Barbara Findeisen, the creator of the STAR process, was a pioneering expert in pre- and perinatal birth psychology. She understood how a person’s growth and development begins at conception and continues in the womb. She was especially focused on the ways our birth experience, positive or traumatic, can have a lifelong impact. Barbara, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 93, continued studying and practicing new healing modalities well into her nineties. Barbara was a wisdom figure for thousands of people who flocked to Star therapy retreats looking for healing and seeking relief from the suffering that was interfering with their ability to enjoy life. Many people who choose to do a STAR retreat arrive with the intention of learning how to be more self-loving and how to stop self-sabotaging their lives. Those pre- and perinatal experiences that we revisit at Star are often a source of profound insight. —
As we begin life we may find ourselves in families with parents who don’t know exactly how we need to be loved. Babies don’t come with owners’ manuals and parents learn by trial and error. Sometimes, unintentionally, they end up wounding us. The wounds of childhood can hurt and imprint on us for life.
A STAR healing retreat includes a sequence of experiential methods designed to identify negative behavioral patterns, facilitate anger management, and learn healthy ways of dealing with and regulating emotions.
Unhappy children can grow up to be adults whose adaptive patterns of behavior and coping mechanisms do not serve their best interests. Children who were not unconditionally loved, validated, and affirmed can struggle to love themselves and create lives filled with heart and meaning. They may long for more authentic relationships with greater intimacy without knowing how to find them. Maybe they’re stuck in an abusive relationship or have become chronic underachievers who may never fulfill their professional potential.
One participant, Sandra, came to STAR because she suffered from what the medical establishment called treatment-resistant depression. Neither talk therapy nor medication nor more aggressive medical interventions helped. Her psychiatrist told her they were out of options. In desperation she signed up for a STAR healing retreat, knowing very little about what to expect. She showed up describing herself as numb, unable to feel pleasure or pain. “It’s like I’m dead inside,” she told her facilitator.
What began bringing Sandra back to life was holotropic breathwork, a practice pioneered by famed psychiatrist Stan Grof, a friend, and colleague of Barbara Findeisen’s. During the breathwork session, loud, emotionally evocative music was played and Sandra was instructed to breathe in a rapid and controlled way that leads to an altered state of consciousness. This breathwork experience transformed Sandra’s numbness, and she began to weep, releasing the pain she was carrying. Sandra’s emotional breakthrough was the beginning of her discovering profound insights which led her to epiphanies and change.
During the rest of her STAR Retreat, Sandra began the reparative inner work of replacing her negative internal messages, many stemming from childhood, with the voice of a loving, ideal parent, who encouraged her to accept and trust her feelings. She was able to get more in touch with the “wounded kid” who was still incredibly active in her adult life, impacting her view of the world, her relationships, and life experiences. Learning to listen to and nurture her inner kid, Sandra was able to transform, letting in more love, more fun, and play into her life. This work changed her inner world and her outer world. She learned how to be the parent for herself that she had always needed, to provide the love, support, and nurturing she craved. Learning to show up for yourself, to take care of your “inner kid” is one of the many gifts of STAR. In the words of Barbara Findeisen, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
If you are looking for a deeper level of healing and personal transformation, a STAR therapy retreat may be right for you.
Please use their contact information below to reach out to learn more about STAR Foundation’s Therapy Retreats.
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