The Arrigo Programme, England
Cosseting, bespoke healing retreat for body and mind in rural Somerset
Those who want to reconnect or profoundly change.
Those not ready to confront who they really are.
The Arrigo Programme is a clever, cossetting, discreet healing retreat for women and men alone or couples and families devised by internationally acclaimed healer Fiona Arrigo and a talented hand-picked team. Stay in a private cottage cocooned from the stresses of everyday life for four nights or more to rest deeply, rebalance your lifestyle, deal with a physical or emotional issue or totally rethink your life. Long-stay Change for Life programmes help you deal with depression, burn out, addiction or bereavement. You’ll leave unfurled.
The combination of complete privacy, top notch therapies, psychotherapy, total emotional support and proper time to deeply rest in a safe space is a unique find.
Fiona Arrigo’s work takes her abroad throughout the year, which means she might not always be available in person in Somerset on the dates you can do, though she always speaks to the therapists daily wherever she is in the world.
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Your schedule is carefully devised after a consultation with Fiona Arrigo before you arrive, and throughout your stay a range of exceptional hand-picked practitioners turn up at your door to treat you. Fiona speaks to all the therapists daily on a session by session basis so she can personally monitor your retreat. You’ll always leave with practical advice to continue your journey at home.
Your stay will usually pivot around psychotherapy sessions with the emotionally intelligent, compassionate and grounded healer Fiona Arrigo or one of her top team.
Psychotherapy is a talking therapy to investigate the layers of the mind that hold vital, often repressed, material that is needed to return to consciousness in order to be resolved. In essence, psychotherapy aims to make the unconscious conscious.
This can involve a delicate and detailed investigation of the psyche, gently and carefully timed and may involve understanding samskaras, or patterns in the soul which are both ancient and pertain to larger, transpersonal forces as well as personal history.
Fiona Arrigo: Fiona has over 25 years of experience as a qualified Biodynamic Psychologist, Life Coach and Esoteric Psychologist. She launched Stop the World with Camilla Ker in 1990, the first alternative health retreat in the UK, and from 1984 to 2006 she ran a private practice in London and individual and group programmes in Ireland. She draws on her clinical expertise, leading-edge research, innate wisdom and her background in Eastern philosophy and numerous bodywork disciplines – you will be in safe hands.
Simon Heathcote: Simon is also one of the in-house psychotherapists and a healer who has developed a unique way of working, drawing on Jungian concepts, mysticism and archetypal psychology to help return clients to their essence or deep soul. An award-winning writer, former newspaper editor and broadsheet travel writer, he underwent a profound inner journey of meditation which he brings to his work, and he specialises in relationship addiction.
Biodynamic Medicine is a key offer of the Arrigo Programme, led the clinical director Mary Molloy, who is also the Principal of The Institute of Biodynamic Medicine.
Biodynamic Psychology and its related therapies recognizes the relationship between body and mind and works with our innate capacity for self-healing. It was established over 60 years ago by Norwegian Clinical Psychologist Gerda Boyesen, who recognized that the gut, as well as digesting food, is also vital for the digestion of nervousness and stress.
By adding bodywork, in the form of gentle but effective and targeted biodynamic massage, to more traditional psychotherapy and psychology, this holistic healing method eases the mind and works to release stress and tension stored in the body, reconnecting you to what is known in Biodynamic Psychology as the ‘Primary Personality’ – your vibrant core self, ready, willing and able to meet life’s challenges.
As Gerda Boyesen says: ‘There is an innate healing mechanism in the body which dissolves nervous tension in the muscles and resolves emotional and psychological conflict on the unconscious and organic level.’
Addiction Counselling: A range of counselling is on offer here to suit your needs, including Addiction Counselling with two resident addiction therapists. Addiction therapy uses time-honoured techniques and methods to understand chronic and habitual destructive cycles of behaviour and provide practical steps and answers to moving forward. Although you might need to abstain from old patterns, the team understand that coming to that point is a choice with addiction self-diagnosed and with the help of team professionals.
Christophe Sauerwein, who can connect with clients in English or French, is the lead addiction counsellor who has been on his journey of recovery from multiple addiction and family of origin relational trauma since 1999. After a 15 year career in investment banking and private equity, Christophe turned his life over and became a leading therapist in addiction, relational childhood trauma and dysfunctioning relationships. He is fully qualified in Childhood Trauma Reduction therapy, Sex Addiction and Attachment and Relationship disorders and has worked for the Priory North London Hospital as part of the addictive disorders multidisciplinary therapeutic team.
Relationship Counselling: Psychotherapist and healer Simon Heathcote trained at Broadway Lodge (Britain’s first specialist addiction treatment centre) and worked at The Priory, Roehampton, specialising in the treatment of sex and love addiction helping clients find antidotes to their dis-ease through rediscovering their own innate creativity and spirituality. Using an integrated approach, Simon works dealing with simple but helpful changes in cognition to a deeper exploration where necessary. This could include working with psychodynamic issues, addiction work and deep inner child work in which the client is able to gently re-parent themselves and become aware of the different voices within. Drawing on the wisdom of the soul, sessions may track and alleviate patterns (samskaras) that may be lodged in the client’s ancestry, which require deeper work to dislodge.
Other activities, treatments and therapies will include whatever Fiona thinks you need, drawing on different systems of health to get you back into balance.
On offer are private sessions of yoga, qi gong, meditation and breathwork, as well as body treatments such as therapeutic and mindfulness massage, acupuncture, ayurvedic healing, cranio sacral therapy, shiatsu, tibetan pulsing, kinesiology and EFT.
Esoteric therapies: You might also be advised to have more esoteric therapies such as theta healing, astrology, ancestral healing and family constellations – the latter is a talking therapy that allows you to discover your own underlying ancestral dynamics and work to recognise and resolve them. A moment of insight can enable a new life course to be set in motion, allowing a happier, more fulfilled life.
Deep rest: You’re encouraged to truly rest in between sessions, with daily epsom salt baths (salts are provided), some light local walking, extra sleeps, journalling or just curling up by the fire. You’re likely to go through a range of emotions and feelings, and the therapists talk to each other so that your daily state of mind and body is beautifully supported. There’s talk about ‘energy’, and the need to ‘unravel, unfurl and uncover’.
There’s a profound clinical component to the retreats here that enable you to deal with serious issues away from your family and the stresses of everyday life. Choose a 14, 30 and 45 day Change for Life programme and work though depression, burn out, addiction, bereavement or eating disorders in a safe, totally private environment. You can also come here to heal after a long term sickness.
Retreats for women
With over 30 years’ experience of working with women, Fiona Arrigo knows that, given the right conditions, a woman will naturally ‘drop into herself’ to find the answers she needs, and her programme provides today’s multi-tasking women with a place of stillness and softness so she can process and discharge held emotions. She works through the four key phases of womanhood – menstruation, fertility, motherhood and menopause – and also offers retreats for mothers and daughters.
Retreats for men
The Arrigo Men’s Programme is committed to helping men rediscover themselves in a way that combines strength, stillness, action, contemplation and self awareness. It’s been devised in the knowledge that for generations Western men have been taught to deny their feelings, and often struggle to find their identity in a world of ever-increasing demands.
Retreats for couples
If you come as a couple, sessions are devised to help you deepen your understanding of one another away from the demands of everyday life, and can include time with intimacy and relationship experts to help you learn how to re-engage, restore and renew your relationship.
Retreats for families
Hand in Hand Parenting Support sessions help families establish strong connections and emotional safety within the family, drawing on pragmatic, trauma informed, therapeutic parenting tools in line with current neuroscience. Sessions support to unravel the impact of unresolved issues on parenting and create a new paradigm for relating that brings ease and fulfilment to all concerned. Relevant for every child from babies to teenagers, it can help set limits and deal with aggression, separation issues, school struggles, bullying, teen disconnection, sexuality, picky eating, potty training, sleep struggles, whining/clingyness/ crying and tantrums.
After you have left your retreat with The Arrigo Programme, Fiona and her team follow you closely for up to three months (with longer-term follow ups available) and can offer ongoing support with one to one sessions in person and by skype. Fiona has clinics in both London and New York too, making it easy for face to face follow ups for those who live in these cities or who can get to them easily.
You stay in one of a range of comfortable, converted cottages in the Somerset countryside, chosen to suit your needs and that you’ll have all to yourself. Some people might want a remote place with wow factor; others might want something smaller and simpler. All the accommodation is comfortable, clean and well appointed to allow you to rest, relax and be nurtured, and everything is provided – from Himalayan salt lamps and yoga mat to an umbrella for walks and a little library of self help books for you to choose from with titles such as Women who run with the Wolves or Recovery of your inner child. Each cottage has its own warm and pleasant treatment area.
Upper Crannel Barn: This is an award winning architect-designed home in a rural location close to Glastonbury that makes the most of far-reaching views. Large, comfortable and spacious, it features a mix of antique and contemporary furnishings. In Spring baby lambs play in the nearby fields.
The Mill Barn: This sits beside a mill house and stream at the end of a rural lane. A Scandinavian-type open plan conversion with high ceilings and modern styling, it has a wonderful sense of space and light and includes comfy sofas, roaring log burner and a large welcoming bed.
The Long Barn: This is a homely, spacious place with lots of natural light centred around a lovely sitting room with a large sofa just made for thinking on and a cosy wood burner. Furniture and decor is good quality and comfortable. It has no steps, externally or internally, so would allow disabled access, and has a shower suitable for the disabled.
You can go as deep into yourself as you want to here, so don’t be scared to try whatever they suggest – this is a supported space to learn more about yourself for healing and life change, rather than just a relaxing spa stay.
Note that the after care comes at an extra cost – be sure you budget for this if it’s important to you.
When to Go
You can book a private retreat here all year round, including during the Christmas and New Year holidays, so it’s a wonderful choice for those who really want to get away from it all. In the Spring and Summer, watch lambs dance in the fields and enjoy lots of fresh air walks. In the Winters, have long hot baths and cosy up infront of the fire.
Freshly made, healthy meals are delivered to your door when desired. Food is nutritious and tasty, mainly organic and locally sourced. Breakfast is prepared on site for you – expect a choice of smoothies and juices whizzed up to order, granola, local yoghurt and blueberries or eggs and smoked salmon on toast.
Lunches and suppers arrive in tupperware for you to cook yourself or have your Angel cook for you. You’ll have a good supply of healthy snack foods, soups, salads and tasty hot dishes – vegan, vegetarian or with meat and fish as required.
The Arrigo Programme uses local therapists and chefs, including a Glastonbury-based cook who sources organic food locally from farmers markets and sustainable artisan sources whenever possible. Glastonbury and Somerset is a huge resource for artisan food, and other non-native products such as turmeric and mangoes come from Earthfare in Glastonbury.
Most cottages have ordinary central heating but also have log burners that burn wood more efficiently than an open fire. All waste is recycled whenever possible, food containers are natural kraft boxes tied with jute string, and the washing up liquid used in the cottages is made by Ecover.
In the bathrooms you’ll find a supply of natural sisal soap scrub and organic hemp soap by Faith, natural botanical Bramley toiletries and a hand wash, and epsom salts and Himalayan salts for bathing. The Arrigo team also use Himalayan salt lamps and tea light holders to help clean and ionise the air naturally, and their jar candles in the houses are made for them using mixed plant wax and natural oils.
Near Glastonbury, Somerset
Nearest mainline train station – Castle Cary
Transfer time: Airport: 60-90 minutes, Station: 20-30 mins