Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are you called Starfish?

2. Can you customize a program to align with the needs of our client population?

3. How do you recommend defining parameters for group membership?

4. Ideally, how many people are in a class?

5. Does a clinician normally participate in the class?

6. Where do you hold classes?

7. Can the class work on a drop-in basis or must the group be consistent?

8. Will Starfish help with group recruitment?

9. What kinds of changes can we expect to see in participants?

10. What about clients who aren’t physically fit or who have physiological challenges?


1. Why are you called Starfish?

Starfish are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs. If a starfish loses an arm, it can grow a new one. It can cast off a limb to a predator and slowly regain its full form. Some starfish species can even regenerate an entire body from a single limb; because their early form resembles a shooting star, they are called comets. Starfish are a beautiful model of resilience and healing.


2. Can you customize a program to align with the needs of our client population?

Absolutely! We can provide the greatest benefit to your clients when we work with you as a team. We welcome your input and suggestions, and can tailor a curriculum to fit your clients’ needs.


3. How do you recommend defining parameters for group membership?

It’s helpful to narrow the target population so that we can shape the class to fit specific needs. When that’s not practical, we use themes that speak to the spectrum of participants. Our guiding principle is to create an environment in which all participants feel safe.


4. Ideally, how many people are in a class?

Classes can be as small as three and as large as fifteen. Ideally, a class will have between six and ten participants.


5. Does a clinician normally participate in the class?

We recommend (but don’t require) having a staff person from your agency present; if our class is linked with a group therapy session, we especially recommend that the clinician participate in class.


6. Where do you hold classes?

That depends on your needs. If you have an appropriate space, we can hold classes at your center. Otherwise, we reserve space at a studio convenient for your clients. We are usually able to negotiate reduced rates for non-profit use.


7. Can the class work on a drop-in basis or must the group be consistent?

An ongoing group offers benefits for the group as a whole as well as its individual members. Bonding and trust build more easily and people can see and reinforce each other’s progress. Regular practice enables people to master the moves and words, which boosts confidence. But more importantly, as participants “own” the routine they are able to focus more deeply on its meaning and their connection to it. That said, some client populations are not able or inclined to commit to steady attendance. When we offer classes on a drop-in basis, we work with participants at whatever level of familiarity they bring. We’ve held wonderful ongoing drop-in classes; some students quickly become regulars.


8. Will Starfish help with group recruitment?

We are glad to provide a flyer, customized to your organization, describing the class and its benefits. When appropriate, we can also take part in screening and intake.


9. What kinds of changes can we expect to see in participants?

For a detailed answer, please see Benefits for Participants and Testimonials. We’ve seen a wide array of positive changes in participants. Some remarks: “Today is the first time I’ve ever felt graceful.”
“I haven’t been able to cry for more than twenty years; in class, this finally changed.”
“The whole time I was in court [testifying against an abuser], I kept our class routine running through my mind. It helped me stand up for myself against the bullying attorney!”
“On a crowded subway today, I started to have a panic attack. I pictured one of the Starfish moves and repeated the affirmation to myself. I was amazed that the panic dissolved.”


10. What about clients who aren’t physically fit or who have physiological challenges?

Safety is our top priority. We offer alternate levels of challenge; our baseline level depends on the group. It’s possible to take part while seated, using just upper body movements and vocalizing. Some of our participants are overweight, recovering from injury, or pregnant. Others have neurological conditions, arthritis, poor balance, and muscle weakness; several have reported that participation has improved their condition. We encourage people to listen to their bodies and not to push themselves beyond their safety zone. We often hear students say they expected not to like the physical workout but were pleasantly surprised to find it fun and invigorating.