What I learned about myself and my Trichotillomania @ Heart and Soul Academy Retreat

Sharing our story can begin the healing process. The simple act of stepping into the unknown to take charge of our lives takes great courage. Not all of us are willing to take that step. To leave behind what comforts us, even if it is the same thing that is destroying us inside.

So why do we not take action? Have we given up hope?! Many of us may feel that way, but what we have to understand is that our behavior is not the enemy, it is the messenger. All is not well in our bodies, our spirit and perhaps our heart. We are very good at isolating and hiding, but are we willing to be seen? To be loved? It is there for you, but you have to take the step to get there. That is where true transformation begins: when we make the choice to support the life we want to live not the one that slowly pains us.

Listen to the story of a beautiful young woman who has struggled with Trichotillomania since the age of 7. Her parents took her to her first retreat 14 years ago and today as she speaks, you can see the transformation of a young girl to a woman who has learned that taking that first step, can change your life forever.

2 3 R D  A N N U A L  

H E A R T  A N D  S O U L  A C A D E M Y  B F R B  R E T R E A T

September 13th - 17th | Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado

"Bringing science and spirit together in support of long-term recovery"


The Heart & Soul Academy Annual BFRB Retreat is a full experiential program. Whether you are a picker, a puller, a biter, an adult, a teenager, child, or a parent, we teach how to transform your relationship to these problems, find healing, and help you learn more effective ways of navigating life with a BFRB vulnerability. The Retreat’s unique process is a powerful distillation drawn from 23 years of Retreat experience with thousands of attendees, helping to identify what is most helpful to attendees of all ages.

The gift of attending the Retreat is the opportunity to spend time with some of the most compassionate and knowledgeable BFRB treatment providers in the world, for several days of intense workshops, discussions, and practices, at a steeply discounted rate compared with seeing these providers individually (average hourly fee is $200 +). Simultaneously, you will be connecting with others who are struggling with similar issues in a safe and supportive environment that prepares you to become more firmly grounded on the road to a strong recovery!

L O C A T I O N  &  W O R K S H O P S

This year's Retreat is being held at Sunrise Ranch, a 350 acre sustainable organic farm and Retreat Center located outside Loveland, CO in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Registration covers 4 nights of shared accommodations, all meals, and attendance at 17+ experiential-based workshops:

  • Mindfulness-Based Impulse Reduction Strategies for Skin Picking & Hair Pulling
  • Building a Personalized Cognitive Behavioral Recovery
  • Roadmap using ComB* (the Comprehensive Behavioral Model
    of Treatment for Picking and Pulling)
  • Sharing our Stories to Heal
  • The Shedding of Shame
  • Parenting Skills for a child with BFRBs
  • Biology of BFRBs: Current Knowledge
  • Addressing the Whole Person
  • Building Your BFRB Toolbox
  • Mindfulness Meditation, Centering Prayer, Restorative Yoga, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, EFT, and much more...

Along with enjoying the magnificent natural setting, participants can also enjoy the hiking trails, meditation rooms, practicing yoga, roasting marshmallows for s’mores around the nightly bonfires, relaxing in the sauna, hot tub, or swimming in the outdoor pool.


Our presenters represent a truly magnificent array of skills and perspectives, ranging from world-renowned leading BFRB treatment providers and researchers, to individuals with many years of recovery from pulling and picking. ALL of our presenters have graciously volunteered their time and expertise simply because we asked them.

This group of exceptional people truly understand the need for better access to useful, therapeutic education as there are still so few solid resources available today. With their combined knowledge, wide range of experience, and deep compassion for others, they bring great skill, perspectives, and humor to those struggling with BRFBs as well as their loved ones.

  • Christina Pearson | Founder of Heart & Soul Academy and TLC
  • Charles Mansueto, Ph.D.
  • Joan Kaylor, Ph.D., M.S.Ed., L.P.C., DCEP
  • Sherrie Vavrichek, LCSW-C
  • Renae Reinardy, Psy.D
  • Annette Pasternak, Ph.D.
  • Merrill Black, LCSW
  • Ruth Golomb, LCPC
  • Christy Garner, Ph.D.
  • Noah Weintraub, PsyD
  • Nancy Brandeis
  • ...and more!


"Attending the BFRB Retreat was one of the best choices I have ever made. It is hard to describe the experience of being surrounded by people who already know the secret you try so hard to hide from the world. It creates a bond that seems to go immediately to true friendship, even though you have just met. If that would have been the only thing would have taken away from the retreat, it would have been worth it. But the 4-day event also had a full schedule of sessions that were a unique opportunity to learn and grow and be supported. It was amazing to hear from some of the top professionals in the BFRB Community in such a small and intimate environment. I left the weekend with a new group of friends, a new support system, and a feeling of community and hope I had been longing for, for so many, many years – I cannot recommend it enough.”

Amay- a 2015 Retreat Participant

https://hasacademy.org/annual-retreat  |  info@hasacademy.org   |  970 - 644 -5333

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A message from Christina Pearson...

Dearest Friends and Family of Heart,

For those of you who do NOT know me, my name is Christina Pearson and I am a woman who suffered greatly while growing up from both hair pulling and skin picking. At the age of 33, upon discovering that there were others who were suffering in devastating shame, inner isolation, and profound silence, just like I was, I set out to change how the world views our community by developing resources and creating a platform for our voice to be heard. I succeeded. Truly amazing. With no money, no degree, and missing 40% of my hair and looking like I had chicken pox, I succeeded - why? I have a hunch it is because I opened myself to the love within us all and the work I did eventually unfolded to touch the hearts of millions who suffered as I did.

Watch the video

My first action was to establish Trichotillomania Learning Center, now known as the TLC Foundation for BFRBs. In the midst of my personal anguish I experienced a truly amazing and life-changing vision - in order to reach the children who are suffering, I would need to reach the parents, pediatricians, teachers, and nurses.... and THAT was a scary assignment! I gave up my home, my business, my assumed future, and laid down my life willingly to traverse the scary path of making public what had been shaming humans for many generations.

Early on, I was ridiculed, I saw a lot of rolling eyes. People would say to me, "Nobody does those weird behaviors!" Well, I proved them all wrong, and the fact you are reading this today is the proof of that. The organization I founded in 1990 has gone on to reach millions of sufferers, and today I feel a deep sense of gratitude to having brought this community together.

So why am I sharing this with you today? After walking through fire and ice, I decided to start the Heart & Soul Academy as I believe there is an inherent need for this community to continually come together, to help kickstart and fortify the process of healing. To normalize the reality that BFRBs are behaviors that almost all humans do to some degree, and they only become a problem when they move outside a certain parameter. make available the practical skills I find are necessary to moderate them.   My goal is to pass on the gift I have been given, working to help our community learn to better navigate life with our extraordinary nervous systems. Basically teaching what I like to call BFRB Living Skills, which allows one to take responsibility for moderating them, in a gentle, self-caring way.   And to do this in our normal every-day environments (because that's where the rubber meets the road…) with ongoing, loving support!

This year, from September 13th-17th, our Academy will be hosting an Annual BFRB Retreat (the 23rd of it’s type) at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. We are incredibly grateful to have some of the most compassionate BFRB Practitioners in the field donating their time, expertise and presence to teach over 17+ workshops designed to help support those suffering from unwanted behaviors transform to a place of authentic healing. Several of us who will be presenting also have many years of recovery from picking and pulling; we understand the journey from the inside out, and are honored to offer a guiding hand!

As a long term puller/picker, who after 27 years of suffering, now has 24 years of strong recovery, I have to say - If you are hurting and feel like you have tried everything PLEASE don't let money, time or fear be your reason for not attending. If you want to get close to the heart, get out of your head, transform your relationship with your behaviors, experience the amazing stillness of hands that stuns me to this day… and flourish within your own life…...and for the rest of your life, this is your chance.

2017 Annual BFRB Retreat - We are currently offering reduced rates until August 1st!

  • Learn more at: Heart and Soul Academy Annual Retreat

  • Sign-up: Tickets 
  • Pictures of Sunrise Ranch:
    • For those that are interested in seeing some pictures from our visit to the Sunrise Ranch Retreat Center we have posted some below.

All my love,
Christina Pearson

Contact: christina@hasacademy.org | (970) 644-5333

If any of this touches you or moves you in a particular way, I hope you will get involved in making my dreams for this Academy a reality by spreading the word to those who are still suffering in silence!