Gratitude training appears to be yet another LGAT (large group awareness training).
Anyone considering an LGAT should investigate the deeply troubled history of such groups as EST, the Forum, Landmark Education, Lifespring, NXIVM, Mankind Project, Sterling Institute of Reltionship and others.
There have bee personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits, ongoing complaints and bad press for such groups over the years.
LGATs typically have the same problems as what is also called "mass marathon training."
13 liabilities of encounter groups, some of which are similar to characteristics of most current mass marathon psychotherapy training sessions:
They lack adequate participant-selection criteria.
They lack reliable norms, supervision, and adequate training for leaders.
They lack clearly defined responsibility.
They sometimes foster pseudoauthenticity and pseudoreality.
They sometimes foster inappropriate patterns of relationships.
They sometimes ignore the necessity and utility of ego defenses.
They sometimes teach the covert value of total exposure instead of valuing personal differences.
They sometimes foster impulsive personality styles and behavioral strategies.
They sometimes devalue critical thinking in favor of "experiencing" without self-analysis or reflection.
They sometimes ignore stated goals, misrepresent their actual techniques, and obfuscate their real agenda.
They sometimes focus too much on structural self-awareness techniques and misplace the goal of democratic education; as a result participants may learn more about themselves and less about group process.
They pay inadequate attention to decisions regarding time limitations. This may lead to increased pressure on some participants to unconsciously "fabricate" a cure.
They fail to adequately consider the "psychonoxious" or deleterious effects of group participation (or] adverse countertransference reactions.
The groups were determined to be dangerous when:
Leaders had rigid, unbending beliefs about what participants should experience and believe, how they should behave in the group. and when they should change.
Leaders had no sense of differential diagnosis and assessment skills, valued cathartic emotional breakthroughs as the ultimate therapeutic experience, and sadistically pressed to create or force a breakthrough in every participant.
Leaders had an evangelical system of belief that was the one single pathway to salvation.
Leaders were true believers and sealed their doctrine off from discomforting data or disquieting results and tended to discount a poor result by, "blaming the victim."
Many LGATs use coercive persuasion to gain undue influence over participants.
Given the troubled history of LGATs I would not recommend an LGAT to anyone for anything under any circumstances. There are far safer and more mainstream alternatives such as continuing education, counseling from a licensed professional, community sponsored support groups and simply talking out issues with old friends, family or a trusted mentor.
There is no objective scientifically measured evidence that LGATs accomplish anything other than influence the way people subjectively feel. No LGAT has published a peer reviewed scientific study in respected credible journal that demonstrates objective results such as higher income, lower divorce rate, decreased need for medication or counseling or higher grades for students amongst its graduates.
Instead LGATs rely upon polling the subjective feelings of past participants about the training rather than measuring objective results. No doubt LGATs can influence the way people feel. And the emotional testimonials of graduates demonstrate this.
What an LGAT does is download the philosophy of its creator as a remedy for whatever problems people may have. LGATs call this "taining" or an educational seminar, but it is more like a crusade for converts.