Emerging from Darkness: A Residential Winter Retreat

Dates: January 26th-28th, 2024

Venue: Charney Manor, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 0EG

Cost: £280

Facilitated by Alex Wildwood and Rachael Kellett

Traditionally, winter is a time to slow down and reflect, to take stock and discern what is waiting to emerge. Our souls long to take a break from doing and savor the truth of our being. Join us for a unique opportunity to embrace the seasonal stillness and share deep stories around the comforting warmth of a crackling fire.

Retreat Schedule:

Friday, January 26th:

  • 4:00 pm: Arrivals & Tea
  • 7:00 pm: Supper
  • 7:45 pm: Session 1 – Welcome and Opening to Darkness
  • 9:30 pm: Evening Drinks

Saturday, January 27th:

  • 8:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 am: Session 2 – What is emerging?
  • 11:00 am: Coffee
  • 11:30 am: Session 3 – What sustains us in the darkness?
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch
  • 2:00 pm: Resting/Time to Be
  • 4.00 pm: Tea and lighting of the fire.
  • 4:30 pm:  Betwixt & Between: a mindful walk as dusk falls, followed by what a ceremony of letting go using the fire.
  • 6:00 pm: Supper
  • 7:00 pm: Session 5 – Voices from the shadows: sharing our objects and stories
  • 9:00 pm: Evening Drinks

Sunday, January 28th:

  • 8:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 am: Session 6 – Moving on in awareness
  • 11:00 am: Coffee
  • 11:30 am: Session 7 – Resting in Stillness
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch & Departures

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Delve into the depths of winter, embrace the quiet, and nurture your soul. Find solace and inspiration.

Limited spaces available. Reserve your spot today.

To book, please contact us Charney Manor directly at admin@charneymanor.com or Telephone 01235 868206.

Alex Wildwood is a Quaker author and educator influenced by several spiritual lineages; he thinks of  himself as an ‘evolutionary’. Rachael Kellett is a Gestalt Psychotherapist and group facilitator who works in an embodied, relational and creative way. They both have a strong interest in group-created rituals.

Women's group therapy

Women’s Group Therapy Experience Day

Embark on a Journey of Understanding, Healing, and Growth, and Emerge Stronger

Discover Renewed Confidence and Empowerment!

Are you carrying the weight of past struggles into your present? Facing complex family dynamics or wrestled with persistent anxiety? Tired of wondering what’s wrong with you? Your journey is far from over. Our transformative group therapy is tailored for women like you – a safe haven where shared experiences converge in an atmosphere of trust. Step into a space of understanding, healing, and growth, and come away with the tools to navigate life with renewed confidence.

 Join Us for a Women’s Group Therapy Experience 🌼

  • Jordans Quaker Centre, Welders Lane, Jordans, Nr Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2S
  •  Date to be confirmed

Investment: £100.00 for the day 

I extend a warm invitation to women of all ages who are each on their unique path of self-discovery and empowerment. Throughout this enriching journey, you will:

  • ✨ Cultivate profound self-awareness
  • ✨ Build your self-esteem
  • ✨ Unearth layers of self-knowledge
  • ✨ Embrace and celebrate your unique gifts
  • ✨ Connect deeply through shared experiences
  • ✨ Find solace in a compassionate and supportive community
  • ✨ Rewrite your narrative, revealing a stronger and more resilient version of yourself

Together, we rewrite stories, united in collective strength, and together we envision the brighter futures that await us.

Guided by a seasoned and accredited U.K.C.P Psychotherapist, these therapy experiences provide a secure space for both individual and collective growth.

If you’re ready to embrace life with renewed resilience and purpose, don’t hesitate to reach out today to learn more and secure your spot.

Contact [Your Contact Information]

Empower Your Present, and Witness Your Future Transform.

Experiential group

Presence Group

Presence: an experiential, ongoing group 

Presence is a bi-monthly  co-created, experiential, ongoing group for counsellors, psychotherapists and coaches. A group space where we each give ourselves permission to explore being more authentic. Discover our own depths, and learn how we are experienced by others. It is based on a shared  commitment to meet together and participate in a lightly structured, spontaneous process. In which, whatever emerges, allows each of us to experiment and grow in awareness. 

What you can expect

The aim is to offer a ‘contained spaciousness’. Where everyone can say what they need to say and disagreements can be safely voiced. A space in which each person has a chance to be fully seen and heard. And in addition, learn about themselves through their engagement or withdrawal at any given moment. With each person ultimately responsible for their own boundaries and choices.

A typical day includes the following practices: (however, this is subject to the unpredictability of co-creation!):

  • Initial check-in (sharing our insights/ news since the last meeting/current feelings / health concerns)
  • Open group sharing and responses/circle work
  • Experiential exercises and focusing on a theme / topic designed to bring new awareness
  • Time alone, in pairs and small groups inside or outside in nature
  • Simple, self-created ‘ceremonies’/symbolic actions witnessed by the group
  • Mindfulness & guided imagery
  • Check out at the end of the day (How are we feeling? Where are we now? Is there anything unfinished for us?)


This experiential, ongoing group meets bimonthly on dates agreed together at the beginning of the year.

9.30 am -4.00pm (with shared lunch)

The cost is £75.00

Venue: Jordans Quaker Meeting House, Jordans, Beaconsfield, Bucks., HP9 2SN

The number of participants is limited to 16

Therefore, the basic commitment asked of everyone who joins the group is to attend on the agreed dates unless illness or genuine emergencies prevent us. To share honestly – their thoughts, feelings and sensations in the moment – even if this feels uncomfortable at times. Our experience over 8 years has been that this process takes courage. Moreover, it always leads to a deeper sense of belonging and to a more authentic experience of connection to others and ourselves. Insights, self-realisation, or awareness may come at the time or on our own after the group. It is our collective experience that staying with the process as it unfolds always leads to personal growth and greater integration.

Join us

Finally, if you wish to join us, we ask that you are willing to:

  • Be as present and authentic as you can be in each moment.
  • Practise being aware of your own process. Whilst still allowing yourself and others to learn by risking getting things ‘wrong’.
  • Explore conflict and the expression of anger. Without lashing out, blaming, or permanently leaving the group.
  • Own your projections.Either at the time or as soon as you become aware.
  • Engage with the emerging process and stay with that to the best of our ability.
  • Take ownership of everything we bring to the group, of what we say  and how we act.
  • Give and receive feedback in responsible ways, without being afraid to take risks and noticing when you may be avoiding challenges.
  • Accept, welcome, and learn through differences and disagreements.
  • Look at your own defences.

In conclusion,  making the time and space in our lives to come away to a beautiful venue, and sharing a meal as part of our day. These are also  important elements in the ‘magic’ of this experiential process. ‘Jordans’ has been a crucible for personal and collective transformation for over 300 years.


In conclusion, here are some of the things past and present participants say they have most valued:

“Presence has allowed me to continue deepening my understanding of myself and the impact other people have on me and I on them. I have learned so much about group dynamics that is invaluable in my counselling work and also how to stay true to myself. All this in a supportive, life affirming and emotionally literate group”


“Honesty, sharing of vulnerability, mutual support, feeling the caring

 Safety: receiving and being in a field of compassion and acceptance

 Continuity and deep connection I don’t have elsewhere

 Growing in awareness; being appreciated for who I am and experiencing others’ generosity of spirit

 A space to grow, develop; a chunk of time set aside for myself, a chance to listen and focus on what’s really going on in my life

 Whole-self development; growing in awareness and emotional/relational competence.”


“The only group I’m in where there’s no pressure to be okay or perform – even to pretend I’m fine by the end of the day”


Workshop Testimonials

Louisa says:

“Having been a founder member of this wonderful Creativity Workshop Group since it began in 2014, I’ve seen it develop and grow in strength and diversity throughout that time. 

I see it as being a means to look at and expand your Creativity in the broadest sense, in every aspect of life.  It’s fun, searching, companionable, insightful, thought-provoking.  Each workshop, whether getting together in a group, or on Zoom during Covid times, is immensely fulfilling and rewarding.  Rachael brings her wealth of Gestalt knowledge and experience, but it is by no means therapy-led, and Rachael often forms part of the group for exercises and tasks. 

We have become a close-knit group over the years – and despite our age range, from 20s to 60s, all feel that we have thoughts, feelings and experiences which are very in-tune with each other.  A joy to be with these people.

Most of all the Group is really great fun and gives a wonderfully close experience. A day of totally stepping out of your day to day life.

I would strongly recommend joining Rachael and any new Creativity Awareness Workshop or Group.”

Jenni says:

“I joined Rachael’s Paths to Growth group 6 years ago and have rarely missed one since!

Rachel’s warm, gentle and creative nature sets the tone for women to gather together and explore their own internal landscape and innate creativity. She creates a space where you feel comfortable to just be you – whatever that looks like on the day! 

The friendships that I have built within the group over the years are some of the most authentic and supportive I have ever had. 

The Paths To Growth retreats have really changed my view of myself and allowed me to explore new directions in all areas of my life. I couldn’t recommend joining one more!”

Quee says:

“Rachael’s workshops are always beneficial, helping us to focus on the present, on what is going on around us and how that might be affecting us. Allowing us to be thoughtful and experimental in looking at creative ideas and seeing how they might tie in with our own paths through our lives.  They also allow us to communicate with a very special small group of people in a safe, warm and supportive way.

The workshops are always inspirational, thought provoking and leave you feeling content and replenished.”  

Mandy says:

“I started the workshops after they’d been running for several years – I couldn’t have joined a more friendly and welcoming group. With a big age-range and diversity of lifestyles, each person contributes to making it an exciting and fun place.  It’s my treat to myself (my “me-time”).  Each workshop is unique and combines a mix of creativity, peace, spirituality, nurture, nature, support and much laughter.  Rachael runs these workshops with her usual professionalism, enthusiasm and warmth. Our face-to-face groups have the additional treat of sharing whatever we’ve all brought for lunch.  The lock-down digital groups have gone incredibly well and it always raises my spirits to spend time with these special people.”

Sheila says:

For me Rachael’s workshops are personal development, creativity, self-care, connecting with nature, a women’s circle all wrapped up in fairy dust!

Overwhelmed in lock-down?

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed?

Many of us are struggling with our children’s education during lock-down. It can be easy to fall into the trap of expecting ourselves to get the same results as our children’s teachers. This is a mistake that can make both ourselves and our kids feel worse. Are you a teacher? Even if you are, many of us are also juggling working from home as well as managing household tasks. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as we try to be all things to all people. 

Breathe and remind yourself, these are unusual times.

There is no road map for this. Just like the Government and the schools, we are making this up as we go along. Trying to carve out a new existence but holding onto the old pressures. Every single one of us is carrying the stress of the unknown. Few of us perform well under these kinds of stresses. Why are we expecting ourselves and our children to carry on as if this isn’t happening?

Children are struggling with uncertainty and motivation too.

My children are struggling to motivate themselves with their education. To be fair they weren’t highly motivated to start with but lets be honest, it”s hard to stay motivated. Particularly for those kids who don’t have a “why”. What I mean by that is: a reason to push themselves to do a task that holds very little interest for them. Remember our kids are struggling to make sense of the world at the moment. Its difficult to know what’s going through the minds of young children or recalcitrant teens. Even before lock-down my youngest stated “there isn’t going to be a future” (responding to his fears around climate change). Adults as well as children are struggling to visualise what the future might look like, and what their place might be in it. Would you study if you could soothe yourself by chatting to your friends, watching videos or playing computer games? We need to show ourselves and our children a compassionate response to our fears and the conditions we are now living under. The future has lost some of its sparkle and no-one really knows when it will be back.

Get some support

Do you need further support in this area? Register your interest here for either a private consultation or to join an online parenting group? Register your interest here.

Managing Anxiety & Fear

The whole world is fearful at the moment. No one is immune from the epidemic of fear any more than the Coronavirus pandemic. Even as a therapist, I struggle to withstand the emotional impact of the spread of Covid-19. I feel more emotional and hold more tension than I usually do. Some of us will control our fear by pretending it is not happening and denying or diminishing the threat. Some of us will try to control the uncontrollable by panic buying or obsessively reaching for antibacterial products. But none of us can protect ourselves fully from this scale of fear. Here are some strategies that help me to support myself and manage my fears:

Breathe : Slowly breathe out until you have completely emptied your lungs. Then let the in-breath do it’s own thing. Repeat at least 3 times. 

Ground yourself : Bring your energy down into your body from your head. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your connection with the ground. If standing, unlock your knees. If sitting, feel the support of the chair, push your bottom right back into the chair and use the arm rests. Take full support from the chair. Breathe as above. 

Self Soothing: try the butterfly hug, wrap your arms around yourself then squeeze, stroke or pat your arms. 

Self-Reflection, allow time for self reflection by practicing meditation or journaling about your feelings. Use any extra time to follow some of your passions or learn a new skill.

Keep in contact remotely with as many people as you can to maintain a level of social connection.

Making time for Health & Happiness

“We haven’t the time to take our time” by Eugene Ionesco

With our busy lives and our never-ending “to-do lists” we never seem to find time to do the things we enjoy. We struggle to make time for ourselves and what matters to us. We are all familiar with the phrase “time flies when you are having fun.” When we become absorbed in something pleasurable we can lose track of time completely. Activities that we find fun and relaxing are known as past-times, and therefore tend to be considered unimportant. But are they? What if your relationship with time is a major factor in the promotion of health and illness? In this workshop we will explore our experience of time and its effect on the following:

    • Stress
    • Illness
    • Ageing and fear of dying
    • Pain
    • Energy levels

We will spend the day with a joyful mix of gestalt based experiential work , self reflection, mindfulness and guided imagery. To register your interest or book a place please contact me

Paths to Growth 2020 workshops – Making time for Happiness, Health & Healing – Wednesday March 11th- 9.30 am -4.00pm

Retreat Days

Dates: Next date Wednesday 11th March then bi-monthly

Times: 9.30 am -4.00pm

Since I started these Retreat Days in 2014, my hope has been to create a container of emergence, where people can join together with others to share their stories and feelings, gain insight and learning from listening to others, share food together, have fun and laugh together and support each others struggles.  I create a space for people to step away from their daily pressures and routines and take time to be with themselves and others. I offer Gestalt based experiential exercises which tap into our inner wisdom and creative thinking I offer an opportunity to reflect on what is important in your life and encourage you to let go of that which is no longer useful. There is no pressure on anyone to prove anything, it is a place where you are encouraged to be yourself , in fact  I offer exercises which help bring you closer to your true self. A place where you learn from listening closely to others and being properly listened to. I also include guided imagery, mindfulness, meditation, time in nature  and simple art and craft experiences.  This combination of the opportunity to build intimate connections, to focus on your needs and who you really are, experiential exercises which encourage reflection can all help you to creatively redefine yourself , your choices and who you want to become. Participants describe leaving these days feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all time, this expression is unique….You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

(Martha Graham in a letter to Agnes de Mille)

The Authentic Living Project.

Welcome to my Authentic living project. I have been aiming to live more authentically since 1998 when I first discovered Gestalt Therapy. Since then I have been encouraging people to embrace their own authenticity by working individually and in groups. My own path to authenticity came through increased self awareness and personal development. Through working on this, my life improved so much that I long to share what I have learned to help others.

I aim to use my creativity and authenticity to support and inspire people to live the life they want and connect with others in a kind, loving and joyful way.

When we are being inauthentic we feel tense, fatigued and suffer ill health. Conversely, when we are being authentic we feel well and full of energy. We feel free and in touch with who we are and our life purpose.

My Authentic Living project aims to bring people together to reconnect with their true selves and learn more effective ways of relating to the world. It is much easier to make changes as part of  a supportive community. As we connect we laugh and have fun together and learn to be open to our creativity,  personal growth and inner wisdom.

I offer this through:

  • One to one Gestalt Psychotherapy,
  • Gestalt Therapy / Personal Development Groups,
  • Regular Workshops and Retreats
  • The Authentic Living Project Blog
  • Monthly Authentic Women circles.

I am passionate about inspiring you to reconnect with your authenticity and ultimately to find a more joyful purpose.

Connect with us / Get Involved

What is Self Care?

The term self – care is used quite a lot these days but what does it mean? For many it means finding the right life- work balance. For me self -care starts with understanding my own needs and to do that I need to be able to tune into my body and listen to what it is telling me. Before I discovered Gestalt Psychotherapy back in 1998 I had no real understanding of my own needs beyond basic needs such as tiredness, hunger and thirst. My priorities were being a good student, a good employee, pleasing others and basically spending my time “doing” and keeping busy. I struggled to allow myself time to relax unless it happened to also please someone else. I pushed myself so hard that my body eventually fought back. I developed Fibromyalgia. Chronic pain and fatigue. My body said “ENOUGH!” I had no choice but to learn about self-care.

Which areas of our life does it cover?

Self-care is unique to everyone. It is not enough to say self -care is about learning to relax and take breaks from our busy lives it is more than that. It encompasses many areas of our lives such as:

  • Health and physical well being
  • Psychological well-being, self awareness and self reflection
  • Emotional well-being and self compassion
  • Spiritual well-being
  • Personal fulfilment, meeting our goals and desires
  • Professional / work well being

4 simple ways to increase your self-care:

  1. Start a “Happiness list” on your phone

This is a document where you start to list everything that makes you happy. Ranging from your favourite food or beverage or a soak in a bubble bath to rock climbing, water skiing, or planning a round the world trip. It should ideally include a whole range of price and time brackets so that there is always something you can do from your list no matter how short on time or money you are. The beauty of it is you can add to it anytime you find yourself laughing out loud or getting a warm glow.

2. Keep a journal

A journal is an excellent tool for self reflection and for getting to know yourself. It can also help sort out your priorities as you tap into your own inner wisdom.

3. Practice Self- awareness

Develop your self awareness of what exactly your needs are so that you can find ways of meeting them. It can also help you to recognise when your life is in balance and when you might be neglecting your needs and sliding towards depletion.

4. Find a retreat or join a group with others trying to do the same thing. Look here https://www.rachael-kellett.co.uk/groups/