Cohort Name:

Way of the Guide in California

Six Month Training Program Begins
November 3, 2019
Jouvence Lodge in Winter
03-07 November 2019

Event Full - Registration Closed

A deep dive into the theory and practice of the archetype of the guide--an essential archetype for our times
This event is for persons who are interested in experiencing and learning about forest therapy. Forest Therapy guides will deepen their understanding of the Way of the Guide, through an exploration of the Guide archetype and how it applies to Forest Therapy. Psychotherapists with an interest in eco-psychology will find much of interest in this event. Those who are interested in forest therapy in general will have an opportunity to experience the approach developed by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. Since this approach is founded on our understanding of the Way of the Guide, this course is an ideal introduction to those who are interested in connecting theory and practice. The Pace of the event is relaxed and spacious, so it is also appropriate for people who would like to have pleasant retreat experience that mobilizes the healing powers of nature. Researchers in the field of nature and healing or forest therapy may find that the Way of the Guide suggests interesting directions for innovative research.

Dancing Deer

About the Venue:

Dancing Deer is a stunning property of 40 acres, surrounded by a further 40 acres of land filled with oaks, hills, and meandering paths. There are two large houses where participants stay. Each is a spacious hilltop home with plenty of room to relax and unwind after a day of training. The nearby meadows and woodlands serve as a home to wildlife and invite people to wander through the quiet of the property. There is a medicine wheel mandala on the top of the small hill in the main meadow. The Salinas River in nearby Paso Robles is a destination for some of the training days; the water in the river varies greatly according to the season, and by late fall it may be reduced to a small creek. Regardless of flow, the river hosts much wildlife. Of all the training venues used by ANFT, Dancing Deer is one of the most ideal for observing birds. Caution: there is poison oak in almost all of the oak woodlands in this region. Because of this forest therapy experiences tend to take place along the ecologically rich margins of the woodlands, where they meet the meadows.


Shared rooms are $65/night per person. The total five night cost is $325. Shared rooms may have 2, 3, or 4 beds.

Private rooms are $90/night per person. The total five night cost is $450. We have reserved four rooms as private rooms.

There are common spaces and outdoor spaces for gathering or solitude during downtime.


We will prepare our own meals. It will be up to the group to decide if meals will be prepared individually, in small groups (for example, vegans banding together), or as a whole group. There is plenty of space for participants to cook. Kitchens have large refrigerators, expansive counter tops, a commercial stove, and a BBQ outside.

Trader Joe’s grocery store is a 6-minute drive away. We encourage communal cooking and the sharing of meals, but do not arrange for this.


Approximate Drive Times from airports:
San Luis Obispo (SBP): 35 minutes
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT): 2.5 hours
San Jose International Airport (SYC): 3 hours
San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK): 3.5 hours
Los Angeles (LAX): 4 Hours

Dancing Deer
2975 Vineyard Drive
Templeton, CA 93465

Besides being an immersion in forest therapy experience, this event includes an in-depth exploration of the Guide archetype. To be a guide is to embody unique ways of working in partnership with the-more-than-human world. The Guide archetype, which has always been present in human society, is now powerfully emerging in these times. Learn why this is so, and why Guides have an essential role in supporting healing processes. We will demonstrate and discuss how guides facilitate liminal journeys in which humans encounter mirrors of their souls, and deepen their memory of relatedness to all beings. The guide archetype does not work alone, but requires partnerships with other human archetypes such as mentor, healer, and teacher; as well as with process archetypes such as the Journey, and archetypes of place. In this immersion, we will define some of the key differences that distinguish these archetypes. With this understanding, our work as guides becomes more focused, clear, and powerful.


Who should attend



Amos Clifford is the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and author of the best selling Your Guide to Forest Bathing (Conari Press 2018). A student of Buddhist philosophy for over 20 years, Amos founded Sky Creek Dharma Center in Chico, California, where he emphasized the importance of meditation practice in wild places. Amos is also widely known for his work in restorative justice. He is founder of the Center for Restorative Process, where he has led the inquiry into how the principles of restorative justice can inform ways to heal the broken relationships between humans and the more-than-human world of nature. Amos holds a BS in Organization Development and an MA in Counseling from the University of San Francisco. Amos has been the primary developer of ANFT's acclaimed training programs.