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Wellness Retreat in Portugal

Join this 7-day immersion in Portugal (November 14-20, 2024) designed for mental health professionals who want to learn to integrate IFS therapy with Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy. Guided by Heather Smith, a Certified IFS & Psychedelic-Assisted Therapist. For nearly two decades, the venue of this retreat Monte Velho Retreat Center has welcomed people from across the globe. Set among wineries, it has a view over the Atlantic Ocean.

Meet the instructors

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  • Wellness retreat suitable for mental health professionals
  • Activities to promote inner work, restoration, and healing
  • Pick up at the airport
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Full board meals are provided
  • Stargazing and excursions included

5 days with instruction
Group size: 12-24 participants
Airport transfer included: Faro Airport
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  • Sauna
  • Spa
  • Steam room

Unique venue

Monte Velho is a fabulous retreat centre set among wineries, with a view over the Atlantic Ocean. During your time, the centre will be dedicated exclusively to this group. Accommodations include single and double rooms and a dorm. Casa das Pinhas is a spacious workshop area with cork wood floor, heated underfloor. Also, there is a SPA with a sauna, steam bath, and a massage room.

Casa das Pinhas

Casa das Pinhas is a workshop space where you will spend most of your time together. It's round, with wood architecture, cork wood floor, and a heated underfloor. An ideal setting for deep group work and experiences like Holotropic Breathwork.

The Main House

The Main House consists of a common living room for us to hang out in the evenings, an interior dining room and an exterior breakfast veranda, and SPA with a sauna, steam bath, and a massage room.

Garden Temple

A circular beautifully designed yoga pavillion with a heated cork wood floor, surrounded by a green garden and a little pond that offers panoramic Ocean views.


Why join this retreat?

7-day adventure in Portugal

Portugal's enchanting allure captivates every visitor. A gem on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal blends ancient traditions with modern charm. During this retreat you will experience its rich culture and explore stunning landscapes, from dramatic coastlines to lush vineyards, reconnecting with nature’s beauty.

Inner journey

This retreat is a process of insight and inner transformation. This program is a unique combination of guided experiential processes (morning and evening circles), somatic embodiment practices (movement, dance, TRE, breathwork, Qi-gong), and local excursions and experiences: winery visit, guided star-gazing experience, and more.

Small group

In a small group retreat of 24 people, the intimacy fosters deep, meaningful connections, enabling more personalized and resonant interactions. This setting ensures every voice is heard, promoting a sense of belonging and mutual support, ideal for personal growth and fostering empathy among participants.

A balanced program

This retreat is a time for deep insight and inner work, as well as a time for rest, restoration and healing. You will take a deep break from your busy life - this will be time only for YOU. You will have the chance to book a massage, enjoy the sauna, rest on a hammock, go for a relaxing walk by the ocean, and witness breathtaking views of the cliffs.

Internal Family Systems meets Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Supporting individuals on their psychedelic journeys is a profoundly rewarding endeavour.

As interest in psychedelics continues to surge, the development of practical psychotherapeutic tools and protocols is paramount in ensuring safe and enlightening experiences.

This retreat is designed for mental health professionals who engage with clients participating in psychedelic-assisted therapy or attending medicinal retreats.

Whether you assist clients in the preparation and integration phases only or if you also guide them through the experience, this retreat will provide you with the transformative experiences of altered states of consciousness and an array of tools to incorporate into your clinical practice.

The core of this retreat didactics centre on the integration of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy into the preparation, integration, and guidance of psychedelic voyages. Please note that participants will not have access to or be provided with any psychedelic substances.

The retreat will use Holotropic Breathwork as a non-pharmacological form of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy so that you can safely and legally learn how to use IFS therapy in supporting people in each phase of their journeys:

  • Preparation: We will lay the foundation by exploring parts' perspectives and imbuing relational Self-presence.
  • Journey: We will explore the MindSet Approach for navigating expanded states; and learn how to exponentiate our journey.
  • Integration: What is Integration? We will learn about the Full Circle Healing Process and the multiple dimensions of how and what to integrate.

An experiential program

This retreat will be educational and experiential, meaning you will spend much time embodying the work you are learning to do.

A central experience during this retreat will be a full-day Holotropic Breathwork workshop, allowing you to experience altered states of consciousness and guide another participant (as a „sitter”) through this journey. Expanded states induced with this practice are very similar to journeys generated by psychedelics.

The days before Holotropic Breathwork will be preparation days (where you will prepare for your breathwork session and learn how to support the preparation of your clients). The days after this workshop will be integration days.

Because we believe in an embodied nature of both preparation and integration, we have prepared even more somatic experiences for you to dive into your own healing journey fully.

During the preparation phase, we will have a TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) group workshop with a TRE provider. During the integration phase, you will experience Conscious Connected Breathwork, which will also be facilitated in a group setting.

Through Holotropic Breathwork, TRE, and Conscious Connected Breathwork, this retreat fosters growth on two levels.

The first involves your personal journey, encompassing preparation, experiencing altered states of consciousness, and integrating these experiences.

The second level focuses on equipping you with the skills to support clients before, during, and after their own transformative experiences. In Holotropic Breathwork, participants work in pairs, taking turns as the "breather" and the "sitter" during two sessions in a full-day workshop.

At this retreat, participants will not have access to or be provided with any psychedelics or illegal substances. The "altered states" part of this retreat will be experienced through Holotropic Breathwork.

During the IFS and Expanded States in Therapy retreat

After organizing and facilitating more than 30 retreats, Michael Pasterski knows how to design an experience that will have a lasting impact on you.

  • You will be supported and guided by a team of professionals - Heather Smith, who will lead the retreat and teach; Michael Pasterski, who will support the teacher and the group and facilitate some of the movement sessions; Tomek Kwieciński and his team from Holotropic Poland, and TRE and breathwork facilitators: Francois Smit and Jan Buis.
  • You will connect with like-minded professionals, healing facilitators and seekers from all over the world who are as passionate about psychotherapy as you are.
  • You will learn how IFS therapy can support Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy through Holotropic Breathwork as our central altered states of consciousness experience. You'll learn about the preparation phase by going through your own preparation, and you'll learn about the integration phase by working on your own integration.
  • You will explore the preparation and integration stages in a somatic and experiential way: through IFS therapy practices, Conscious Connected Breathwork group sessions, TRE, dance, movement (including Qi-gong), and chanting.
  • You will enjoy a variety of unique excursions and local experiences as a part of the retreat package: Walking by the ocean cliffs, enjoying a drumming concert, sound healing, visiting a nearby winery, guided star gazing, and more.
  • Some optional excursions, such as Dolphin watching or visiting Lagos, will be available.
  • You will have the time and support to look inside, to connect and attend, and to develop strong Self-to-part relationships with parts of you.
  • You will heal what needs to be attended in you and grow as a human and mental health professional. You will be equipped with skills needed for supporting people in altered states of consciousness, regardless of whether you will be facilitating psychedelic sessions or supporting them in preparation and integration only.
  • You will unplug, relax, laugh and play, charging your body’s internal batteries, filling it up with inspiration, and igniting a renewed passion for your work.

All of this, and much more, will be a part of the 7-day "IFS and Expanded States in Therapy" Retreat in Portugal. Michael Pasterski will co-create a sacred space for exploring Internal Family Systems and Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, experiencing deep insight, and creating a vibrant circle of mental health professionals.

Who is this retreat for?

This retreat is mainly for:

  • Psychedelic Therapists, Guides and Facilitators who are looking for effective therapy tools and want to integrate IFS model in their work,
  • IFS-informed Mental Health Professionals who want to support their clients in preparation and integration of psychedelic journeys (before and after),
  • IFS-informed Mental Health Professionals who think about becoming (or are in the process of becoming) a Psychedelic Therapist, Guide or Facilitator,
  • Psychedelic Therapists and Mental Health Professionals who want to work on their own internal systems and go through a transformational experience.
  • This is a multi-modality training, and you don't have to be trained in any of the presented modalities to be able to attend this retreat.

For you to better understand the basics of IFS therapy, Michael Pasterski will share a 12-day online course "Introduction to Internal Family Systems" with you for free (created by Michael Pasterski). Going through these materials before the retreat will help you start this journey with a common understanding of what parts are and how to work with them.

IFS & Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Integrating IFS with Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy will be the main focus of the workshop sessions led by Heather Smith. IFS enhances the effectiveness of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in a variety of ways:

  • IFS respects and appreciates clients’ protective parts, reducing resistance before the journey and allowing for a deeper experience.
  • It supports the unburdening of the early life traumas, enhanced by psychedelic medicines.
  • This approach effectively regulates affect, preventing overwhelm during psychedelic experiences.
  • Therapists with a deep understanding of IFS can guide with Self, providing compassionate support during clients’ psychedelic journeys.
  • IFS equips therapists with practical tools for maintaining a state of open-hearted Self-leadership with clients.

Here are the key takeaways from these workshops:

  • You will be able to apply IFS (Internal Family Systems) in the ways discussed during the workshop to assist your clients in their preparation and integration sessions.
  • You will be capable of leading with Self when you find yourself in a role that requires guiding others.
  • Your connection with clients will be enhanced and deepened as a result of the skills, experiences and knowledge you gain from the workshop.
  • You will become aware of which IFS interventions are most effective in supporting the psychedelic experience while you are guiding your clients.
  • The workshop formats will include didactics, sharing, experiential exercises, and session demonstrations.

Holotropic Breathwork

A central experience during this retreat will be a full-day Holotropic Breathwork workshop, which will allow you to both experience altered states of consciousness, as well as guide another participant through this journey.

Holotropic Breathwork, developed by Dr. Stanislav Grof in the 1970s, emerged in response to legal restrictions on LSD. Dr. Grof aimed to create a safe, legal means of inducing altered states of consciousness for therapeutic exploration. This method combines controlled, rhythmic breathing with music and a supportive environment, producing experiences akin to psychedelics.

During Holotropic Breathwork, participants work in pairs. One person takes on the role of a "sitter" while the other lies on the mat and breathes. In a full-day workshop, each pair will engage in two separate breathwork sessions, with both individuals taking turns as the breather and the sitter.

During this workshop, you will go through a deep inner journey with altered states of consciousness. You will experience these realms and surrender to being guided and supported. As a sitter, you will be able to embody and integrate what you have learned about facilitating and guiding such journeys for others.

Conscious Connected Breathwork

Conscious Connected Breathwork will be an essential part of the integration phase. It's a powerful and safe way to get in touch with our inner body intelligence. It activates and facilitates the healing process by calming the thinking / rational mind (our protector parts) and allowing for our emotions to surface.

With guided support, allowing emotions and other experiences of mind and body can be highly transformative. The practice of connected breathing causes shifts in your physiology and will enable you to explore altered states of consciousness.

You will practice Conscious Connected Breathwork in a group setting, lying on mats in a circle. Your process will last for around 90-120 minutes and will be fully guided by Jan Buis, a certified breathwork facilitator.

The essence of this practice may be different for each group member. For some it will be the integration of previous experiences and closure, for others it may be deepening of the work done during the retreat, or experiencing embodied connection to heart and Self.


Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), developed by Dr. David Berceli in the early 2000s, will be a vital part of the retreat's preparation phase.

By engaging in gentle trembling and shaking exercises, TRE activates the body's natural stress and trauma release mechanisms, allowing for emotional and physical release.

TRE will help you with releasing first layers of tension and opening up to your body. This workshop will be facilitated by Francois Smit, a certified TRE provider, and psychologist from Portugal.

At this retreat, participants will not have access to or be provided with any psychedelics or illegal substances. The retreat will use Holotropic Breathwork as a non-pharmacological form of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, which is known to facilitate experiences akin to those encountered through psychedelic substances.

Sample schedule

Each day of the retreat will be unique, here's a sample schedule:

  • 07:30 - 08:00 Morning Qi-gong & meditation
  • 08:00 - 09:00 Breakfast
  • 09:00 - 13:00 Morning session: IFS & preparing for a psychedelic experience
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
  • 14:00 - 16:00 Free time
  • 16:00 - 19:00 Winery visit
  • 19:00 - 20:00 Dinner
  • 20:00 - 21:30 Evening session: Breathing techniques

Please note that the schedule might be fluid at times, and it may change following the group's needs.

Day-to-day plan

Day 1

The day of participants’ arrival and lodging at Monte Velho (accommodation possible from 12 p.m.). There are no workshop activities scheduled for that day. It’s time to rest after the journey. In the evening, around 8 p.m., you meet for 1,5 hours for an opening circle. Lunch is served at 2 p.m., and dinner at 7 p.m.

Those who come to Portugal earlier must arrange accommodation and board on their own. You can check with us if Monte Velho is available for check-in a day or two before the retreat starts.

Those arriving in Faro on the first day of the retreat will be provided with a free transfer from Faro Airport to Monte Velho.

Day 2-6

5 days of the retreat.

Day 7

Last day of your stay at Monte Velho. Check out and free transfer to Faro Airport. On that day, breakfast is provided and afterward, the entire group leaves the place of our stay.

Those who stay in Portugal longer arrange for accommodation, board, and airport transfers on their own.


The retreat will be run entirely in English. Speaking in any other language is not required at any stage of the retreat.

The minimum group size

For the retreat to proceed, the retreat must have a minimum of half the participants signed up and paid (at least 12 participants). If this minimum requirement is unmet, Michael Pasterski will notify all participants no later than 30 days before the retreat.

Included excursions

Trips and experiences

As part of the retreat package, Michael Pasterski has put together some incredible experiences for you to enjoy. During the retreat, you will stay in the Algarve region, renowned for its breathtaking coastline, featuring golden beaches, picturesque cliffs, and clear blue waters. It's also a hub of rich cultural heritage, offering a blend of historic architecture and traditional cuisine.

Here are some of the scheduled experiences:

Cliffs walk

Embark on a breathtaking journey along Portugal's rugged coastline. This guided adventure offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and serene ambiance of the seaside. You will experience the tranquil harmony of nature as you traverse these majestic cliffs.

Drum live concert with dancing

During the Drum Live Concert, you will move and groove with Ana Costa and her band Yemadas. This vibrant event features rhythmic beats and infectious energy, inviting you to dance your heart out. It's a celebration of music, movement, and joy, creating a memorable night of fun and festivity.


You'll get to experience a mesmerizing stargazing session under Portugal's clear night skies. This guided two-hour journey through the cosmos features captivating stories and legends about the constellations. Embrace the beauty of the universe as you learn about celestial wonders, making it an unforgettable part of your retreat.

Sound healing

You will experience the transformative power of Sound Healing, a meditative concert that uses special instruments to harmonize the body. This immersive session will provide a soothing escape, enveloping you in calming vibrations and frequencies designed to promote deep relaxation and inner peace.

Walking in nature

You will explore the lush trails of the local Natural Park. This relaxing walk delves into the unique features and vegetation of the area, offering a deeper connection with the natural world. It's an ideal way to rejuvenate and appreciate the beauty of Portugal's landscapes.


Heather Smith, MA, LPC


Algarve, Portugal

Monte Velho was built in the heart of Algarve, Portugal's sun-kissed southern coast. Area framed by golden cliffs and azure seas, it's a haven for ocean, sun, and nature lovers. Renowned for its charming whitewashed villages, delicious seafood, and vibrant festivals, the Algarve embodies the alluring essence of Portuguese seaside life.


Healthy food

You will be provided with three delicious, healthy, vegan, and vegetarian meals a day and 24-hour access to coffee, tea, lemonade, and snacks, including sweets and desserts. The kitchen works with unprocessed foods, fresh and locally sourced, and they use herbs and vegetables from their own garden in Monte Velho, paying attention to the principles of Ayurveda.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Ayurvedic
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

3-day Portugal Experience

Why not stay a few days more and see the best of the Algarve region?

Sign up for an additional 3-day package of Portuguese experiences with some of the most beautiful spots in the Algarve. This program is not a "cross out from the checklist as many sights as you can" type of thing - it will give you a slow travel experience, thanks to which you will be able to sink into the coastal atmosphere of this region.

This adventure starts on the same day that the "IFS and Expanded States in Therapy" Retreat in Portugal ends and is dedicated only to the retreat's participants.

Michael Pasterski will take care of everything - accommodation, food, transportation and entrance tickets for all three days: the 20th, 21st & 22nd of November.

What will you experience?

During the 3-day Portugal Experience, you will stay in Lagos, which is 40 minutes away from Monte Velho Retreat Center. Lagos is renowned for its stunning coastline featuring golden beaches and dramatic cliffs, along with a charming historic center that offers a mix of vibrant cultural experiences. Its blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and lively nightlife caters to a wide range of interests, ensuring a memorable visit.

Benagil Caves

A must-do experience in Portugal, offering a chance to explore the stunning natural sea caves known for their unique formations and the iconic, sunlit dome of the Benagil Cave. Done on a boat, this adventure reveals the breathtaking beauty of the Algarve's coastline.

Exploring Lagos

You will have the opportunity to discover a variety of attractions at your own pace: the Old Town's charming streets, bustling local markets, the historical significance of the city walls and Lagos Castle, and relaxing walks along the scenic waterfront, each offering a unique slice of the city's rich heritage and coastal allure.

Live Fado Concert

An enchanting journey into Portugal's soulful music heritage, where the melancholic melodies and poignant lyrics of Fado will be performed in an intimate, atmospheric venue, offering a deeply emotional and authentic Portuguese cultural experience.

Dolphin watching

Aboard an eco-friendly boat, you'll observe dolphins in their natural habitat, immersing yourself n the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. This excursion will be guided by local experts. It combines marine education with the thrill of seeing these magnificent creatures up close.

Ponta de Piedade

Visiting Ponta de Piedade offers an unforgettable experience with its spectacular cliffs, unique rock formations, and crystal-clear waters. This natural wonder is famous for its breathtaking views and is a must-see for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

What's included:

What's included in the 3-day Portugal Experience package?

  • 3-day excursion program: 20.11, 21.11 and 22.11.2024
  • 3 nights in Lagos (20.11 - 23.11.2024)
  • Full board (3 meals a day)
  • All-day transportation and a transfer back to the airport after check-out
  • Care and support of the organizers and tour guides

The price presented below is the price of the "IFS and Expanded States in Therapy" in Portugal (3370 USD) and the 3-day Portugal Experience (1470 USD).

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation at Monte Velho Retreat Center (6 nights/7 days = 5 full workshop days + check-in day + check-out day)
  • Full board (3 meals a day)
  • Coffee, tea, lemonade, water, and snacks throughout the whole retreat, including sweets and desserts
  • Transfer from Faro Airport to Monte Velho Retreat Center (on the day of check-in)
  • Transfer from Monte Velho Retreat Center to the airport on the day of check-out
  • Activities described in the "Trips and experiences" section (transportation, guides, entry tickets)

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Individual / personal insurance
  • 3-day Portugal Experience (extra cost)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Faro Airport Airport transfer included: Faro Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 12 participants


Arrival: Thursday November 14, 2024
Departure: Wednesday November 20, 2024

Select your package:

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