? We’ve Got Your Answers…

The workshop starts on the evening of the first day, after dinner, and ends just before lunch on the last day. Dinner on the first day and lunch on the last day are included.

We meet as a group for three hours each morning and three hours each afternoon. Paired practice is included in those three hours. In the evenings, participants are free to take quiet time or join others for shared activities like singing, dancing, storytelling, improv games. The days normally run from 9am – 6pm, beginning with breakfast. Dinner is at 6:30pm.

Yes, you will be Focusing in partnership each day, for longer times each day, as you gain the resources you’ll need to be with the deep places.

Although more is better, at a minimum you need to be able to be a Focusing partner, able to direct your own Focusing process and accompany someone else. We have found that people need at least four Levels of Focusing training (Path to Lasting Change Parts One and Two or the equivalent) to feel sufficiently relaxed and confident with Focusing so that they can concentrate on the subtleties of the Untangling work.

Feel free to reserve a shared room even if you are coming by yourself; we’ll be happy to assign you a roommate.

Yes. Treasure Maps payments are non-refundable except in the event of unavoidable emergency.

Most retreats meet the qualifications for 35 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. PCE#62524

Eligibility for CE Credits requires 100% live attendance. If you miss any hours of instruction, you are ineligible for CE Credits.

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.)

After 20+ years of teaching our method only in the 6-day retreat form, we wanted to get it out to even more people, so we created the Untangling™ online seminar. The online seminar with its 10 hours of instruction is much less than we can offer in the 6-day retreat. That’s why we call it “An Introduction to Treasure Maps.” It can get you started but it doesn’t include everything that is possible in the retreat… both in terms of curriculum and also in terms of the power of immersing oneself in the process in a supportive community.

Our recommendation: Take the 6-day retreat if possible. If not, the Untangling™ course can give you a lot.

Can’t find an answer?