Nothing worth doing or having is easy. You have to put in the work, and it doesn’t stop when you get home.
The integration process is long and hard. You keep working until you have integrated it all and then maybe you are ready for another retreat or session if there is still work to be done.
We talk in the retreats about set and setting and integration. Getting prepared for the right state of mind that you are open to the experience and then do the medicine in a comfortable and rewarding a environment.
Integration is how you take the lessons learned and incorporate them into your life to be a better version of you. How do you catch yourself when sliding back into those same thought patterns that weren’t serving you before? You are more aware of it now, more mindful. You are better able to understand it and its causes and have some compassion for the prior you and why you thought that way or acted that way before. Now you are more aware on how you respond so you don’t rebuild up those bad habits, those bad neural pathways.
It really depends on the individual and the extent of their trauma or bad thinking patters. It becomes very personal in that regard. Some people do it twice a year or once in a lifetime. Some people get the mental calluses scraped away.