Subj: some thoughts - 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-21 16:14:52 EDT
Part 2 of 2
Now, There is a psychotherapy conference happening at the ashram this summer,
the 4th annual conference. It's called Kashmir Shaivism in Professional
Practice. Among the lead speakers are: Sw. Durgananada, the one who lied and
refused to admit that she had acknowledged to the Boston devotees that Baba
did have sex with many young girls. She'll be helping the participants to
use "the witness consciousness, as we discover how to work with and dissolve
deep tendencies with the fire of our own awareness." Perhaps she will also
be teaching how to use witness consciousness to lie about and conceal sexual
abuses in the ashram.
Then there's (name omitted--you can find it in original AOL text), one of the psychologists that breaks his professional code of ethics and violates the confidentiality of his clients by schmoozing with GM (Gurumayi) about them and listening to her make sarcastic comments about them while he joins in the laughter.
Then there's the conference organizer, (name omitted--can be read in original AOL text) , one of those guys who chased GM's brother around Kennedy Airport, threatening him and shouting,"we're going to get you." ( BTW, the other "clones" in the airport incident were (names omitted, can be found in original URL text) .)
One of the most astonishing parts of the conference is a section entitled:
"How Can We Share Siddha Yoga With Clients" led by a panel of syda
There is only one answer which is in accordance with the ethical
codes of the psychotherapy (psychiatry, psychology, social work)
profession(s): that is NOT to share SYDA at all.
Nothing could be more unprofessional and more damaging to a pscychotherapy client than for their therapist to recruit them into a religion.
And yet again and again, SYDA devotees who are therapists bring busloads of their clients to the ashram to meet GM. There are innumerable implications, all of them damaging to the client, to doing something so patently unprofessional as that.
The most obvious is that, say the client is wandering around the internet and gets
pointed to this discussion. They read every word, the open letters, the
essay, the archives.
And then they try to discuss it with their therapist,
if they aren't too frightened of his potential response to broach the
And say this therapist decides to tell the patient that their doubts
are projections, paranoia; maybe the therapist says "trust your own
experience." DOES ANYONE SEE HOW DANGEROUS AND DESTRUCTIVE THIS IS BESIDES ME?
And really, that's just the tip of the iceberg of this issue.
More later -
Subj: Re:some thoughts - 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-21 18:30:56 EDT
From: Howie Sm
Dear AOL readers,
It was just mentioned that a SYDA program offering is titled:
"HOW CAN WE SHARE SIDDHA YOGA WITH CLIENTS"
Do they mean how can professional therapists discuss (share?!) Siddha Yoga
with CLIENTS WHO APPROACH THEM IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY?
For the love of Caesar! Talkin' bout zombie recruitment strategies! This
is lower than a fishbelly in the Mariana trench!
If this is true, these mere eight words--IN THEMSELVES--are unethical, and an
--It is prima facie evidence of SYDA's lack of regard for any standards (such
as PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS) except their own.
--It is prima facie evidence of SYDA's automatic assumption that it can
violate anyone's boundaries, that it can use the emotional vulnerabilites of
those seeking help as an entree for self-serving spiritual-vampire
adventures. Not to mention as an entree to pocketbooks and strong backs.
--It is STRONG EVIDENCE that SYDA therapists are already accustomed to using
their profession for zombie recruitment.
The relish and magnitude with which
the idea has been embraced indicates the momentum that is behind it, within
the ranks of the SYDA therapist population.
--The fact that those participating probably SINCERELY THINK THAT SIDDHA YOGA
IS THE "WAY," and that they let this belief affect their professional conduct
indicates that these therapists are MENTALLY DISTURBED as a result of their
protracted brainwashing--it indicates yet again that: SIDDHA YOGA IS A
Can one imagine a Jewish, Catholic, or Islamic therapist with this kind of
Dissent222, am I misinterpreting what you wrote? This course sounds so
unethical and crazy that I can't believe even wacko SYDA would go public with
a title like "HOW CAN WE SHARE SIDDHA YOGA WITH CLIENTS."
The final kicker is: I bet the discipleship is so brainwashed that they
won't even notice how grossly problematic this cockamamy concept is.
Subj: SYDA Therapist Disorder
Date: 96-05-21 21:23:01 EDT
No, Howie, you haven't misinterpreted anything. The Flyer for this event
lists the following:
Saturday, July 20
9 - 12:30 Morning Prog.w/GM
2-2:15 Welcome, overview and history
2:30 Psychotherapists Panel: "How Can We Share Siddha Yoga with Clients?"
Case histories, discussion, small groups and sharing.
And it goes on and on.
So you see, the recruitment aspect of the program is given billing second
only to Gurumayi.
Pretty stunning, isn't it?
Durgananda called the accusations "laughable" and "ridiculous." Had they been true, she said, Muktananda would not have been able to go on giving shaktipat and the organization would not have continued to be as healthy as it was.
(Liz Harris continues)Recently, however, I spoke with two longtime SYDA meditation teachers with well established academic and professional careers as psychotherapists, who say that Durgananda sounded a different note with them.
'They (the therapists) told me that last winter they had investigated some of the allegations, had sadly concluded that they were true, and, in May of this year, confronted Durgananda and another swami, demanding to know why the truth had been kept from them for so many years. The confrontation occurred away from the ashram, and this time, according to the therapists, Durgananda did not say that the allegations were false. Durgananda told the therapists that she knew a number of the women quite well and was convinced that whatever had happened had been beneficial to them, but that the swamis had never talked about it, because they thought it would be more appropriate to be "discreet."
The therapists have now left SYDA.
When I phoned Durgananda and told her what they had said to me, she said, "My memory is that I did deny it to them," and she added that, whether the allegations were "true or not, it doesn't really change our understanding of Baba."
Continuing Education Module: Therapists are Fiduciaries--They Are Obligated to Protect and to Reduce Risk Exposure for Clients
Social worker and psychoanalyst Dan Shaw served time in
the entourage of a cultic leader. He liberated himself through internalizing the values taught in clinical social work--truthfulness, respect for the inherant dignity of the ordinary human person, and the obligation to do one's utmost as practitioner to safegard and enhance the personal autonomy of one's clients--not to foster their increased dependence.
Mr Shaw tells of how in one dysfunctional spiritual project, devotee therapists actually were encouraged to recruit their clients into the group--read the section of the paper under the heading 'Malignant Narcissistic Authoritarianism"
The hazard for devotees who are also mental health professionals is that their occupation, unlike that of 'guru' or 'life coach' is clearly regulated by law, but 'guru-ing' and 'LGAT-ing' do not currently seem to be regulated by law with the same precision as psychotherapy--or for that matter, accountancy.
Robert S. Epstein in his book Keeping Boundaries:The Nature and Function of Therapeutic Boundaries (1994) writes on page 18:
'The therapist's role is that of a fiduciary (Frank and Frank 1991);(R.I.Simon 1987). The patient's compliance with treatment requires vulnerability and trust. Patients lack the objectivity and the expert knowledge to treat themselves, and must rely on professionals with special training. Peterson(1992) emphasized that some exploitative therapists attempt to disavow this responsiblity by disclaiming any disparity in the treatment relationship. They employ pseudo-egalitarianism to exculpate themselves with the excuse that the patient is a 'consenting adult.'
(eg: These pseudoegalitarians deny the existence of both the power imbalance in which they as poweholders are at advantage, by denying their accountability for responsible use of power they dis-avow that they are accountable to an ethos of care. A classic method of false empowerment is the favorite, 'There are no victims, only volunteers.' In this line of reasoning, there is no conscious way to acknowlege the power imbalance in which the person who claims its nonexistence--continues to stay on top--and shoves all accountability onto the underling the moment something goes wrong C)
In their book, Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, Lielienfeld, Lynn and Lohr provide a chapter on New Age therapies and discuss the fiduciary relationship in greater detail:
'Under the laws of most states, both licensed and unlicensed clinicians who hold themselves out to the general public as performing the functions of a therapist establish a relationship with their clients based on trust, confidence, and confidentiality. (Corboy comments--how is confidentiality maintained in an LGAT setting? Do LGATs sign paperwork promising to hold records, videotapes and recordings confidential? Many gurus collect adoring letters from devotees or demand written grovelling apologies as a price of regaining favor. Do they ever promise to keep such letters confidential or return them to anyone who later chooses to leave?)
Back to Lilienfeld and Lohr: 'In the law, when a relationship exists between individuals, based on trust and confidence, and one individual has greater knowledge, experience, training and skill, than the other, (that is, a power imbalance--C), then that relationship is generally considered in the eyes of the law to be a fiduciary relationship. In many states therapists are considered fiduciaries. Because of their disproportionate knowledge, training, and experience, fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care and responsiblity for 1) the services provided to a client and 2) the appropriateness of the services to aid the client in overcoming problems.
'We propose' state the authors 'that all therapeutic relationships be considered fiduciary relationships and that the standard of care against which a therapist is judged be the standard applied to fiduciaries. That same standard should be applied to the New Age or traditional therapist, regardless of espoused ideology.'
(Lilienfeld Lynn and Lohr: Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, 2003, page 191)
'Clients have the right to know in advance that they are being subjected to experimental approaches. Therapists have the fiduciary obligation of informing clients when such methods are being used. Therapists have the further responsiblity of informing clients that alternative therapeutic approaches are available and that these approaches are based on methods commonly accepted within the professional psychological community....as fiduciaries, therapists must ensure that psychotherapy furthers the aims and purposes of clients (my italics-C), rather than adding to the prestige, self image, or feelings of power and control of the therapist. (Lilienfeld, Lynn and Lohr, 201)
(Or adds Corboy) 'Adding to the prestige, self image, or feelings of power and control of a charismatic guru or LGAT whose internalized image becomes co-mingled with a devotee-therapists' core self.
In this case, a situation described in article entitled 'The Group'
3 therapists who were disciples of a secretive guru and who had recruited their own clients to become disciples of this guru, surrendered their licenses rather than face criminal charges. The erring therapists had also permitted this guru who was not trained in any way as a therapist, to function as their clinical supervisor. When threatened with publicity, the therapists seem to have chosen to surrender their licenses to protect their guru from public scrutiny.
Because he was not a professional or in any occupation regulated by law, the guru escaped legal consequences, while the disciple-therapists took the rap.
Subj: SYDA Therapy
Date: 96-05-24 07:26:24 EDT
Just a note about my ex SYDA therapist.
Oddly, a dreadful illness could be saving people from an abhorrent nightmare. He tells his HIV positive clients "The ashram is not for sick people." He is also the person GM (Gurumayi)sends "New" people to if they ask questions about being gay in the darshan line. I can't imagine that there would be a problem here, could you? Think about someone you view as God sending you away because you are unclean. This is
consistent with the general lunacy, but ethical? OOPS, I mentioned ethics and
UberGuruMayi in the same post. Any ACT UP members lurking out there?
Subj: more therapy 1 of 2
Date: 96-05-24 08:04:39 EDT
Dear CKer -
I'm still mind-blown by your description of the unethical, unprofessional
practices of the NY syda-devotee therapist you described in your 2-part post.
At least he isn't the NY syda-therapist who also invites folks to her
channeling sessions, where her 19th century English lady personality, by some
strange coincidence, speaks in Gurumayi quotations. The fact that this
therapist was a wannabe actress years ago might account for her "Importance
of Being Earnest" stage mannerisms.
You've made so many very important points, I'd like to comment on a few:So the therapist, who is acting as a procurer for his guru, abuses his powerQuote
>" When I later began participating in SY, I received very specific strokes
from him about how open and loving and welcoming I was becoming. (Image: Bliss Bunny
distributing sweetness and light). When he found out I had been attending
satsang, his response was, "Ah, I *knew* something was different!" I felt
the thrill of being recognized by my therapist as someone who was becoming a
healthier, more loving person - and all because of my involvement in SY, his
over his clients by rewarding them for their compliance and accomodation. In
other words, by rewarding their adoption of a false self and encouraging the
sequestering of their true self. In this way, the syda-therapist fulfills
his mission to recruit more devotees and enhances his status as a favored
person in the ashram, who gets strokes from the guru. That is, if the
clients he recruits are attractive middle-class types with some money to
spend, or else the willingness to do plenty of slayva.
WOW. Isn't that precisely why so many seek therapy - because they had no
choice as children but to learn to comply and accomodate, and had to hide
their true self in the process? But in your scenario, as you struggle to
find and express your true self, you run up against a false self therapist
who trains you, once again, to hide the true self and display the false,
accomodating self - as Fibs put it, to meet the therapist's requirements.
What a sad, sad mess.If a therapist encourages clients to think that the issues that arise inQuote
>"In order to win and keep approval, I began to hide things about myself from
my therapist and others in SY that were, to say the least, "inconsistent"
with the teachings, including my doubts about SY. After all, aren't most
issues that arise in therapy mere products of negative thinking or wrong
understanding? Psychological well-being took a back seat to "enlightenment"
as the goal of therapy. "<
therapy are mere products of negative thinking or wrong understanding, he is
not a therapist, he is a moralizer, a teacher, and a person who has not dared
to face himself in a real or full way. He might as well just be saying, "oh
that's hogwash, get over it." Or "don't think about that today - think about
that tomorrow - after you've given more dakshina and done more slayva. After
all, tomorrow is another day."
see part 2
Subj: more therapy 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-24 08:05:29 EDT
Issues that arise in therapy should be carefully explored and elaborated and
permitted to emerge from hiding. The meaning of the issue, what function it
has served, why it has been needed, how it came to be established - this is
what the therapist slowly and empathically helps illuminate. The therapist
should not be speaking from a place of higher power and authority (that is
not what his training confers), not be offering rewards and punishments for
compliance, not making moralistic judgments by dismissing issues with the
slogan "wrong understanding". As obvious as this may be, it's just a sad
fact of life that there are many incompetent therapists who do exactly these
things and make a bundle.
The issue here is relationship: the syda therapist, trained to keep eyes
strained upward at all times, gazing up at the guru, is not looking at his
The client, like all of us who come to therapy, wants to try to
understand and heal and develop the ability to be in fuller, truer
relationship to self and others.
Getting trained to dismiss issues as "wrong
understanding", and to mask the pain of isolation and aloneness by focusing
instead on looking up at the guru, is a tragic, cruel distortion and
manipulation of the therapeutic process.Quote
">My therapist used to be a master at pointing out when and with whom I was
being manipulative, but he was unable to see it within the context of SY. I
dare say there are few more effective disguises that can be assumed by a
client to protect his neuroses than cult-think that the client knows he
shares with the therapist."<
How manipulative this therapist is. Pointing out your manipulativeness while
steadily manipulating you to fulfill his needs, allay his anxiety, give him
what he wants - the feeling that he's a good therapist with the power to win
recruits and influence people. Whatever talent and motive this therapist may
have had has become badly distorted by the syda game.
Forgive me if I'm belaboring all this, but CKer, your posts really struck a
nerve. Being a therapist is hard work, it means inviting, tolerating and
containing intense feeling.
If a therapist becomes frightened and anxious
about his own feelings that are triggered by working with clients, he might
seek a short-cut to numbness - and many therapists drink or do drugs or have
sex with clients as part of their avoidance and control routines. And others
do SYDA with their clients. As syda devotees, a part of us always knew that
by gazing up at the guru, we were denigrating and isolating ourselves - and
were caught in a trap. The "bliss of devotion to the guru" is a mask - worn
by therapists, swamis, darshan panel members, center leaders, ashram managers
- - that is worn to hide one's fear, numbness, emptiness and feeling of being
A therapist wearing the SYDA mask will be the blind leading the