Posted by: Marilyn ()
Date: May 13, 2004 03:38PM

These people ruined my marriage to my husband. I have two kids and a home. My husband left me for someone in the training and these people who run MITT were behind it. Please help with your stories about how they affect you. I need information about this horribly training company.

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Posted by: Marilyn ()
Date: May 14, 2004 10:52AM

who do not want to take their courses. The woman that runs this company is greedy and very mean. Someone wrote me from the that the woman who runs this training company will not refund her Basic fee even though she gave notice and does not want to take Basic.

I suggest you have an attorney contact MITT and state they are requiring you to enter into something that is injurious to your mental health and therefor they will be liable if they do not refund money owed prior to taking a course.

If anything can be done to put these horrible people out of business that ruined our marriage I would like to be contacted.

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Posted by: LoriS ()
Date: May 24, 2004 01:43AM

You might want to do a search for "Righttofight"'s post. He was involved with MITT.

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Posted by: Marilyn ()
Date: May 25, 2004 03:16PM

I have taken this MITT/Lifespring training in Los Angeles. The people who run this are really slimey. They had us show up in a parking lot near a stinky boat yard and stand under torches chanting. Weird stuff. All hours of the night, you had to show up for one ridiiculous thing or another. They were not happy unless they controlled your life, your every waking minute. And sometimes they would wake you just to have you drive down to this woman's house who ran the company. She was a piece of work. Queen Bee. Glad they cut me out of their final weekend. They did me a favor. Someone who went on their final weekend said it turns into an orgy. You have to stand aound nearly naked and praise these so called "leaders" in the forest. Bizarre crap. Basically, if you bring enough heads in the door they let you graduate. If not - they kick you out like me and you are a "loser". I'd rather be a loser. Good luck.

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Posted by: Marilyn ()
Date: May 30, 2004 09:47PM

The people who ran this training company were something out of a bad comedy. Short, greasy hair talker named "Roger" and a fat, mean German woman who can barely speak English named "Olga" I think. "Margo". You would think this was a joke. Meeting at a smelly boat yard, chanting in a public parking lot with tiki torches lit. Trying to "Feel the love".

Scary thing was these people play for keeps. I saw them lean on people who were about to be evicted or were so poor they could barely get to the training. Anyone who did not conform to their monstrous demands for time and money were automatically losers.

If there was a class action suit brought against them, I would love to add my name and experience. They may be funny looking, but I consider them a dangerous and vicious organization.

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Re: MITT LOS ANGELES (Lifespring)
Posted by: NoMinorChords ()
Date: December 28, 2012 06:24AM

I was a longtime subscriber to The Skeptical Inquirer, am a current subscriber to Scientific American, and have a T-shirt with the Carl Sagan quote, "I don't want to believe - I want to know." I am <allergic> to New Age Woo Woo. Nonetheless, I took the MITT Basic, Advanced workshops (both 5-day) and 4-month Leadership Programs and consider them to be useful. Most of what I see posted on this page is the negative experience of one person. So, let me balance her account with my own.

The course is, philosophically, based on existentialism, with a dollop of Zen, and a dash of Napoleon Hill positivism (the part I found least appealing). It is a series of immersive psychological games designed to elicit strong emotional responses from participants that, in theory, lead to insights about dysfunctional patterns they have been subconsciously following. These insights are intended to illuminate more productive patterns that are available. This is not terribly esoteric stuff - words like honesty, integrity, commitment, leadership, and connection are the catch-phrases. Sometimes it doesn't work, but the overwhelming majority of the people I did the workshops with found them to be valuable.

I dispute the idea that it is a 'cult' because the classic cult pattern is to separate adherents from their families and the rest of society - us vs. them. By contrast, my MITT coach (a volunteer who consults with you several times a week you if you do the more long-term Leadership program) encouraged me to strengthen ties with those close to me and to build bridges with estranged family members and friends.

The best thing I got out of the course was clarity: I am a great deal more certain now about my true goals and far more willing to take personal responsibility in accomplishing them. Is there a way to objectively measure "success" in MITT? It's difficult because it's hard to parse what might have happened anyway. I will say that a host of positive results occurred while I was doing the training, both professionally and personally. Subjectively, I feel that much of it was a direct result of the interpersonal tools I learned or improved upon from the workshops, but I acknowledge that anecdotes are not evidence.

Is it perfect? Absolutely not. It's made and run by humans and we know what screwups they can be. The expense - $500/for the Basic 5-day course, more if you go on - may be too much for someone struggling to get by. It may also be inadvisable for anyone with severe self-worth issues. (They do try to screen for that - one of a number of responsible practices I observed). Nonetheless, I saw some remarkable transformations, particularly among shy or unassertive people who came into their own, again the opposite of what you would expect of a cult that, I imagine, would be seeking mindless automatons over independent thinkers.

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Re: MITT LOS ANGELES (Lifespring)
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: December 28, 2012 07:34AM


It seems that you have come here exclusively to defend Lifespring, which is a company with a sordid history of bad press, complaints and lawsuits.

See []

Lifespring made very serious mistakes. But the Ross Institute has not identified Lifespring as a "cult", so that is a false argument.

Lifespring is an LGAT (large group awareness training) that downloads a philosophy as cure all. Other LGATs such as Landmark Education (former known as EST), Sterling Institute of Relationships, NXIVM and the Mankind Project have similar histories of complaints and bad press.

See []

LGATs seem to have serious inherent problems that produce casualties.

See []

This research paper was written by a Ph.D. psychologist that attended Lifespring and he breaks down the problems in the training fairly well.

13 liabilities of encounter groups, some of which are similar to characteristics of most current mass marathon psychotherapy training sessions [aka LGATs]:

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.

The groups were determined to be dangerous when:

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 []

This research by a sociologist identifies coercive persuasion techniques often used by LGATs.

The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:

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

Robert Lifton labeled the extraordinarily high degree of social control characteristic of organizations that operate reform programs as their totalistic quality (Lifton 1961). This concept refers to the mobilization of the entirety of the person's social, and often physical, environment in support of the manipulative effort. Lifton identified eight themes or properties of reform environments that contribute to their totalistic quality:

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

Given the very troubled history of LGATs like Lifespring I would not recommend that anyone become involved in such training. There are far safer alternatives such as continuing education at an accredited college, counseling from a licensed therapist, support groups that focus on certain issues available through local referral networks (e.g. social services) and talking to knowledgeable and trusted friend.

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Re: MITT LOS ANGELES (Lifespring)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 30, 2012 08:08AM

Ha. One can get lots of citations about Lifespring if one puts Lifespring graduate and pushy into the Google slot.


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