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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: kassy ()
Date: July 06, 2009 06:46AM

"Now, imagine someone coming in with the kind of background given by Eckhart Tolle (depression, sudden enlightenment, bliss on a park bench)
or BK (depression, half way house, cockroach sudden enlightement)..and
then walking in and asking that guy for a barista job.

He'd probably shake his head. And that fellow isnt being a mean guy. He's going to be entrusting that barista with the cash register, with equipment, with customer relations and supplies of coffee. He wants to make sure the person can use the equipment without damaging it or getting hurt.

Most of us would have great difficulty even getting an entry level office job with that sort of un-verifiable track record."


What I've noticed here on several of the posts is bringing up someone's credentials, life experiences, and essentially making personal attacks of a gossipy nature. Granted, there are really genuinely manipulative "cults" out there, charismatic leaders, dictators, religious leaders that are manipulative, abusive, cruel, dishonest.

But when dealing with someone like Byron Katie, or any other teacher where the philosophy is at issue, it seems better to stick to the points of that philosophy and how it is ACTUALLY beneficial or deletorious. If every person who has a spiritual teaching, claims to have some kind of awakened experience, shares wisdom is denounced as a cult leader. If various words are taken out of context to invalidate the person as insane, that maybe less of an effectual way to make a point or convince others.
To take a part a philosophy and prove that is indeed deletorious may require a deeper examination of that philosophy.

Let's look at insanity...Everyone agrees the Nazi ideology was bad. But if we lived in Nazi Germany who would they denounce as cults, evil, dictatorial, treacherous. What was the mainstream view there? What did Nazi German psychiatry consider pathological? So calling someone insane, taking a few quotes out of context to make that claim maybe is not the most effectual way of educating people as is the point of this forum to prevent cult abuse.

I find Byron Katie's ACTUAL teachings to be inspiring. Because I was suffering, and then inspired by many sources began to question my thoughts and the ways I created problems for myself by believing negative thoughts has begun to seriously alleviate. So any teacher that tells people to question their thinking, to look to themselves, is A.O.K in my book. One thing that differentiates Byron Katie from a manipulative cult leader, I don't know enough about Ekhart Tolle is that Byron Katie does prod people to question their own thinking and look to their own judgement and intuition.

A manipulative cult leader, or any abusive figure wants to make you totally dependent on them. In Byron Katie's case people are perhaps drawn because they find her teachings inspiring and helpful because of a clear concise method of self-questioning, and so she does have a following, people are reverent to her. But a manipulative abuser, or cult leader actually does not want you to question what you believe or look to yourself because they want you to be dependent on them. Political leaders also.
I have noticed this tendency with Byron Katie. She is charismatic, but being charismatic and having a teaching that is useful and so being popular or selling books is fine. And it's fine for you to criticize her as Hubert Humphry mentioned.

To take an ex: Ramana Maharshi versus Adidam. Adidam was notoriously abusive, violently and sexually, and his organization was abusive. There is alot of evidence for this. The difference was that Adidam made people dependent on him, and was also in a sense dependent on them.

Ramana Maharshi on the other hand (similarly to Byron Katie and with a similar method) advised people to look within, to question the concepts they attach to themselves ultimately dissolving many of the false self-concepts that make up the ego. He was worshipped as a god by many. But his focus was never toward convincing the person that they needed him but to look within and deeply question their identity very similarly to Byron Katie. Even though there were thousands of reverent devotees as are there with Katie, Maharshi had no interest in that adoration and would always tell people to look within and not to him. Because of this no one went away from Maharshi traumatized abused, confused. If the teacher causes you to learn to be more empowered, to feel happier, to not take abuse. If those tendencies grow, this is not a manipulative abusive teacher just because lots of people like them.

And often what seems insane at first turns out not to be insane when further questioned. If someone believes that everything they think, all their accumulated opinions about self and other, all their pride and arrogance as well as insecurites are true, absolutely true, then of course they are going to look at someone who tells them to question everything they believe such as Byron Katie or Ramana Maharshi as insane.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns, denial, deflection
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: July 07, 2009 05:29AM

well, here we go again!
This is the reason why the Byron Katie system is so clever, because it is able to dupe many people, and also be framed in a way to try dupe people.
There are actually very few "ideas" in the Byron Katie system, the NonDual stuff is really more about just creating confusion in people, which is the primary technique.
For example, the 4 Questions operate like the worm on a fish-hook, to get people to bite into them, and then BK can reel them in, one step at a time.

The 4 Questions of Byron Katie have been debunked before in detail, by a number of people.
(The Work, in terms of the 4 Questions and a Turnaround, is a clever "gimmick"). []

The Turnaround does not work, what it does is create excessive self-blame, and self-guilt, and that creates depression. That is intentional, as then people are lured into the Byron Katie seminars and "coaching" systems.
Why are there so many people making so much money off the Byron Katie coaching systems, if it worked? It doesn't work. It creates momentary Dissociation, and then that creates even more problems.

And there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, that the Byron Katie questions work at all. The burden of proof is on those who are selling these products. They have done ZERO scientific studies, and they just sell by anecdotes.

It does not work for PTSD and trauma. It has no psychological value at all. How do we know this fact? BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT SAYS IN THEIR OWN DISCLAIMERS.
Notice the astounding hypocrisy between their advertising and claims, and their disclaimers.

The comment that its "speculation" about the abusive activies of the Byron Katie seminars, is obviously false. There are countless detailed reports and analysis of what is going on at these seminars. Its not about selling books and stuff, of course, that part is easy to see.
Its about the LGAT seminars she does, which deeply indocrinate people, and many of those same people get lured deeply into the Byron Katie system.

Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports []

The good thing about a forum like this though, is people demand real evidence and facts. And are not swayed by someone who is either a True Believer and follower, or some who makes money selling these "coaching services" and is trying to create misdirection.

The so-called Questions by Byron Katie are only maybe 10%, at most, of what Byron Katie does.
Its a bait-and-switch technique.
The Questions and Turnaround were designed by Byron Katie, to draw people in closer to her, to lure them in. And it never ends. People get sucked further into her seminars, and start working for her for free for years, handing over large amounts of money, Love-Bombs, and everything else that is detailed in these threads.

So yes, there are plenty of true believers who have been indocrinated into the Byron Katie system.
And there are also, dozens of highly skilled persuaders, who make a lot of money doing Byron Katie coaching, and they fear their methods and the reality of what is being done are being exposed.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: dlp72 ()
Date: November 12, 2009 02:18AM

I am a LCSW. I majored in psychology and graduated summa cum laude, phi beta kappa I am also a certified Feng Shui Master having studied under the top Feng Shui master in the world. I am no stranger to sprituality nor to psychology. I attended a workshop for professional CEU's at Kripalu in September of this year, by Byron Katie. To say I was appalled by what I saw is an understatement. I was in the minority apparently.. I watched this woman take an educated psychotherapist who had been severely abused, tied to a bed and beaten at age 5 do a turn around where she assumed responsibility for what had happened. At one point she said to Katie....."Lady you are fucked up in the head", that was the healthy part of her, it did not last long. Katie new just how to manipulate her. It was as scary as it was amazing to watch. It made me sick to see how manipulative this woman truly is. She knows just who to pick. If you are vulnerable she sucks you in and she gets you, if not she basically implies that there is something wrong with you and tells you to go do the worksheets. A win win for her...forget everyone else. Lets remember, she is a sales person...that is who she is, and a good one at that. She is so harsh and clueless to what and who she is dealing with that I felt compelled to write a strong letter of concern to Kripalu. I received no response. How she ever qualified by NASW to be a professional trainer is beyond me. I am all open to alternative anything that is credible, but I think she is dangerous. I truly believe she could induce a psychotic break in someone . She lacks the skills to effectively deal with this scenario, and apparently has waivers. Unreal. No responsibility , no accountability. No kindness, no credentials. Not that credentials are everything either, but this was clearly a vulnerable group for the most part. Over 400 people came for this. They sat on the floor for hours to get a front row seat to watch this debacle. People kept saying to me, isn't this great, I kept saying no, it's not. It is.abusive and harsh. Hours with no break. Had my employer not paid for it ....3 hours of this would have been enough, I would have left. It was the same thing over and over. I do not understand how E. Tolle can endorse her... I thought the Power of Now really had it nailed, now he too has lost credibility for me. We really need good spiritual teachers. To bad that they are so few and far between.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 12, 2009 11:36AM

There is a thread here with info. Note how very many times it has been subjected
to troll disruption.

Its interesting that you mentioned your employer paid for this.


Participant reports


A very big concern is that stuff offered by unlicensed people is infiltrating the ranks of professional therapists, who are supposed to protect the public from untested modalities that are the product of charisma and marketing technique.

Get and read this article by Beyerstein on Fringe Psychotherapies


uoted Excerpts:

‘And with the growth of the “New Age” movement, the market has also been flooded by a growing cadre of therapists with little formal training but an immense investment in pop-psychology and “post modernist” psychobabble.

"In most jurisdicitions, these entrepreneurs cannot call themselves psychologists or psychiatrists because licensing statutes restrict these titles to professionals with specified credentials and training. They can however, offer their services (where local laws permit) by appropriating unreserved titles** such as counselor, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, sex therapist, pastoral counselor, Dianetics auditor (one of several pseudonyms for Scientology), New Age guide, relationship advisor, mental therapist, etc.

**(Pop quiz: How many other 'unreserved titles' have we observed in use by persons using powerful methods without proper training, oversight or accountablity? C)

(p3) At the highest levels of the profession, the erosion of the likage between science and clinical practice was further aggravated in recent years when many research psychologists left the American Psychological Association (APA) to form the rival American Psychological Society. The defectors felt that the APA was undervaluing the scientific side of its mandate as it devoted more effort to lobbying and other professional issues primarily of concern to clinicians. Many also felt that the APA had been too timid in disciplining those of its members who engage in scientifically dubious practices. On several occasions, I have witnessed this reluctance to chastise peddlers of outlandish wares myself. My disappointments spring from fruitless attempts to get various psychological associations to rein in their members who charge clients for scientifically discredited services such as subliminal audiotapes, graphology (handwriting analysis), dubious psychological tests, bogus therapy techniques, and various so called ‘rejuvenation’ techniques for recovering supposedly repressed memories.

"I continue to be appalled to see journals of various psychological associations with advertisements for courses carrying official continuing education credits for therapists that promote this kind of pseudoscience.’

"Even if minimally-trained therapists can do some good, there remains the danger that they will divert clients from treatments that would help them more.

"More worrisome is the possibility that their limited knowledge will lead them to apply risky procedures than exacerbate existing conditions or even create serious problems of their own.

"When such malpractice occurs, these uncertified therapists have no professional associations and disciplinary boards to whom dissatisified customers can turn. It is when therapeutic fads emerge from a research vacuum and treatments lack proper outcome evaluations that these safety concerns arise. "

And..the Beyerstein article was published in a special issue of this new and much needed publication

New Age therapists who constantly talk about themselves violate anonymity


Therapists Serving in Non Traditional Healing Projects


Therapists as Fiduciaries

(If a therapist mishandles a client using a method taught by an unlicensed human potential guru, the guru isnt the one who is left holding the bag--its the therapist)


Finally, a therapist is not supposed to burden clients with disclosure about
the therapists own misfortunes, illnesses, etc. That is what a consultancy group is
for. By contrast human potential leaders tend to get people enthralled by the leaders
own personal narrative, which distracts from the clients own personal exploration



Note: It is considered a potential pitfall in psychotherapy for a counselor to disclose information about illness or personal hardship to clients, precisely because this would hold open the danger of triggering clients to parent the therapist. This would cause the clients to re-enact the roles that have kept them trapped and which they are trying, through therapy to get free from--not further entrenched.


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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: southdakotaboy ()
Date: November 26, 2009 12:46AM

It would be helpful if this group could summarize the BK school in the same format as chapter 6 and 7 of Margaret Singer's book "Cults In Our Midst".

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The Work/Byron Katie, Cults In Our Midst, psychological, physiological
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 26, 2009 10:47AM

The information in these threads actually gives even more detailed information than is included in those chapters in Cults In Our Midst.

Byron Katie []
Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports []

But everyone should own a copy of Cults In Our Midst, which anyone can get now for a few bucks. Its all there.

Chapter 6 Physiological Persuasion Techniques
(meditation, diet, hyperventilation, repetitive motion, sleep, stress, purging)

Chapter 7 Psychological Persuasion Techniques
(Trance, hypnosis, Ericksonian naturalistic trance induction, guided imagery, indirect directives, trickery, REVISION OF PERSONAL HISTORY, peer pressure, modeling, emotional manipulation, psychotherapy cults)

Excerpts from Cults In Our Midst
By Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer []

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie, Cults In Our Midst, psychological, physiolog
Posted by: southdakotaboy ()
Date: December 07, 2009 05:10AM

I was interested in finding out more specifics on, was there dancing and screaming that produced hyperventilation and dizziness. If so were the symptoms explained as new levels of enlightenment? Was there closed-eye relaxation techniques used? Meditation? If so, how, what was the effect on the group? Was sugar buzzing used for the parties towards the end when deserts showed up after so long with out sugar? Could you give me some examples of guided imagery, indirect directives, trickery, revision of personal history etc...

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 15, 2009 12:38AM

One persons perspective. He or she asks how we could respond if "How can we handle external threats if we deconstructed our beliefs so much that external dangers are not see as “evil” or “dangerous”?"

(excerpt from a longer article)


Here are some problems I see with her teaching:

1. BK proposes we inquire into and see the unreality of all thought and thought-referents (objects in the world). This could have disastrous consequences for humanity. One of the things that make us human is our conscience, our sense of right and wrong.

How would we react in the face of evil if we didn’t see it as evil? How can we handle external threats if we deconstructed our beliefs so much that external dangers are not see as “evil” or “dangerous”?

She gives the example of a nazi throwing a baby into a flaming pit. This act she says is God. “God is what-is. And until we can accept our baby being destroyed we cannot come to terms with God, with reality” (Paraphrase from Losing the Moon.)

What kind of power will this leave us with if we all — or many of us — deconstructed our sense of right, wrong, and justice? Imagine a scenario with aliens invading and wiping us out. Would we have the moral fortitude and strength to defeat such an enemy if instantly all of our thoughts were met with “Is this true?.. is this really true?… how do I feel when I believe this thought?…”


The comments following this article make interesting reading. Comment #39 is from a person who was involved in what became a psychotherapy cult, The Center for Feeling Therapy.

And in Comment 42, the writer, a therapist says this


I’m a psychotherapist and have been practicing buddhism this way and that for a lot of years. KB’s little 4-step can be a wonderful tool – it’s really in the tradition of cognitive therapy, radicalized by some non-dualistic perspective.

I say perspective because, as someone up there notes, she’s an absolutist (and absolutism has a funny way of slithering into nilhilism), and that doesn’t hold philosophical or ethical water. It’s terrific for busting blind judgements and real projections and painful false beliefs. And I now would stop there.

Because it’s dangerous.

It might be helpful for an abused person to turn around “He shouldn’t have raped me” and discover “I shouldn’t rape myself (every time i get hooked into obsessive and painful replays)”, but that’s (Corboys italics) slippery and had better be pretty carefully worked.

And “He should have raped me” is a notion that only works at a level where no one needs any 4 step anyway.

I had a horribly childhood-abused PTSD client who spontaneously declared one day, “I don’t want to do the victim thing any more. I wouldn’t be who I am, and I wouldn’t know what I know if it hadn’t happened. It’s incredible. I feel wonderful, it’s somehow just this incredible, insane totally valuable moment of my very own life.”

That held. She really got a lot of release with that insight. And I asked her later what she’d do if she came across a man raping a child now. “I’d try to blow his brains out”, said she. So that’s no hesitation, anyway.

It’s also story-bound, that business of finding a way to incorporate suffering into your narrative. Limited, relative. But Katie’s not Nagarjuna, either. I’ve settled (uneasily) with the formulation of an ultimate and a relative reality that appears in some Buddhist schools… Might be framed as “Nothing is inherently and objectively real, it’s a dream, a flash of lightning, a dewdrop, etc. — but hey, tie your horse to a tree.” In this vast seamless perfection it’s also not OK to throw a baby into a flaming pit.

KB covers this problem of right judgement, discernment, discrimination, when she talks about not going into the yard of a biting dog. Reckon one might also shoot that dog if it’s a Nazi running off with baby.

But there’s a problem with the biting dog being perfect and perfectly doing its perfect job over in the relative reality, which she has to deny. She’s stuck.

And she’s charismatic and adored and I believe absolutely sincere, and the money is rolling in, and teachers like this have a wretched tendency to gradually go narcissistic and mad. The stories rolling in now are achingly familiar. Sigh.

In the Bardo realm blissful heaven’s at the top, but you don’t get to stay there, you get blissed and blind and tumble back into hell, which is utter paranoia. This is what happened to Osho I think, and maybe Trungpa.

It’s my favorite sad joke – “too much emptiness!” In psychological terms it’s the return of the repressed.

As someone said, it’s a terrific trick and genuinely liberating in one sense. But be careful.

I can cite a real-life example of what can happen in a scenario where we do not make a distinction between not-dangerous vs dangerous-fight-back-NOW!

Here it is, in the form of two dog stories.

Once, I met a woman with a very friendly dog. The dog was a labrador/pit bull mix, but in this dog, the labrador temperament dominated.

This dog perceived everyone as 'friend'. The catagory of 'not-friend' apparently did not exist in this dogs computational process.

"Our place was burlarized while he was in the house," his owner shook her head, looking at this big, happy galoot of a dog.

'And our neighbors never heard him bark--not once.'

This dog had perceived the thief as no different from his or her family, and made no racket, while the intruder selected and stole away the valuables.

On the other hand, there are dogs who make a clear distinction between family/vs-not family.

A guy in college told us he put his Doberman Pinscher in the back seat of his car, while running an errand.

When he returned, there stood a would be car thief, trapped.

The thief had reached in through the window, and the Dobie dog knew this dog was NOT her owner. She treated him as an intruder, grasped hard at his hand, and he could not budge, because if he tried, she clenched her teeth harder.

The police came and arrested him.

That dog, unlike that Lab mix desribed earlier, could make a clear, and useful
dual distinction between family (wag tail) and non-family (bark and bite and prevent
a burglary)

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/15/2009 01:05AM by corboy.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 25, 2010 05:01AM

RR -

I'm replying to your post where you listed the problems with LGATs. The excerpt below from that list describes BK EXACTLY... meaning she is dangerous according to that criteria. Do you have a source/reference for that list? Who wrote it?


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."

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Garden of Even ()
Date: August 21, 2010 04:49PM

Nothing is really happening in this thread...

If you consider to join the School for The Work, I will strongly recommend that you save your money for a good therapist instead. Byron Katie is in my opinion just a brain damaged greedy lady..not spiritual at all. I've met her and was really disapointed.

DO'NT GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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