1 How is the LifeSTAR program different from the 12-step recovery groups, counseling, or other types of group therapy?
The LifeSTAR program is a 3-phase treatment program designed to take participants on a structured path through recovery. The therapists that run the treatment groups have specialized training in treating sexually compulsive behaviors. All groups are facilitated by therapists who work to help the group members deepen their individual and couples recovery experience. Each phase has a different emphasis (See other side for details)
We strongly encourage individuals to continue attending 12-step meetings and counseling as they go through the program. We believe the LifeSTAR program to be an excellent compliment to any recovery work that is already taking place. Please note that LifeSTAR is NOT part of the self-awareness group movement that many LDS congregations have been cautioned to avoid. It is a treatment program run by licensed professionals committed to maintaining the highest ethics and professional conduct.
2 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 participate in the group process make changes much more quickly and have longer-lasting results. Group work is unique because it challenges many of the core beliefs common to individuals struggling with addiction. For example, many individuals who struggle with sexual addiction believe that if people really knew their secret, they would reject them.
Attending a group disproves this belief, as group members actually deepen their connection to each other the longer they attend the group. Eliminating unhealthy core beliefs, such as the one mentioned above 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 attending a group meeting is initially awkward and uncomfortable, virtually all participants report feeling grateful for the experience. 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.
3 Does LifeSTAR focus on the science of changing the brain to heal addiction?
Pornography problems certainly have a lot to do with the brain. We know that pornography dramatically changes the way the brain functions. So, understanding the brain and how to repair the brain is an important part of healing from the impact of pornography. LifeSTAR not only addresses this important aspect of recovery, but also expands the recovery experience to include other areas important to long-term change.
These areas include:
- Understanding how to deal with emotions in a healthy way
- Healing the impact of betrayal on relationships
- Reducing self-defeating beliefs and feelings
- Building a strong recovery support system
- Improving all family relationships
Lasting change happens when an individual understands and heals the emotions, behaviors, patterns, and thoughts that create and maintain the addiction. Cognitive exercises to restructure the brain are only a small part of the whole treatment system. Since the addiction affects all aspects of an individual’s emotions, thoughts, relationships, and behaviors, effective treatment should do the same. LifeSTAR is designed to thoroughly work through these different areas in an in-depth way, which increases the long-term success for both the addict and his partner.