Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q.  How is the LifeSTAR program different from 12-step recovery groups, counseling or other types of group therapy?

A.  The LifeSTAR program is a therapeutic treatment of compulsive sexual behaviors with 3 phases, that is designed to take the participants on a structured path through recovery It shares the support feature of the 12-step programs, but in addition includes professional therapists trained to assist participants to break the bonds of addiction. They do this through education and class discussion, completing programmed-learning workbooks, providing individual counseling as needed, and processing personal experiences through group therapy.

Each phase has a different emphasis. Phase 1 is designed to educate, create hope, and lay a strong foundation for recovery and healing. Phase 2 is designed to add additional tools to stop acting out behavior and replace it with healthy styles of living. The goal is to provide lasting change. Phase 3 continues to provide group support to process what the members have accomplished in the previous two phases and apply it to actual life situations. Furthermore, participants focus on healing childhood trauma, family of origin concerns, and other significant issues that have caused or contributed to the addiction.

The partner will also receive help on dealing with her trauma and pain throughout all 3 phases. In traditional 12-step work, group work, and even counseling, the partner is often left out of the process. In LifeSTAR, the partner is an integral part of the program and receives just as much help and attention as the struggling addict.

We strongly encourage individuals to attend 12-step meetings and traditional counseling as they go through the LifeSTAR program.

Q.  Why should a couple be involved in treatment together? What can I expect by including my spouse?

A.  Many partners question why they could need to attend if they don’t have the addiction. Research and experience show that when a partner is included in the early recovery work, the chance of saving the relationship improves significantly. As a result of being in a relationship with an individual who is struggling with an addiction, many partners feel isolated, confused, angry, and betrayed. The LifeSTAR program was designed to address the unique and sensitive needs of partners, as well as those of the addict. Couples attend Phase 1 together. However, in phases 2 and 3, partners meet in separate groups from spouses in order to get help on the unique issues pertinent to them. Partners focus on understanding the nature of sexual addiction, how it impacts lives and relationships, improving self esteem, and developing healthy boundaries. Furthermore, partners learn in phase 2 and phase 3 to utilize needed self-care, to express emotions in a healthy way, and to initiate healthy lifestyle behaviors.

It is important to recognize that the first three to six months of couple recovery are usually the most traumatic and stressful. Both partners will experience a wide range of emotions and will struggle with issues around their own personal identities and self images. There are often difficulties with trust, anger, communication, intimacy levels, sexuality, spirituality, parenting, past trauma, and finances. Through diligent participation in the LifeSTAR program, individuals will deal with each of these areas. As the healing process proceeds, hope can be reestablished and participants will grow as individuals and as partners.

Q.  Can I attend alone?

A.  Yes. If you are single or involved with someone who doesn’t want to attend, we strongly encourage you to attend the program by yourself. Since the program is designed to meet the unique needs of addicts and/or partners, any individual will receive the help desired.

Q. How long does the LifeSTAR program last?

A.  There are 3 phases in LifeSTAR, each one building on the last one. Here are the approximate lengths of each:

Phase 1: “Getting Started Workshop”  lasts for 6 weeks. We meet one night per week for a 3-hour session. We work through 4 workbooks and 3 booklets.

Phase 2: “Recovery Group” lasts approximately 4 months, depending on the size of the group and their pace, as they work through 4 more workbooks. We meet one night per week for a 1 ½ hour session.

Phase 3: “Advanced Group” is open-ended. Participants work to maintain freedom from the addiction they have struggled with. They also work to eliminate the shame and other problems that contributed to the addiction. Like Phase 2, groups meet 1 ½ hours on one night per week.

Q.  Can I just attend one phase or do I have to go through all three?

A.  Since each phase builds on the previous one, a participant must complete Phase 1 to attend the others. Although it is optional to continue through the next 2, nearly everyone attends all 3 phases to gain the tools needed to stop this destructive addiction.

Q.  Do I really need to be in a group to overcome pornography or other sexually compulsive behaviors?

This is a common question, as many individuals who struggle with addiction would prefer to do their recovery work privately. We find that individuals who submit to the group process change quicker and have longer-lasting positive results.

Group work is unique because it challenges many of the core beliefs that are common among addicts. For example, many individuals who struggle with sexual addictions believe that if people really knew their secret, they would be rejected. Attending a group disproves this belief within the first 2 or 3 weeks of attending Phase 1. Group members find that they actually feel more accepted and supported, as they continue the group process.

Eliminating unhealthy core beliefs is the main goal to overcoming a pornography/sexual addiction. Group work is a tried and proven method for helping individuals to accomplish this goal. Although it is initially awkward and uncomfortable, virtually all participants feel grateful for the experience of participating in a group setting.

All LifeSTAR groups are closed, meaning that new individuals are not added without the consent of the group members. This ensures safety and predictability in the process. Confidentiality is required so that each participant feels safe in the group.

Q.  How much will I have to disclose in the program?

A.  Only as much as you feel comfortable disclosing. However, we believe that secrets are the lifeblood of addiction. Therefore, working to disclose your secrets in a safe and confidential environment is an integral part of recovery. Since all participants are struggling with similar issues and since group discussions are kept confidential, participants can get things out in the open and work on the underlying causes of the addiction. They can also feel support and acceptance from the other participants which strengthen their ability to control the addictive thoughts and behaviors.

Q.  How many people will be in the group?

A.  Phase I groups typically have between 12 – 24 participants.  Phases 2 & 3 are made up of 4 – 8 participants per group.

Q.  How much does the LifeSTAR program cost?

A.  The cost for Phase 1 is $420 per person. The group meets for 3 hours on one night per week for 6 weeks. It includes 18 hours of therapy (3 hours x 6 weeks), which is less than $24 per hour per participant.  (All workbooks, materials, etc, are included in this price).  We also require an evaluation session before the group begins to ensure it is appropriate for the participant to be in the program.

Phase 2 groups cost $180 per month per participant and meet 1 ½ hours on one night per week (which is only $30 per hour of therapy). Phase 2 groups progress through an additional 5 workbooks for the addict and 4 for the partner.

Phase 3 groups also cost $180 per month per participant and meet 1 ½ hours on one night per week. Participants graduate from Phase 3 when appropriate recovery is achieved.