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About Us

Valerie Simon and Claudia Palmira share their background introduce Actualizing the Authentic Self.

Our Story

Therapist Valerie Simon and designer Claudia Palmira met in 2004 while participating in the same psychodrama group led by Tian Dayton, Ph.D. TEP. Claudia moved to Rome in 2006, and continued to visit New York and often frequented Valerie’s ongoing psychodrama workshops during her stay. 

In 2012, they dreamed up the Restart Retreats format. Seeing the opportunity to provide excellent psychrodamatic and creative arts therapy in Europe, while allowing participants to experience a beautiful and abundant surrounding, they began their search for the ideal location. In 2015, they discovered La Capitana in Tuscany, an authentic farmhouse amidst a natural setting that offers comfort, privacy and gorgeous indoor/outdoor spaces for the work – along with homecooked, healthy meals. In 2016, they succeeded with their groundbreaking retreat: Awakening the Authentic Self. 

In the U.S., there are many rehabilitation and retreat centers where quality therapy coupled with spiritual counseling is offered for week-long or weekend experiences. There are very few of these opportunities in Southern Europe – until now. Valerie and Claudia are truly grateful to offer their second Restart weekend in 2017: Actualizing the Authentic Self.


Valerie Simon, LCSW, PAT


Valerie Simon, LCSW, PAT, creator of The Inner Stage™ workshops and trainings, uniquely blends her entertainment industry background with her expertise as a certified psychodramatist to create healing creative arts retreats.

Valerie graduated with honors from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and worked in various aspects of the film and television industries before becoming a psychotherapist.

After receiving an MSW, Valerie did extensive training in psychodrama with noted author and psychodramatist, Tian Dayton, PhD, TEP. Valerie has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, addictions facilities, public schools, and mental health clinics. Valerie received the JFA Jazz Service Award through her work helping Gulf Coast musicians after Hurricane Katrina. Currently, Valerie runs intensive creative arts retreats at Onsite Workshops in Tennessee.

Valerie has had a private practice in Manhattan for over fifteen years and focuses on healing trauma and addiction with individuals, couples and families.  She runs groups, workshops, psychodrama trainings, and intensives.

Valerie’s passion is evident in her workshops and retreats, and she is very excited to go on a healing arts journey with participants in Italy!

Visit Valerie Simon’s website.

Claudia Palmira


Claudia Palmira is a designer and artist based in Rome, Italy. Her graphic business began in New York in 1997, and includes many varied graphic and web projects, including Bulgari Hotels, Nokia, Simon & Schuster, and the United Nations Women for Peace. 

After working with a creative arts therapist in 2000, she became fascinated with this form of therapy. In 2008, she participated in the Breakthrough program at the Caron Foundation (Pennsylvania), where she was introduced to psychodrama. After this program, she was selected by Dr. Tian Dayton to join a psychodrama training group as a non-therapist. Claudia’s passion for this form of therapy and its benefits opened her up in new ways personally and professionally.

Throughout her work, an underlying desire to bring forth beauty is what guides Claudia’s actions. Her deep-rooted understanding of the human dynamic is what allows her to bring desires to action. Claudia is enthusiastic about developing programs that support mental wellness and spirituality through creativity, especially in Italy, where she leads vision mapping workshops and is founder of the wellness program site The 2016 premiere Restart Retreat with Valerie Simon was called “an extraordinary experience” by its participants.

Visit Claudia’s website.

Embracing Our Authentic Joy

September 26 – 30, 2018
Wednesday evening – Sunday midday
Magliano-in-Toscana, Tuscany (IT)

Inner Work, Outer Splendor

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