STAR Program

STAR (Skills Training in Anger Reduction)

STAR is the group therapy program for adolescents who are on probation in the Family Division.

The emphasis in STAR is on training adolescents to make better decisions and to manage their anger in appropriate ways. STAR provides a 12-week structured group program that teaches teens to better understand and control their anger. Decision-making and anger management techniques are taught through a combination of discussions, lectures, examinations, videos, and role-playing.

Adolescents on either standard or intensive probation can be court-ordered to attend STAR, or they can be referred to STAR by their Court caseworker or probation officer. All STAR groups are run by licensed, experienced psychologists, often with graduate student interns as co-therapists. Groups range in size from four to ten members.

All STAR groups are held after school and in the evening, and the meetings are held in three different geographic locations (Pontiac, Walled Lake and Troy) providing relative convenience for most adolescents and their family.

In a STAR group, members can earn points at each session. These points are tabulated each week and serve as a measuring stick for each member to chart their progress. Members earn points for attendance, participation, homework and periodic tests. Adolescents can successfully pass the 12-week course by maintaining an 80 percent point percentage and an 80 percent attendance rate. Teens failing to pass STAR may be required to take the course a second time.

Parents are important to the success of adolescents who attend STAR. The parents of adolescents in STAR attend both the first and last session in order to learn about the program, their role in their child's success and to complete evaluations and questionnaires.