Gnosis Retreat Center | In-Home & Family Services
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In-Home & Family Services



When someone you love is going through a personal crisis it can become incredibly stressful for everyone involved. At times like these it can be helpful to have extra support from people who understand. Gnosis Retreat Center would like to help by offering support groups for families of people going through crisis. The groups will be led by Michael Guy Thompson, psychoanalyst, author and educator with over 40 years experience working with people going through psychotic experiences and their families. Support groups are available in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Call 415.683.3353 for a free consultation.
Group price by session: $150 for couples; $100 for individuals.


What is mental illness? What are schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, mania, and a myriad of other labels? The fact is that none of us knows. They are words, stereotypes, that we confer on a person who we believe has lost his or her mind, or is acting crazy and perhaps dangerously so, and this in turn frightens us. Psychiatrists associate this condition with symptoms that are supposed to be obvious, such as delusional thinking (e.g., paranoia) or hallucinations (e.g., hearing voices) or speaking in a manner that is impossible to follow because it doesn’t make any sense, at least to us.

Typically, we take this person to the hospital, to their crisis unit, where they will take control of the situation by effecting a mental status examination. And if this person is indeed exhibiting signs of schizophrenia or some other, similar psychotic condition, they will medicate this person with the drug or drugs that they believe will diminish those disturbing symptoms, by sedating him or her. They will not release that person until those symptoms have abated.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of our story. This is when the heartache really begins. Medicating drugs, a misnomer if there ever was one, do not actually “treat” the condition they are prescribed for. Unlike, say, antibiotics, they do not eradicate the so-called illness that many believe schizophrenia is. They don’t cure anything. What they do, like narcotics, is mask the symptoms that are so disturbing to the person experiencing them, and the people around him. They act as sedatives, which is to say, they render us senseless. Granted, this may seem like an improvement over the delusions, hallucinations, or other disturbing behavior that this person was exhibiting. But as everyone knows who has had a loved one go through this, medication rarely returns this person to a normal, viable way of dealing with the world and other people. Many people become homeless and marginalized, or live at home supported by parents without living meaningful lives.

Medication can be helpful to some people some of the time. Yet it is often the only thing offered for many. There is, however, an alternative to medication and alienating incarceration: living through the crisis, at home, surrounded by loved ones, and, with help, affording the person who is struggling with this situation the time needed to get through it, until the crisis has passed, with minimal or no medication.

Gnosis In-Home Services offers a team of experienced therapists and life-coaches who will come into your home and help you contain such a crisis. The senior members of our team have been engaged in this work for more than forty-five years, in Great Britain as well as in California, with amazing success. If your son, daughter, or other family member is experiencing a psychotic break, nervous breakdown, spiritual emergency, or other psychological crisis, and wants an alternative to incarceration in a mental hospital, we are ready to come to your aid at a moment’s notice. Our team will visit your home, appraise the situation, go over your options with you, and arrive at an estimate for our services, should you choose to adopt this option.



Consultation: You may call us to set up an appointment with one of our consultants who will examine and assess your particular situation with you. When a personal crisis occurs, there may be a number of factors that contribute to the difficulties the individual is experiencing. We work to identify what is going on, what the person’s individual experience may have to do with, and what the best options are moving forward. Our team of supervisors and consultants have an enormous amount of experience working and living with people in distress both in psychotherapy and in alternative residential settings where people were often seen through psychotic, spiritual emergence, or other extreme state experiences. This service is designed to help you better understand the psychological dynamics at play and develop a plan for moving forward. If you plan to use our Life Coaching service, consultation provides the foundation for how we can best support you.

Life Coaching: Our Life Coaching service provides you access to in-person support as we are available to come to your home and help you contain a crisis and approach the individual with professionally-informed wisdom and compassion. Our team of life coaches have years of training and personal experience compassionately being with people in extreme states. We have competent, intelligent, and kind professionals available around the clock to be with individuals in severe forms of distress. We believe this form of non-intrusive companionship can be crucial when an individual feels as though they are falling apart, lost, confused, afraid, or angry. Our approach is unique as we take a highly personal, authentic, and non-technical view of what is helpful to someone in an extreme state. If you plan to use our Life Coaching service, we will first plan a time for you to consult with us, determine the best way forward, and answer any further questions about what Life Coaching might look like in your situation.

Parent Group Support: Gnosis In-Home Services offers ongoing weekly group meetings to support parents of individuals who suffer from extreme states. We see that loving someone who suffers in confusing, chaotic fashions can be a great challenge. By providing a space to talk about these experiences with others who can empathize, we hope to support you in finding ways to understand your loved ones, to navigate your lives with them meaningfully, and to discover how you might find compassion when sharing your experiences. These groups are facilitated by Dr. Michael Guy Thompson, a leading expert in the field of extreme states who has had decades of experience working with those who are suffering.



We provide services to people in their early 20s and older. Clients must be willing to have life coaches come to their home to provide companionship through a crisis. We are not able to provide services to people who are intoxicated.



Who pays for Gnosis In-Home Services?

Clients or their families must pay fees at the beginning of each appointment or day’s services. For longer-term contracts a weekly payment may be possible. Cash, debit or credit cards are accepted.

How much does it cost?

Gnosis is a non-profit agency and we strive to provide services at affordable prices. The initial phone consultation is free of charge and any further phone or in-person appointments are charged by the hour plus travel time for locations more than 10 miles from Gnosis Retreat Center’s office in San Francisco.

Do you provide detox services or work with people struggling with substance use?

As a non-treatment agency, we do not provide detox services or life-coaches where the main problem is substance use.

How long will I, or my loved one need life-coaching services?

This depends on the individual’s needs, preferences and budget, and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Some clients may only need life-coaches for several days whereas others may prefer a longer-term arrangement.

Can life-coaches stay overnight?

Gnosis In-Home Services realizes that nighttime can be particularly difficult for those going through a crisis. We provide a team of at least two life-coaches for overnight stays.

What if I think I, or my loved one needs to go to the hospital?

If a Gnosis In-Home Services client is experiencing a crisis that risks the health or safety of themselves or others, they should call 911 or another emergency response unit. For people in severe distress companionship may offer a sense of safety and support that can, in some cases, help to avert this type of crisis. However, Gnosis In-Home Services is not an emergency response unit, nor an agency that makes safety assessments.