The Art of Empathy Retreat at Esalen!

February 27, 2017

The Art of Empathy Retreat at Esalen!

Balancing Connection, Self-Care,  and Healthy Intimacy
October 1st to 6th, 2017
Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California
Learn more or register here

The Art of EmpathyEmpathy — for yourself and others — is a crucial skill at all times, and especially in times of trouble. Empathy is possibly your most essential skill, yet many of us struggle with it simply because we weren’t taught how it works. When you learn how empathy works, you’ll be able to empathize skillfully without becoming overwhelmed or burning out — and this ability can improve every area of your life.

In this six-day program at the delightful Esalen Institute retreat center overlooking the Pacific ocean near Big Sur, California, you’ll join empathy pioneers Karla McLaren, M.Ed. and Amanda Ball, MS in an experiential exploration of The Art of Empathy.

No matter where you start — whether you’re highly empathic or whether you’re having difficulty accessing your empathy — you’ll learn how to work with empathy in healthy, grounded, and accessible ways.

In this six-day retreat, you’ll explore:

  • The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy and how to work with each one
  • A unique empathic approach to emotions and social intelligence that will make your empathy much easier to understand
  • Focused Empathic Mindfulness practices to help you live more comfortably, empathically, and authentically
  • Specific empathic communication skills to nurture healthy empathy in your relationships at home, at work, and in your community
  • Numerous self-soothing skills to help you access your empathy in challenging situations
  • Ideas and practices to help you create healthy empathic environments at home and at work — for yourself, your children, your family, and your co-workers

If your empathy is too intense, you’ll learn how to manage it more comfortably, and if empathy is confusing or difficult for you, you’ll learn how to work with it more skillfully.

No matter where you start, you’ll learn how to balance connection and intimacy with self-awareness, and you’ll learn how to develop healthy empathy!


Cost, schedule, and registration details

Tuition is $650 for the six-day Art of Empathy retreat (Sunday, October 1st through Friday, October 6th, 2017) includes your retreat, all of your meals, use of the facilities, and simple accommodations. For other accommodation options, see this lodging rate list.

Art of Empathy Retreat Schedule: You’ll arrive on Sunday afternoon, October 1st and check into your room. We’ll have a Sunday night introduction session, with morning and afternoon sessions Monday through Thursday, plus a final morning session on Friday, October 6th. Esalen’s relaxed schedule will give you plenty of time for rest, movement, relaxation, nature walks, and/or body work.

25.5 CE Credit hours are available for Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, MFTs, Chemical Dependency Counselors, and Educators. See below.

Traveling to Esalen: See your travel options here.

Learn more or register here


About Esalen

Esalen is a wonderful institute and retreat center famous for its beautiful grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean — and for the form of massage that shares its name. Each day of your stay, you’ll spend time in the Art of Empathy workshop, plus you’ll have options for movement, learning, dance, time in the Art Barn, time in the hot springs overlooking the ocean, or massage and bodywork — it’s a relaxed, luxurious, and comfortable way to learn.

Esalen is also known for its fresh, local, healthy meals. If you’d like to try a healthier lifestyle or get your self-care back on track, Esalen is an excellent destination.

It’s really a 3-for-1; you get a relaxing vacation, a delicious healthy retreat, and an Art of Empathy workshop all in one! We hope to see you there!

Register here


About Karla McLaren and Amanda Ball

Photograph of Karla - a smiling white middle-aged female with brown hair and glasses

Photo by Michael Leras

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and pioneering educator whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC.

Karla’s lifelong work has been focused on the creation of a grand unified theory of emotions, which presents every emotion as an essential aspect of intelligence, self-awareness, communication, and empathy.

Karla has also developed the groundbreaking Six Essential Aspects of Empathy model that highlights all of the processes in healthy empathy and makes them easily understandable, accessible, and attainable. This fully realized model teaches people how to access, develop, and manage their empathy intentionally. It also explicitly welcomes people who have been exiled from earlier models of empathy (such as men, boys, and autistic people).

Her applied work, Dynamic Emotional Integration®, is a leading-edge training program and consultation process to help people develop keen emotional awareness, healthy empathic skills, and emotionally-respectful mindfulness practices.


amanda bo (3 of 1)

Photo by Tia Gavin

Amanda Ball, M.S. has her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. She focused her academic studies and internship on the work in The Language of Emotions and The Art of Empathy, and developed emotional skills curriculum and grief and trauma process groups for high school students.

Amanda is the administrator of Emotion Dynamics LLC, and she is double-licensed as a Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant.

Amanda is also a lead instructor of Dynamic Emotional Integration®, and her professional interests include emotions & empathy, addiction & distractions, neurodiversity, trauma healing, and gender & sexuality. She divides her time between Northern California and New England.


Continuing Education Credits are available

This workshop is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars, who offer 25.5 hours of CE credit to Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, MFTs, Chemical Dependency Counselors, and Educators for The Art of Empathy Retreat.

The PDF below contains information on the CE granting organizations, workshop agenda, and learning objectives (please see the specific information for your state).

CEC Information for The Art of Empathy Retreat

These 25.5 hours of CE credit are available through R. Cassidy Seminars at an additional cost of $40 per participant. Click here to register for CECs with Cassidy.


Esalen’s Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made by phone with Esalen staff. See the full Registration and Cancellation polices at Esalen for specific policies and instructions.


Esalen Institute


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