Workshop – West Valley Counseling Center

Talk about it. Se habla español.

Date: August 20-22, 2021

Cost: $1250 - Includes tuition, lodging and all meals starting Friday afternoon through Sunday lunch.

Location: Lazy W Ranch,
San Juan Capistrano, CA

To Register: Print the Application Form or use our Instant Online Form

Application and $500.00 deposit can be brought into the office, shared via email to or mailed to:

West Valley Counseling Center
18226 Ventura Blvd. Suite 202
Tarzana, CA 91356

Please register early as space is limited to 25 Participants

For additional information or questions about registration or workshop location, please contact Jennifer Robertson 818-538-5499 (texts welcome) or

If you have questions about the workshop process, please contact Dr. Sharon Burnett at or call at (818) 609-8703.

Approved by CAMFT for 26 Continuing Education Units


About the workshop:

The Life In Transition Workshop, a three day residential personal growth workshop, addresses the power of connecting mind-body-spirit through teachings, experiential exercises and by sharing our stories.

Created with a trauma-informed treatment philosophy, this workshop recognizes the need to acknowledge, process and make peace with past traumas in order to move through life’s current challenges, an achievement that is essential to building greater resilience as well as allowing a deeper connection to others.

This workshop is inspired by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's groundbreaking “Life, Death, and Transition” Workshops. Dr. Kübler-Ross, who introduced the concept of the “five stages of grief” and was named one of “The Century’s Greatest Minds” by Time Magazine in 1999, argued that every one of us has “unfinished business” that affects our current life. During her workshops, Dr. Kübler-Ross would help participants come to understand how old patterns of behavior, initially developed for sheer survival, were responsible for present judgments, resentments, stress and exhaustion, and she would facilitate processing of obstructive thoughts and feelings through a therapeutic technique called “Externalization.”

Led by Sharon Burnett, PhD., and additional staff trained under this model. Dr. Burnett was a student of Dr. Kübler-Ross. She is a psychotherapist and has staffed and/or led these workshops for more than 30 years. Dr. Burnett brings a richness of experience and personal stories to the workshop, in addition to her deep passion and commitment to this work.


Workshop Schedule

Friday 9AM – 10AM. Registration & room check-in.

All meals will be provided on-site. The retreat center can accommodate most dietary needs. On the application form you can indicate vegan, vegetarian or other dietary needs.

Workshop begins at 10AM Friday morning and continues until Sunday afternoon at 1:30.


FAQ for Workshop

Can I arrive before Friday morning?
Yes. Lodging for participants arriving Thursday night is available at the retreat center. Please indicate on your application form if you are arriving Thursday evening.

Which is the closest airport?
Los Angeles International Airport is the closest airport. The retreat center is about a 75 min drive from LAX.

What are the accommodations like?
The workshop is held at Lazy W Ranch in San Juan Capistrano. All meals are prepared in house by staff. The sleeping accommodations are shared cabins, with a limited number of single rooms available. For more information on the retreat site go to

What is the food like?
Meals are served family style and are prepared fresh daily in-house by the site staff. Typical meals include locally grown and organic fruits, vegetables and meats. Vegetarian and vegan can be prepared by request. Any food allergies or special dietary needs can be accommodated as needed.

What does “Life in Transition” mean?
Throughout our lives we go through many natural losses (transitions), i.e., leaving the comfort of home to go off to the world, losing an aged parent, divorce, changing careers, leaving behind the old to move into the new. Sometimes we experience more traumatic losses, the death of a loved one, sexual or physical assault, betrayal by a parent during childhood, and other traumatic events during our lifetime.

When we are not allowed to grieve these losses in a healthy way, we become stuck in these (unresolved) feelings and have difficulty moving on in our lives in a healthy, connected way.

What exactly happens during the workshop?
Most of the workshop takes place in a group setting, though there is also ample time to work with staff individually. Within the group, we share stories, and do some teaching, which offers a framework for the weekend, and provides some tools to help work through feelings. Both within the group, and individually, participants are given the opportunity to work through unresolved feelings. We also use small groups and art as one method to identify feelings that we may not be consciously aware of. We use the externalization process to work through deep feelings.

What is the externalization process?
It is the name of a technique that we use in the workshop, to bring to the surface unresolved feelings that often block our access to healthy relationships with self and others. Unresolved feelings can occur when we are not able to express our feelings at the time of the loss or trauma. By creating a safe space to feel and express (externalize) uncomfortable (internalized) feelings, we are more able to connect with our healthy natural feelings and joy.

Confidentiality & Safety
There is much importance put on safety, both physical and emotional. Confidentiality, privacy, and boundaries are the basis of that safety. There are very clear rules in place, and discussed throughout the weekend about  keeping what is shared or witnessed in the upmost of confidence. We ask each participant to keep that commitment to confidentiality throughout the weekend, and when they leave the weekend as well.

The staff also stays at the facilities and are available throughout the weekend to address any issues that may arise during the weekend.

What if I don’t feel comfortable in groups?
Many of us don’t feel comfortable in groups, particularly sharing our vulnerability. During this weekend, no one is pressured to share in the group at any time. Though it can be a powerful feeling
to share and be “seen” without judgment, it is equally powerful to be a witness to others’ pain and find a connection with our own unresolved feelings and losses.

What if I’m afraid of the feelings that might come up for me?
The weekend is a gradual opening up of feelings at a pace that is safe, though not always “comfortable”. Through staff sharing and witnessing of others we learn to become safe with our feelings.
No one is pushed to feel or experience something that they are truly not comfortable expressing.

Should I have been in therapy to benefit from this workshop?
While being in therapy prior to the workshop is strongly recommended, it is not a requirement. If you are currently in therapy, one of our staff would be happy to talk with your therapist before and after the workshop.

Staff Experience
All staff are licensed therapist or other professionals who, in addition to their experience working with trauma survivors, are specifically trained in this process.

West Valley Counseling Center
18226 Ventura Blvd. Suite 202
Tarzana, CA 91356

Phone: 818.609.8703