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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: PSIsurvivor ()
Date: April 09, 2004 01:32AM

It's been over a year since the incident occurred, but I am just beginning to be able to talk openly about it. I've been reading a lot on the web and some books as well as working with a psychologist on the after effects. I understand much better what happened to me and I feel it is important to get this information in the open so that possibly it will protect other women from being victimized by the staff at PSI Seminars.

I personally experienced being sexually exploited by the facilitators at the ranch. I am afraid to have any contact with any paid PSI staff. My experience with PSI Grads is that they can puke out PSI cliché’s but have lost some ability to think critically. I just don't talk to them anymore. The staff and grads who I told what happened just blame me for "being a victim to it", or " just choosing to feel this way".

I have talked to a couple of lawyers, but they seem to think that this is a consumer issue as nothing physical happened. The sexual abuse was verbal and mental. I have suffered psychologically over the past year, but I have no physical injury so these lawyers don't have any interest in my case. If you are a lawyer and can help I really want to talk to you.
I did notify the BBB, the FTC, and the CA attorney generals office. It seems that there are no regulations or laws pertaining to seminars. The trainers/facilatators are not held to any ethical standards like a psycotheripist or doctor or any professional would be.

After reading about mind control and brainwashing I understand better what kind of mental state I was in when the abuse occurred.

It was day four of the seminar just after dinner. We were lectured briefly something about appearance and image. The next instructions were that we were to return to the bunkhouse and our "buddy" was to choose our clothes and in fact our image for the next event which was the "barn dance". It was a high-energy atmosphere and very fun. My buddy chose to dress me up very sexy and attractive. Big hair lots of makeup and borrowed sexy clothes. I felt very uncomfortable. I felt the pressure of trying to fit in and "participate 100%, be honest, and take risks". When we got to the barn it was set up like a disco with the mirror ball and a DJ. I was so stressed and uncomfortable. I have never enjoyed these types of events. I felt the pressure to fit in and participate so I started to dance and act like the people around me.

I was approached by a facilitator. He told me I was very attractive and very sexy. He asked me "my friend wants to talk to you is that okay?" I said "sure". He told me his friend was very sensitive and that he would be angry at me if I hurt his friend’s feelings.

This part of the story gets very long and detailed. The short version is that I talked with his "friend" who in fact was another facilitator, and I was very flirtatious. I welcomed the attention.

After I spoke with the "friend" the first facilitator approached me again and praised me for "making him feel so good". I still felt very trusting of the facilitator. I was happy to have pleased him. I was completely willing to talk with him and I let him ask me very personal intimate questions. I still felt safe talking to him.

From what I have read my state of extreme stress and my openness and trust of the facilitator put me into a place where I was very suggestible. He asked me if I had ever been hypnotized and if I knew anything about NLP. I said yes. I know that some of the problems I have experienced over the past year are because he was using those techniques to manipulate me.

When I was in this open, vulnerable and suggestible state he began to make very explicit emotional and sexual suggestions to me. He told me that his friend "couldn't take his eyes off me". He said, "He thinks you’re the one". It felt good to think that I was so attractive to him. He suggested that I would really love him if I got to know him better. He suggested to me how happy I would be in a relationship with his friend. He played to my compassion and suggested that I could really help his friend. He needed someone like me. I felt happy at this point and wanted to talk more with his friend. I wandered off and mingled with the crowd a while and danced some more.

The facilitator soon motioned for me to approach him. I was happy to talk with him more. At this point he began to ask the sexually explicit questions, and to make suggestions about what I would like. He asked me questions about what I liked sexually and if I was orgasmic. He then started asking more and more extreme questions. How submissive was I? Did I like anal sex? I have talked in detail about what questions he asked me to my psychologist and some of my friends. What I have been told is that he was grooming me to be his friends new victim. He was asking questions that a person who was involved with Sadomasochism would ask to negotiate an S/M scene. After I spoke with my friends about this I read up a bit on S/M. I recognized many of the questions the facilatator asked me on a website about "how to negotiate an S/M scene". There is actually a list of questions online. Some of the questions I didn't understand fully at that time. Now I know just how sick and perverted that facilatator really is.

I talked with someone (a man) who is into that kind of scene and he told me that what the facilatator was doing was not "consenual". The deception, manipulation and disregard of my NO answers that the facilitator employed were abusive in his opinion. He went on to tell me just how important it is that S/M be consenual. Anything less is abuse even in S/M circles. He tried to assure me that when S/M is consenual both people enjoy it and it is healthy sexual behavior.

I feel angry with myself that I didn't walk away sooner, but I didn't get mad and walk away until he said he wanted to tie me up beat me with a strap from head to toe and then fist me anally, and I was going to like it. I told him I most definitely did not want that nor would I like it. His reply was "no one cares what you want". I was freaked out and afraid to leave the barn dance alone. He laughed when he finally pushed me over that edge and I walked away from him.

I put on a fake smile and mingled with the crowd and tried to fit in until the dance was over. It didn't stop there. Everything else I experienced at PSI was tainted by this encounter. I have to at least give myself some credit. I did stop trusting him. I did lose respect for him. I did not let him touch me.

I was violated emotionally. The unethical facilitator had no ethical guidelines stopping him from using me (a student) to get his own needs met. I know this is unethical behavior and cannot recommend that anyone go to the ranch for the PSI 7 seminar. They other staff at the ranch were aware and accepting of what was happening. They stood by and watched and told me "I created it, it was my responsibility"

It's taken me over a year and much therapy to even be able to speak about what happened. This facilitator threatened to get me fired from my job if I talked. How creepy is that?

I feel so angry that they can continue to get away with this kind of behavior. It is just sick as date rape even if it is not physical.

I am beginning to heal from the experience and get my life back on track, but I still feel so sad that there is really nothing I can do to stop those creeps from victimizing more women.

Does anyone know of anything I can do to stop this? It seems there is nothing that can be done. Posting here is just preaching to the choir. I wrote the company a letter, but they don't care that this type of thing happens. They never even bothered to reply.

Educating the public is currently the only way to stop this from happening. It's too bad that this site never comes up when someone searches on PSI seminars.

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: kittypaw ()
Date: April 09, 2004 09:34AM

I don't have any concrete advice to give you about next steps. I'm glad you've been seeing a counselor and I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you. How awful!


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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 09, 2004 10:46AM

when you can stand to do so, write a description of what you went through. Address the physical, emotional and social context.

Writing things down helps stablize memory and helps you restore your ability to trust your perceptions of reality--vital to recovery.

I would recommend that you work carefully with your therapist to ensure that you're grounded enough to handle the stress of doing this.

You're ready to go public when you trust your perception of reality enough that you dont need others to validate you. If you go public too soon,

1) You may risk distracting yourself from painful, scary work you still need to do in therapy. Activism and education are vital, but if we jump too quickly into the activist phase of recovery, we may risk distracting ourselves from therapy or incurring a new round of trauma.

2) There are people out there who say cruel, invalidating things when we try to give warnings about spiritual malpractice & New Age frauds. Unless you're solid in your recovery, these invalidating comments can be upsetting and very depressing.

I did not write a letter to my perpetrator until I reached a point where I did not need anything from him, and knowing and telling the truth was its own reward.

Finally, be very, very careful about getting involved with the media. Rick Ross can give you helpful pointers.

Check the background of any journalist, especially freelance writers. Dont just read the material they give you. Google them.

Two, if you are interviewed, keep records of the interview, because you cannot ask the reporter or the editor to read your transcript back to you. They can and will refuse. Making a recording is the only way to ensure you will not be misquoted.

Even when you do this, reporters may abridge your statements, or quote you alongside other people, so what you say will could come out making a different impact than you intended.

Finally, only work with journalists who have an established background with this kind of material.

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: PSIsurvivor ()
Date: April 15, 2004 01:07AM

I finally got a lawyer on the phone who has some knowledge about LGATs. He basically let me know that there is nothing I can do legally. He does not seem to think that PSI Seminars is a cult. He told me that he thinks it is more of a con game. The seminar industry and the psychological service industry is not regulated in any way. There are no laws about what they can say to you at these seminars.

What will it take to get these kinds of coercive persausion techniques onto the radar of the FTC and the Attorney General? Do you think it would be possible to regulate this personal growth industry?

He seemed to think that I would be within my first amendment rights to post a website and tell my story as a warning to any students who were considering taking the seminar. He said that posting on these forums is just preaching to the choir so to speak. I'd need to register my webpage so that it would show up when people searched on PSI.

Anyone have any wisdom on that?

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: Templar ()
Date: April 15, 2004 05:04AM

Just bear in mind that a website like that is essentially drawing a bullseye on you and aking yourself a target for whatever repercussions that may entail.

These LGAT types seem to be a very litigitious bunch and if they are protected under the law, or at least havent fallen under the type of scrutiny they deserve, you can expect that when they do learn of its existence they will try to see to its end.

LGAT's are alot like Ciggerettes under the law. Despite common knowledge that both are potentially harmful, ultimately you have the choice to make in regards to attending one, and in so doing you more or less forfiet your right to hold them accountable for anything that goes wrong.

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: PSIsurvivor ()
Date: May 06, 2004 01:47AM

It's ironic really that PSI seminars indoctrinates students with the concept of "responsibility".

You are responsible for everything in your life. Your circumstances, your feelings, everything. You are responsible for everything that happens to you.

Don't blame others. Blameing anyone for anything gets you labeled a victim.

Being a "victim" just does not work according to PSI. Don't be a victim. Winners don't choose to be victims.

Accept responsibility for the state your life is in. Accept resonsibility for how you choose to feel. Ask yourself how you are/were being that you have created what is in front of you right now. What is it about you that you are experienceing this right now.

It would seem appropriate for PSI owners/staff to ask themselves some questions like:

How were we "being" that a student was abused at the ranch?
How did we "create" what is in front of us right now? Etc....

However, what PSI people/grads do is spin it and say something like "Why are you choosing to be a victim to this?"

Isn't that just creepy? Every PSI grad I have talked with about what happened at the ranch has the same reply.

Why are you choosing to be a victim to this?

So I guess what PSI really teaches is that if you harm someone in anyway they are the ones responsible for being harmed. It's there choice to be a victim.

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 06, 2004 03:35AM

If you're punched in the face, they'll say its your fault if your nose bleeds.

You're 'responsible' because your face was in the trajectory of the bully's fist.

That the New Age bully *was responsible for throwing that punch in your direction* is totally ignored.

Its the New Age version of the cardsharks aphorism:

'It is morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.'

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: PSIsurvivor ()
Date: July 15, 2004 05:56AM

Jane C. Willhite,

I am writing to tell you why my husband and I decided to discontinue our involvement with PSI Seminars. We will not be enrolling anyone into the program.

What I’m telling you about happened over a year ago in January of 2003 at PSI 7. I am just now able to write and talk about it. I’ve been working with a psychologist who has helped me to understand what happened to me at the ranch, and why I should tell you about it.

My personal experience with PSI Seminars was of being emotionally exploited and abused by two facilitators in an explicitly sexual way. I know that students are not safe at the ranch. *********** and ****’s behavior and speech towards me could not be viewed as ethical or professional by any legitimate organization. **** and **** behaved as sexual predators. They have used the barn dance as their hunting ground before haven’t they? ******** herself told me as much. Why do you continue to let this kind of situation arise?

My husband and I want all of our money back. Every cent we ever spent towards PSI Seminars ($13,740). You can send the check to our home address.

I don’t believe that what ***** did to me is part of the PSI program. I believe that **** was exploiting the vulnerable and open state I was in to get his own needs met. My psychologist has helped me to understand why I reacted to **** and **** the way I did. I’ve been afraid to speak out before because **** threatened me that he knew how to get me fired from my job.

I’ve done a lot of reading about the kinds of techniques employed by PSI to “educate” students about the “concepts”. PSI is practicing powerful psychological techniques on people. You should require ethical and responsible behavior from your staff. I wanted to trust the program and the facilitators. I wanted to be open and honest. I wanted to participate 100%. I wanted to get something out of the program I had paid so much for. The program prepared me so well for ****. I trusted him. I welcomed his attention. I naively thought that his “processing” or “coaching” was for my benefit.

**** took advantage of the open and vulnerable state I was in. He used his authority and skills of persuasion to make explicitly sexual and emotional suggestions to me that were harmful to me, and harmful to my relationships. I know that he was purposely manipulating me to his own ends. He was grooming me to be ****’s next victim. E***** and R** did not handle the situation in my opinion. I am still so very angry. I don’t have any respect for the staff of PSI Seminars.

I have spoken with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the kind of business you run at PSI. He assures me that PSI is not a cult, just a lucrative con game. He has explained to me that the seminar industry is unregulated and there are no laws or statutes that have been broken. Basically **** and all other facilitators are well within their rights to verbally and emotionally abuse students. I know that the BBB and the Attorney Generals office will not do anything. He assures me that I am within my rights to speak out about my personal experience and he will be happy to represent me if you try to stop me. People need to know that the ranch is not a safe place. I could never again with a clear conscience enroll anyone into the program.

I am not willing to talk with anyone from PSI in person or by phone. I don’t trust you or anyone who has anything to do with PSI. Do not call me. Any questions or replies need to be in writing.

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: john-locke ()
Date: July 16, 2004 11:04PM

Almost $14,000? I think you'll have to sue them for sexual harrassment to get your money back. Going public may motivate them to settle out of court.

What motivated you to spend so much money on this "stuff" in the first place?

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PSI Seminars: What happend at PSI 7
Posted by: PSIsurvivor ()
Date: July 17, 2004 06:42AM

I've talked to a couple of lawyers and they don't think I have a case. The seminar industry is totally unregulated. There aren't any laws I can find that limit what a salesperson or seminar leader can say to you.

This is how they got the money. My husband had some friends who were involved with PSI. They were trying to recruit him to take the basic. Finally he was feeling down and depressed and they hooked him in with the hope that he would not be down and depressed if he just took the seminar.

He takes the basic and likes it. He wants to go on to the next seminar, but I won't agree to spend the money.

A couple of months later he goes back to staff a basic (for free ha ha) and they pressure him again to take the next seminar. He signs up and doesn't even tell me. I am pissed. PSI are such hypocrites, they yack and yack about keeping your agreements, but when the next seminar is involved it's go ahead and break your agreement she'll forgive you.

He comes back from PSI 7 and tells me that he is not happy in our marriage and he is moving on with his life with or without me. (The seminar leaders use this ploy all the time to get the spouses and significant others signed up. They tell the students that they should leave behind the people in their lives who aren't supporting them in moving forward with their lives.)

So, he tells me it is very important to him that I take the seminars.
I take the basic. The last day is when they give you the hard sell on the next seminars. My husband shows up and pressures me to sign up for both PSI 7 and Leadership seminars for both of us. So we bought the package deal at a discount.

They really work the crowd. They get the friends and family recruiting more friends and family. The seminar leaders just close the deal.

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