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Personal Retreats:
An Alternative to Traditional Counseling, Addiction Rehab and Psychiatric Hospitalization


Highly customized interventions for anxiety, depression, addiction* and relationship issues


Individual Counseling Retreats: In a time of crisis, at a crossroads, or when you need to dig deep

You may be overwhelmed, and feel unable to manage your emotions or negative thoughts. You may be confronting patterns of addiction* or reactions to stress. A relationship may be in crisis or you may feel caught in indecision about a major life choice or transition. Or perhaps you simply know the way you are living must change and your better self needs to emerge. If therapy by the hour isn't enough, and you don't want a cookie-cutter institutional experience, there is a different way. Think inspiring settings and time outdoors. Think personalized and focused guidance. A Well Beings Retreat is an intensive process that's highly time-efficient and deeply impactful. It's non-judgmental, customized to you, and focused on building your strengths.


Watch this short video to learn more

My experience with Doug was nothing short of life changing. The time, care, and mindfulness that he put into my retreat was exceptional. He listened to everything I said about loving nature, and created a one-of-a-kind journey for me. I will never forget it or him. I couldn’t have been in better hands. He sent me home with many tools to help make it through the stressful times that may come.
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A unique opportunity to experience a one-to-one stress management, addiction recovery, counseling, or mindfulness retreat


Umbria, Italy


Inspiring, personal work in exquisite natural settings and retreat centers


When you are dealing with profound personal difficulties or are just seeking self-discovery, growth and change, let the environment support your intention. For your retreat, we'll choose harmonious places that reflect simplicity and minimize distraction. We structure the process to optimize your openness to change and readiness to learn. We create a pace and rhythm that allows space for new insights and new skills to take hold. The deceptively simple power of a retreat is that when you immerse yourself in a place that supports self-reflection, you lay the groundwork for new ways of thinking and living to emerge. This is why retreats have been used by wisdom traditions for centuries.

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Intensive counseling in a place that inspires you


How your retreat is designed

After a phone consultation to discuss your goals, needs and preferences, I create a proposal for you that details your personal retreat. Some retreats focus more on counseling, others on learning Mindfulness, and still others on spending time in nature. Most often, a retreat center is used as the base as it provides easy access to healthy meals and other supportive services such as yoga and massage. Some clients prefer to work in their own home or another favorite location. A daily plan and rhythm is created around your unique objectives. A typical day combines individual counseling, meditation instruction and practice, time outdoors, and time for quiet reflection, reading or journaling. Retreats are typically two to five days, but can be longer or shorter. 

Areas of focus during
your retreat

  • Anxiety, stress and issues of distraction

  • Marital or family problems or crisis

  • Addiction/dependence regarding alcohol and substances*, media, work, sexuality, relationship, etc.

  • Life decisions

  • Loss of inner direction, meaning, and matters of spirituality

  • Grieving losses and changes

  • Emotional balance and self-regulation

  • Cultivating wellness

  • An alternative to addiction rehab or psychiatric hospital

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Personal change is a process,
not an event


In a world of endless distraction, one of the most radical things we can do is slow down and focus on one thing. The very decision to take time for a retreat sets the stage for new ways of living, and being present. At key moments of readiness to change, we need to dig deep, and keep digging. In the spaciousness of a retreat, we begin to live in a new way that's more skillful and authentic. We connect to our true values. We rediscover our center and new possibilities, following a path of steady, mindful attention. Rather than focusing solely on what's ailing you, a retreat encourages you to ask, "how good do you want it to be?"


Take time to reflect, regroup and renew


A personal retreat creates a priceless disruption of business as usual. We unplug from our normal ways of living in which habitual patterns are continually reinforced. In the mindful rhythm of a retreat, and respite from life demands and activities, we become more self-aware. Self-limiting ways of thinking and behaving become clearer. We increasingly understand how we feed into our own stress. With focused counseling, there's fertile ground for creating new responses to life challenges. We learn we can respond, not just react. We shape a blueprint for positive life changes going forward, based on lived experience, not simply conversation. From then on it’s in our bones and body, not just the mind.

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Nature as medicine

Great artists and change agents have long understood the power of spending time in nature. It connects us to something essential in ourselves, away from social pressures and ideas of who we're supposed to be. Many of us are nature deprived, and at times of personal change, we do well to draw on the beauty and balance of nature. Nature doesn't hurry, or struggle with an identity crisis or regrets. Many natural elements embody the resilience and steadiness we are seeking. For this reason, when it's appropriate for a client, retreats include mindfulness and counseling in the outdoors.

Plum Island, Massachusetts

Your facilitator - Doug Baker

A veteran of many years working within the psychiatric hospital world, Doug Baker developed Well Beings Retreats as an alternative to the limitations of institutional, medication-based treatment and the often impersonal nature of addiction rehab centers and hospital programs. Well Beings Retreats provides a truly customized experience for clients. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Doug leads personal retreats nationwide.

In addition to being a licensed therapist, teacher, author and Kripalu Yoga teacher, Doug presents workshops for therapists on holistic mental health skills and teaches on mindfulness and yoga for numerous companies and universities, including Harvard University, Boston College, MIT, and others. He is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and was a featured presenter in 2018 at the Harvard Medical School conference on meditation and psychotherapy. Doug's first book, Five-Minute Mindfulness: Walking was released in 2017.

To learn more about Doug's counseling, yoga, mindfulness and stress- management offerings, call 617-331-4654 or visit

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Learn Mindfulness. Become more resilient.

Mindfulness doesn't promise you'll never get stressed or upset. But it teaches us how to ride the waves of emotion and thoughts, and move through a messy, unpredictable world, with more grace and less suffering. Another word for these benefits is resilience. Research associates Mindfulness with lower rates of anxiety and depression, greater life and relationship satisfaction, and reduced bio-markers of stress. A personal retreat provides in-depth coaching to learn and integrate the ideas and practices of Mindfulness. We create a personal plan to maintain your practice post-Retreat, and I guide you to resources to support your growing practice over the long run.

Woodacre, California


Why Retreats and Intensives

Retreats and Intensives are intended to fill a gap in mental health and wellness services. If you need to address a significant issue, but feel a weekly therapy hour isn't enough, and stay at a psychiatric hospital or an addiction rehab facility isn’t appropriate, a Personal Retreat or Intensive may be a good fit. This model provides time to do in-depth work, while staying present through the full cycle of ups and downs of mood changes and relationship conflicts. The time to dig deep with focused, sustained, professional attention in a counseling retreat is unique and can be very powerful. It's all designed in a time-frame that fits your schedule.

Changing addictive patterns can also be the focus of a counseling intensive.* Habit cessation sometimes requires removing oneself from one's home environment and taking time in an intentional, supportive process to cultivate new habits.

Retreats and Intensives are entirely confidential. No medical record is created.


Retreat Reflections: A Well Beings Blog

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Learn more

Find out if a personal retreat is right for you. Call Doug Baker at  617-331-4654 or use the form below. You will generally receive a reply within 24 hours. If there is urgency, you are welcome to send a text message to the phone number above.

Name *

*Potential clients are advised to seek medical advice regarding the need for a medically-supervised detox prior to an Intensive if there is substance or alcohol dependence.