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Questions about who should attend the STAR Retreats
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Since the mid-1970s, people from all over the world and all walks of life have attended STAR Retreat workshops. Participants have included therapists, 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 or 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 hospital setting in any sense of the word. There are no full care units and we are not licensed to prescribe and dispense medications.
STAR Retreat is unique for a multitude of reasons. Our retreat is experiential (with some talk therapy); we use many varied and effective modalities in our process; we create and maintain a very safe and trusting environment; and we maintain an almost 1:2 participant to staff ratio.
Many people, who have experienced very little change after long-term psychotherapy, have enjoyed amazingly 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. Their clients benefit from being able to deeply and continuously engage in their work 24/7 while at a STAR Retreat, as opposed to the “stop and start” nature of outpatient therapy.
Talk therapy is simply talking about what is bothering you. This can help you 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 the unresolved emotions so that he or she becomes freer 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 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 Retreat experience as a way to deepen and enhance their recovery. Other graduates have joined 12-Step groups 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 recommend that you participate in a STAR Retreat with family members or friends. 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.
The STAR staff is made up of individuals from all walks of life—professional therapists and social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, body workers, nurses, attorneys, business people, etc. All members of our staff are STAR graduates and have completed the STAR Foundation Training Program.
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 he or she needs. 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 is 18 to 24 people consisting of both men and women, and ranges in ages from 18 into late adulthood.
The result is an intensive, 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 carefully structured retreat 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 heal early decisions and negative experiences which are still powerfully affecting one’s life.
There are two group meetings each day which include lectures, guided imagery, and sessions in which participants have the opportunity to deeply experience and express their feelings. An integrative breathwork session is also provided as a way of directly accessing and experiencing the unconscious.
Small break-out groups are scheduled almost daily to discuss and process the day’s assignments; optional groups such as 12-Step and Grief are offered throughout the retreat; an art room is available round the clock; and body work is available at an extra charge.
There is time for walking, jogging, swimming, and bird watching. Free time, however, is very limited; most find the STAR schedule very full.
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 24/7. 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 freer, happier, more joyous, and more present-focused existence.
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 participants.
The STAR Retreat is a uniquely complete in-depth approach to individual healing. Our experience has taught us that much of adult unhappiness, dysfunctional patterns, addictive behaviors, and spiritual crises are rooted in the negative messages and experiences of our early childhood. Our program seeks to identify and heal these wounds through a combination of highly effective therapies, including modalities that connect with the very earliest traumas and patterns. We believe that these very early incidents, (that many other programs often do not address), offer profound answers as to what may be affecting the participant’s life.
The rich staff-to-participant ratio is unparalleled and offers the flexibility and opportunity for each participant to meet his or her particular needs. Finally, the length of the program in the context of the incredible milieu of processes and support enables participants to go much deeper into their issues than in any other similar programs. Time and again, the result is a highly effective and transformative experience.
Simply call the STAR Foundation office at 520-398-3105. We will answer your questions and set up an appointment for a telephone interview with one of our therapists. The interview usually takes 45 to 60 minutes.
Once you have decided to enroll in one of our programs, a deposit of $800 will be required to reserve your place, and you will be given instructions regarding travel plans and your online forms, which need to be completed 3 weeks in advance of your STAR Retreat.
Your balance will be due, at the latest, 30 days before the start of your retreat. It is important to note that we enroll on a first come, first serve basis. Your place is not guaranteed until you have paid the tuition in full or made other payment arrangements with our Administrative Director.
We highly recommend that you give us permission to communicate with your therapist. We consider ourselves to be part of your treatment team. Communicating with your therapist both prior to and after the STAR Retreat creates a continuity of care that enhances your healing process. We find that the benefits of the STAR Retreat experience are significantly maximized by participants who return to therapy following their STAR Retreat.
Two months is usually safe, however we recommend calling the STAR Foundation office well in advance of that time frame, as workshops can fill fast. We always work hard to meet the needs of late enrollees.
Facility and Logistics
STAR Retreats are held at Rancho De La Osa in the beautiful high desert grasslands of Sasabe, Arizona. We have exclusive use of this property during our retreats and is a private, comfortable location with a very supportive and helpful staff. Many participants share with us how the physical environment helps their process—warm sun, swimming pool, nice accommodations, and gardens all set in the meditative and peaceful high desert of Southern Arizona.
Participants will need to fly in to Tucson, Arizona. (TUS). Ground transportation is is arranged by the STAR Foundation and provided by Rancho de la Osa. The charge for your ground transportation is $175, round trip, including gratuity. All details related to travel will be provided in your pre-retreat information.
Accommodations are double occupancy. Single rooms are available on a very limited basis. Please note that a single room supplement is charged by Rancho de la Osa, and those requesting singles must be approved by our Clinical Director.
We strongly encourage participants to focus on themselves while at the STAR Retreat; connections with the outside via phone calls or email have been found to interfere with your personal process. We understand that you may need to briefly check in at home or work. But we very strongly recommend that all contact be necessary, brief and kept to a bare minimum. It’s your process and we want you to have the very best opportunities for healing.
Menus vary and usually include poultry, meat, or fish as an entrée—as well as vegetarian options. The chef is apprised in advance of any allergies or food restrictions so that all of your specific dietary needs will be met.
A strict policy of confidentiality is maintained by all staff. Participants are also asked not to share any personal information regarding fellow participants—this includes sharing with your family members and partners.
All requests for information regarding our participants and former participants are referred to the main STAR Foundation office in Arizona where all written authorizations to release records are kept on file. No information, verbal or written, is released without a current authorization on file in our office.
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