Our Healing Retreats2024-06-23T02:13:05+00:00

Our Healing Retreats

Welcome to STAR!

Our Therapy Retreats

Spirit In The Desert Retreat Center

Carefree, Arizona

A Sanctuary For People

Inspired by wildlife who find refuge in the safety of a dedicated sanctuary, STAR Founder, Barbara Findeisen, envisioned such a place for our STAR Retreats: a place of peace and protection where one could have the time to do the deep work of healing with therapeutic support.

Experience this oasis in the Sonoran Desert at Spirit In The Desert Retreat Center north of Phoenix, Arizona.

This safe and nurturing space is lush with plants, flowers, and cacti unique to the Southwest. Natural rock water fountains add refreshing and soothing sounds as you walk along the paths. This serene environment includes a meditation labyrinth, reflective walking paths and a striking desert landscape.

Enjoy incredible views and amazing sunsets in the high desert of southern Arizona while you do the work to mend your heart and heal.


STAR Retreats offer modern convenience and amenities and a true taste of the American Southwest.

Accommodations include well-appointed large, double occupancy, air-conditioned guest rooms with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms and luxurious outdoor balconies.

Also available is a heated swimming pool with gorgeous views and a Jacuzzi for relaxation during your down time.


Carefree, Arizona

Spirit in the Desert is located on over 7 scenic acres in Carefree, Arizona, nestled in the foothills of the High Sonoran Desert. The retreat center is approximately 45 minutes north of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix and 30 minutes north of downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.

A Day in the Life

At STAR Retreats, the only thing you have to focus on is yourself. We attend to all of your daily needs, including 3 chef prepared meals a day, providing you with an unparalleled opportunity to explore and work through core challenges and move beyond limiting beliefs.

STAR offers an extraordinary average staff to participant ratio of 1:2 which sets us apart from any other therapeutic retreat.  We purposely keep the group size small (maximum of 25 participants per retreat) in order to ensure a cohesive group dynamic.

Each day at STAR offers new opportunities for healing, growth, and transformation. You will receive incredible individualized attention as each participant is closely matched with a facilitator who will work with you one-on-one to both support and assist you throughout the process.

The daily schedule begins with breakfast at 7:30am and usually ends around 9:30pm after the evening group session.  Your experience includes a mix of group and individual sessions, including lectures and group discussion, emotional release work, art work, journaling, and much more. Also offered each day are optional 12-Step and Grief group meetings.

Therapeutic bodywork will also be available during the retreat for an additional fee.

Upcoming STAR Healing Retreats

Fall 2022 STAR Retreat

Summer 2024

July 26 – August 4

Carefree, AZ

Spring 2022 STAR Retreat

Fall 2024

November 1 – November 10

Carefree, AZ

Spring 2022 STAR Retreat

Winter 2025

February 7 – February 16

Carefree, AZ

Spring 2022 STAR Retreat

Spring 2025

May 2 – May 11

Carefree, AZ

Get Started

We are here to answer your questions and provide gentle support and guidance throughout your decision-making process. Call today, or schedule your no-obligation consultation online now.


Get answers to our most frequently asked questions.

What is the cost of a STAR retreat workshop?2024-04-22T17:37:35+00:00

The total cost of a 10-day STAR Retreat Workshop is $7500. Your tuition includes:

  • Program Fee
  • Materials
  • Room & Board (Double Occupancy)
  • Meals & Snacks
  • Round-Trip Ground Transportation from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Ten Percent is due at enrollment to reserve your space. Tuition balance is due no later than 30 days before the start of your retreat.

The STAR Foundation reserves its healing retreat accommodations from an established business in Arizona. We manage room assignments, dining needs, materials and facilitators based on the number of retreat participants. As such, it is important to have an accurate count of participants for any healing retreat for the process to run as smoothly as possible.

Cancellation Policy: the participant will receive 90 percent refund 60 days before the retreat and 50 percent 30 days before the retreat. Any cancellation will cost the participant an administrative fee of 10 percent.

Note: Therapeutic Bodywork will be available to you for an additional fee.

What is the enrollment process?2024-04-22T16:41:43+00:00

Enrollment begins the moment you decide that STAR is the best fit for you. A member of our team will assist you throughout the process. Enrollment procedures include:

  • Tuition Deposit: Ten Percent (due on receipt)
  • Registration Form: Link is sent with enrollment email
  • Clinical Intake: Interview with STAR Clinical Director, Ken Ball, PhD, LMFT (45-60 minutes conducted via Zoom/FaceTime)
  • Written Assignment: Designed to begin preparing you for our process. Due no later than 3 weeks prior to the start of your retreat.
  • Tuition Balance: Any remaining balances are due no later than 30 days prior to STAR.
  • Cancellation Policy:The STAR Foundation is committed to providing the best experience possible for all our healing retreat participants. The STAR Foundation reserves its healing retreat accommodations from an established business in Arizona. We manage room assignments, dining needs, materials and facilitators based on the number of retreat participants. As such, it is important to have an accurate count of participants for any healing retreat for the process to run as smoothly as possible.

    Therefore, the STAR Foundation requires a 10 percent deposit up front to guarantee a place at the retreat(s). Regarding the Cancellation Policy, the participant will receive 90 percent refund 60 days before the retreat and 50 percent 30 days before the retreat. Any cancellation will cost the participant an administrative fee of 10 percent.

Please note that we enroll on a first come, first served basis. Space at STAR is not guaranteed until you have paid your full tuition or have made payment arrangements with the STAR office.

Will my insurance cover the cost of STAR?2021-07-07T02:20:27+00:00

A STAR retreat is classified as a personal growth workshop. Therefore, we do not accept insurance, nor do we provide documentation for reimbursement purposes.

How far in advance do I need to sign up?2021-04-19T19:15:28+00:00

It is recommended that you begin the enrollment process 2-3 months in advance of your intended workshop. Enrollment for any scheduled STAR retreat workshop:

  • Begins no more than 1 year prior
  • Ends no less than 48-hours prior

We always strive to meet the needs of late enrollees. Please call or email the STAR office to check retreat availability.

Is financial aid available?2021-05-29T17:46:35+00:00

We strive to make STAR retreat workshops accessible to all. In addition to keeping our program costs low, a limited amount of partial scholarships are available for each retreat. For an application, please contact the STAR office.

Who is the typical STAR participant?2021-04-19T19:16:37+00:00

People of all ages and from all walks of life attend STAR retreat workshops. Our program is for anyone who wants to experience deep healing, renewal, and begin creating the life they deserve to live.

Are you:

  • Tired of not feeling ‘well’?
  • Experiencing a life transition?
  • Seeking self-healing and renewal?
  • Feeling stuck in unhealthy life patterns?
  • Feeling a sense of emptiness or loss of perspective?
  • Seeking deeper or accelerated personal or professional growth?

If so, please know that you are not alone. Independent of income, profession, culture, or spiritual beliefs, we all share a desire to live a fulfilling life. At STAR, you will be fully supported in your personal search for authenticity, and the deep sense of joy and freedom that reconnecting to your heart and soul provides.

Which payment methods are accepted?2021-07-07T02:19:00+00:00

You may choose to pay your tuition online, or by phone via:

  • Major Credit Card (Phone/Online)
  • Funds Transfer from Checking or Savings Account (Online Only)

*Cardholder, if different from participant, must be present for phone transactions. 

Is everyone who applies accepted to the program?2023-08-08T20:24:08+00:00

STAR retreats do not take place in a hospital setting. Therefore, we are unable to accept individuals who are:

  • In need of around the clock care
  • Diagnosed with a severe psychiatric condition, such as schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder

In addition, STAR will not accept anyone with the following:

  • History of violence
  • Sexual offenses of any kind at any time
  • [Exhibiting] blatant disregard for self, or others

For additional information on the appropriateness of a STAR retreat, please contact our office.

Learn More About STAR Healing Retreats


Learn more about the STAR process and how it can help you to facilitate deep and lasting life changes.

Change Your Life

What is keeping you stuck in your present reality and getting in the way of the life you want for yourself?

Retreat Amenities

Chef-Prepared Cuisine

Delicious and balanced meals integrating various cuisines are served each day. Daily meals are prepared fresh by the in-house chef who strives to create healthy and satisfying dishes everyone can enjoy. Comfort foods are also blended into the menu, especially while we do the heavy emotional lifting. And whether you choose to go light or indulge, nourishing and flavorful food is always available. Our creative and accommodating chef is happy to prepare options for those with dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, and gluten-free with advance notice.

Burning Ceremony

All participants will have the opportunity to participate in a burning ceremony under the stars of the Arizona desert. There will be a fire to consume the things we want to burn, discard, and leave in the desert. Drums, some dancing, some celebration as we let go of the things that hold us back in life. Each person has the opportunity to burn things that are no longer serving them, to release them into the fire, and to say some words to the group if they so choose. It’s voluntary but memorable and powerful.

Tranquil Setting

The Arizona desert is vast.  The clouds move in and you can see storms making their way across the sky. The sunsets are stunning- shades of pink, orange, red. Walking home to your room from the group room you can look up at the bowl of stars, gazing into the heavens. It’s quiet and peaceful and ideal for deep introspective work.

Relax and Unwind

There is downtime every day to walk, swim, sit in the hot tub, work in the art room, talk to a fellow participant or any staff member, write in your journal. There is structured time and unstructured time. You can use the time and the space to decompress, to center yourself, to walk the labyrinth contemplating each step, to sit in quiet and meditate, or to just sit outside to see the signs of desert life, the animals, birds, flora and fauna.

Release Tension

Every participant will be offered the opportunity to do body work with a trained and licensed bodyworker. Participants can unwind in the pool or soak in the hot tub. Many people center themselves by walking slowly and calmly in the labyrinth. Some participants choose to stretch each day, doing personal yoga or qi gong, or tai chi, or whatever practice they bring to the ranch with them. Every morning before group activities start, individuals will be able to stretch and take care of their bodies as they do this meaningful emotional work.

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