Golden Willow Retreat is pleased to announce this important conference to be held on September 30th and October 1st, 2017  in the beautiful Taos Ski Valley.

Join us this summer at Taos Ski Valley, a world-renowned year-round resort, high up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  Taos Ski Valley offers a variety of experiences to help your soul to unwind from the stresses of the outside world.  It is the perfect location for this conference focused on finding support, both internal and external, in these turbulent times.

We welcome you to register for this conference featuring locally and nationally renowned speakers including Ken Kubler Ross and Dianne Gray of the Kubler Ross foundation and many more dynamic authors, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and pastors presenting on the very sensitive subject finding support and resilience during turbulent times

 The two day event includes continental breakfast and lunch and a total of 13 CEUs for Counselors and Social Workers.



Rachel-Cox-1Staying Connected: The use of relationship and reflective capacity in addressing the impact of trauma on the people we work with and ourselves.

We will  deepen our understanding of how working with people who have experienced trauma can create disconnection and isolation in the helper and explore the effects of relationship and reflection as potent antidotes.   

Rachel Cox, LCSW, has worked in the field of domestic and sexual violence for more than 16 years. She is currently the clinical director at Community Against Violence in Taos, NM.  Previously, she has worked as an advocate, sexual assault program coordinator, court appointed special advocate volunteer coordinator, and child and adult therapist. Her experience in direct service informs the guiding principles of her approach to supervision. In her role, Ms. Cox works to facilitate organizational change to improve service quality at a local and statewide level.

PS-DG-16-EditwebresThe Power of Choice: A Key Component to Building Resilience While Coping with Loss

“I am not what happened to me. I am who I choose to become.” 
~ Carl Jung 
In the midst of chaos and loss, many feel as though all of life will come crashing down. 
However, what would happen if we began to empower the suffering or the grieving
with a skill set that included a recognition of the magnificent power of “choice,” a key component
to building resilience in the midst of turbulent times? By teaching others about the power of choice, we will not just help our
patients and their families, we’ll also be helping ourselves as we face our own personal and professional tumultuous events. 
Join us as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation president, Dianne Gray shares up-to-date research and an 
amazing personal narrative which will help you and those you care for consciously work through 
grief, while building a strong foundation of support. 

Dianne Gray is the CEO of Hospice and Healthcare Communications. She works globally, creating and furthering advocacy, education, and/or mass media initiatives involving all aspects of end-of-life and palliative care.  She is an internationally recognized speaker and an award winning writer/journalist, film producer and programming consultant.  Her motivational keynote talks fuse research with inspiration to discuss the tough and tender topics involved in the provision of quality end of life and grief care. Topics include tech and research as it applies to palliative care, patient/family/clinician communications, spiritual and bereavement care and issues that thwart access and raise barriers to the provision of quality care in end of life. Always she focuses on patient engagement and patient-centric initiatives that build bridges between clinicians and families. 

In additional to being President of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, Dianne is also on the board of International Children’s Palliative Care Network and is co-founder of the American Academy of Pediatrics SOHPM, Parent Advisory Group. Over the past twenty years, she has founded four non-profit organizations, each focused on improving life for seriously ill children and their families. 

Dianne also consults for feature films, tech companies, is a HuffPost contributor, and has appeared on countless radio and television shows. She is currently collaborating with superstars Olivia Newton-John, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky on a newly released CD, LIV ON, which focuses on healing grief through music.

As a catalyst for change, Dianne shares her messages of hope, unconditional love, and the rights of the patient to be as pain free as possible, which drive her tirelessly toward global advocacy for access to proper pain management. As well, she still sits bedside with as many patients as possible, often acting as a resources for family’s facing end of life care for their loved ones.

Throughout, Dianne sees her family’s ten-year pediatric hospice/palliative care experience with her son, Austin (who died in 2005 as a result of a neurodegenerative disorder) as the gift of a lifetime. 

As an aside, she has traveled to 19 countries and over 325 cities in the past nine years– and loves to see who she crosses paths with each and every day! 

PatrickH2013La Madre Sagrada: Nature’s Nurture in Grief Recovery

Patrick will explore examples of how Nature can be helpful in the grief recovery experience. He will share music composed in Nature to express this healing energy.

Patrick Haggerson, M.A. LAADC is currently a spiritual care professional at the Betty Ford Center, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, in Rancho Mirage, CA. He has worked at the Betty Ford Center in various clinical positions for the past 20 years. He began his career in 1989 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Chemical Dependency program and has incorporated music and meditation into his therapeutic practice since the beginning. Patrick has also been part of the faculty of the Native American Training Institute School in Albuquerque, NM for many years. He worked on the Alkali Lake First Nations Reserve in British Columbia from 2005 through 2013 and on the Rosebud Reservation in St. Francis, SD from 2008 through 2011. Patrick is a native New Mexican who grew up in three cultures: Cowboy culture, American Indian culture and Spanish-speaking, New Mexican culture.


Jes Montgomery-37-Edit
Resiliency, Recovery and Healing:  Finding the Impersonal, Impervious and Impermanent in Loss and Recovery
In the midst of the vortex of loss, as in the early and rocky stages of recovery, virtually everything feels personal, permanent and pervasive.  Redirecting that feeling and energy is crucial to moving past the moment of doubt and finding that which has always been and will always be true for each of us.  This session will enter the journey from the overwhelm of moments through developing awareness of how temporary so much of life is and into the sense of healing, forgiveness, and serenity.  We will look at how the journey to healing from addiction is solidified in the resolution of the distortion of these feelings and the freedom from resentment, fear and chaos is found in the solid connection with our selves, our source and our support.
James C. “Jes” Montgomery MD began working in the field of Chemical Dependency in 1985 as a Family Physician, gaining certification by the American Society on Addiction Medicine in 1987.  In 1992, he returned to LSU Medical Center in New Orleans to complete a psychiatry residency, entering practice as a psychiatrist in 1995 and attained board certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1999.  He also became a Diplomate of the newly formed American Board of Addiction Medicine in 2009.   For over 10 years, he has integrated the healing of loss into the treatment of addiction and has presented in numerous venues about the importance of this process. His most recent focus has been integrating technology into the process of addiction treatment and recovery through Envision Hope Treatment and the Envision Recovery Ally program, which provides 24/7 support, monitoring and treatment interventions to persons in treatment and recovery, creating Data Assisted Recovery and Treatment. 

GenevieveBe The Trampoline:

The bounce of a trampoline results from the weight of the person jumping creating a dynamic stress on the springs. Exerted force on the springs causes them to extend. The equal and opposite reaction coming from the springs catalyzes the retraction and then the bounce. Life is in many ways like bouncing on a trampoline. Grief and loss can push us to the depths of our selves, and mindful effort can be the dynamic tension of the springs that catalyze our leap into a more lustrous future. In her talk Genevieve wall discuss how yoga, mindfulness, breath, and intention are tools that  can enable one to “Be the trampoline.”

As an Anusara Inspired E-RYT 200 yoga teacher, Genevieve Oswald loves to live her yoga.  When not rolling around on the floor Genevieve can be found practicing yoga in a myriad of ways; seeking equilibrium in marriage to the man of her dreams, dancing in cooperation as a co-owner of Shree Yoga Taos and Sundara Studios Inc., co-creating with the mysterious source-energy of the divine in her weekly blog: balancing work with pleasure while regularly enjoying coffee at her favorite local café, expanding her capacity to communicate effectively when walking her spirited dogs, and anywhere else she winds up in this wild ride called life.  Genevieve teaches yoga classes that inspire open-hearted willingness, mindful presence, and the integration of the physical, mental, and emotional bodies to enhance self-awareness and improve the overall quality of one’s life, because a happy life is one worth living.

unnamedDialogue on Resilience: Necessity for Life; Attribute of Recovery

Since life is, at its best, a dialogue with self, others, Spirit and with expectations, circumstances welcome and unwelcome, every day and traumatic events, as well as with the unseen:  our hopes, dreams, and desires, this conversation will model engagement, shared thoughts, inquiries, and may express uncertainty in the process of trying to understand resilience.

Charlie Risien, CSAT; LCDC; ICAADC; MAS; CCJP; AAC  is a seasoned Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor, and  Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, whose focus is trauma and its impact on body, brain, and spirit. Charlie is also certified in Brainspotting and EMDR.



unnamed-1Sherry Young, PhD, CSAT Provider Liaison, is Sr. Clinical Outreach Director for Elements Behavioral Health for the central US.  Her role as clinical educator is to provide educational learning opportunities for licensed therapists and psychologists who treat mental health and addiction disorders, interface with behavioral health professionals to discuss treatment resources, and advocate for clients of those professionals when their clients utilize Elements’ spectrum of treatment resources.  Dr. Young has provided consultation services for business owners regarding targeted internal and external communications and strategy that are focused on targeted growth, and worked for various companies in the Behavioral Health and Addictions field since 2006.  She is a highly skilled educator, strategist in business development, advocate for recovery and personal growth.


The Life & Legacy of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
*I will speak about EKR’s early life and what lead her to working with the dying.
*Her experiences with the American medical community.
*”On Death & Dying book, the 5 stages: fact and fallacy, it’s roots
*her spirituality, workshops, techniques
* my travels with her and what I experienced
*taking care of her the last 9 years of her life.


Ken Ross is the son of the late Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, pioneering legend in the hospice and palliative care arena.  Elisabeth, famous for her wit and voracious appetite for life, is best known for her seminal publication, On Death and Dying.  In it, she shared the results of interviews with hundreds of dying patients– which resulted in the highly discussed Five Stages of the Dying.  Elisabeth is the author of 22 books in 34 languages, each focusing on some aspect of compassionate care for the dying, the grieving, the suffering, and of course, unconditional love.

Ken is President of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation ( and was the principal care provider for his mother the last 9 years of her life.  When she was alive he traveled with her extensively often bearing witness to her love of life and compassionate care of the suffering. Ken has spoken to thousands of individuals around the world on the topic of his mother’s philosophies, her adventurous antics, and life history which lead to her career in end of life care.

A professional photographer by trade, he is currently endeavoring to photograph 101 countries.(


“God was in this place and I didn’t know it”: Sacred thresholds and inbetweens
Together we will explore the richness of life’s threshold periods, and the experience of questioning faith when facing loss, transition and life altering change. We will also explore the return and remembering of our faith, as an essential aspect of our resiliency as we take another step on our paths of recovery and healing. We will lean on stories from the Abrahamic religions, as well as classic mystics and poets, to find a mirror of this journey and remember together our foundation of trust and faith even in the face of great unkowning and despair.

Hannah Salander is a Licensed Professional Counselor, trained art therapist, Spiritual Director, yoga teacher and hospice chaplain. She has served youth, adults and families for the last ten years healing from loss and trauma in collaboration with many community organizations and through private practice. She worked as a therapist with Golden Willow for five years, and currently lives in Boulder Colorado, and is grateful for continued connection with the Golden Willow family through board participation. Hannah sees the threads of her work and training weaving together to better accompany individuals as they navigate through various life thresholds that ultimately challenge a sense of who we are, what we long for and place our faith in, where we belong, and how we are called.

DSC_2804-2Rev. Ted Wiard, LPCC, CGC – Author, Founder & Executive Director Golden Willow Retreat

Reverend Ted Wiard along with his wife, Marcella, created Golden Willow from a combined vision of compassion and healing towards all life. Ted is a licensed clinical therapist, certified grief counselor, an ordained minister, a New Mexico certified schoolteacher and a certified tennis professional. Ted’s passion for working with grief, loss, and recovery arose from his own personal losses in which he realized there were very few places to go for support and healing from loss. Working at Betty Ford Center, Ted counseled individuals and families with clinical and spiritual support through the recovery process. He has written numerous articles on the subject of emotional healing, grief, loss and the connection vs. disconnection of spirituality in loss, addiction and relapse prevention. Ted has co-authored the book “Witnessing Ted, The Journey to Potential Though Grief & Loss”, a sensitive guide on the six aspects of grief and the journey to a wiser more authentic life. He is sought out for speaking engagements nationally to offer his inspirational and dynamic message of hope and healing.

carol poteet“You’re going to be happy said life. But first, I’ll make you strong*.”  An alum of Golden Willow Retreat, Carol Poteat is flawed, scarred, bold and buoyant.  At any given moment, she may be found employing her skills as a certified coach, author, healer, or in media sales management, all of which reveal the common threads of creativity, service, and support. Carol makes her home in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Mike and her Jack Russell Pete. She enjoys hiking, golf and downtime in the nearby North Carolina mountains. 



Student                       $150

General Attendee     $175

CEU  Attendee*         $200

Seating is limited to 200 attendees



Lodging for the conference at The Blake Hotel in Taos Ski Valley.  Rooms are $120/night.  Please call (888) 569-1756 for reservations.


Click here for the weekend’s schedule.