First Year — Self Understanding

The first year centers on self-understanding and the development of a supportive interactive environment. Students identify and work with parts of themselves such as the idealized self image, shadow, inner critic, and inner child. They learn how to transform emotions of fear, anger, and shame.

Nine different personality types are examined, named, and more easily navigated with the help of Enneagram typology. Learning this system offers insights about our core motivations, fears, strengths, and common pitfalls.

Students are taught how to look within for direction and guidance and take note of their dreams as a source for insights.

The power of healing on an energetic level is not overlooked. Students become familiar with their own and others’ energy fields and connect with expanded states of consciousness.

Meditation and visualizations connect participants with their essential self—the divine within—and are interwoven throughout the weekends.

Students establish a loving, supportive, and trusting environment for each other. This serves as a basis for helping them to accurately see themselves and the world around them.

Second Year — Softening Your Character Defense Structures

Most of the second year is devoted to an understanding and healing of the character structures as developed by Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, and others.

Character structures emerge developmentally in infancy and early childhood as a result of the psychosocial and spiritual milieu the child experiences. In the shelter of the group, these childhood wounds are transformed into material for inner healing and personal growth.

Through exercises and discussion, students witness these structures in themselves and others. They experience what each structure looks like, how it feels to inhabit it, and what it’s like to be around a person exhibiting the structure. As a result, students find it easier to distinguish their true selves from their structures. This enables them to have more authentic interactions with themselves and others, thus leading to a more fulfilling life.

Students strengthen their true, core selves through meditation, visualizations, and grounding exercises.

The second year culminates in a one-day, sunrise to sunset, vision quest which is processed and integrated the following day.

Third Year — Your True Self in the World

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During the third year, students build on the teachings of the first two years and bring more of their true selves into the world. They also work with any life issues that still need healing.

Through a variety of exercises, they begin to discern their life purpose. This, along with input and support from classmates, helps each student to develop a project outside the weekend sessions, which will move them into greater alignment with their true self. This might take the form of finding a career that better suits them, fulfilling a life-long desire, delving more deeply into self-understanding, or further developing their spiritual lives.

Students assist at three or more of the first- and second-year classes as a way to deepen their own process and to learn the value of service.

The course will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sundays for five weekends per year. Course dates are posted on our calendar.

Cost is $325 per weekend ($1,625 per year). This includes tuition, overnight accommodations, breakfasts, and Saturday dinner. People usually pay each weekend but can make arrangements to pay on a monthly basis. Students will stay in a private room in the Inner Light Lodge.

Information Sessions, Introductory Days, Calendar

Several information sessions are given during the summer months for prospective students who want to meet the teachers and learn more about the Hidden Treasures program. You can also make an individual appointment with Alice McDowell in person or by phone.

Those who are quite certain they would like to participate in the program can sign up for an Introductory Day, which is given on either the second or third Saturday of September from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $85 and includes lunch. A final commitment to the program does not need to be made until after the Introductory Day.

The next HT Introductory Day will be Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This day is for prospective students who are either committed or mostly committed to doing the program.

The day will consist of an opening meditation, getting acquainted exercises, a teaching on the idealized self image and the shadow, and an introduction to energy work. Cost for the day is $95, which includes lunch. You must register prior to the day by sending $40 to 291 Blake Hill Rd. Van Etten, NY 14889. Checks can be made out to the Hidden Treasure Program.

The Hidden Treasure Program is held the Inner Light Lodge.

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In this video, Elisa Keeler, a Hidden Treasure teacher, recounts her experience in the program and its effect on her life.

2019/2020 Calendar

By Class:

Class of 2022 – 1st Year
Introduction—Saturday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. — 5 p.m. (includes lunch)
October 19-20—The Healing Connection/Enneagram
December 14-15—Obstacles to Growth
February 8-9—Inner Critic
April 4-5—Inner Child
May 16-17—Schizoid Defense

Class of 2021 — 2nd Year
September 7-8—Oral Defense
November 9-10—Masochistic Defense
January 11-12—Psychopathic Defense
March 7-8—Rigid Defense
April 30 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday May 3 at 2 p.m.—Vision Quest

Class of 2020 — 3rd Year
August 24-25—Life Purpose/Projects
November 23-24—Topics TBD
February 22-23—Topics vary depending on individual needs
April 18-19—Topics vary/Project Reports
June 7, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.—Graduation

Graduate Program
Retreat—Thursday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.) – Sunday, March 15 (3 p.m.)

2019/2020 By Date:

August 24-25—3rd Year
September 7-8—2nd Year
September 14—Introduction
October 19-20—1st Year
November 9-10—2nd Year
November 23-24—3rd Year
December 14-15—1st Year
January 11-12—2nd Year
February 8-9—1st Year
February 22-23—3rd Year
March 7-8—2nd Yea
April 4-5—1st Year
April 18-19—3rd Year
April 30-May 3—2nd Year
May 16-17—1st Year
June 7—Graduation

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Alice new photoAlice McDowell, Ph.D., director of the Hidden Treasure program, is a counselor in private practice, retreat guide, and co-founder of Light on the Hill Retreat Center. Formerly a professor of religious studies at Alice new photoIthaca College for 18 years, she now facilitates groups devoted to inner work.

She has trained with healers, humanist and transpersonal psychologists, Sufi and Buddhist teachers, and Christian contemplatives, and has guided people in their personal and spiritual journeys for over 30 years. She draws upon her diverse training and life experience to help others awaken to their true selves, their divinity within.

Listen to an interview with Alice on the WRFI radio program, The Made of Clay Report, with Eric Clay, M.Div., Ph.D., host of the program and founder of Shared Journeys.


Julie Schnepel, Ph.D. (in music), is a Hidden Treasure graduate, and she has been teaching in the program since 2006. She holds graduate degrees in music, has taught music history at Ithaca College, and heads the U.S. office of an international database of music literature at Cornell University. She also worked for many years as the Administrative Assistant at Light on the Hill. Her experience with the Hidden Treasure program has profoundly affected all areas of her life and has deepened her connections with her family, friends, and colleagues.


Elisa Sciscioli, M.A Transpersonal Psychology, is a Hidden Treasure graduate, a teacher of the program for seven years, group leader, and composer. Elisa is the facilitator and founder of the Joy of Group Singing program, designed to help people connect more deeply with themselves and others while learning simple multicultural songs and chants. She offers integrative voice sessions for adults and teenagers. Many of her song lyrics have been influenced by the teachings of Hidden Treasure.


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Joe Iadanza is a Hidden Treasure graduate. He is a registered Interfaith Minister with the ULC, and an Interfaith Minister-in-training, with a focus in Spiritual Counseling, via the Sanctuary of Peace and Harmony based in Huntington, NY. He is a Reiki Master-Teacher certified hands-on healer in the Usui tradition, and he recently attained his 200-RYT Yoga Teacher Certification. In 2013, he founded The Living Room Studio in Port Washington, NY, which provides sacred space to individuals and small groups looking to deepen their spiritual growth through meditation, retreat, study, and creative expression. Joe has been profoundly changed over the last ten years through his study of spiritual texts – especially A Course in Miracles – which he teaches at The Living Room.