Momentum Education
Posted by: michaeltristan ()
Date: November 07, 2006 02:11AM

Hello to all, I am new to this forum. I was led to this forum by my investigation into a "Human Potential" seminar that my girlfriend took hosted by 'Momentum Education' based out of NYC. She was introduced to it by a co-worker who told her it was the "most amazing experience of her life". My girl friend did the basic course and the advancecd course. It was upon hearing reports from her of the advanced course, that I became very suspicous. Having no prior exposure with cult activities, her stories set an alarm off in my head which led me here.

I was shocked at the parallels that 'Momentum Education' had with 'est'. From what I've read of est, Momentum is almost identical. Everything from the catch phrases, to the hours, to the poor treatment, the emphisis on recruitment, no bathroom breaks... etc.

I went to her graduation ceramony with all of this in mind. I kept my mouth shut for MOST of the time until someone aked her if she was going onto the 'Leadership' level of 'training'. She told the person no and when the person asked 'why?' my girlfriend responded that I (that would be me) thought Momentum was a cult. At this point this person(right in front of me mind you) told her that she didn't need me and that she had a whole group of freinds that 'loved her'. I was shocked to say the least. I grabed her hand and dragged her out of that place!

Has anyone else had any exposure to this 'Momentum Education' cult?

many thanks!

-michael

Momentum Education
Posted by: ezdoesit ()
Date: November 07, 2006 04:45AM

Is it "Momentus?"

The Awareness page shows this as an offshoot of Lifespring which is similar to est.

There's a "family tree" on this site:

[perso.orange.fr]


Also, take a look at a "fictinal LGAT." It's a good article.


EZ

Momentum Education
Posted by: michaeltristan ()
Date: November 08, 2006 06:11AM

No, it is "Momentum Education"

www.momentumeducation.com

from what I understand, the 'company' was founded three years. While there(at my GF's graduation that I RESCUED her from), I asked a few questions. Like what are the origins of this seminar. No one could really tell me, BUT they did say that they facilators had been trained 15 years ago... EST? FOURM? LANDMARK? perhaps?

Funny side note. I was aked If I wanted to have the 'most amazing experince of my life' of course I said yes.. they were ready to sign me up, but I told them I was looking into another seminar called 'EST'.. to witch I got a very angry look. BUT another facilitator told me that Momentum Education uses EST 'technonogy'.

I almost pissed my pants with laughter.. I never knew brain washing techniques were refered to as 'technology'.

I did express concern that EST was viewd by many as a 'CULT' witch sent this woman into a 20 minute tirade about how EVERYTHING in our society is a cult and the biggest one of them all is IBM!

I asked "you mean 'International Business Machine?'"

to her reply "yes"

again I almost laughed in her face.

Good news about my GF, between my efforts and the efforts of her family, she has cut off all ties to this group. I try to let her know that we lover her just the way she is, and dosent need to change a thing. This thurday she is supposed to bring TWO people to the introduction, but she wont be attenting despite the 'contract' she made with them to do so. We will, instead, spend that time together at a nice resturante.

I hope this information helps people out there. From what I have gathered, this is all the same CULT that is forced to change its name when it gets too much bad press. The similarities are just to stricking.

-michael

Momentum Education
Posted by: elena ()
Date: November 09, 2006 12:07AM

Yup...

Looks like another copy-cat. They just can't seem to break themselves of the "magic" words, though there are many others that would roughly define the same abstractions. Most of the words they use are silly by now, like "technology," which was first utilized by L. Ron Hubbard, who liked to cloak his bizzare religion with some "scientific" pseudo-authority.

Here are the "buzz words" I count from their "syllabus." Though they may be ordinary words in other places, within the cult they hold special meanings.

context
possibilities
clear (clarify)
"being a demand"
interpretation
choice or choose
the conversation
committment
authenticity
create & declare
sharing
acknowledgment



Ellen

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Advanced" course syllabus


Day One
-
Set the context for the possibility of a profound life-defining interpersonal experience that gets to the heart of the matter, so that an individual can create new possibilities

Clarify the coaching relationship in such a manner that the participants see the value in being a “demand “ for coaching

Begin to see yourself in relationship…specifically how others experience you and how you experience others


Day Two
-
Practice honest and direct communication, while putting aside judgments and assessments

Experientially explore the “core” conversation that “I matter”

Create and declare with or without evidence a personal commitment statement and have others experience your passion and conviction. Understand and relate to urgency, that life need not be a series of postponements; the only time we ever have is Now


Day Three
-
Explore fundamental questions of “What am I committed to and what needs to happen?

Design a personal commitment statement that brings the possibility of designing the context from which to live life. Each individual will experience being in action based on vision and commitment, rather than limitations

Distinguish between giving and taking, what each produces in the world, as well as in a personal context

Create as a team the context of leadership: responsibility, commitment, contribution and authenticity


Day Four
-
Examine in-depth the significance we as human beings often place on events

Delve into the various “interpretations” that an individual chooses and their impact on quality of life, placing emphasis on the ability to choose, rather than be held hostage to stories or history

Experience an opportunity for full self-expression while sharing oneself authentically and powerfully, resulting in levels of trust and intimacy rarely achieved


Day Five
-
Deepen the conversations of people living as the authors of their lives, as well as partners in transformation for the world

Create clarity of vision and commitment to action steps necessary to bring those visions to fruition

Acknowledgement and appreciation for what has been created, who each person is and recognition of the generosity of the spirit and heart

Momentum Education
Posted by: anon0820 ()
Date: November 09, 2006 01:04AM

truth or trust
integrity
process
accountability
experience

[u:2f12d57225]Negative buzzwords[/u:2f12d57225] -
judgment
blame
shame
guilt
victim

Momentum Education
Posted by: tutuman ()
Date: December 06, 2006 11:00AM

a dear friend of mine just joined momentum. she invited my friend and I to the introduction. i immediately felt that there was something wrong. i know this sounds weird but everyone seemed "too happy", so excited to see each other. my friend, the entire time we were driving there, was reallly upset cuz we were running late.

the intro was mostly testimonials and it ended with something about "number four" and no one could know what it meant unless they did the basic.

she's done th ebasic, advanced and now the leadership and this stuff is expensive. she spends hours with them. i'm really concerned but not sure what to do cuz there's no information about momentum.

tristan...can you provide more information about what your girlfriend said about the advanced that seemed cultish so i can compare it to what my friend is saying?

Momentum Education
Posted by: SmoothMelon ()
Date: July 25, 2007 07:21AM

Last year, I completed the basic level of Momentum and wanted to share my experience. This is becoming a popular program in NY and I don't see anything on the web about it.

The basic is an intensive program. The time commitment is: Thursday night, Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday, and two evening follow-ups the next Monday and Thursday. It is intense...I think part of the way to the "break-through" they hope for is to wear you down a bit. There are two additional levels after basic: the advanced, and leadership. There are homework assignments at night…nothing you have to turn in, but let’s just say your weekend is consumed by this program.

I was really skeptical about the program from the get-go. I’m not really a group sharer and highly-energized motivational speakers kind of annoy me. momentum can seem ridiculous at first. If you have done any kind of self examination, looking at the way you process insights and form opinions, the first night or two will seem pretty simplistic. There are some weird exercises too, one in particular where you walk around and tell people whether or not you trust them. I wasn't so sure I wanted to go back.

I figured I had paid for it, so went back for the weekend, .and actually started getting into it. Kind of just go along with the flow after awhile. There were some interesting exercises…taken out of context of the whole program, they seem insane (hugging, yelling at people who represent your fears) but believe me, it can be sorta interesting if you're open to it. There’s a lot of focus on trusting and one of the things I actually liked about Momentum was that it does allow you to get to know and to trust people from all walks of life. I met some interesting people – it was a pretty small group, which I liked. The program is lead by one "coach" - mine was not someone i'd have over for dinner, but I did like the way he approached some issues about life and relationships. Simple, but smart.

The prgram is divided into listening to lectures, working with groups or one-on-one and what they call "experiential learning" - basically learning by doing. For example, there are some visualization exercises which sort of channel your real goals, your life baggage, etc. There are some one-on-one exercises where you talk things out with a partner – some of it can be very intense. A very emotionally fragile person would not want to do this program...it could send someone over the edge. Other parts of it are just fun. By the end of Sunday, I liked the program and was glad I stuck it out.

Now for the not-so-wonderful stuff. There's a reason this thread started on Rick Ross, right?

First, it’s alluded the whole time in Basic that this is “just the start”, that you are identifying where your life needs work. It’s the Advanced, you’re told, where you “overcome your fears, once and for all.” I do think the Basic is okay to do without the next level…but I disliked the up-sell of the next course. It wasn’t too strong, however, but I felt some people where a little overly persuaded to sign up for the next round.

The first night, you also “commit” to sticking through the entire basic session, including the last night where you are encouraged to bring a friend to get information--this seems a very important marketing tool for them. They make it a little uncomfortable to get out of this “obligation” in case you wanted to skip bringing a friend, but of course, you can do whatever you want. On another night, the “de-brief” night on Monday, you sit down with someone who has gone through the whole three levels. When I told my “mentor” I was not planning to continue the “journey” he looked really disappointed. There are tables set up the last night to sign you up for the next round…get the idea?

I thought many of the people who had gone through the whole program were, how should I say, a little disconnected - all smiles, not much there. I know several of them had just completed the last level and I was told they were all really tired. Still, some of the blank smiles and constant hugging freaked me out a bit. My impression was that some of the long-timers there really wanted a group to belong to and this was just their whole world. Still, others, were very grounded and cool. So a mixed bag there.

Momentum did grow out of EST/Human Potential Movement and is somehow associated with the Landmark Forum. I think the founder was involved in Landmark…the whole program feels all in the family. There’s a lot of emphasis on simplistic ideals of overcoming your fears, identifying your true calling, etc. It might just be packaged a little differently, but it’s similar.

I can say though that I liked Momentum much better than Landmark, which my sister and I did last year. I really didn’t like landmark – felt too controlling and impersonal. At landmark though you were not supposed to get up unless at break, or take notes. At momentum those are just SUGGESTIONS, so you don’t feel like a prisoner. it also feels less cultish than landmark... While a little weird at times, momentum at least ends your involvement with the “Leadership” level. It’s not a club you are going back to again and again, and there’s no fundraising. There is an emphasis, like I said, on getting others involved and going to the next level, but it’s not that bad, really. I guess that is how they stay in business. (There’s no advertising, as far as I can tell.)

As these self-awareness things go, Momentum was okay for me. I had an interesting time, met some interesting people and discovered a few things about myself. Other people in the program seemed to have true life transformations, breakthroughs if you will. I’m a little skeptical of anyone who has a breakthrough after four days, but I did meet people who swear their lives changed for the better even years later, and I believed them. For someone looking for a big change, this could be beneficial. For me, it was just a "nice to have."

If you can get past all the weirdness and keep an open mind (maybe a sense of humor too) the program can be pretty insightful. Just keep your wits about you.

Momentum Education
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 25, 2007 08:04AM

Momentum sounds like just another mass marathon training program, or what is often called large group awareness training (LGAT).

LGATs seem to have the same problems over and over again.

See [www.culteducation.com]

[b:bcca988196]Here are the liabilities of LGATs.[/b:bcca988196]

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. his 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.

[b:bcca988196]Here are the four danger signs:[/b:bcca988196]

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."

See [www.culteducation.com]

[b:bcca988196]These are the characteristics of a "thought reform" program, commonly called "brainwashing."[/b:bcca988196]

Body of knowledge centers on changing people without their knowledge.

No meaningful exchange occurs, communication is one-sided.

Change occurs rarely; organization remains fairly rigid; change occurs primarily to improve thought reform effectiveness.

Takes authoritarian & hierarchical stance; no full awareness on part of learner.

Group attempts to retain people forever.

Is deceptive.

Individualized target; hidden agenda (you will be changed one step at a time to become deployable to serve leaders).

No respect for differences.

Improper and unethical techniques.

Momentum Education
Posted by: SmoothMelon ()
Date: August 22, 2007 11:37AM

You are right on that this has all the markings of an LGAT. But I just wonder, for the sake of discussion, can an LGAT ever be GOOD? On the whole, I am glad I did Momentum but looking back with a bit of space after the experience, some of it creeps me out. The structure of it certainly follows a prescription to make you feel a certain way, but that shouldn’t take away from some of the good insights one can gain from the course. I guess I’m saying it’s a mixed bag and while I have some major uneasiness about Momentum for some people I think it can work wonders, and I wouldn’t want anyone to be totally discouraged from giving it a try. I thought I would also respond, from my own impressions, to the list of LGAT characteristics below. Again, I’m in no way advocating for Momentum, just want all to have the facts as I see them.

They lack adequate participant-selection criteria. [/color:96c1f34f20]– True. Anyone can participate. This is a problem in my view. Anyone with emotional unsteadiness (esp. related to their parents!) might really freak out in Momentum.

They lack reliable norms, supervision, and adequate training for leaders.[/color:96c1f34f20] – Our leader was totally trained in what she was doing. If you mean not trained to deal with emotional breakdowns, this is probably true. I think that’s why they have you back after a few days: to make sure you haven’t flown off your rocker. (And to get you to recruit others…)

They lack clearly defined responsibility.[/color:96c1f34f20] – Not sure what that means.

They sometimes foster pseudoauthenticity and pseudoreality.[/color:96c1f34f20] – Maybe. There are some visualization exercises, but I don’t think they are harmful. They are good, actually, taken on their own.

They sometimes foster inappropriate patterns of relationships. [/color:96c1f34f20]– Yah. There is a lot of hugging going on and you’d have to be pretty damn confident to go against the stream and establish personal boundaries for yourself in these instances. There seems to be a focus on a collective awareness…everyone opening up at the same time. Come on, hug everyone now. You trust them all, right?

They sometimes ignore the necessity and utility of ego defenses.[/color:96c1f34f20] – Yes and no. Not as much as Momentum. If you bring up an ego defense (ie, “you know, I just don’t trust you because I don’t KNOW you…”) it’s okay. No one is chided for it. It’s more like, okay,”that’s important for you to realize that about yourself.” But would the leaders bring up that ego defenses are okay? I don’t think so.

They sometimes teach the covert value of total exposure instead of valuing personal differences. [/color:96c1f34f20]– Maybe. If you’re shy, will you feel you are not “getting it”, not participating? Very likely. Those who participate freely and opening do seem more “valued” in the course.

They sometimes foster impulsive personality styles and behavioral strategies.[/color:96c1f34f20] – I think they call impulsively “honesty” or “being truthful.” Like, if you want to do a crazy dance, do it. If you want to hug a person, do it. If you want to look someone in the eye and tell them you don’t trust them, do that, too. In this context, it’s not necessarily a bad thing and I thought they did a good job of cautioning that impulsive behavior without a lot of thought to the consequences pretty well.

They sometimes devalue critical thinking in favor of "experiencing" without self-analysis or reflection. [/color:96c1f34f20]– I thought there was a lot of self-analysis and reflection. It’s definitely not all experiencing. Not as much as Landmark, say. Comparing Landmark and Momentum, Momentum definitely has more “heart” and is more focused on critical self-analysis, I think.

They sometimes ignore stated goals, misrepresent their actual techniques, and obfuscate their real agenda. [/color:96c1f34f20]– Stated goals are clear and I like that they make it clear that you are not expected to join this group forever and ever. (Although the heavy “encouragement” will be there.) Misrepresenting techniques…maybe. It wasn’t until the end, the very end, that we discussed Momentum’s roots to EST and Landmark. I do wish I had known more about that sooner, and how the techniques they use are tried and true…or at least tried.

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. –[/color:96c1f34f20] I’m not sure what this means.

They pay inadequate attention to decisions regarding time limitations. his may lead to increased pressure on some participants to unconsciously "fabricate" a cure.[/color:96c1f34f20] – Nah. We got out early one night and the hours were long but not ridiculous. Not like Landmark. You could be late, you weren’t called out or anything. You’re not called on to discuss if you did your “homework.”

They fail to adequately consider the "psychonoxious" or deleterious effects of group participation (or] adverse countertransference reactions. [/color:96c1f34f20]– I think this is true and it bothers me a lot. Listening to some people moan and cry during some of the visualization exercise was disturbing and I think people should have been warned that part of this are emotionally INTENSE. And there should be professional follow-up. Like a mental health professional.

Here are the four danger signs:

Leaders had rigid, unbending beliefs about what participants should experience and believe, how they should behave in the group. and when they should change. [/color:96c1f34f20]– I did not find this to be true at all for Momemtum. It was made clear that everyone will get something different out of the experience, that you could participate any way you wanted, that for some no change would occur.

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. –[/color:96c1f34f20] Not sure. I didn’t feel anyone was “sadistically pressed”. No one was praised for having an emotional breakthrough. An awareness or insight yes, but that’s all.

Leaders had an evangelical system of belief that was the one single pathway to salvation. [/color:96c1f34f20]– I don’t think this is true for Momentum at all. Again, it seemed more laidback than this statement implies.

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." –[/color:96c1f34f20] No, I don’t think so. There were dissenting opinions throughout the weekend. Towards the end someone got up and said, “I’m not getting this at all” and I don’t think he was blamed. The leader pointed out that maybe there was a different role he could take, that of being more of a leader for people who had not achieved personal insight. In Landmark I DID feel that if you didn’t “get it” you were categorized as narrow-minded. It wasn’t said outright, but implied. I didn’t feel this was the case with Momentum.

These are the characteristics of a "thought reform" program, commonly called "brainwashing." –[/color:96c1f34f20] Maybe.

Body of knowledge centers on changing people without their knowledge. – [/color:96c1f34f20]I only stated to agree with this when I read about the long-standing techniques EST and others used to pace the course in order to invoke some kind of emotional response. I didn’t like learning that Momentum follows that pattern, although I do think they do it in a far less creepy and controlling way. Maybe it’s not black and white, good or bad. Maybe sometimes changing people is a good thing even if it’s in a covert way. Or maybe I WAS brainwashed.

No meaningful exchange occurs, communication is one-sided. [/color:96c1f34f20]– Definitely not in this case. The floor was always open to questions and thoughts and there no time limit for those discussions. I did not feel I was being “talked at” as I did with Landmark.

Change occurs rarely; organization remains fairly rigid; change occurs primarily to improve thought reform effectiveness.[/color:96c1f34f20] – I don’t think they’ve been around long enough to say, but I could see that.

Takes authoritarian & hierarchical stance; no full awareness on part of learner. [/color:96c1f34f20]– I don’t know. Maybe.

Group attempts to retain people forever. [/color:96c1f34f20]– No. Like I said, it’s made clear day one that you can take this course and be done. Or you can take two more courses and be done. Either way, it’s not a lifelong commitment and I have not been contacted by them since. That said, there ARE people who volunteer to “staff” future seminars and they do this without pay. You could consider this community service on their part, or an underhanded way to take advantage of people and put them to work for the “cause.” But I did not feel like forever was a goal of theirs. Recruiting others was, however.

Is deceptive. [/color:96c1f34f20]– yes and no, as discussed. Again, you’d really have to search to learn about the connections with Landmark, EST, etc. There is no full disclosure about their history, which bothers me.

Individualized target; hidden agenda (you will be changed one step at a time to become deployable to serve leaders). [/color:96c1f34f20]– No. That is pretty severe and don’t describe my overall experience with Momentum.

No respect for differences.[/color:96c1f34f20] – To the contrary, I felt differences were pretty well respected and honored. It was okay if you were getting a lot out of it, okay if you were not. Ethnically and social-economically this group was totally diverse and that was never an issue.

Improper and unethical techniques. [/color:96c1f34f20]– Guess how you define improper and unethical. Momentum education didn’t harm me and I got a lot out of it. Looking back, I realize I got what I did because of their “technique” as f-cked up as it is. I’m still glad I did it. It’s not for everyone, probably not for most. There are two ways to look at it: creepy, or incredibly rewarding. There are probably aspects of both for most people. I completely respect and largely agree that LGAT can be dangerous to one’s emotional wellbeing and pocketbook. Many of them are. In my opinion, Momentum extracts what COULD be beneficial from the LGAT structure and focuses on that. It’s as good as LGATs come and is further away from what I think you would call a cult.

Momentum Education
Posted by: Samuel ()
Date: August 22, 2007 12:04PM

By any other name: this sounds like PSI all over again.

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