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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: Blurb ()
Date: December 02, 2015 03:01AM

rrmoderator, I'm not sure whether your reply was directed at me or not. It seems that you post long copy/pasted critiques immediately after someone speaks about positive experiences of Gratitude training, with months of silence in between -- so it's not clear if you're responding, or simply bumping positive messages off the top of the line.

Again -- this thread is about Gratitude, not Landmark. They may share principles in their training, but there is no organizational connection between the two.

In terms of scientifically measurable results, you're essentially asking for a university or otherwise neutral source to publish a full study on Gratitude training in a peer-reviewed journal. While that would be very interesting if it were to be published, it's not something that an organization like Gratitude can create at a whim -- someone else, outside the organization, actually has to fund and perform that work. If Gratitude funded it on their own, it wouldn't be regarded as credible anyway, would it?

In the absence of someone willing to perform such a study, Gratitude relies on word-of-mouth and recommendations for evidence of its success. The truth is, people who go through the training tend to be very satisfied with their experiences. Some don't, it's true -- as I said upthread, it's not for everyone. You don't KNOW walking in the door that you're going to have an objectively "better" life in five years. But if you take the process seriously, you are pretty well assured of having a powerful experience and gaining insight into your own life. Actually going out and applying that insight consistently in your outside life requires a different level of skill and commitment -- and yes, that's something you can do in the third part of the training if you wish.

> There are far safer
> alternatives such as counseling with a licensed
> professional, continuing education, specific
> community support groups regarding a certain issue
> or need and/or simply talking to and sharing your
> problems with family, old trusted friends and past
> mentors.

It's true that there are other ways to improve your life. Nobody I encountered in Gratitude ever held an "our way or the highway" attitude -- quite the opposite, actually. The trainers and many of the staff tend to come from a background of involvement in life coaching, meditation practices, etc. And they will all tell you that Gratitude is simply the MOST EFFECTIVE approach that they've personally encountered among a wide range of options. Certainly they would agree that other options include hiring a life coach, reading books on self improvement, joining a support group, etc. The purpose of Gratitude training is simply to accelerate that process, helping you blast through breakthroughs in a matter of days rather than years.

Also, while family and trusted friends are very important in many ways, one thing they cannot do very well is guide us through a personal breakthrough or transformation. If you're not satisfied with your life, and you're looking to break out of old habits that cause you to fall short of your dreams, then it kind of misses the point to seek that breakthrough from people who only know you as your "old" self and will basically just re-entrench you in who you already are. The entire concept of breakthrough training is to GET OVER what your family and others have told you about what your life is supposed to look like.

> Remember that such programs can be risky

This is a point where I agree. These programs can be risky. You are giving up a certain amount of money, time, and emotion in order to participate. And it's possible, as in anything else in life, that you will not feel like you got your money/time/emotion's worth at the end. Personally I felt that it was worthwhile, and virtually everyone else in my classes did as well, but there were certainly a few who just weren't "into it". And that's fine, because not everyone is going to get 100% from every experience. So it's important to do your homework, consider whether the risks are worth it, and make your decision from an informed standpoint.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2015 03:48AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: December 02, 2015 03:43AM


Excuse me. There is a company called Gratitude Cafe that supports Landmark Education programs for its employees. There should be no confusion between the LGAT "Gratitude" and the Gratitude Cafe that supports Landmark.

You say, "Gratitude is simply the MOST EFFECTIVE approach that they've personally encountered among a wide range of options."

How do you prove that? You offer no substance only claims.

This is conjecture on your part and subjective opinion.You seem to be here to sell Gratitude, which appears to be little more than a Landmark Education clone.

You offer no meaningful fact based study to demonstrate any objective results for Gratitude training. Just repeated claims about "breakthroughs" based upon your subjective experience and feelings.

Please don't post here like a sales person for Gratitude repeating the same sing-song over and over again. This message board is not here to promote some seminar selling company.

I realize you have been converted and now apparently see the light, but most people want facts not fiction based upon faith when paying for training.

Again, it's foolish to sign a waiver.

Never relinquish legal recourse or restrict legal recourse.

Any seminar selling company that requires such a waiver deserves special scrutiny. The risks are not worth it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2015 03:55AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: jill w ()
Date: December 05, 2015 09:28PM

Hi Blurb,

It's hard to argue with your experience.

Are you a trainer in this program or are you paying for each seminar?

The one thing you said that raised the red flat for me was,

"The trainers and many of the staff tend to come from a background of involvement in life coaching, meditation practices, etc"

For many of us family members that have seen our loved ones go through these seminars, we observe that it did damage.

If they were able to exit with no more involvement including a "life coach", they were the lucky ones.

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Examples of waivers used in other LGATs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 06, 2015 09:43AM

rrmoderator wrote"


it's foolish to sign a waiver.

Never relinquish legal recourse or restrict legal recourse.

Examples of waivers used in other LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings)


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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: Blurb ()
Date: December 09, 2015 03:31AM

> Are you a trainer in this program or are you
> paying for each seminar?

Gratitude training's hierarchy looks like this:
Trainer (one per class)
Paid staff (maybe 2 per location?)
Volunteer leaders (around a dozen per class)

I've only participated as a paying participant, never as any sort of volunteer or staff.

> The one thing you said that raised the red flat
> for me was,
> "The trainers and many of the staff tend to
> come from a background of involvement in life
> coaching, meditation practices, etc"

This was only from my observation, btw. The trainers have bios on the website so it's easy enough to find their backgrounds. I know the volunteers in my group included a professional life coach, a retreat owner, several small business owners, a lawyer, and people who are involved in teaching various wellness/spiritual activities like yoga. But I guess it's kind of a grab bag as far as what you get in a particular class... it depends on who signs up to volunteer.

> For many of us family members that have seen our
> loved ones go through these seminars, we observe
> that it did damage.

I don't doubt that at all. I witnessed a couple of people who probably came out of the experience worse than they went in. One of the real sticking points is that the training makes NO allowance for your personal circumstances. Since the point is to transform your life, whatever circumstances you bring to the table are going to be treated as ultimately insubstantial in the face of your own designs for your future. Most attendees worked through that after some difficult soul-searching (eg, for me personally, I really had to get past my hangups on how badly I felt I had been treated in my marriage, and that meant re-framing the issues as being under my own control... which means I had nobody to blame but myself... and that was a hard pill to swallow, even if it gave me a sense of control over the outcomes). But there were times when I felt that the approach was ham-handed, particularly when the trainer or a volunteer would push someone toward a breakthrough without fully understanding their situation. Sort of a square-peg, round-hole scenario. So you'd have a person being led into into breakDOWN without a breakTHROUGH at the other end of the tunnel. That was kind of unsettling.

The other thing, as noted upthread, is that some people mentioned that they alienated their family or friends soon after the seminar ended. That's probably the more common kind of damage that you're referring to. I guess it comes down to the specific people involved so it's hard to address that problem in a general manner -- some people stood up and ended toxic relationships, others kind of freaked out their families with how much they had changed in a short time. From what I heard, and there is some confirmation bias involved, *most* of the outcomes were positive but it certainly wasn't 100% and in some cases their families had serious issues with how they came out of the training. I'd guess it's a spectrum of different experiences in every group, so there is some risk involved in the possibility that you end up with undesired outcomes.

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: jill w ()
Date: December 14, 2015 12:55AM

Someone said,

“The grand lesson of the whole marathon group encounter movement is that the effects are very short-lived. . . . It is very difficult to change another human being.”
The only reason people think their lives are different is because “they confuse emotional intensity with significance. What are they doing now that they weren’t doing before? Were they unemployed people who now have jobs? . . . Are they best friends with someone they couldn’t forgive? The evidence of real change is usually trivial.”

You are lucky if things worked for you but it still seems like the winners in all of this are the companies that promote this nonsense.

What about just getting some nice friends?

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: JohnHammond999 ()
Date: December 25, 2015 10:35AM

The research and anecdotal evidence seem to indicate that LGATs are very successful at producing positive opinions about the trainings—an outcome that the financial officers of every service business would value.
—Michael D. Langone, PhD, editor of Cultic Studies Journal

It's clever because the first program (the Basic) starts out slowly, and accommodates people's natural skepticism, all the while trying to ingrain in people to 'trust the process. Don't ask why we do things a certain way. We do it this way because it works. Trust the process.' "

This company is expanding at whatever pace they can. They go to cities that have centers that have been in trouble and woo the graduates away with easy entry schemes (pay nothing for the Basic and then see).

Their website shows flash mobs and gay weddings and people having fun. A flashy and superficial way to draw in people, particularly young people in.

Some participants have complained/

"My life was destroyed by a cult in the Charlotte, North Carolina by the name of Gratitude Trainings"

"When I finally dropped out, it was a very long recovery process (and it's still not over for me). Sleep deprivation, and my voice was completely gone by the end of the week from so much screaming... I relived every traumatic experience of my life in front of a group of total strangers...."

"I was in love with someone who enrolled in Gratitude. My life and my relationship became a total hell because of them and their 'clarity.' They broke up with me"

"I came out of the Gratitude Training in Charlotte feeling violated, duped, and manipulated."

" I have 'flashbacks' and I feel sick to my stomach. I used to be an optimist, and I really thought love could change the world. Now I'm like a dog that's been kicked too many times, and I 'bite' anyone who tries to show me love."
All of this may have to do with a conspicuous omission from Gratitude’s account of its origins -the now-defunct Lifespring. This is important. Their primary trainers were all Lifespring trainers. Ray Blanchard, Bettie Spruill, and Kathy Benson.
The woman in charge of trying to become a New Lifespring, is Jo Englesson. Her desire is to make much money and take over as many organizations as possible. Her superficial fun way of being cover her screwed tactics.
Jo Englesson has a clever business model where people can enroll without any money down and then up sell to people.
She has taken over places in Florida - Florida gratitude, Charlotte gratitude, and expanding to Michigan.

Second, by many accounts, Gratitude’s methodologies owe much to its philosophical forebear. Formed in 1974 by the aforementioned Hanley—who five years earlier had been convicted of mail fraud. Lifespring ranked right beside est as one of the earliest major consciousness-raising programs and a cultural bellwether. (A cynic might say that fraud is in the DNA of all such programs; both Lifespring and est owe a debt to the Leadership Dynamics Institute, a sales-training-inflected regimen widely regarded as the seminal LGAT. Leadership Dynamics was itself the brainchild of a man, William Penn Patrick, once busted for running a multilevel-marketing enterprise that, according to regulators, reduced to a pyramid scheme.) Lifespring claimed to have trained 300,0000 people, and had begun making inroads into the lucrative realm of corporate training, by the time it met its Waterloo in the late 1980s; that's when the company was basically sued into oblivion.

A sampling of that litigation, for flavor:

In 1982, David Priddle's heirs accepted an undisclosed sum from Lifespring after Priddle committed suicide by jumping naked off a four-story parking garage the morning after completing the course.**

The family of Artie Barnett, a non-swimmer with a crippling fear of water established when he nearly drowned at age 8, reached an out-of-court settlement with Lifespring after Barnett did indeed drown during his Lifespring training: His group leader had suggested to Barnett that he could conquer his fears by jumping into the Williamette River.

Gail Renick's father, Bill Nugent, received $450,000 from Lifespring after Renick died from an asthma attack on the final day of her Lifespring course in 1980. Nugent argued that Lifespring facilitators induced his daughter to forgo her medication because, they said, her asthma was psychosomatic.

Lifespring also settled with Gabriella Martinez, who claimed that she heard her trainer's voice in her head the night she swallowed a bottle of pills, and in 1984 Deborah Bingham was awarded $800,000 after her breakdown on the heels of a Lifespring course. In all, more than 30 lawsuits were filed against the company for charges ranging from involuntary servitude to wrongful death.

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware Charlotte, NC
Posted by: JohnHammond999 ()
Date: December 25, 2015 10:53AM

I have a cousin who just went through Gratitude trainings in Charlotte North Carolina with its “peace and love” guru Jo Englesson. I don’t know how far into it she is but she wants to meet with my wife and I to discuss something very important. I just know she is going to try to get us involved. I have also done some research and do not like what I’m finding out about Gratitude Trainings. If you have access to Facebook, do a search for gratitude trainngs. You will find a group of people that have gone through this and you can see what kind of people they are. They look like happy and too “happy” are “lost” souls who are given some sort of “love” direction from Gratitude Trainings. They are told to go out and recruit others. I don’t think that the “love” part is a bad thing but they seem to lose all sense of reality and unless they remain deeply involved with these people (or cult) they are in for a huge downward spiral. They use buzzwords that have a special meaning to them and lose how to speak English. Keep a close eye on your daughter. Watch out for Gratitude Trainings, the happy business model seems more like a way to make a ton of money in Florida and Charlotte, NC.

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Re: Gratitude Training - Beware
Posted by: jill w ()
Date: December 26, 2015 11:32PM

Wow! No wonder they have you sign your rights away. Lawsuits!

The connection with all of the other LGAT's is obvious but I didn't realize how closely connected it was to the old "Lifespring".

Even if these groups are sued and close down they somehow reopen with new names.

It's clearly a money maker.

Warn your family members!

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Sowing confusion - a tactic
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 06, 2016 07:48AM


Some years ago, The Anticult, a participant in this CEI message board, wrote:


When it comes to analyzing LGAT culty groups...who's analysis can you trust?

That is a very important question.

As these days, there is an entire industry of Cult Apologists. []

There are also LGAT apologists.

I make the argument there are a growing number of LGAT-cult Ambiguity-ologists! They take the approach of appearing mildly critical, and a bit ambiguous and confused about the LGAT.

If I ran a big LGAT, I would get a few followers to go out there covertly pretending to be a 3rd party, and criticize the LGAT and create some Confusion about it. Then in that confusion implant suggestions how POWERFUL the material is, so its NOT for everyone, just "special" people who can handle it.

(In hypnosis and sales that is called Encouraging Resistance and Disarming Objections).

They encourage the Resistance up front, like a type of Judo. I would get some folks out there to set themselves up with blogs and websites that were Anti-Guru's and Against Guru BS, etc.

Then get them to soft-sell the LGAT through the backdoor. (of course, most of them Believe in their group anyway).

So my view is there are a lot of these covert "middle-ground" people out there now, and its growing fast. They hammer hard on their enemies cults, and hammer a bit on their own too, but only to Disarm Objections.

They are not Cult Apologists overtly.

They are Covert.

That way, their overt sales approach works, and they also have a back-door and side-door for referrals as well. The big cults ALL use Front-Groups. They ALL use fake Front-People, that has been going on for decades.

But I think the middle-approach is growing, as its so effective.

Landmark uses that all the time. Approach a seasoned Landmark promoter, and tell him you think Landmark is a dangerous cult. He most likely will...
"agree that its dangerous...yes...very dangerous...not for everyone, I agree. Only a few can handle that kind of power...not everyone should be given advanced Landmark..."(etc...that was a BS salespitch, which starts from ambiguous criticism).

Once you find more than a few LIES LIES LIES in these groups, then they are FINISHED.

You can't pussy-foot around or be mealy-mouthed. Sometimes you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, as the bathwater is toxic, and the baby is the Damien child of the devil.

Byron Katie appears to be using many many of these people on the internet. Some are just Followers, but there are others who are far more sophisticated. They start with a mild, mildly negative, or ambiguous Pre-Frame.

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