I have warned once about a flame war here.
Flames are against the rules and if you flame you will be banned.
Note: There have been both pro and con statements made about the Yahoo group.
There is no need to go and on about the other discussion group.
What is important to note is that the instructions regarding how leaders are to run MKP retreats has been excerpted and reviewed here on this thread.
These instructions reflect a very manipulative process managed from above to control people and get the desired "experience."
If what "concerned dad" says is true about the historical roots of MKP, that its founder once was in EST and Sterling, this is indeed noteworthy.
Both EST and Sterling have had very serious problems.
See the following archives:
Both groups have generated a flow of complaints and Landmark Education, the current incarnation of EST is the one group with the most complaints of any single group mentioned at the Ross Institute database.
Interestingly, Justin Sterling the creator of Sterling was once reportedly involved in EST. His weekend seems to be derived from EST and Sterling even changed his name just like the founder of EST "Werner Erhard," who was once known as Jack Rosenberg. Sterling's given name was Arthur "Artie" Kasarjian.
All these groups are LGATs (large group awareness training) and are essentially group therapy without a license.
Each group attempts to download its founder's philosophy within a controlled environment and they use what can be seen as coercive persuasion methods to manipulate participants to "experience" or become aware of what they want.
People have had nervious breakdowns and even psychotic breaks at such LGAT retreats and seminars, some have even required care at hospitals.
One LGAT NXIVM, probably based upon EST/Landmark, reportedly pushed a woman to suicide.
Landmark Education has been linked to three murders committed by participants that apparently went on a rampage.
Note that within the above report psychiatrists cited that there had been psychiatric disturbances linked to EST historically.
The inherent problem with LGATs like MKP is that they are run by people that are not properly trained as mental health professionals and therefore are not qualified to work with people in a group therapy setting.
Plainly put, they don't know how to measure or understand what is going on from a psychiatric/psychological perspective and they subsequently don't know how to deal with people unraveling due to their programs.
Most LGATs will typically blame the victim rather than look at the structure and dynamics of their programs and why they cause casualties.
Many LGATs prefer and expect participants to sign waivers so they have limited liability and they also keep what goes on within their programs secret by not detailing them in advance to potential participants. This essentially means they don't really allow people to make fully informed decisions about what they are being asked to attend.
My advice is to stay away from LGATs due to their troubled history and potential risk. This is based upon my almost 25 years of direct experience dealing with the problems they pose. My work began in 1982 and almost immediately during the early 1980s I became aware of they damage done by LGATs.
There are many much safer options for self-improvement through accredited colleges and learning insitutions, professionally led group therapy through hospitals and counseling centers, and therapy with a qualified mental health professional.
There are also marriage and family seminars and workshops run by licensed marriage and family therapists as well as one-on-one counseling offered in virtually every community with licensed counselors.
Why bother with something potentially unsafe when there are so many viable alternatives?
Moreover, when you instead attend counseling or programs run by credible, trained and licensed professionals they are accountable and you will have recourse, rather than be expected to sign some waiver regarding any future claim concerning an injury.
LGATs often seem to promise something like instant success through some sort of epiphany they supposedly download/produce in one weekend or retreat.
But real growth and change make take time and can mean hard work through therapy and counseling.
LGATs also seems to be saying "one size fits all" through their seminar or programs. However, each person has their own unique personality and set of circumstances that is better addressed by more personalized and focused therapy, counseling and/or education.
As previously detailed on this thread LGATs or "mass marathon training" have had serious problems seemingly inherent in many such programs.
This research paper was written by a clinical psychologist that reportedly attended and studied Lifespring, another popular LGAT.
Lifespring like Landmark Education and its forerunner EST was repeatedly sued for personal injuries linked to its programs.
The psychologist who wrote the paper about "mass marathon training" makes offers the following warnings:
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.
Likewise he points out these telling symptons that an LGAT may be potentially dangerous if...
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."
Also see [www.culteducation.com
This paper written by a Stanford University professor reviews coercive persuasion techniques.
He states the following characterisitics.
The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
The use of an organized peer group
Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified
Sounds like almost any LGAT doesn't it?
Here are eight more critieria to recognize coercive persuasion or "thought reform" within any environment or program.
Control of communication
Emotional and behavioral manipulation
Demands for absolute conformity to behavior prescriptions derived from the ideology
Obsessive demands for confession
Agreement that the ideology is faultless
Manipulation of language in which cliches substitute for analytic thought
Reinterpretation of human experience and emotion in terms of doctrine
Classification of those not sharing the ideology as inferior and not worthy of respect
Again, doesn't this sound like most LGAT environments?
LGAT apologists often attempt to explain this away with a remark like "doesn't everyone uses those techniques" such as the Marines, your neighborhood church or school?
Here are some distinctions made by eminent psychologist Margaret Singer a former professor of psychology at UC Berkely that studied thought reform for decades.
She makes distinctions between education, adverstising, propaganda, indoctrination and thought reform.
LGATs often use what can be seen as thought reform.
Many LGATs will say they are somehow "different" than the ones that have historically caused so many problems and injuries.
But are they?
Anyone approached by a friend, family member, business associate etc. about attending an LGAT like MKP should use the above criteria and information to measure what they are being asked to attend.
Is the group secretive or seemingly evangelical in its approach?
Is its weekend experience something that supposely will make you "aware" of some truth through emotional "breakthroughs" culminating in life changing realizations? Can you only really understand it by "experiencing it"?
This is typical LGAT talk.
"If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it just might be a duck."
Think about it.