Healing from grief through words and movement

22 to 29 September 2018


Does your grief weigh you down?

Loss is deeply personal, and its effects are often impossible to verbalise. In his poem For Grief, John O’Donohue wisely says, “No one knows what has been taken from you/ When the silence of absence deepens.” Loss and grief come most obviously with endings or death, but can also manifest with life changes that are not necessarily “negative”, for example changing jobs, having children, even getting married! Social expectation that we’ll be able to “move on” can make the necessary process of grieving even more lonely and leave us unheard and isolated in its struggles. Acknowledging and addressing grief makes the journey back to your Self less lonely and the path more certain.

For the first time ever, we are combining the powerful processes of both grief work and bodywork at La Scellerie. This week-long retreat will mainly focus on how we can recover from grief using an imaginative and stepped approach, led by Susan Hollins. This will be combined and supported with bodywork in the form of the Alexander Technique, taught by Patrick Ardagh-Walter, and Yoga taught by Joo Teoh.

Susan has been supporting people through change and loss for over 30 years. Over the course of six days, she will guide and enable you to engage deeply with your grief using memory, feeling and imagination, in a step by step approach. The aim is to enable you to move  beyond the pain to a reach a place of resolution and peace.  Each day you will have two hours working with Susan to learn this method, with exercises and contemplations to do afterwards. 

Each morning will begin with a movement class taught by Joo. The classes are rooted in the fundamentals of Yoga, and will incorporate breathing exercises and useful practices from Qigong and Chinese Medicine. Classes are suitable for all levels of ability and experience. More about Joo.

Every afternoon, there will be a group class in the Alexander Technique taught by Patrick. The Alexander Technique is an effective means of rediscovering the physical and mental freedom which our unconscious and self-harming habits have stolen from us. Students report greater ease and lightness of movement, less fatigue and better sleep, reduced pain or stiffness and many other benefits. Patrick teaches widely in the UK and abroad. He has a special interest in breath and voice grounded in 30 years of professional singing and voice teaching. More about Patrick

Three wholesome and healthy meals will be provided each day. Accommodation will be in a nearby guesthouse, with options for single or shared rooms. The retreat is limited to a maximum of 8 people.


About Susan

In her previous work as an Anglican Priest and as a NHS Healthcare Chaplain, Susan has supported many people in and through major life crises. Providing support for people through loss and grief is a major thread in the fabric of Susan’s work. Combining her training in Psychodynamic Therapy, Life Coaching, and The Grief Recovery Method, enables her to work deeply and empathically with people, while being practically grounded.

More about Susan Hollins


Logistics & Prices

Arrival day is Saturday 22 September and departure is on Saturday 29 September 2018. The course will be held at La Scellerie. Accommodation will be at a guesthouse approximately 10 minutes away. The entire guesthouse will be booked solely for the participants of this retreat, so it will be a private and safe space for this process.

All meals will be mainly vegetarian, with the option for fish. Breakfast and lunch will be served at La Scellerie. Dinner will be served at the guesthouse. Please inform us of your dietary requirements and allergies when you book.

There will be dogs at La Scellerie and the guesthouse. If you have severe allergies or fear of dogs, please let us know when you book. 


  • Single room: £990 per person
  • Shared room: £860 per person

We wish to keep this retreat relatively small, so that you get plenty of personal attention from us. This means that numbers are limited, so please let us know if you would be willing to share a room, should single rooms become unavailable. Included in this price:

  • all classes during the week
  • three meals a day
  • accommodation
  • daily transfers between the guesthouse and La Scellerie

Your travel costs to France are not included in this price. 

Example of daily programme (subject to variations)

  • 7:30-8:30am – Yoga with Joo
  • 8:30-9:30am – Breakfast
  • 10:00-12:00pm – Grief Recovery with Susan
  • 12:30-1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30pm – Private time for contemplations / outings / rest, etc
  • 4:30-5:00pm - Tea at La Scellerie
  • 5:00-6:00pm– Alexander Technique with Patrick
  • 7pm – Dinner at guesthouse

Each day there you will have some personal work to do during your free time. You can stay to enjoy the woodland and garden at La Scellerie, rest at the guesthouse, or visit some of the very special historic locations nearby, which may provide a suitable backdrop for your contemplations. (See nearby attractions.)



Saturday 22 September is the arrival day. We will be here to welcome you, help you settle in, and there will be a welcome dinner that evening. There will be no classes this day.

Saturday 29 September is the departure day. Breakfast will be provided, and we will be on hand for wrapping up the week and sending you on your way. There will be no classes on this day.

We have tried all route options from southern England to Normandy. The options below are our recommendations based on comfort, convenience and price, but are by no means the only way to get here.

By air: Flybe, from London Southend airport to Caen Carpiquet airport. Approx £80 return.

Southend to Caen on 22 Sept     

  • Depart Southend at 12:00 hours    
  • Arrive Caen at 14:10 hours            

Caen to Southend on 29 Sept

  • Depart Caen at 14:35 hours
  • Arrive Southend at 14:40 hours

Southend airport station has a direct train from London Liverpool Street. Journey time is approx. 52 mins.

By sea: These are our recommended crossings on Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Caen:

Portsmouth to Caen on 22 Sept    

  • Depart Portsmouth at 08:15 hours   
  • Arrive Caen at 15:00 hours            

Caen to Portsmouth on 29 Sept

  • Depart Caen at 16:30 hours
  • Arrive Portsmouth at 21:15 hours

As foot passengers on the above crossings with cabins both ways, return cost is approx. £116. If you take a reserved seat, return cost is approx. £80. If you choose to take the recommended crossings as a foot passenger, we can provide transfers from the Caen terminal to La Scellerie. Please be aware that Portsmouth Harbour Station is a 10 minute taxi ride to the Brittany Ferries passenger terminal. There are often taxis at Portsmouth Harbour Station, but it may be wise to book one in advance.

If you choose to drive, the return price for a standard car (up to 5mx1.85m) with cabin both ways is approx. £356.