Isy Gabriel

About us

I grew up in the UK with 3 talented siblings (two brainy ones and an arty one), my Dad an inventor and my Mum a psychotherapist. I seemed to be a blended mix of all of them!

While I was at high school my mum was studying a psychology/sociology degree so I was raised in an environment of interest in the mind and in behaviour. She became a social worker and then a renowned psychotherapist.

I had a pretty normal childhood really, until I had a life changing accident when I was 17. I was training for a trampolining competition which could have led to selection in the British Olympic squad (then World champions). I sustained severe spinal injuries attempting a new manoeuvre without being allowed the required safety equipment. It was the worst case they had seen without being paralysed. Nevertheless there was substantial damage to my spine, that still affects me today. I spent a year convalescing, the first six months in a full body plaster cast, followed by a cast iron brace and it was a year before I could sit, for short periods only.

I did eventually make it to Uni to study Psychology but I lived with constant pain which medication barely touched. I tried physio, chiro and osteo and every natural therapy known, and it only ever took the edge off the pain. I was frequently depressed, at times with suicidal thoughts.

After gaining my honours in Psychology from Oxford Brookes, I continued my interest in human and primate behaviour with three years studying play behaviour in baboons in Africa, a year and a half in Kenya working in the field in a remote area. My PhD research substantiated how important it is for humans to have play incorporated in their learning environments. It’s a compulsory element to become balanced and functional members of society.

After my PhD research I took a year off to travel to Australia on a working holiday and after just 5 days in Melbourne I encountered Bowen therapy. I was pain free the morning after my first treatment for the first time since my accident. After three weeks of Bowen I decided I had to learn this remarkable therapy and six weeks later I started that journey, ending up assisting at workshops by the end of that dedicated year. Bowen changed my life personally and professionally.

I returned to the UK to set up the first European Bowen clinic and studied other modalities to broaden my understanding of the body, from Eastern and Western traditions. I published the first article on Bowen in the UK/Europe in April 1993 which sparked enough interest to establish the first Bowen courses there. I coordinated and assisted my teachers Ossie and Elaine Rentsch, who were the only people in the world teaching Bowen at that time. Ossie had studied under the originator, Tom Bowen, in the 1970’s. (see link below for the full history of Bowen therapy).

During that tour Ossie appointed me as their first teacher world wide for The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia. I ran my first Bowen workshop in the UK in October 1993 and again the following year before emigrating to Australia at the end on 1994 with my first born baby.

I set up a clinic in Melbourne and trained Bowen Therapists for the Academy. I was there for two years. Then we moved to Tilba on the South Coast of NSW in 1996 and continued the clinic (and taught Bowen workshops in Australia til 2000) while I raised my two children. I visited the UK most years and taught post grad Bowen workshops to deepen the work. I still love Bowen, for myself and as my profession, 28 years later, and specialise in back pain relief, in even the worst acute or chronic cases.

During this time I continued my passion for psychology and human behaviour with Family Constellations work and Holigral (NLP5) Processing. Over my thirty years of interest in the field of psychology I have come across many therapies. For me these two stand out for their ability to resolve long standing issues and bring lasting inner peace.

Combining them with Bowen therapy is particularly effective and enables me to address the body, mind and soul. Issues can often sit within the body and these therapies feed into each other so you’ve have a much greater opportunity of complete healing by working with mind and body thus clients move through their issues more quickly and to a deeper level.

A few years ago a series of synchronistic events led me to realise I needed to embrace the often taboo subject of our sexuality, into my work. This is becoming another specialisation and passion as I see the deep need to help people to truly heal their sexual wounds and shame and awaken their potential for embodying their own sexuality and revitalising their world.

I am still living and working in Tilba, visiting Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to offer Family Constellation workshops (and every other year, in the UK) and just beginning to explore a specialist field of Constellations and sexuality.

I’m planning to hold retreats on the South Coast too. These incorporate healing and joy in body, mind and soul, with Bowen work, tantric massage, Family constellations, Holigral, and embracing our need to revitalise the aliveness and joy in sexuality and deep intimacy, with ourselves and each other.

I look forward to meeting you.

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Reconnecting with myself after a very crazy few months with a new baby! Just having that feeling of being grounded again. But also having an opportunity to connect with new amazing people. Getting exposed and Inspired by new (to me) yoga instructors (and community). Being in the presence of real, authentic and raw emotion (the whole spectrum).. So many reasons! Alyson
 

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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