Okay, I will add a little something here, (it's been bugging me).
Most of this is over my head. I have no degree in psychology. Neither do the people running these LGATs.
From the article:
"Gottschalk and Pattison isolated 13 liabilities of encounter groups, some of which are similar to characteristics of most current mass marathon psychotherapy
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 fail to adequately consider the "psychonoxious" or deleterious effects of group participation.... (1969, p. 13)..."
I have no doubt that everything in this article is true, and i have witnessed much of it firsthand. It sounds here as if LGATs are being evaluated as a form of "group therapy."
The problem is, they're not!!
If you read the waiver form that everyone signed, (Landmark's), you will find these two items, (and they also inform participants verbally that they are not mental health professionals).
From the waiver: [forum.culteducation.com
Here's their description of what the program allegedly IS:
"2. ... Through a series of philosophically rigorous
and open discussions, voluntary sharing of your experience and short exercises, the Program provides an opportunity to explore basic questions that have been of interest to human beings throughout time and to examine many aspects of your own life."
And here is some information about what it supposedly IS NOT:
"7. ... It is not therapeutic in design, intent or methodology and is not to be used as a substitute for medical treatment, psychotherapy or health program of any nature,
regardless of what you may believe or have heard from anyone. We advise you that the Program Leaders, staff and people who assist at the Program are not mental health professionals and there will not be any mental health professionals in attendance."
This is what participants read before signing. They have signed a form that explicitly states that the program is in no way therapeutic,
and is not run by licensed therapists. Yet, they have been cited as using elements of CBT, and other therapeutic modalities.
This article is all about the therapeutic effects and ill effects, and evaluates HOW they're doing at it. These are all great things for professionals to sort out. There seems to be a consensus that the LGATs are doing it badly. I understand WHY professionals would have the discussion.
But there is one point I would like to add, if i may, and that is, done well or badly, that LGATs shouldn't be doing it AT ALL
From the standpoint of a participant: It's like signing a form stating that the consultant you are going to see is not a doctor, but then, once you get into the room, he starts handing you pills, or drugs disguised as herb tea, all the while insisting that it's not medicine!! From my perspective, taking a step back and looking at a bigger picture, some of my primary concerns are that:
1) They ARE "treating" people as patients or therapeutic clients, without any license
or proper qualifications. And, without informing the clients.
2) No doctor/patient or therapist/client relationship has ever been established,
(again, look at their waiver form, citing their own words as to the program not being therapeutic), AND SO
3) There is no possibility of informed consent!!
At least a therapy group, run by professionals, would meet those three basic criteria. Landmark, and other LGATs do not.