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Old 07-29-2006, 07:19 PM
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Just curious

Did anyone ever go to EST (Erhard Seminars Training) or Lifespring trainings?
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Old 07-30-2006, 12:06 PM
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I didn't MG

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Old 07-30-2006, 01:11 PM
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Is this the infamous est from the 1970's?
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:52 PM
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It sounds familiar- I was having babies back then so I missed it!!!!
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Old 07-30-2006, 02:36 PM
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Yes. I went to Lifespring. I didn't go to EST.

Lifespring threw me out of their 3rd training.
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Old 07-30-2006, 06:15 PM
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Two quick links

LifeSpring
http://www.rickross.com/groups/lifespring.html

and EST
http://www.rickross.com/groups/est.html

may consider both groups cults. I'm glad you were able to get get out MG
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Morning Glory
Lifespring threw me out of their 3rd training.
Why did they do that?

Must have been an odd experience. I'm sorry that happened to you. Events like that can have a real negative impact on one's sense of worth.

I'm curious to learn more about your experience. I'm unfamiliar with these groups.

Thanks for posting this thread!
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:59 PM
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Thanks for the links Alera.


Originally Posted by Alera
may consider both groups cults.
Yeah, but a lot of people say that about another program too, and it's helped countless individuals. Ya never know who might be lurking about and reading these posts.....



Lol.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:51 PM
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I think being thrown out was part of the brainwashing technique. I was thrown out within the first hour of the first day of the 3rd training. I think I was the example of what would happen to the rest if they didn't comply. I was young and wasn't emotionally stable and it was devastating. I was a tough nut to crack and none of the brainwashing techniques cracked my walls. I am so happy about that. I'm sure I would have ended up in the hospital. Being thrown out left me worse than when I came in. There was no support afterward. They just gave me back my money and sent me on my way. I was standing out in the parking lot crying so hard I couldn't even drive home. I had a friend who was in that area who was a lawyer so I called him for help. We went to court. He ended up helping others after that. There were some deaths. One drowned in a training. One died of an asthma attack because they said she didn't need her medication. One jumped off a building and one overdosed. Many had psychotic breakdowns and were hospitalized.

Margaret Singer was my expert witness and she was very interesting.
http://www.rickross.com/reference/singer/singer2.html

Here is what she wrote. (First Training. The second was much worse.)

What Goes On in an LGAT?
On federal court orders, I have attended six large group awareness training sessions (sponsored by est, the Forum, Lifespring, and PSI World) and have interviewed dozens of persons who have attended these and such other programs as Silva Mind Control, Actualizations, and Direct Centering, as well as the myriad of other programs now available, some started by former employees and even, on occasion, attendees of the larger well-known LGATs. I have studied the training manuals and videos used to train trainers and have interviewed a number of trainers.

I have also served as an expert witness for various persons who sued corporations selling this training. These persons, or their survivors, alleged in civil suits that they had been harmed by particular programs. Therefore, the lawyers in these cases asked the court to order the corporations to permit me and another expert to attend the relevant programs as observers, sitting in the back of the large hotel ballrooms or other facilities where the training takes place. Because most of these programs are made up of highly scripted, standardized procedures, seeing one unfold gives a good picture of the processes and the attitudes of the trainers, as well as some experience of the group process that occurs when 250 to 300 people are being psychologically and emotionally aroused into becoming, on occasion, sobbing masses on the floor.

The other expert and I needed to view and study the training the plaintiff had attended and form an opinion whether any connection existed between the conduct and content of the training and the alleged damages. These damages ranged from death by drowning and suicide to both brief and prolonged stays in mental hospitals. I have kept track of the individuals involved in the nearly sixty legal cases in which I was a consultant. Some of them have gotten their lives going again, although with the fearful recall of what it was like to completely lose mental and emotional control. A few are still hospitalized as long as ten years after their breakdowns during or immediately after the training.

LGAT programs tend to last at least four days and usually five. They are described as seminars and sound very much like special college courses. The highly confrontational and psychological aspects generally are not mentioned beforehand. Nor it is mentioned that a whole new theory of how the world works will be inculcated in attendees.

The program trainers and leaders typically get agreement from participants that they will not tell anyone about the processes thc occur. To do so "will spoil it for your friends, family, co-workers when they take the course. Tell them what you got out of it," trainers advise. This means be vague about the actual content and provide glowing endorsements telling others that the training turned your life around, but do not tell them how emotional, dramatic confrontational, and unnerving the sessions can be for some people. Because of this promise, consumers who buy and attend these seminars do so without information about how psychologically. socially, and sometimes physically stressing the event can be.

The following outline description is a composite of what goes on in the course of many LGAT sessions. Based on my attendance at several LGATs, consultations with former attendees and trainers, and my research, it also reflects my professional interpretations.

Day One
Day one is usua11y devoted to demonstrating the leader's absolute authority. The leader, often called a facilitator or trainer, immediately takes control of the setting with a demeanor that suggests he is a powerful, in-charge person and no one is to challenge what he says "This program works," the trainer proclaims. "It's all up to you to obey and get the maximum benefits." He remains totally in charge, acts knowledgeable, and is practiced in verbal skills, so that he never loses an encounter. Anyone who challenges the trainer will be humiliated and verbally mashed.

New customers are unaware that most LGATs allow or even encourage those who have taken the training before to reattend. These people serve as a claque or modeling section. They clap, speak the same jargon as the leader, make endorsing statements, and are models for the new customers to pattem themselves after. Because the retumers talk the talk and walk the walk, they get good responses from the trainer when they make comments. New customers begin to pattern their language and demeanor after the behavior of these others who, they notice, receive praise for using certain language or revealing personal material. The leader trains the group to clap after every sharing, no matter how inane, off target, or incoherent it is. For many, it is heady stuff to have a couple of hundred people clap when they speak a bit to the group. At the same time, new customers also see how the trainer berates and decimates opponents.

Day Two
Day two focuses on instilling the new philosophy the LGAT is teaching. The well-known LGATs claim that you have caused everything that ever happened to you, from choosing your parents to breaking your leg, from getting yourself jilted to having been molested by your stepfather as a child. Trainers use the terms accountable and responsible, but not with their ordinary meaning. Trainers mean that you will, if you "get it," start to make your choices patterned after the way the organization advocates. They create guilt and fear in you that you have caused all the bad things that have happened in your life. "Your life is not working!" the trainer or leader yells, while he implies his is. If you just "get it," you'll be able to "make your life work." What they teach about how to get your life to work is that there is a magical thinking that allows you to create whatever you want. You are told that you can create parking spaces, money to buy the next courses, and so on. Since creativity is in, you create just by thinking.

Day Three
Day three is usually devoted to exercises, often trance-inducing guided imagery, in which attendees are urged to recall all the disappointments of life since early childhood. Exercises about your mother and father, the promises you've broken, and the promises to you that others have broken—all the sad memories of your life up to now are brought forth. By the end of the third day, participants have been opened up psychologically.

Day Four
Day four is one in which much group sharing occurs, and the leader begins to change from the stern, domineering taskmaster into a seductive, charming, loving daddy or mommy who wants you to buy the next courses. Legal cases have revealed that trainers' promotions and even their very jobs hinge on how many of those in the first course they lure into purchasing the next courses.

Day Five
Day five is one of lightness; there is dancing after rest room and lunch breaks. Much effort is put into getting you to sign up for the next and more expensive course. All participants are told to come back for a posttraining meeting with the company staff, where again a great effort will be made to sell subsequent courses. At the end of the day, a surprise is staged, with friends and family unexpectedly appearing to congratulate "the graduate."

The Impact
What can be upsetting to certain people in such LGAT sessions is that, in these four or five intense, exhausting days, they become flooded with more emotion and conflict than they can handle all at once. Up until this time, they've handled their lives in their own way, but at these training sessions they've had to look at their entire past, in a brief but enforced way. This is quite different from psychotherapy, for instance, where the therapist and the patient progress more slowly in order to allow the patient to deal with whatever she or he wants or needs to at a manageable pace.

If they had known ahead of time the intensity and psychological depth of some of these exercises, many have told me, they never would have bought or gone to the training. They had no true idea of the intensity of the situation, the effects of group pressure, or the personal fatigue that comes from LGAT sessions, and they simply expected an ordinary educational experience. Even though printed statements are now given out to participants by several of the LGATs and training programs, it is my opinion that these statements don't meet the criterion of truly giving the consumer full information about the intensity that will be experienced and about the potential surfacing of extremely personal past material. In California, for example, where residents have seventy-two hours to decide not to make purchases elicited by high pressure, people have more protection from door-to-door magazine salespersons than they do from being taken in and pressured by cults and recruiters for LGATs.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:39 PM
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Look at this one for kids that's still operating.

http://www.vpp.com/teenhelp/scl.html

http://www.denver-rmn.com/desperate/...esperate.shtml
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:00 AM
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One mention of teen camps and my blood chills!!! Behaviourism is powerful and used wrongly it's still powerful but very distructive. Behaviourally 'learned helplessness' can be reliabley created - something which is often profoundly destructive in a persons life.

The below is a bit sketchy, just my personal opinion about it - it may be inaccurate!

Because behaviourism has such an ability to alter us I think (at least this is what I look for) prgrammes using it should be:
*Reward based - aversives are less effective than rewards, less reliable, higher risks of harm with potentially long term damage
*Positive in nature (ie looking to increase behaviour diserable to the person rather than reduce behaviour), eg with addiction to increase sober time and the rewards of being sober.
*Open in intent, people should know in advance the philosophies
*Targets should be declared so that people can give INFORMED consent
*Worked in partnership with HOWEVER is RECEIVING behavioural treatment
*Open to scrutiny, nothing hidden.

Obviously if someone has committed a crime and is being jailed or 'sent' for behavioural therapy some of the above might not be so clear cut. However the basic rules of behaviourism itself remain unchanged, reward for alternative positive behaviour is still more reliable than aversives.

D and I worked together with something called 'Task Centred Social Work' (similar to CRAFT), we worked to 'reward' each other for tasks agreed on in each session. We chose the tasks, a task needed to be agreed between both of us ( I couldn't give D a task he wasn't happy with - same vice versa) and we knew in advance the intent was to change each other's behaviour. It got us working together well in a way that was effective, it allowed us to recognise and have out in the open that we do influence each other, that we can want to be influenced and that it can benefit us both. To me that's behaviourism done well, it was a positive experience that improved our quality of life.

CBT is different from behaviour modification in the true sense - some behaviourists argue against CBT containing the word 'behavioural' (I'm NOT one of them). However I don't think they should ever be confused or thought of as the same - they're not. CBT is about the behaviour of our thinking as an act in itself, where as 'pure' behaviourism deals only with the observable behaviour and consequences.

Behaviourism in it's purest form I still think is very useful, it has a lot to offer in why violence tends to escalate, why some children who may even have parents who love them still get battered, why we should bother to say thank you to each other for things we appreciate, why it's so damaging to get caught in a trap of escalating focus on negative behaviour, why praising children has such a profound effect and most of all for me - why it matters to be careful in my actions and words.
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:12 AM
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I will write more on this tomorrow, but you were so lucky to have Singer to testify for you. Your HP was looking over your shoulder, thats for sure.
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:49 AM
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Wow Morning Glory. I guess "a negative impact on one's sense of worth" is an understatement. That's horrible. I'm glad you got out also.

Sheesh.

If there ever was a worthy cause to undertake.....
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Old 07-31-2006, 05:18 AM
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Well, I know nothing at all about these programs. And all the links are negative attacks against them. There's no balance presented.

However, I know there was a time I wanted to have Trevor kidnapped and "reprogrammed." He was over 18 and spirialing downward in a frightening way. He was full of hate and drugs; on a rampage. I feared, rightfully, for his life.

If I had known more when he was younger....It is likely I would do ANYTHING to prevent what has happened to my son. Yes, I would have put him into a program like this. And I don't think I would be sorry -- knowing what has occured without any outside restraints.

You may not like reading this reality. But, I've LIVED the results. I'd like an alternative. Of course, it's speculation, but, it's possible Trevor, and my entire family, would have had a chance at a drug free life.

Shalom!
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