F.A.Q.

Renowned retreats designed to resolve issues with Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Loss, Trauma, PTSD, & More

Is a STAR Retreat right for you?

Who should attend a STAR Retreat Workshop?
Who should not attend a STAR Retreat Workshop?
How is STAR different from other programs?
Since the mid-1970's, people from all over the world and all walks of life have attended STAR Retreat workshops. Participants have included therapists and mental health professionals, physicians and surgeons, business leaders, attorneys, engineers, teachers, elected officials, political consultants, parents, students, musicians, writers, and more. 

The reasons for coming to a STAR Retreat are as varied as the people attending. They include those who are dealing with or experiencing one or more of the following: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, personal or professional burnout, relationship issues, grief and loss, personal growth, anger issues including anger management, codependent behavior, loss of life's meaning and purpose, life transitions, personal crisis, feeling "stuck" in one's process, blocked creativity, addictive and compulsive behaviors, trauma and PTSD, and stress.
We do not accept individuals who are unable to physically care for themselves, those who are a danger to themselves or others, and those who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol. We do not accept clients who have a severe psychiatric diagnosis such as schizophrenia or multiple personality. The STAR Retreat is not a medical facility. There are no full care units and we are not licensed to prescribe nor dispense medications.
Many people, who have experienced very little change after long-term psychotherapy, have seen rapid progress through the STAR Retreat. Many therapists refer clients to our program who simply need to get "unstuck" or who would benefit from intensive work on their core issues. Participants benefit from being able to deeply and continuously engage in their work 24/7 while at a STAR Retreat, as opposed to the "stop-start" nature of outpatient therapy.

STAR provides a safe and caring environment for the kind of self-examination that is required for in-depth personal growth. The unusually high ratio of staff to participants is invaluable in ensuring that each person receives the care and support needed to derive the maximum benefit from STAR. What also makes our program unique from other personal personal-growth or therapeutic programs is that we've taken the best techniques from a wide variety of well-established approaches and integrated them into a comprehensive, multi-layered program.

STAR is an experiential process aimed to help participants gain clarity and insight into the reasons behind the patterns of thought and patterns of behavior that have kept them from reaching their full potential. Our heart-centered approach allows participants to be less in their "heads" and more in tune with their heart-self or "feeling-self." Our synergistic approach allows us to respond to each individual's need to affect mind, body, and spirit. The most in-depth program of its kind, STAR offers a carefully structured process of accelerated education and healing.
What is the difference between talk therapy
and experiential therapy?
I'm in a 12-Step program. Is a STAR
Retreat compatible?
Can family and/or friends attend a STAR
Retreat together?
Talk therapy is simply talking about what's bothering you. This can help you to spot things that are causing problems in your life. Through discussion, you can find ways to handle your problems so that the same issues won't continually disrupt your life. 

Experiential therapy goes a lot deeper. The goal is to free a person from unresolved emotions so that they may become free to live in the present. Experiential therapy uses recognized processes to enable the enactment or reenactment of the emotional climate of the family of origin and/or other past significant relationships and events. In re-examining them, you are able to feel those feelings now, work through them now, and defuse them once and for all. The released emotional pain is no longer repressed, and therefore allowed to fester. 
A STAR Retreat is completely congruent with, and complimentary to, 12-Step programs. Our program directly addresses issues of codependency and addiction within the context of our developmental, experiential process. Exploring the roots of compulsion may serve to temper addictive impulses. Many of our graduates are in 12-Step programs. They use their STAR experience as a way to deepen and enhance their recovery. Other graduates have joined 12-Step programs after their participation, as a way of continuing the recovery they began while attending our program. 

Optional 12-Step groups are available at each STAR Retreat. You will be supported in your recovery program during your stay. 
We do not allow family members to attend together and do not recommend that you participate alongside a friend or anyone within your social circle. It is important for you to have this time for yourself and be able to do your own work without consideration for anyone else in your environment. 

Program Details

Who facilitates STAR Retreat workshops?
What is the ratio of staff to participants?
How large is a typical group and is it coed?
The STAR staff is made up of individuals from all walks of life— professional therapists and social workers, psychologists, body workers, nurses, attorneys, business professionals, writers, artists, and more. Staff members are graduates of the program themselves who remain dedicated to helping others on the path to healing. STAR facilitators undergo a screening process and have completed the STAR Foundation Training Program prior to working with participants during retreats. 
Each STAR Retreat has approximately 1 staff member for every 2 participants, with a comparatively intimate group size. This is by far the richest staff-to-participant ratio of any remotely similar program. Our emphasis is upon providing an environment in which each participant has an opportunity to get what they need. We are dedicated to maintaining this level of individualized attention so that we can always offer each participant a uniquely personal experience. While there are opportunities  each day to work with a wide range of facilitators, every participant is carefully matched with a facilitator in order to guide their experience every day of the program. 
A typical group consists of 15 - 20 participants and includes both men and women. Ages range from 18 years old into late adulthood. 
What are the methods utilized?
What is a typical day like?
Why is STAR a residential program?
STAR Retreats are a blend of techniques from mainstream psychotherapy with holistic and transpersonal approaches. The process mostly occurs in a group setting; yet it is highly individualized. The program includes experiential therapies, integrative breath work, emotional release work, journaling, intensive writing assignments, cognitive exercises, art projects, ego-state psychology, family of origin exploration, and a variety of other creative and innovative approaches to healing. The result is an intensive yet deeply nurturing process that literally transforms lives. Participants are supported in exploring and healing their deepest psychological and spiritual wounds in a completely safe and supportive environment. 
STAR is an individual process done in a group setting. It is a careful structured program that encourages participants to work in an individual fashion while providing many opportunities for group interaction. Mornings are typically spent checking in with one's facilitator or working on daily writing assignments. All work is designed to help uncover and easy early negative experiences which are still powerfully affecting one's life. 

There are two group meetings each day which may include lectures, activities such as guided imagery, and sessions in which participants have the opportunity to deeply experience and express their feelings. An integrative breath-work session is also provided as a way of directly accessing and experiencing the unconscious. 

Small break-out groups are scheduled to discuss and process the day's assignments. Optional group such as 12-Step and Grief are offered throughout the retreat. An art room is available 24/7, and bodywork is available for an additional charge. 

Although the schedule is quite full, many participants find the time to walk, hike, or jog on the property, bird watch, socialize, or swim a few laps in the beautiful, heated swimming pool. 
A good deal of the unique power of a STAR Retreat is derived from the fact that participants are relieved of their usual daily life burdens in a completely supportive environment. Participants are therefore able to focus completely on themselves. This results in an unparalleled opportunity to deeply explore core issues. You are free to do the kind of intensive work required to fully heal and move on into a more free and joyous life. One where you are able to live life fully in the present. 

The residential nature of a STAR Retreat facilitates healing and creates an environment which supports significant positive bonding with staff and the foundation for lifelong friendships with fellow participants. 
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