Exciting News from Barbara

Letters from Barbara Findeisen, M.F.T.


Dear STAR Friends,

I’m writing to let you know about some of the exciting new developments taking place at STAR. As part of the STAR community I hope you will be as pleased about this news as the STAR Board and I are.

I can hardly believe it’s been almost four decades since a friend suggested I enroll in a group called STAR. Since those 13 Monday evenings in a Palo Alto church basement, STAR has changed and grown. So have I. Leading STAR groups and meeting so many wonderful people have enriched my life and given me the kind of education that money cannot buy. I am truly blessed, thanks to all of you. I feel especially grateful to Diana and the STAR grads that became part of the staff. Without their dedication and hard work STAR would never be what it is today.

In looking back, I see that we have been on the cutting edge, integrating breakthroughs in many fields including brain research, discoveries about consciousness, pre- and perinatal psychology, and the power of early attachment experiences. So much new information and so many theories in 40 years! At times, my response has been "So what? That’s great, but how can we apply it?” Sometimes we were ahead of the curve and science later validated what we were already doing, which feels good. Other times we have created innovative ways to use new information. It has been exciting and I have loved being a part of the journey.

In STAR we have a deep appreciation and respect for each participant's individuality. We have never had a philosophy of “One size fits all.” I imagine STAR as a series of linked circles, flexible and expanding. Each group, each staff, each insight is unique and yet each is a part of the larger continuum of STAR; another link that moves us forward. Every group I have led has inspired and taught me and given me a trust in the innate Spirit in us to transcend the past and transform our lives. It is certainly not easy, but definitely a possibility.

We are now on the threshold of another exciting leap forward. In the coming year I will be retiring from the leadership role I have held up to now and shifting into a more supportive advisory role. I am happy to be handing over the reins of leadership to our new Co-Directors, Marti Glenn and Ken Bruer. STAR grads themselves, Marti and Ken are skilled therapists and seasoned leaders. They founded and led Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, offering the world’s first graduate programs in prenatal and perinatal psychology, and the first doctoral program in somatic psychology. Marti and I worked together on the Board of the Association of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health and co-chaired several of their conferences. I am excited about their plans to grow STAR. They have the enthusiastic support of the STAR Foundation Board and we invite you, the STAR community, to support them as well.

As this New Year begins I am looking forward to working less and playing more. I want to travel and finally finish my book. I will continue exploring ways to make a positive difference, wherever I am, including STAR. I am deeply grateful to all of you for the contribution you have made to STAR and to me personally. As we move forward you will be hearing more from the STAR Board as well as from Marti and Ken who will keep you apprised of new developments. We all value your participation in the STAR community and look forward to working together and staying in touch.

If you have any comments for me, please send them via email, phone, letter, or in person. Just so you know, I do not text, tweet or use Facebook (except for Scrabble).

I hope this finds you well and enjoying a happy New Year.