Sometimes it seems as though everything is spiraling out of control, and that you’re powerless to rein things in to be able to do what you really want. That’s why we recently caught up with psychotherapist Christine Gutierrez about her Sensual and Free Retreat, which will be in Woodstock, New York from October 14 to 16. It seems like she’s mastered the art of being confident and embracing oneself, while at the same juggling life’s daily demands. Here’s what she had to say.
HipLatina: Can you tell us more about the retreat and what participants can expect?
Christine Gutierrez: This is a retreat exclusively for women at a rustic inn and spa in Woodstock, New York. I would say it most applies to two groups of women: The first is women who are overworked without enough time for self-care, pleasure, or any connection to their femininity. The second is for moms (recent or seasoned) who haven’t had the time to care for themselves since they’ve been taking care of everybody else. We’re angling the retreat for you to come back to learning about what it means to take care of yourself as a diosa, or goddess in Spanish. We’ll be doing meditation, yoga, breath work practices, and teaching exercises that help to teach about self-care, self-love, and femininity.
HL: How did you begin your work in therapy and how did you decide to start doing these kind of retreats?
CG: Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a healer and help people. I’ve been following that calling ever since. I went to school to become a therapist. I studied psychology and therapy and did a lot of mentoring. Then I took off a year after my undergrad to study mindfulness meditation and this kind of goddess work—women’s empowerment without the spiritual component. Empowerment was the key. I went back to school and got my master’s degree in human behavior and development. I started to find that in modern therapy there was a lack of focus on the soul, which I wanted to bring back. There was something special about doing these retreats because you’re getting more intense work done in a contained environment and in a way that only women can do when coming together in person and sharing their wisdom with each other.
HL: You focus a lot on sensuality and the associated stigmas that come along with it. You’re also known for breaking down those stigmas. Is there an overarching stigma that you try to focus on during the retreat?
CG: Sensuality goes beyond the word sexuality. It’s about living in a way that has to do with self-love, living magnetically, and feeling confident. It’s not just about the physical act of sexuality. It’s about living an orgasmic life. There’s this misconception in society that women have to act a certain way, and they may feel shame for not living up to the expectation. On the retreat we talk about different archetypes and associated societal roles. Being a mom isn’t a woman’s only identity, and we talk about how women can embrace many different identities.
HL: You talk about the importance of speaking your truth and being authentic, while at the same time maintaining a strong presence. If being authentic means accepting your weaknesses, how do you also project strength?
CG: It’s twofold. Strength means being vulnerable with yourself and with others and it means accepting that you are a human being with waves of emotions. I tell people that there’s no such thing as bad or good—there’s a spectrum. Part of the wild nature of femininity that we teach people is that your emotions go in seasons. We have to ask whether feeling certain emotions is helping us or blocking us from doing things. I think that comes with the work we teach around femininity and empowerment. You can honor the range of emotions you feel and then also set boundaries and say no to unnecessary obligations.
HL: What do you particularly look forward to during the retreat? What do you think is most meaningful?
CG: The sisterhood and the community. That’s definitely the best part.
HL: Do you have any advice for those new to these kind of therapies or retreats?
CG: I always say that this is a retreat for you to come back home to yourself. It’s a retreat for you to take time to listen to your voice, your feelings, your desires, and to take a break so that you can be you. Women are very busy and our roles are changing. Regardless of what phase of life you’re in you’re busy. The overall message is that you need a break and can take one.
HL: Is there any common feedback of those who have gone on the retreats?
CG: Everyone says it’s a magical experience to be with other like-minded and open-hearted women. So it is really about the sisterhood. The opportunity to heal and to share feelings in a safe place, to be taught to connect with one’s intuition and power. Women always say that it gives them the courage to go after what they want. You can find more feedback of past retreats and my work on my website.
The retreat includes goddess rituals, meditation, pleasure workshops, yoga, embodiment dances, delicious organic cuisines, and bonfires. By clicking here, you can sign up for a 25% discounted rate of $1000, which includes the accommodations at the inn, Jacuzzi, indoor pool, and sauna.