The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Madshus ()
Date: August 19, 2006 01:11AM

While there is a lot of controversy around LGAT's, I think it's essential not to fall into the mindset of 'everything is bad if it has LGAT traits', etc. Katie Byron is someone who is worthy of giving honest attention to and fair & objective examination of, in my opinion. And it looks like TIME magazine even thought along the same lines...


The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: ezdoesit ()
Date: August 19, 2006 04:26AM

A cult or guru has to offer up some goodies, real or imagined, to get people interested. Without some bait on the hook, who would show up?


The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 19, 2006 04:34AM


LGATs seem to have inherent problems built into their structure and dynamics.

See []

Byron Katie says her LGAT is a "therapy-like setting."

But is she a licensed, credentialed and qualified therapist?

The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Madshus ()
Date: August 19, 2006 05:57AM

rrmoderator -

Does Byron use the term 'LGAT' as you have implied in your post? Just curious...

Also, are you seriously asking if she is licensed, etc? If so, to the best of my knowledge she is not - does that mean something to you if she isn't? I know a lot of 'licensed' individuals in a vast array of professions - licensure has not meant much in many cases. lol

Back to the subject at hand - while I definitely can identify where the controversy comes from with LGATs, I see a common knee-jerk reaction in posts on this board about the subject of LGATs and other types of self help programs or philosophies like that of Byron Katie. Instead of looking at each case independently and objectively, there seems to be a generalization and judgement. All these various groups, gurus or whatever you call them are all not the same, and reacting the same to each one is only exhibiting the type of behavior that so many oppose on this board - the one size fits all mentality.

Byron Katie is not a Keith Raniere, nor is Keith Raniere a Kip McKean, nor is Kip McKean a Billy Graham, etc, etc, etc...

The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 19, 2006 06:12AM


If she is not a board certified mental health professional, she is not qualified.

Byron says, "the Work, uses a therapy-like setting to get people to view their problems."

Byron is a "combination mystical guide, wisecracking therapist."

Problem is she doesn't have the certification, credentials or education to be a "therapist."

People with problems are better off going to someone better qualified.

This is one of the serious problems with LGATs or "self-awareness" sessions with gurus.

Researchers have isolated 13 liabilities of such encounter groups, some of which are similar to characteristics of most current mass marathon psychotherapy training sessions otherwise known as 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."

The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Madshus ()
Date: August 19, 2006 08:15AM


Again, who are the 'they' that you repeatedly refer to?

One size doesn't fit all... and that is exactly what you are doing. Don't get me wrong, I see how certain group dynamics 'can' be destructive. But you are using the same tactics you supposedly so strongly oppose, that is making one size fit all in stating 'they' (i.e. all self improvement methods) are all guilty of the same things. That was the point I was simply trying to make in my previous post. As it turns out, your latest post makes the point even more so.

If you want to reply with specifics about Byron Katie, then fine. But please don't respond with generalizations, and please realize the specifics about Byron Katie differ greatly from the specifics of Keith Raneire as they differ greatly from the specifics of Billy Graham, and on and on...


The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Madshus ()
Date: August 19, 2006 08:24AM


By the way, how do you know 'People with problems are better off going to someone better qualified'? That's a gross generalization in my opinion. Which people are you making this statement about? All people? Do you know all people?

My point in adding this post is the issue that things are relative. Some MAY be better off going to someone more qualified in terms of state licenses, etc, but some MAY be better off taking to their friend, co-worker or a stranger, all who may not have some kind of license, but feel they can offer help, and end up doing just that!

Just as the stereotypcial LGAT cannot expect for one size to fit all, you and I cannot expect all self help methods to not fit anyone.

It's Friday, and I'm off to see my girlfriend... I enjoy the dialogue, and hope it continues. I'll check for more responses later this weekend.

Again... Peace,

The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: Verbalizin ()
Date: August 19, 2006 10:02AM

I'm not aware of any reports of seriously inappropriate behavior by the Katiedids, except perhaps employing a therapy-like setting and, in the case of the original poster, causing someone to feel uncomfortable. Katie herself does not appear to be licensed or trained in any kind of psychology or social work. Then again, the entire field of psychology is distinguished by a marked lack of consensus. Virtually anything goes, among licensed or unlicensed practitioners, has been my experience.

Katie's deal os all still fairly new, but my impression is not one of a particularly abusive organization. They may be misguided entirely, and almost certainly are not the possessors of the sole source of truth. On the other hand, signs of significant exploitation are not evident.

I Googled on several different occasions looking for critics of Katie's work, and this forum was the only thing I ran across. And the material I've read here is, at worst, suggestive, certainly not damning, and traffics in guilt by association with alacrity. Perhaps there are some untold stories of shocking misbehavior by Katie and her minions that will surface soon. It wouldn't surprise me, people, even gurus, being what they are. Meanwhile, would it be too much to ask who the researchers were who identified the noxious LGAT traits? That sounds interesting.


The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 19, 2006 07:47PM

When I said going to someone better qualified, my specific point was to pick a professional better qualified than Byron Katie.

Of course many people prefer to talk to a friend, family member or co-worker depending upon the situation for free.

But when people pay for professional help or guidance it is always best to go to someone qualified with credentials.

First, because they have the specific education typically required for licensing or certification and the related professional experience.

Second, because they are typically accountable to a licensing board and professional review regarding complaints.

Byron Katie is accountable to no one.

And she shifts responsibility for her "work" onto participants if things go wrong, according to the statement she made in the above article.

If Byron expects people that attend her "therapy-like setting" to sign a release form limiting her liability that would be a big "red flag."

Professional counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and licensed marriage and family therapists don't require such releases to be signed and remain liable.

The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: nutrino ()
Date: August 19, 2006 09:49PM

Actually.... almost everybody has a release form now... the real question is what happens when these releases are challenged in a court. I have also attended a couple of seminars where there is an additional release, a "model release" where you are expected to allow your voice, likeness, or name to be used (in perpetutity, I might add) in any way the seminar leader (typically corporation with the "leader" as am employee of said corporation) deems fit.... such as in recorded materials. I've firmly declined to sign such a release on two occasions... and on one it was given some of the lamest manipulative BS I've heard to date... when I demanded an immediate refund, they relented.... seems that, all said and done, it's all about the benjamins...... some of these outfits appear to have further layers of offshore corporate shells to make pursuit of litigation complex and expensive. My question to the operatives is: if you can summon the energy to go through the release process, how do they also manage NOT to summon the energy for pre-attendance screening... well, that's simple... the screening process would scare off a percentage of attendees, and that reduces the flow of benjamins, ya see ?

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