Returning to Ourselves: The Wisdom of Trauma

Returning to Ourselves: The Wisdom of Trauma

July 20–24, 2020
Titigniano Castle, Italy 

A SAND organized 4-day retreat with Gabor Mate and Betsy Polatin,
at the tail-end of SAND20 Italy (July 14

Many of us seek spirituality to alleviate pain and suffering. The internal discomfort of anger, sadness, fear, shame, or self-loathing is soothed by pleasant or blissful experiences encountered through meditation, yoga, chanting, prayer and connecting in community. Spiritual bypass occurs when we use our spiritual beliefs, practices, community and way of life to avoid experiencing, revealing and processing emotional pain.

Spiritual practitioners can get caught in the trap of assuming a spiritual identity as a defense against emotional pain, and as compensation for underlying unconscious beliefs such as “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not loveable”, or “I did something wrong”. When we identify ourselves as being spiritual, or are praised, valued and recognized as a practitioner or teacher, the split between what we experience on the inside and what we present to the world becomes greater. The original wound can remain unhealed, despite years of dedicated spiritual practice. We may even intensify our practice in a disciplined effort to suppress difficult emotions.

Spiritual bypassing can be addressed through compassionately guided self-inquiry supported by bodywork, which, together, invite pain, discomfort and repressed emotions to come to the surface to be experienced, witnessed and worked through in a safe, supportive setting. Acceptance, allowing, non-judgement, expression and self-compassion are the ingredients needed for resolution.

This program will feature Dr. Gabor Maté’s unique therapeutic work and teaching, Compassionate Inquiry, enhanced by movement and breath work led by Betsy Polatin. We will explore emotional realities and traumatic imprints that spiritual modalities often ignore. It will be an in-depth program, suitable for therapists, spiritual seekers and anyone looking for a profound, experiential understanding of their personal issues and the hidden beliefs that sustain them.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • meditations and breathing practices to generate calm and stability
  • to cultivate self-acceptance and self-compassion, being with what is
  • to bring attention and curiosity to body signals
  • to facilitate the expression of what has remained unexpressed
  • how to become a skillful witness to body sensations and emotions
  • to access repressed emotional states through body awareness
  • to access implicit memory through body sensations and emotions
  • the importance of patience, respect and choice in the therapeutic process
  • how to uncover early traumatic events of childhood and unconscious feeling states through Compassionate Inquiry

Why Attend?

  • to be introduced to the process of Compassionate Inquiry to understand your own triggers and their origin
  • to recognize mental-emotional patterns and drivers, and how they limit your wholeness, choice and freedom
  • to bring healing and integration to traumatic events from the past


Jul 20, 2020 - Jul 24, 2020
  • Titignano Castle, Italy
  • Titignano 7
  • Orvieto
  • Italy
  • 05010



The retreat is planned to start on Monday 20 at 4pm and end on Friday 24 after breakfast, at 10am. Please check back for the event program in the spring.



The event will begin on Monday, July 20 and end on Friday, July 24 after breakfast. On-site registration begins at 12:00 on Monday. Room check-in available starting at 14:00. Lunch is included on Monday if you are on site at 13:00. Retreat sessions begin Monday afternoon at 16:00.

SAND Supporters: Claim your discount here

Tickets Until March 31 After April 1
Single room $1,609 $1,672
Double room $1,057 $1,120
Triple room $825 $888
Shared room $749 $812
Camping $687 $750
Commuter Pass $725 $788

Special Offer!
Until May 1, receive a $70 discount on your registration when you register both for this event and for the SAND20 Europe Gathering that will be held immediately before the retreat at the same venue (July 14-20). Look for your discount registration link in your confirmation email when you complete your registration. 


  • All prices include full access to the event and 3 meals per day.
  • Prices include accommodation, except for commuter passes.


  • For shared rooms, you can book with your friends and family or let us assign you roommates.
  • All rooms have private bathrooms.
  • More details on the venue page

Everyone eats meals together at Titignano. Your registration includes three delicious homemade Italian meals a day from lunch 7/20 through breakfast 7/24.
When you register, you will be able to select your dietary preferences (omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free), and alert us of any food allergies. 

Getting to the event
Please see the travel information section on our venue page.


  • Become a SAND Supporter to receive a discount on registration. Find out how to claim your discount.
  • Students (with a valid student ID) and Seniors (65+) are eligible for a  discount. See the FAQ for details.
  • Discounts cannot be combined, and do not apply to optional items.
  • We offer a limited number of partial scholarships to qualified individuals. Please email us if you would like to apply for a scholarship with an explanation of your situation, why you wish to attend, and what you believe qualifies you for a scholarship. 

Refund policy

  • No cancellation fee prior to Mar 1.
  • A $100 fee is charged for cancellations between Mar 1 and May 15.
  • A $150 fee is charged for cancellations between May 16 and Jun 30.
  • No refund after Jun 30.
  • If you cannot attend, you can switch your registration to another person at no charge until Jun 30.
  • Email us to cancel or transfer.

Registering more than one person
During the event registration process you will be able to add additional individuals. Register yourself first and before you make a payment you will be asked "Will you be registering any other attendees for this event?" Answer "Yes" and then enter the next person's info. You can add as many people as you like. When you are done click on "Complete Registration". You will make one payment for all attendees.

Modifying your registration
You can add shuttle ticket purchases or rent camping gear at a later date. To add to or change your registration click on the main registration link and then click on "Modify Registration". Enter your email and first name to access your registration record. The total price shown at the bottom of your record includes what you have already paid. Do not remove anything unless you no longer want that option. You will not be charged twice. 

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