Why would I set up a clinic in Italy for psychological treatments?
At the heart of what I have learned about treating people with anxiety, depression or functional physical/neurological symptoms is that a holistic approach is the way to an effective and lasting recovery. We know that good physical and emotional health depend on every aspect of our environment: our nutrition, our sleep, an ability to reduce or banish stress, and the beauty of our surroundings. All of these factors enhance our quality of life and wellbeing.
So I went looking for somewhere that provides serenity, outstanding natural beauty, peace and quiet in which to set up my summer clinic. I found it on top of a mountain in Italy. Completely isolated from the hustle and bustle of daily life, this 600 acre nature reserve is breath-takingly beautiful. You wake to the sound of bees, birdsong and chirping crickets. At night a blanket of total quiet descends facilitating a quality of sleep that can rarely be achieved in any city.
My mountain retreat is in Umbria, on the borders with Tuscany. From the three rustic farmhouses where you will be staying, you will have a unique view across the Umbrian/Tuscan countryside, seeing up to 40 miles into the distance in every direction.
When you have breakfast or dinner on one of the shaded terraces, you will enjoy your meal surrounded by beauty and peace such as you have probably never known.
Our facilitators and lecturers include psychologists, psychiatrists, mindfulness experts, nutritionists and a naturopathic doctor.
The programme varies according to which course and which level you sign up for. All courses offer a combination of individual therapy, group lectures, group therapy, and rehabilitation physiotherapy or exercise training. We will also be offering electromagnetic pulse therapy for those who may benefit from it.
There are two different courses for people suffering functional symptoms:
The first is a one-week intensive course for people who have attended previous individual or group therapy in London. The second is a two-week commencement course including individual assessment. This course is largely designed for international participants who may continue their treatment with Skype sessions.
There are separate groups, lasting 7 days, for people suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.
Each course will comprise of a small group from four to a maximum of eight participants.
All the courses include presentations on Sleep, Nutrition, Diet, Reducing and Managing Stress. You simply sign up for the presentations that suits you. The other sessions are tailored to the specific course, whether Reducing Functional Symptoms and Improving my Quality of Life, General Wellbeing, ‘Stop the Clock’, Depression Reduction, or Banish Health Anxiety. We work with an Exercise and Rehabilitation Centre that offers exercise groups, e.g. Pilates, Fibro Physio (for Fibromyalgia patients), Strength-Building training, as well as a specific neuro-rehabilitation service. We also offer hydrotherapy sessions.
Those of you who are more mobile will be able to go on core-strengthening hill walks. If you wish to participate in that we recommend that you bring along some hiking boots and we will supply you with walking poles. Walking up and down these wonderful Tuscan/Umbrian hills, you will observe the natural beauty in this part of the world up close. The verges are covered with wildflowers which in turn attracts hundreds of beautiful butterflies. You will walk through the ancient forests with wonderful trees. It is a feast for the senses at the same time as you are exercising. It’s a great combination.
More detailed information will be provided at your request. Have a chat with us about your needs and proposed treatment.
Since Nutrition is an important part of your treatment, we will provide a healthy buffet breakfast each morning and a healthy buffet dinner in the evening. All of the food we use is fresh; most is organic. We source seasonal salad and vegetables directly from a farmer who grows her own organic produce: we order each morning, the vegetables are then picked for us and are delivered to our kitchen for that day’s meals.
Our buffet always includes all the great food specialities that Tuscany and Umbria are famed for. Weather permitting, you will be able to enjoy your breakfast and dinner alfresco on one of the terraces. Generally, the weather at this time of year is fine but there are the occasional storms which are generally short lived. Grey cloudy periods can sometimes occur for a day or two and even may persist for up to a week.
We have selected the finest and most authentic Umbrian and Tuscan restaurants for you to enjoy lunch each day including a glass of Italy’s finest wines. Those of you who are following a ketogenic diet (which is the diet that we recommend for optimum health) will have no difficulties in continuing with your lifestyle choice. If you prefer to sample local carb delicacies – gnocchi, pasta, polenta, pizza, that too is on offer. The quality of the meat is superb. There will also be vegetarian and pescatarian dishes. Even though we will be providing healthy and tasty meals, you will also have your own kitchen facilities should you wish to cook your own food which you can purchase in the villages that we will be taking you to.
We have scheduled free time after lunch for you to look around the villages or shop if you wish, or simply to sit and watch the local life. The villages are medieval, full of narrow winding streets. Just looking at their architecture – thick defensive outer walls and arrow slits – offers a glimpse back into how they fought off unwelcome invaders in times gone by. Today, they are much more welcoming!
After a full day of treatments, exercise, lectures and experiencing Tuscany/Umbria, we will provide a healthy and delicious buffet which again, subject to the weather, will be served alfresco on one of our terraces.
We have a minibus that will transport us to and from all venues. If you want to be more independent, you will need to hire a car since there is no public transport on our mountain.
You will be staying in authentic antique Umbrian stone built farmhouses but with modern fixtures and fittings. The accommodation is best described as rustic, utilitarian but very comfortable. You may be sharing a bathroom with one other person or couple. There is TV and Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi reception may be poorer on some occasions, partly because Italy does not generally have good Internet bandwidth and partly because being up a mountain we may be subject to difficult weather conditions from time to time. We provide bathroom and swimming towels.
Generally, the weather in Italy where we are is pretty consistently hot and sometimes quite humid in late June and July. However, our particular location at the top of the mountain ensures that is always a few degrees cooler than down below. On most evenings there is usually a fresh breeze which is Mother Nature’s perfect natural air conditioning.
FLIGHTS & LOCATION
The nearest international airport is Perugia, just under an hour away. Our mountain retreat is also just over a 2 hours train or car journey from Florence, one of Italy’s most-loved cities. You might like to spend a few days or a week in Florence before you attend our treatment courses. This can work well especially for international visitors to help recover from jet lag.
There are dozens of charming ancient Italian hilltop towns dotted around the hillside within 15 minutes to an hour of our Clinic. Some date back to Etruscan or Roman times but most of the architecture dates from the Middle Ages. Much of the architecture has been repurposed over time and is both functional and beautiful.