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The ISA Experience
Posted by: Ole Larsen Hunt ()
Date: January 20, 2004 07:44AM

The ISA Experience is run by Ole Larsen and another individual called Luis Cordoba. Cordoba is an easy guy to follow around and the authorities will be taking a closer look at him soon. Ole Larsen is the clever one and heads the ISA sect.
Can anybody here claim to have met the Ole Larsen? If so, when and where?
Thanks.

Here is the link to ISA - steer well clear. Period.
[www.isaexperience.com]

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The ISA Experience
Posted by: Templar ()
Date: January 20, 2004 10:46AM

WoW. Its like a carbon copy of NXIVM!!

[www.nxivm.com]

They cloned sheep and now they are cloning LGAT's....

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The ISA Experience
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 20, 2004 01:11PM


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Re: The ISA Experience
Posted by: Missen ()
Date: March 10, 2009 04:20AM

Hi

I´m doing reasearch about ISA and I wonder if you have
anything that can interrest me about the organization.

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Re: The ISA Experience
Posted by: eugeneos ()
Date: July 16, 2009 09:00PM

I attended an ISA seminar and in my opinion it is certainly a cult, aside from the more than questionable methods of recruitment and retention, the people involved with the organisation for several years seemed to me to be emotionally and mentally unstable and rarely particularly successful. I would be especially concerned for any children involved in this organisation, at the seminar I attended there were young people (early teens) who partook in the to the group confessional process (everyone in the room has to get up infront of a group of over 100 people and tell their deepest secrets) as an adult, I found even witnessing this often very upsetting and I certainly didn't feel that the ISA speakers where in anyway qualified to deal with the serious issues raised.
A great deal of humiliation and bullying tactics were administered by Louis Cordoba at this "seminar" and the content of the "ISA philosophy", though often difficult to dispute, was flimsy and half-baked at best. Though I can understand how people get sucked in to this for if you have never heard these kinds of theories before they would probably seem like a revelation. However, rather than a comprehensive and practical approach to acheiving "self actualization" the ISA doctrine is really just a patchwork of eastern philosophy, self-help wisdom and popular pyschology. Inspite of being aware of what was going on at this seminar from an early stage I found that the enviromental controls the organisers put in place did have a neggative effect on my state of mind, sleep pattern and emotional state for several days after. I would recommend that people avoid this group and others like it (Landmark Forum, Scientology etc.) at all costs; this is a money-making scam of the worst kind which may prove to have a lasting (neggative) effect on your both your state of mind and your bank balance.

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Re: The ISA Experience
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 16, 2009 11:00PM

They may have had a very long thread about ISA over on the FACT Net site, about 4 or more years back. See if its still there. It ran to a very great length and got pretty fraught.

If its still readable, be prepared to camp a long time at your computer terminal--it will take a long time to read through, but you may find stuff.

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Re: The ISA Experience
Date: July 19, 2010 11:11AM

Hi I attended the ISA experience in Sydney last month and although I found much of the the content to be in-line with what I teach and study as a business coach, I was concerned about the teaching methods and process they use. I did see a lot of group control and bullying being used to polarize the group.

After my partner and I pulled out of the course (my partner after 4 hours and me about half way through) we were told we could not have a refund unless we completed the course. We have been invited to go back and finish the course and then we can ask for a refund if we still aren't happy.

I can see how after four days of being exposed to "group hypnosis" for want of a better term can impact on a persons mental and emotional state. For this reason I don't intent to go back even for a refund.

I have two questions;

1) Has anyone with a knowledge of group hypnosis or mind control techniques ever attended an ISA experience to assess their teaching methods and if so what were the findings?

2) Can anyone recommend how myself and my partner can go about getting a refund even if its pro-rata the time I spent there?

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A view on the isa experience from a long-term assistant
Posted by: Andy123 ()
Date: September 05, 2011 02:53AM

I first did the isa experience when I was a teenager and I've done the experience repeatedly, did the GIT (Graduate Intensive Training, the ‘advanced’ course and assisted on both the isa experience and the GIT several times.

When I first did the experience, it was a roller-coaster of emotions and after it I felt ecstatic for 2 weeks. I then believed in it with great passion for several years, before slowly realising it was a cult.

As a teenager, all the information was new to me. I am grateful that it opened a door to my self-development, which in the long run, has led me to become a better person and discover a lot about myself and others, however I feel that there are more doors to this ‘world of discovery and development’ and that a different door would have served me far better.

WHY ISA IS A CULT AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO ‘ASSIST’ ON ISA

There are several reasons why I know isa is a cult in terms of how it differs from other personal development courses I’ve since attended, business training, school, etc. etc. Assisting on the isa experience is particularly cult-like. For the assistants there is:

• A strong, repeated message that isa is the only way. If you don’t do it the isa way, then you’re not ‘working on yourself’. For example, one of the former facilitators (Ernie W) stopped facilitating (I don’t know why) and there was a lot of grumbling that he’d “stopped working on himself” despite the fact that his career flourished and I’m sure he remained a very decent human being.
• Assistants agree to make 10 contacts a week (at least one a day) to ask that someone does the experience. This is one reason that they tend to put so much pressure on their friends and family, it’s part of their agreement to do so.
• The work is completed for free. Assistants are unpaid, have to cover all their own expenses and indeed sometimes ‘pay and assist’ if they don’t meet all their agreements (this includes getting at least 2 other people along to every experience).
• There is a lot of pressure to recruit more people to the experience.
• There is a massive amount of attention on minutia. Chairs have to be aligned at the start of each session to within a cm, calls are timed to within a second. I firmly believe that this focus on minutia doesn’t have any true benefit, but reinforces the brain washing to follow instructions without questioning them.
• Assistants often visit Ole Larsen on ‘holiday’ and end-up working for free for a week or more (decorating his house, doing the gardening, building, etc.) This must undermine their self-esteem and only benefit Ole, yet it is done in the name of ‘working on yourself’. This is also very different to charities as only one person (the cult leader) benefits, not a larger group.
• Ole Larsen has no integrity, he has lived with a series of young women, has had affairs, drinks too much, doesn’t make agreements or keep them and doesn’t appear to do anything for anyone. In short, he is the stereotypical cult leader. I’ve not spent enough time with Luis Cordoba outside of isa experiences to be able to tell one way or another. Despite this, Ole must make an absolute fortune from isa.
• Isa is very good at telling you what to do to change, but has not changed at all in decades. Even the lame jokes they tell at the experience are identical every single course.
• They change words to mean something else. For example, in the experience ‘responsibility’ is defined as the ‘ability to respond’. Unconsciously we associate the word more with dictionary definitions, e.g. ‘deserving to be blamed for something that has happened’ or ‘being the primary cause of an event’. Twisting language in this fashion makes us ‘responsible’ for everything, which is basically a major guilt trip.
• In the experience, participants ‘voluntarily’ let go of a lot of their own power, their choice as to take a break to go to the toilet, take non-prescription medication, what time to get up, whether to share certain secrets, etc. These aren’t physically forced (no-one’s actually physically restrained from leaving), however the pressure and conditioning is intense. The experience therefore creates a loss of the sense of self.
• Certain processes include humiliation (disguised as ‘feedback’), followed by love bombing, sensory deprivation, etc. These are standard cult practices.

‘Cults in our Midst’ by Margaret Singer defines people like assistants as ‘manipulated manipulators’ basically assistants believe (and I know I used to) that they are benefitting others, doing good for the world, developing themselves, etc. It’s worth remembering this!

QUESTIONS ISA ASSISTANTS SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES

If you are an isa assistant and are reading this, I would encourage you to ask yourself some questions:
• Looking at your relationships with friends and family who have NOT done the isa experience. Have these relationships improved or got worse? Do your friends or family resent the pressure you put on them to do the experience? Do you feel superior to them and judge them for not ‘working on themselves’?
• One of the phrases used in isa is ‘YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU CARRY ON DOING WHAT YOU DO KNOW’. If you’ve assisted on isa more than 2 or 3 times, it becomes easy, sure there’s still a rush of emotion, but it’s not in any way actually challenging or doing anything new. The isa experience and the GIT haven’t changed in decades. You’re doing the same thing you’ve done for years. You are therefore not actually doing anything different, ‘working on yourself’ or growing, but merely repeatedly doing things which very quickly fall in your ‘comfort zone’.
• Look at your time and your finances. Are they handled? Are you learning the skills you need to run a business, or grow rich by doing isa? Could you spend your time differently to instead create a better lifestyle for yourself, or help the world in some other way? Could you make more difference by contributing your time to a charity or by helping friends?
• Is it serving you to get so little sleep? Do early morning calls with your buddy and team leader, homework that takes an hour or so a day and all your other commitments really serve you?
• You may be learning discipline, but if you’re applying it on meaningless tasks, does this serve any purpose? You may consider isa a training ground, but when will you leave the training ground and start living your real life?
• Will your life be better if you stop doing isa?

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Re: The ISA Experience
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 05, 2011 07:01AM

About six plus years ago, there was a very long thread discussion about ISA Experience on the Factnet.org message board.

"A Chief Feature" of LGATs is

Donation of labor that goes in to support the teacher and group and the needs of the teacher and group are a bottomless pit.

One must give and give and give. These teachers of exalted wisdom are childishly needy bunch. They never stop needing. Restless themselves, they can give thrills. But they cannot give enduring wisdom.

Gurdjieff was a greedy child in an adult body who knew how to keep people hopping like fleas.

Unpaid labor is known in the legal world as 'sweat equity'. Donated labor to improve the decor or add upgrades to the teacher's property would, in real estate terms be 'capital improvement' which would add to the value of the property.

If paid by donated labor, its a great way for the teacher to have the value of his or her property increased, but without any mention of it to tax authorities or to local agencies that issue zoning and construction permits.

Donated labor is a great way for a 'teacher' or group to amass wealth at a faster rate than businesses which do pay employees and are also as businesses answerable to laws governing workplace safety and fair pay for a fair days work.

This is a cached portion of it. The thread began in 2004.

[webcache.googleusercontent.com]

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Re: A view on the isa experience from a long-term assistant
Posted by: BibiG ()
Date: February 02, 2012 10:52PM

Andy123, I appreciate your detailed and interesting post and would like to comment on my experience recently of the ISA weekend.

I didn't know what to expect and it was certainly an experience. I found all of the participants to be interesting, open and engaged and the tutor, Dave Clarkson, to be humorous, wise and old-fashioned in his social beliefs.

ISA is certainly a cult in that there is no 'discussion' about its values, which are presented as 'the truth.'
Attempts to leave the room, leave the ISA Experience, go to the toilet, make a phone call, use the internet, or contact the outside world, are met with a smiling 'minder' appearing at your elbow, asking if you're OK.
The central message is "Even if your family died in a flaming fireball, move on and lighten up."
Everything is a bit OCD, measured, 'scientific,' neatnik, gender-neutral in the sense of not promoting 'women's' preferred language of feelings. In a witty moment, I described the suits and dresses of the assisters as looking like "Mormons who've been to M&S."

As a counsellor and counselling supervisor of nearly 20 years, I would say the ISA message boils down to the Happiness Movement's dictat to avoid negative people, lighten up, stop being a victim, build support around you and go for your goals. There is a cathartic experience of spilling your most private fears and anxieties in front of the whole room.

The specific questions I have would be similar to Andy's. Just to take the most important:

1. Several participants contacted me after the event saying they felt anxious, depressed and very alone after the end of the experience. The buddy system is not up to helping with this, though it may provide very good basic support. People with serious and multiple issues such as past sexual abuse, serious domestic violence, or ongoing mental health problems may be re-traumatised by this experience.

2. The message is about 'getting over' your fears, pain, anxiety, not 'how to process or deal with them.' I don't think I learned anything about the latter.

3. The psychology is very, very simple and ISA provides as one size fits all solution (ie, get over yourself!)

4. The message is almost laughably old-fashioned in respect of gender - men are hunters and women are shoppers.. blah blah

5. When it comes to gay experiences, forget it. Gays were generally mentioned in a negative light by the assistants.

I will come back to this subject later.
cheers
Barbara Bloomfield Glatt

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