Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: righttofight ()
Date: February 26, 2003 01:19AM

This is the same Kathy Benson!

Good find.

She is the one who holds the trainings here in Los Angeles for this new company run by a Dutch hairdresser.

She is an independent contractor and extremely effective in getting your "heart and mind" to sign up for the advance courses. She even aligns herself with psychology, claiming to be a student at one time. Tells a story of being resistant, then a convert! Then tells the room that they use to pay more for the trainings "in her day." She cries on stage and tells people how playing the "black/red" game where there is no way to win and everyone loses is the key to saving the world. She cries through this. Almost on cue.

Read the documentation on the effect of this game and it's real purpose. It's always played at the end of the night on Saturday. Before the next sales pitch on Sunday. It was diagnosed that the game is meant to produce strong guilt feelings in the participants overnight so they return even more indebted to the leader (Kathy) and will take her suggestions. Her biggest suggestion "You got to take the Advance training." They have you believing that your inability to understand the game is the cause of the unrest in the Middle East. My ex-girlfriend agreed but could not recall whom the Israelis were fighting against. Like I said before, naiveté is the basis for getting sucked in.

She's probably cleaning up with her own courses. If a fat Dutch hairdresser can put up money to be in business to control minds for profit, why not the trainer themselves?

Be cautious! This person is highly effective. I repeat "highly" in getting an emotional reaction and turning it into a message for selling into "Advance" work. Fact, she knows she is so good at the "opening" or first level training, she claims she will not do the Advance or second level trainings.

The BBB in Clark County is the best way to start.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 26, 2003 06:50AM

sucked in...another ingredient in the brew cooked up by these trainers is 'transferance'--the ability to foster a rapid, extremely POWERFUL emotional connection between the subjects and the trainer by using emotional intimacy and 'sharing' exercises.

In genuine psychotherapy, transferance develops gradually as the counselee trusts the therapist. And the therapist is a trained professional who has consciously submitted to a legal/moral mandate to serve the best interests of the counselee and never to exploit the transferance for his or her own egotistical purposes. One reason we pay therapists is to ensure that they have adequate resources to take care of their personal needs on their own time, to ensure their problems dont become their counselee's problems. The true therapist uses transferance to assist the healing process and to support the counselee's growth to psychological clarity and independance.

By contrast, the problematic LGAT trainers foster transferance rapidly, even demand it. And most of the time, they are not mental health professionals and are not accountable to an objective code of ethics.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: Jana ()
Date: February 26, 2003 07:19AM

I called the BBB in Nevada, and was informed that if this is a seminar, there is virtually nothing they can do. Now why does that not surprise me? lol I noticed on the workshop dates, there is no location listed. I would imagine they are renting a ballroom in one of the many Vegas hotels.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: February 26, 2003 09:10AM

The BBB is usually, well... useless. They only provide a record of complaint, and in my state, not even THE complaint, though that may have changed recently with the new laws accessing public records. The best way to get the word out is to log on and post reports on community websites, perhaps alternative medicine\healing sites like,, Craigslist (like Corboy recommends), (Self Help Magazine Phorum) and as many message boards as you can find.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: righttofight ()
Date: February 26, 2003 11:41AM

Thanks for that information.

I checked the WEB site and this probably is the same Kathy Benson.

The problem with the issue of labeling "human potential" workshops and trainings as cults is that there is a specific mechanism/business model built on the MLM paradigm that makes them one. (multi-level marketing). The exercises themselves work. To a point. Then they wear off.

It is what they (leaders/owners/trainers) do with the effect of the exercises while you (participant) are still in the "bubble". They start molding you for their own greedy purpose.

Sadly, there are legitimate people who apparently this woman seems to be who will also train people or give workshops in human potential dynamics.

Is it the same training? Probably not. Maybe elements of, but not directed in the same way.

Will she require you to show up every week, not a minute late, in a suit, and subject yourself to high anxiety exercises designed to get you to approach people for "enrollment" (hidden agenda) to the punishment of ostracism and/or banishment from future trainings?

Probably not.

That is the difference as to one being a cult and the other being just a helpful workshop. There is group conformity and a system of reward/punishment and trickery and hidden agendas and anxiety producing exercises and credibilty issues (My trainer was also a doctor. Doctor of engineering! That is who you want to break open your mind?)

Trainers with blurry minds like Kathy can slip back and forth between the legitimate world of business training and the murky world of doing it slyly for a buck. Then they steal the credibility for their own self-importance. It sounds good in the cult training. "I work with licensed blah blah, . . . a doctor in political science (???)". Hanna is a doctor in political science. And she is licensed in two states that are probably not as demanding as California or New York. Who knows if Hanna is credible? But the point is: These people (Kathy and company) are starving for credibility. They want to make the sale.

I remember this woman who runs the training here in L.A. actually claimed that David Geffen, multibillionaire media mogul, took her workshop. The joke was she has been in business for only a couple of years and he probably did EST back in the 70's. Did it change his life? Who knows? I do know that people, who enter with successful personality traits, leave with the same traits and the training workshops want to take credit for that. Those who enter the training with issues preventing success, leave with the same issues. i.e. David Geffen would still be David Geffen without EST/Lifespring or whatever Werhard spin-off.

I am not sure what other measures you could take in Las Vegas other than informing people, which is your legal right. Freedom of speech.

Any ideas?

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 26, 2003 11:27PM

For my own entertainment, I went to [,] went to the LA bulletin board, and then went to 'classes/events'. (The CL for LA has this section, as does NYC.). On the classes/events section I saw this listing


It looks like a classic LGAT--little or no info about the trainer or his/her organization. And no information about what will be done during the event.

If you ever see something like this on a bulletin board and it resembles something where you've had a bad experience, do a post and advise people to do some background research before they get emotionally involved.

Any time I see someone publicizing something on CL that appears to have major red flags, I post something advising people to do background research, and I supply URLS to help them get started. Did it just this morning. Gets especially amusing when people get annoyed and counter-post. Dont leave an e-mail address unless you want to get flamed.

'Right to Fight', you write excellent stuff. Ever think of writing a feature story on this?

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: Jana ()
Date: February 27, 2003 02:36PM

My friend just called me. The name of the trainer is John Handley, Jr. lol John Handley's baby boy. My friend sounds normal, so perhaps so far so good. He mentioned that he will most likely not sign up for the third installment. He will be back next week. I'm sure he will be pressured to sign up for the next workshop.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: Jana ()
Date: February 27, 2003 03:54PM

His name is John Hanley, Jr. His father is the founder of LifeSpriing. I found this on the Lifespring site:


Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: righttofight ()
Date: March 03, 2003 02:05PM

My ex sounded pretty normal right after the training.

It works over a period of time.

If he does drop the 3rd installment then he is SAVED!!!!!!

She slowly started losing it weeks after finishing the 3rd training.

It's a nightmare.

Really. You will never know such deep sorrow as experiencing someone's mind changing attitudes and becoming someone else.

It ruined me for a while. I reacted poorly.

These trainings can ruin lives. But I believe the people who go in all the way were lost in a way beforehand. Like a therapist who specializes in this tells me: There was something wrong with these people to begin with. There has to be to look for this McDonalds answer to self improvement. Just watch and pray for your friend.

Does anyone recognize this??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 04, 2003 12:42AM

rather than 'wrong'. It used to be assumed that people who became entangled in cults were neurotic, gullible or lacked intelligence. Not so. What we have come to understand is:

1) Many of these groups now have decades of experience and have developed sophisticated powerful tactics that utilize tried and true techniques derived from marketing, peer pressure, neurolinguistic programming. They utilize concepts and techniques derived from social psychology, psychotherapeutic techniques, hypnosis and have had years to test their methods and see what works and what does not. And because some successful franchises are now decades old, an ambitious entrepreneur can rapidly learn powerful techniques by working as a trainer for an established group, then break away, reformat the material he or she has acquired during the prior apprenticeship, and then set up a new franchise

2) IMO What they understand is that all of us, by virtue of being human, have a capacity for empathy and long for a sense of connection. You cant be human without having loyalty to others. What this means is that under stress we are each capable of becomeing vulnerable and off guard. If you're divorced, bereaved, scared about your financial welfare, been suddenly diagnosed with a serious illness, you may be vulnerable. Bad groups use vulnerability against us.

The ultimate sin is to use human beings as objects while speaking the language of love and loyalty.

The vulnerability that goes with being human and under stress has to be distinguished from the more serious forms of neurosis.

Edward Gibbon, author of [i:07f75aae1c]The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[/i:07f75aae1c], and one of the greatest skeptics of the 18th Century, was briefly converted to Roman Catholicism when he was a college student. He remembered being most influenced by some books by Bossuet, a French bishop who wrote important books of Catholic apologetics. Bossuet had a splendid grasp of logic and and a graceful, lucid literary style.

Gibbon, who eventually became quite an adversary of the Catholic Church looked back on his infatuation with Bossuet's books and wrote, 'I surely fell by a noble hand'-- he used the word 'noble' to mean 'formidable', not 'good.' He was saying ins o many words, 'I was a smart kid, but was socially naive and no match for someone who was an expert.'

So we must not underestimate some groups. They are experts in what they do--but, IMO, because of their secretiveness and rejection of accountability, they are not professional, despite being expert.

They have the money and the time to study people, test their methods, see how we tick. And they are not restrained by ethical guidelines mandated by the American Psychological Association. Most of us do not learn much about social psychology or methods of covert influence. Without education, we are quite vulnerable in relation to them. can provide that education and help level the playing field a bit.

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