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A little about Sarah....

She is an autistic, a wife, and a mother to three humans and Magnus the Springer Spaniel. She is a Certified Level 3 IFS Practitioner and she is currently finishing her Masters degree in Consciousness Studies at Goddard College where she is writing her thesis on Embodying Autism – consciousness through an autistic lens.

Her professional journey has been an unusual one. She spent the last 15 years supporting clients and helping them reach an understanding that their experiences, whether they are emotional, physical, or spiritual, are all part of who they are. She is a certified Pilates instructor and spent 10 years using movement to help clients recover from illness and injury.  This was a profoundly empowering experience that introduced her to the idea that our bodies store all our emotions. She then became a volunteer working with undocumented children from Central America, many of whom had suffered abuse. Her experiences with these children introduced her to the psychological world of trauma and therapy, and the value of being witnessed. She became a rape crisis counselor for RAINN, the national hotline, listening to and supporting callers who had experienced sexual violence. These experiences all led her to where she is now – working in private practice as a Certified Internal Family Systems practitioner.


IFS is a somatic psychotherapeutic model that encourages clients to notice their emotions rather than change them. She specialises in using the IFS model with autistic clients and she presented on this topic at the Internal Family Systems Annual Conference for the last two years. She is a writer and researcher with a mission  to change the narrative around autism. She continues her work supporting clients to help deepen their understanding of how their autism impacts their lives.

To learn more about Sarah, please check out her website at

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Image by Todd Trapani

What to expect from this Retreat…

This 4 day IFS retreat - solely for those on the spectrum - is the first of its kind. The retreat will be led by Sarah Bergenfield, and supported by Ellie Carn, both of whom are autistic.


This retreat will allow you to build connection, both within your own systems using the IFS model, and to the greater autistic community. We will explore the parts of you that have had to work so hard to help you survive in a world that doesn’t always make sense.


We will use tools from polyvagal theory to attend to your nervous system and build a sensory profile to help understand the effects of the world around you.


We will build and hold a loving space within which we can release the legacy burdens that have impacted our community for so many generations. You do not need to have a formal diagnosis to attend.

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The retreat will include:

·    IFS-based meditations

·    Experiential exercises

·    Discussion and sharing

·    Self-reflection

·    Journaling

·    Sharing and experimenting with new behaviour

·    Laughter and play.

We will meet as a small group of 18 participants to explore our journey from initial curiosity to diagnosis and acceptance.You do not need to have a formal diagnosis of autism to attend.

We will come together each day for a morning session from 9am - 12pm and an afternoon session from 3pm - 6pm so there will be plenty of time to rest, relax and restore in between sessions.

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Retreat Particulars

Please be advised that this is not a formal training and is not intended as a training on how to guide this work for other people. This is strictly a retreat for your personal growth and well-being.

The retreat will take place over 4 days starting March 6th, 2024 and concluding March 9th, 2024


The retreat cost includes tuition, accommodation and 3 delicious meals a day to include a full breakfast, a light lunch and a delicious evening meal throughout the retreat period.

We will come together each day for a morning session from 9am - 12pm and an afternoon session from 3pm - 6pm so there will be plenty of time to rest, relax and restore in between sessions.

This retreat is limited to 18 people. Retreat Tuition cost plus an application form will be available to you once you register your interest. Your place on this retreat will only be secured once a €500 non-refundable deposit is received. Please do not make any travel plans until your registration is formally accepted. 

Any travel costs to the retreat location in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland is the sole responsibility of the participant.

Please note that this retreat is currently planned as an in-person program. Any changes due to COVID-19 restrictions will be posted here as soon as they become available and you will be notified by email for those registered. 

IMPORTANT: Please read our FAQS page on this website for further guidelines and information on Covid, the arrangements we have in place in the unlikely event the retreat is cancelled due to Covid or in the unlikely event the retreat leader is not in a position to attend. The FAQS page also provides further general information which you may find useful when planning your trip. If after reading the FAQS page you need any further information, please feel free to email us at

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