Alec participated in STAR in 1996 and has been a member of the STAR staff since 2001. After a short stint as an officer in the U.S. Navy and after practicing as a Wall Street lawyer, Alec was a middle school and high school teacher in New York City for 20 years. When he retired from teaching English at The Calhoun School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the English prize was named after him. He finds a significant correlation between his work as a teacher and his work at STAR as a reader/facilitator, as both involve a deep commitment to the personal growth of the people he works with, and of himself as well. Alec holds a BA from Harvard College, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MA in Media Studies from The New School; he has also been trained as a Certified Spiritual Director, has a Certificate in the Sacred Art of Dying, and has run grief groups for the local Hospice. He and his wife Jane helped to found and run a grief group for children, "My Friend's House," which was eventually incorporated into the local Hospice programs. He currently splits time between Bend, Oregon, and Scottsdale, Arizona, and his personal interests include a deep commitment to friends and family, particularly the 10 grandchildren he shares with his wife, and lots of motorcycling, birding, and hiking.
A member of the STAR staff since 2003, Alison is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a life-long artist. She blends Western psychology with Eastern approaches to healing the mind/body. Alison is trained and skilled in a variety of modalities which include: Expressive Arts Therapy, sandtray, somatic and sensory processing, psychodrama, Gestalt, Reichian, and Grove metaphor work. Additionally, she is an internationally certified EMDR therapist and consultant, and facilitates in trainings throughout the United States. She has been in private practice working with individuals, couples, and families for 25 years as well as leading workshops, teaching graduate school, and presenting at conferences. Building on a solid foundation of traditional therapeutic technique and intuitive wisdom, Alison uses dynamic and creative approaches to move beyond the realm of cognitive insight-understanding needs to reflect itself in one's being and echo throughout one's life.
Barbara is the clinical director of the STAR Program. A graduate of Stanford University, she has been in private practice since 1976. She is vice-president of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, and is internationally recognized for her creative and dynamic work in pre- and perinatal psychology and regressive psychotherapy. Barbara narrated and produced two videos, Journey to be Born and The Psychology of Birth, documenting the psychological importance of the intra-uterine and perinatal period.
In the course of STAR, I think what I've been doing
is putting together a program that can at least open the doors,
if people are ready to walk through them.
- Barbara Findeisen
Bill trained as a STAR Reader in 1996 and has served on staff twice a year ever since. Prior to this, he participated in a variety of programs including the Onsite Living Centered workshop, Al Peso's Psycho-Drama workshops, and two STAR workshops. Bill hosts a monthly men's STAR support group in Nashville, and attends an annual Mentone Men's Gathering hosted by John Lee. He developed a love for Rumi poetry after listening to readings by Robert Bly, Coleman Barks, and John Lee; his appreciation has grown to include the works of many great poets. Another of Bill's loves is riding his Harley Ultra Classic Cruiser. Bill is president and CEO of a mechanical construction firm with offices in Nashville, TN, and Huntsville, AL.
On the STAR staff since 2000, Candace is a very experienced psychotherapist, who has been in private practice since 1994. She has worked extensively with trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as all serious mental illnesses. She is highly trained in Gestalt and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, certified in Grief and Bereavement, and has received her Master's degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She uses a wide variety of therapeutic interventions in her work and is very interested in working somatically. She enjoys working with all types of issues and has done work with couples and families. She worked for five years in an inpatient/outpatient psychiatric hospital, where she received extensive training in group, individual, couples, families, and all adult issues. She has done grief workshops with Native Americans in Arizona. Her hobbies are oil painting and other art forms, as well as dancing, swimming, and reading. Candace brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work at STAR and is a deeply spiritual, loving presence.
Chris has been on STAR staff since 2000. He is president of CB Builders, Inc., a member of the Board of Trustees for the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, chairman and trustee of a private nonprofit foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors for Canine Assistants, Inc. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1961 with a B.A. degree, and from the School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 1970. Mr. Brandon has business experience in the banking, retail, and construction industries.
Dan is retired from the recreational marine industry in Vancouver, Canada. He was third generation in a multifaceted Marina business and twice presented with the prestigious Industry Leadership Award. He developed a crisis management training program which has been adopted by many marinas. Through his volunteer work, Dan has advised numerous Federal and Provincial Ministers of Fisheries, Environment, and Transport. Dan turned to STAR a number of years ago and was so impressed with the program and people involved, that he has volunteered as a reader ever since.
David is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology. He went through STAR in 1993 and received such deep healing that it led him to a path of alternative forms of healing, taking him to Nepal, India, and Egypt. He has led workshops and trainings in various forms of somatic psychology for 25 years. He recently worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist with an impoverished population in Western Massachusetts but is now returning to California. He is trained in a variety of alternative energetic healing practices and is dedicated to helping others find their way back to their own Heart's wisdom.
An entrepreneur, with decades of hands-on practical experience, David conceived and operated several businesses in the healthcare field on the East Coast. Since moving to Northern California twenty years ago he became a management & marketing consultant focusing on the needs of small business and not-for-profit organizations.
David did STAR in 1985 and 1990. Since that time he has been a regular member of the STAR team and is actively involved with the STAR Foundation. He holds a BS degree in Social Work, is a clinical hypnotherapist, and is completing a Masters Degree in Human Resources & Organization Development (ABT).
Diana participated in STAR in 1977 and has worked with STAR in several capacities ever since. She is the Executive Director of the STAR Foundation and is responsible for all administrative aspects of the Foundation including enrollment of participants for STAR. She attends all workshops to see that everything runs smoothly for both participants and staff. Diana has also enjoyed working as a reader/facilitator for many years. She holds a baccalaureate degree in cellular biology from the University of California at Berkeley, her hobbies include walking her dog, jig-saw puzzles, Sudoku, and reading, and she is very active in supporting her community.
Helen has served on STAR staff for many years, seeing it honed to the deft and powerful process it is today. In a former version of STAR, she trained and served as a Ropes Course facilitator. She holds a BA in Social Service from Indiana University. Over the years, she has been active in various co-ops as member, volunteer, organizer, and board member. Her main body of life experience has been with children, from stay-at-home mom to hands-on grandmother, through paid and volunteer positions in child care, attending some births, and planning and working with children on ceramic projects in an elementary school. She enjoys working with her hands, is a gardener, cross-stitcher, potter, and fixer. She has been an avid backpacker. Nature is her source of grounding and healing; art and being with young children is her joy.
Jane attended STAR in 2007. She has a Masters in Social Work, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has been a practicing therapist for over twenty years. She also has a Masters in Special Education from the University of Oregon and studied the science of teaching with Dr. Madelyn Hunter at UCLA. Since 1992, Jane has practiced psychodrama and action methods, and received her Certified Practicioner's (C.P.) License in Pychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy in 2003. She uses action methods in her work with adolescents and with addictions. Jane also trains other professionals to use action methods. She has served as the community member of the Ethics and Standards Committee for National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Jane has spent significant time with Thich Nhat Hanh and includes meditation and mindfulness practices in her work.
Jed is passionate about education, personal transformation, and creating colorful works of art. His participation in STAR in 2001 led to a series of significant life changes including a swift departure from the corporate world, a return to higher education, the founding of his tutoring business, and a renewal of his dedication to painting. Jed was awarded a Master's Degree in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University and became a Nationally Certified Counselor in 2007; he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Georgia State University. His fledgling tutoring company has blossomed into a full-scale business, and continues to grow in and outside of Atlanta. Jed shows his artwork in Atlanta galleries, and he takes annual art trips around the US and abroad to inspire his landscape painting.
Jeff attended STAR in 1996 and has since made STAR an important part of his life, serving as a staff member since 1999. As a 1978 graduate of New York University School of Law, Jeff practiced tax law until his recent retirement. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and has been so listed since its inception. He resides in Atlanta and donates legal services to non-profits which support causes and missions for whom he shares a passion. In addition to yoga (he's a certified yoga instructor) and dedication to personal and spiritual growth, Jeff enjoys movies, plays, art, golf, travel, and the outdoors.
Katharine is the author of six published books - five novels and a memoir. She is the Richard L. Thomas Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. Previously, she taught fiction writing at Yale University, the Paris Writers Workshop, the Columbia University School of the Arts graduate writing program, and elsewhere. When not teaching spring terms in Ohio, she lives in Connecticut, and spends parts of every year in Ireland and France. Katharine first participated in STAR in 2002 and has remained involved ever since.
Ken Bruer, M.A., M.F.T., is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, known for its graduate degrees in prenatal and perinatal psychology and somatic psychology. He is also co-founder and current CEO of Santa Barbara Center for Clinical Studies and Research, a non-profit corporation that sponsors conferences, media, and educational projects supporting compassionate relationships. After a successful business career spanning two decades, Ken became a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with a specialty in working with individuals in transition, couples, and men’s groups. He integrates his extensive training in somatic psychology, Gestalt therapy, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, prenatal and birth therapy, and work in the men’s movement into his individual and group work. Over the past 25 years, Ken has facilitated personal growth programs such as Entelechy, Love, Sex and Spirit workshops for couples, “The Village” monthly therapeutic retreats, and intensive personal growth workshops. He is currently in private practice and facilitates workshops on personal transformation. Seeing what is possible, Ken’s STAR experience has made him even more dedicated to helping others in their quest for personal transformation.
Kenny built and ran a business in Los Angeles for 15 years. He sold it in 1996 and has been on the STAR staff ever since. He ended up at STAR after years of working on his own issues-which he still works on in one way or another. He has recently successfully completed the requirements for his PhD in Pre and Perinatal Psychology from SBGI. His dissertation was titled Return to Self: The Experience of One's Core Self in Prenatal and Perinatal Psychotherapy. His hobbies include surfing, acting, hiking with his dog, and playing scrabble with his wife.
Kiel Hemenway is a certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioner trained by Dr. Stanislav Grof. She has been studying means of tapping the transformational potential of expanded states of consciousness for more than 15 years. As part of that study, she has also trained in the Hakomi Method of Body-Centered Psychotherapy, The BodyTalk System of energy medicine, and in various methods of birth regression and shamanic healing. Her work blends teachings from the fields of modern consciousness research, new physics, depth psychology, and established spiritual practices, using an intuitive, heart-centered approach that focuses on experiential bodymind healing and transformation. Kiel leads breathwork retreats, sees individual clients, and offers public presentations on the transformational power of altered states, the psychological impact of the birth process, and means of shifting our unconscious habits and belief systems in order to change our experience of the world. She has been a member of the STAR staff since 2002.
Kim identifies herself as an alchemist delving into the practical ways of melding the realms of emotion, spirit, body, intuition, and intellect. Her studies include a Masters in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasanton, CA, and a B.A. in Marketing from SMU, Dallas, TX. Kim practices Somatic Psychotherapy in Oakland, CA. Her specialties are mindfulness practices, a wide variety of somatic work, couples, children, Trauma Resourcing for acute trauma issues, and recovery issues in process and chemical addictions. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation for 29 years, and is a student of the psycho-spiritual work in the Diamond Heart Trainings in Berkeley, CA. She has trained in Gestalt, Reichian, art therapies, cranial sacral therapy, body-work trainings for the past 25 years, and trainings in intuitive studies. For the past ten years, Kim has been an adjunct instructor in the Masters Program for Counseling at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. She has supervised at the California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, JFK University., and at the Lomi Clinic, Santa Rosa, CA. She led courses at Esalen Institute for five years on intuition and somatic awareness.
Lara attended STAR in 2007 and 2008, and experienced life-altering outcomes both times. She credits STAR with helping her to provide the space to heal, and to open her up to her life's purpose. She's now on the path to becoming a minister, with her future work to be focused on the spiritual healing of abuse survivors. Her hope is to spend the remainder of her years giving back in the open, loving, and transformative manner that STAR provided her. When at home at Long Beach, CA, she resides with her partner, Cynthia, and their spoiled cat, Lucie.
Laura received her Master's degree in Social Work in 1986. For several years she worked with severely emotionally disturbed children and their families in a residential setting. Currently she is a stay at home mom who volunteers at school on various committees and continues on her own life journey. She enjoys hiking, biking, traveling, and playing with her kids. She feels lucky to have found STAR a few years ago. It was such a heart experience that she has been involved as a reader ever since.
Marti Glenn, Ph.D., is the founding president of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, known for its master’s and doctoral degrees in prenatal and perinatal psychology and somatic psychology. Marti has been a pioneering psychotherapist and educator for over 30 years, as well as professor of clinical psychology, integrating affective neuroscience with attachment, early development, and trauma. She has served on boards of a number of organizations and is particularly passionate about creating supportive community. She has chaired numerous professional conferences, including the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health and Neurons to Neighborhoods: Preventing and Healing Trauma in Children and Adults. She co-produced the broadcast quality documentary, Trauma, Brain, and Relationship and has appeared in such documentary films as What Babies Want; What Babies Know; Reducing Infant Mortality and Improving the Health of Babies. Her therapeutic work focuses on healing from the inside out. Marti has been enthusiastic about STAR since she participated in 1996 and found the experience to be deeply moving and life changing. In addition to working with STAR, she continues her private practice, writes, leads workshops at Esalen Institute and elsewhere and is a frequent speaker at conferences world-wide.
Michael attended STAR in 2003 and 2005, and has been a staff member since. He has also been involved for over 20 years in various 12-Step recovery groups. Whereas his successful recovery work was extremely important in his path to wellness, STAR enabled him to achieve a gigantic leap in that wellness and healing within. Being on staff continues to be a deeply spiritual and emotional experience for Michael. His commitment to his personal path is to give back what he gained, attained, and acquired at STAR. Being on STAR staff is one of the venues through which this is possible.
Mo participated in STAR in 2003 and again in 2004. His life was so touched by the process that he immediately began giving back by volunteering to work on the STAR Staff two to three times each year. Prior to STAR, he participated in a variety of programs including the Onsite Living Centered workshop. He continues to participate in a monthly men's STAR support group in Nashville as well as the annual Mentone Men's Gathering hosted by John lee in Mentone, AL. Mo's previous volunteer work includes serving as an adviser to a local Red Cross Chapter, Junior Achievement and as a board member of various youth athletic organizations and booster clubs. When time and weather permits, Mo enjoys riding his Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Cruiser. Mo has his own consulting company specializing in employee benefits and retirement plans for small companies. He graduated from The University of the South at Sewanee, TN, with a BA in Economics.
Pat has been a member of the STAR staff since 1988. Her past experience has been in research and development for a high-tech firm; as a portfolio manager for a financial firm; and as executive director for a classical music organization. Her volunteer work includes establishing a girls' softball league, developing a modern language program for elementary school children, and providing administrative support for the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health international congresses. She served as president for the San Luis Obispo Girls' Softball League and for the Mozart Festival of San Luis Obispo. She studied in the social sciences at the University of Colorado and University of California at Berkeley. She loves to travel. Her passion is STAR as it gives her an opportunity to support individuals on their path to healing.
Patsy earned the M.B.A. and D.B.A. from Louisiana Tech University and was a professor of accounting and information systems for 25 years. Her participation in STAR in 2003 led to her seeking a position on STAR staff following her retirement from the Business School faculty of the University of South Carolina Aiken. STAR provides an opportunity for her to continue her lifework of facilitating individual learning and growth. She currently serves her local community on the Boards of Directors of Southern Bank & Trust and the Aiken Center for the Arts. Her passions include her family, travel, and bridge.
Patty attended STAR in 1989 and had a profound, life-changing experience. She has since returned to be on staff to help others through their own transformational process. Patty's professional history includes executive-level management, as well as marketing, sales, and client management with industry-leading Fortune 100 corporations and privately held firms. After a successful corporate career, Patty left the corporate world to become a life coach. She has been coaching since 1998 in the areas of leadership, communication, team-building, career development, spirituality, achieving life goals, and creating profoundly fulfilling relationships. Patty is an experienced speaker and seminar leader as well; she holds workshops in addition to individual sessions. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jerry, and their four "furry, four-legged children."
Paula is a licensed mental health counselor who has merged her vocation in psychotherapy with her avocation in theater. She is a fellow in the American Board of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, Board Certified Trainer for the National Association for Drama Therapy, and a graduate of the Centre for Playback Theatre. Her passion for the healing effect of theatre has led her to facilitate intensives in therapeutic theater internationally. She is the co-producer of the documentary "Acting Healthy: Playback Theatre in a Medical Hospital." Her gratitude for the personal growth she experienced as a STAR participant during the 1990's led her to seek a role on staff so she could help pass on the STAR magic to others.
Ron lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he currently works for a large government organization in varying roles: coach and mentor, process facilitator, and product designer. Outside work he learns (and practices) shiatsu, writes poetry and short stories, and produces the occasional woodblock print. He discovered STAR on the internet in 2002, found a way to get there, and has been coming back since then.
Rose worked as an OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner for 15 years while simultaneously establishing her holistic health practice which included nutritional counseling, spiritual healing, and regressive therapy. After receiving her degree in Psychology from the University of Detroit and connecting with the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association, she focused her work on clearing birth trauma with birth regression and preventing birth trauma by working with pregnant couples and establishing a new method of holistic childbirth education in the office and in the birthing center in Michigan. This created a new awareness of birth and a gentle birthing technique for the new baby. Rose continued work in both areas for 20 years, attended STAR in 1982, and taught other self awareness courses throughout the years. She is retired from her private practice and now has the time to devote to her energy healing and spiritual work that she continues to evolve.
Sherry found STAR while living in Sydney Australia in 2005 and has been returning ever since. She refers to STAR as the Crown Jewel in personal growth and healing. A successful international business entrepreneur, Sherry has lived in Mexico, Singapore, and Australia before recently re-locating back to Arizona. She now consults with The Phoenix Philanthropy Group which partners with nonprofit organizations and individual philanthropists to optimize their impact on our global society. Since completing her Masters Degree in Counseling, Sherry has worked with clients in the social services and private sector in the areas of life transition, addiction, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Her training and experience integrate body, mind, and spirit in a holistic approach to counseling. Sherry uses her gentle spirituality and collaborative style to invite clients to step into their true selves and create their highest dreams, bringing head and heart together in purposeful, compassionate action. Sherry holds a Masters Degree in Counseling from the University of New England and a Masters of International Business Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Susan has a Ph.D. in Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and a Doctor of Divinity Degree from the American Institute of Holistic Theology. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling & Guidance from the University of Arizona where she simultaneously earned a Masters Certificate in Gerontology. Susan is a National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC) with over 18 years of experience in private practice which includes eight years contracting with the Veterans Administration to counsel veterans. She is a certified EMDR practitioner and utilizes visualization, imaging, regression, focusing, and other modalities to support clients and students in awakening to their inherent potential. Susan is also a childbirth educator. She has co-produced an educational DVD entitled Babies Know: 7 Principles of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. Susan has staffed STAR process workshops for several years, has led original relationship workshops entitled United in Love, has developed a new model in childbirth education called Picturing a Better Birth, and has addressed audiences at international conferences. She lectures at community colleges and universities to increase awareness of the long-term effects of conception, pregnancy, and birth. Susan promotes positive models that contribute to more conscious conception, gestational, and birthing experiences and the peaceful resolution of residual issues that impact adult mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and relationships.
Vilma studied with Carl Rogers at the University of Wisconsin Psychology Graduate program and was one of the earliest licensed psychologists in Wisconsin. She practiced as a psychotherapist there in a public mental health clinic that she helped build in the 1960's and in private practice for nearly three decades before discovering STAR in 1989. Within two years, she moved to northern California to become a fulltime staff member at Pocket Ranch Institute, first as Workshop Coordinator for STAR, then as Assistant Director and supervisor of interns in their Inpatient/Sanctuary program. She has served on STAR staff many times since 1990, and as trainer of apprentice reader/facilitators and in the leadership training program. She has a special interest in healing the "wounded healer," and enjoys doing therapy with, supervising, mentoring, and training those who seek to help others. She is skilled in using imagery, Gestalt, and other projective techniques. Now retired from practice, she is a published poet and Literary Laureate of Healdsburg, California, loves dogs, writing, gardening, and Mozart, and continues the profound personal healing process she learned in STAR, which has made her retirement years incredibly rich and creative.