Happiness GPS­­®

A weekend retreat that lasts a lifetime

Take-Home Tools for Personal Happiness

Program: 3 days (Formerly “Happiness Option Weekend”)

It can seem, to most of us, that our happiness or unhappiness is a product of the events in our lives, especially when we are facing a difficult time. This isn’t surprising, given that from a young age we see fear, grief, anger, frustration, and anxiety as the “normal” and “appropriate” responses to
challenging events.

Happiness GPS­­ is a concise program designed to point you in a new direction and give you some concrete take-home tools to move past emotional challenges, enhance personal happiness, and begin to overcome any crises you may be facing. Isn’t your long-term happiness worth a short weekend?

In Happiness GPS­­, you will learn to:

  • Choose how you react and feel in any and every situation
  • Stop self-criticism in its tracks
  • Turn up self-esteem and confidence, even when others are critical, doubtful, or dismissive
  • Use the fundamentals of the Option Process® Dialogue, our core questioning technique, to uncover and replace hidden beliefs
    that cause unhappiness
  • Build a toolkit of mental and emotional shortcuts to internal
    comfort and happiness

Read Reviews

The Happiness GPS­­ was more life-changing than I could have imagined. I have attended three Son-Rise Program® courses, and thought I had a pretty good grasp of the concepts, but the learnings here were more in-depth in relation to loving and changing myself. I have been walking around saying “Happiness is a choice“, but I never fully bought into that belief until this weekend. Now I am comfortable with myself and my ability to choose happiness if I want.

Spring Peden

Small Business Owner, Minnesota

I have learned that I don’t have to please others in order to love myself. The attitudinal process I learned here helps me to extend love to myself and others. I now no longer fear being authentic. My life is truly my own; I am in control. I expected I would cry during the course. I didn’t expect I would laugh harder than I had in a long time!

Mindy McHardy

Mother & Research Manager, Canada

I came to the weekend with several family issues that seemed intractable. I’m leaving with the same issues, but a completely different relationship to them. Now, I’m excited about the opportunities they present to get what I really want – a deeper bond with my family and a more nurturing environment for all of us. I’m empowered, excited and looking forward to being who I am – someone who can inspire, lead and model.

Jerry Peters

Software Project Manager, New York

I had no idea of what to expect when I came here. In fact, I was scared and nervous initially, but I knew how brave I was to be doing this. What I found were loving and accepting people who helped me change many of my self-defeating beliefs. Thank you, everyone.

Marion (Bess) Bartlett

Retired, NY

After attending the Happiness GPS course, I feel like I can handle anything that life sends my way with comfort, curiosity, and a smile!

Kris Hooper

Dad & Navy Public Affairs Staffer, OK

The Happiness GPS­­ was a joy. The staff are truly an inspiration. The Option Process is so simple and true. It is truly one of the best investments of a weekend that can and will change your life.

David Berman

Business Analyst, MD

I first came in 2003 for the  Happiness GPS­­. When I came back in 2009 for Couple Course, I was inspired by how it changed my perspective – not only regarding my relationship, but also how my beliefs have effected my whole life. I am so excited about the journey I am on!

Bethany Naismith

Massage Therapist, Michigan

This Happiness GPS­­ was absolutely life changing! After two years of personal turmoil, I finally feel I have the tools and the ability to make my own choices. I choose happiness! Thank you Option Institute, from the bottom of my heart!

Gwen Ruby

Office Manager, Maryland

I had suffered bouts of depression from a young age. Burying myself into my studies, athletics, and other activities was how I learned to cope. As an adult the depression worsened. It didn’t take much of a trigger to send me into a spiral. The feeling was beyond ‘not good enough’. It was debilitating. 

I was first prescribed anti-depression medications in the ’90’s. Some would work for awhile, though I always found myself back at square one. Then friends suggested The Option Institute. I attended Happiness GPS­­. Loved it and wanted more! The next stop was ‘Fearless’ later that year.

Marcia Ryder-O’Donnell

Customer Service Professional, New York

My reason for attending the Option Institute’s Happiness GPS­­ was to improve my self esteem. What I achieved was life changing. When I arrived at The Institute, I was a man with a belief that I was unlovable. I wasn’t worthy of the unconditional love my wife, sons and many others had for me. Not accepting that love also made it impossible for me to bestow it on others. The second day at The Institute, during an exercise, I stopped and yelled out, “I am a lovable person”. I repeated it several times. The joy it gave me had me in tears. I could already feel the love of my family. For the first time I felt what it meant to be loved unconditionally. I couldn’t wait to tell my wife. I called that evening and said “I am a lovable person, you better be ready when I come home, I am a different man.

Floyd M.

Accountant, Vermont

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The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, Health & Healing: Navigating Life’s Health Challenges (formerly '5 Days to Live') , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

We are not a medical facility and we do not dispense any medical advice. We have and would always guide our program participants, to consult with their doctors, healthcare providers, and family members in making medical decisions for themselves and those they love. Neither Mass General Hospital nor any member of its medical staff endorses any program being offered by the Option Institute and its teachers.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



PRE-REQUISITES for attending Advanced Power Dialogues are:

  • Completion of The Option Institute’s PowerDialogues program.
  • If it’s been more than 5 years since you attended PowerDialogues, please call 413-229-2100 to discuss options.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar