• Equine Therapy

  • Confidential Counseling

  • Adrenal Fatigue Education

  • Emotional Regulation Workshops

  • Body Work

  • Healthy Meals and Snacks

  • Post Retreat Follow-up Plan With Tools To Be Successful

  • And More!

Bridges Retreats

Connecting With Your Resilience


Windows To My Soul is collaborating with Jill Gustafson, LCSW to deliver retreats for First Responders that address the often overwhelming emotional and psychological symptoms that are a result of protecting and serving as a First Responder.  Exposure to this type of high stress work environment can take a life altering toll on First Responders and their families. Goals of these retreats include processing traumatic events, educating participants on the neurobiological effects of long term cumulative exposure to trauma, provide tools and guidance to calm the neurobiological systems, as well as provide experiences that will help participants reconnect to their relationships, communities, and life.

Topics for this retreat include:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Relationship Problems (focus on spouse and children)

  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Sleep Problems

  • Administrative Betrayal

  • And Other Issues Associated With Being Involved In One Or MultipleTraumatic Events


The  5-Day, 4-Night or 3-Day, 2-Night Bridges Retreat includes:


  • Brainspotting (Used exclusively by Jill Gustafson and others with First Responders during the Carr and Camp fires to process multiple traumatic experiences in a short period of time)


Retreats will be at Pleasant Valley Farm, located in the beautiful Sierra Foothills.

5-Day, 4-Night and 3-Day, 2-Night retreat participants will be staying in individual cabins at the rustic yet well-appointed 7Up Guest Ranch.

Mornings will begin with Trauma Focused Yoga and a hearty healthy breakfast. Shuttle service to the retreat site (15 minutes away) will be provided, and each day will end with a home style dinner, followed by healing meditation.

1-Day Intensive Retreat

The 1-Day Intensive retreat is a trauma informed education workshop for First Responders, their spouses, partners and friends.  This is an opportunity to learn about the neurobiological and physiological effects of long term cumulative exposure to traumatic events and to practice tools that can calm the neurobiological systems.  We call this emotional regulation.   Contemporary research shows that healthy relationships, meaning good for both, are the agent of change for those striving to overcome the effects of traumatic events.  In this workshop we partner with horses, focusing on relationship with self, family and community while maintaining a calm regulated state.  

1-Day Intensive Learning Objectives include:

  • Understand regulation and the physical and mental health benefits of living a regulated life

  • Learn tools that can help maintain a calm/regulated state

  • Learn skills that promote healthy, good for both,  relationships

For the 1-Day Intensive, we invite the entire First Responder community, which includes:

  • Dispatch

  • Emergency Medical Services

  • Fire Fighters

  • Forestry Service

  • Law Enforcement

  • Office of Emergency Services

  • Peer Support Groups/Teams

  • Search & Rescue

Bridges Spouse's Retreat

This 3-Day Retreat is developed to provide spouses of First Responders with the same tools and interventions as provided in our Bridges Retreats. Spouses and significant others of First Responders are often exposed to chronic stress, fatigue, trauma, as well as secondary or vicarious trauma due to the First Responder’s high stress work environment, which often takes a life altering toll on their intimate relationships.The Bridges Spouse’s Retreat was developed to address the often overwhelming emotional and psychological symptoms that are a result of living with and loving a First Responder.

Participants will process their trauma in Brainspotting sessions, learn about the very real changes in the brain and body created by traumatic events, discover tools that can help shift these changes through experiences with horses and begin the work of rebuilding the ability to form and maintain healthy relationships.  With the understanding that the whole body is effected by traumatic events, mornings will begin with trauma focused yoga, days will include massage and cranial sacral treatments and end with healing mediation.     

The Bridges Spouse’s Retreats are held in the beautiful Sierra Foothills. Participants will be staying at the Seven-Up Guest ranch in Fairplay and the retreats are held at Pleasant Valley Farms in Pleasant Valley.


2019-2020 Bridges Retreat Schedule

3-Day and 5-Day Retreats

  • May 20th thru 22rd (This initial 3-day retreat will be for those who have experience with our clinical team or who have been referred by other known clinicians)    Application deadline April 15th

  • November 10th thru 14th (Open to all First Responders)    Application deadline October 1st

1-Day Intensives (Open to all First Responders)

  • July 25th, 9am-4pm (8:30am check-in)   Application deadline July 18th

  • August 19th, 9am-4pm (8:30am check-in)  Application deadline August 12th


3-Day Spouse's Retreat

  • January 3rd thru 6th, 2020  


If you would like to participate in any of the Bridges retreats, please complete the registration form, scan, and return to healwtms@gmail.com. The form can also be sent via USPS to: PO Box 608, Mount Aukum, CA 95656. 

Upon receipt, our office will send an intake form for you to then complete and submit.

All applicants will also be interviewed by one of our retreat clinicians; this will provide confirmation for both the participant and the clinician that the retreat will be a good fit.

2-Hour Donor Tours

For sponsors and donors who would like an opportunity to tour the Windows To My Soul facility and learn more about our methodology and services, we offer 2-Hour Donor Tours. This tour is designed to provide a deeper understanding of what we do, why we do it, and why we are effective.

Discussion during the tour includes:

  • A Brief History Of Windows To My Soul – Our Current Organization – The Clients We Serve

  • What is Equine Assisted Therapy

  • Why Horses

  • The Models We Practice & Why We Chose Them

  • Our Core Principals

  • Our Mission

  • Our Services-individual sessions, First Responder retreats, mentorship programs

  • Our Fundraisers

Some of the therapy methods we utilize will be explained with a brief demonstration, and we’ll take a walking tour of the grounds. For more information about the tours or upcoming tour dates, please call (530) 620-2760 or click here to send an email.


For those who are interested in a hands-on experience to learn more about Windows To My Soul, we offer one-day intensive informational workshops. This is an informal event covering topics including:

  • Why Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

  • Neurobiology of trauma

  • Models we use (Natural Lifemanship vs EAGALA)

  • Groundwork with horses

  • Rhythmic Riding demonstration

  • ...and more!

Please bring a bag lunch.  Snacks, fruit, bottled water, and hot beverages will be provided. For more information about the workshops or upcoming workshop dates, please call (530) 620-2760 or click here to send an email.