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Reading Material on Psychotherapy Issues
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 03, 2005 10:59AM

here on this thread.


If anyone has found additional books or articles that have been helpful, please list them. Thats how the message board grows!

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Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 13, 2007 10:38PM

A new article on power abuses in both therapy, the training of therapists and detailed examples of how psychotherapists were taught by a cult to use sessions to recruit clients into a cult. What follows is a very small exerpt. The entire article deserves close and attentive reading.

Narcissistic Authoritarianism in Psychoanalysis

by Daniel Shaw, LCSW

From Power Games: Influence, Persuasion, and
Indoctrination in Psychotherapy Training, Editor R. Raubolt, New York: Other Press 2006.


In the last ten years, I have worked often with former members of cults, and have learned of many other authoritarian psychotherapy groups. The problem is all too common, and while some former members have succeeded in actions against practitioners leading to the revocation of their licenses, many of the leaders of such groups have no professional credentials to begin with. To address this problem, we must first develop a greater understanding of the problem of narcissistic authoritarianism, from its mildest to its most pathological forms, and recognize it and study it as an ongoing professional phenomenon which will always require our attention. This chapter, and this book as a whole, are steps toward that goal.


Psychoanalysts have struggled since the beginning of the profession to understand their power, and to use their power responsibly and therapeutically. But power is never a simple matter for humans to negotiate -- power is always potentially corrupting. On the one hand, we set ourselves the goal of expanding the freedom of our patients, and on the other hand, we establish training methods that all too often lead to accommodation, compliance and conformity in our trainees.

As I have attempted to show, it is unconscious, disavowed narcissism in psychoanalysts that engenders authoritarianism, which is a corruption of power that is characterized by the employment of interpersonal strategies for domination and control as a means of defending against narcissistic vulnerability.

It is in no small measure the postmodern trend toward the interrogation of authority that has begun to resuscitate and reinvigorate the psychoanalytic profession.

It is this willingness to level with ourselves, to confront our own professional narcissism and question all our assumptions about our authority and the use of our power, that may yet rescue psychoanalysis from the brink of obsolescence -- the perilous position our own professional narcissism has, to a great extent, helped to put us in.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW

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Re: Reading Material on Psychotherapy Issues
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 10, 2008 10:48PM

Continuing Education Module

'Fringe Psychotherapies: The Public at Risk' by Barry L. Beyerstein


This article is on a website that has additional resources. Name of the site is Americans Against Fraudulent Self Help


The entire Beyerstein article is great. It is excellent for persons who cannot easily get a copy of Lilienfeld, Lynn and Lohr's book Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology.

Here are some excerpts from Dr. Beyerstein's article to whet our appetites. Dont stop here. Read the WHOLE thing.

Quoted 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. "

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Therapist Anonymity--How It Should be Implemented
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 16, 2008 08:44PM

Continuing Education Module--Therapist Anonymity

Psychiatrist Richard S. Epstein, in his book Keeping Boundaries: Maintaining Safetly and Integrity in the Psychotherapeutic Process (1994), has a chapter on the need for therapist confidentiality in the role of boundary maintainance--'Maintaining Anonymity'--Chapter 11.

In the first subsection entitled 'Guiding Principles Regarding Personal Disclosures'
Epstein writes:

'Since the therapist is not a disembodied spirit, communicating from out of the void directly into the patient's ear, it is impossible for him or her to be perfectly "opaque." Opacity is not an end in itself.

'The purpose for restraining personal revealation is to maintain a single-minded and strictly professional focus on teh patient's problems. It is a method to avoid being side-tracked. Flooding patients with gratuitious information serves to rivet attention on the therapist's personal life and detracts from the purpose of the treatment.

'Therapists who are able to refrain from revealing unnecessary personal information communicate the following message to their patients:

This treatment is for you, not for me. I am not going to burden you with my personal needs and life interests, because you are not here to take care of me. I am going to resist any temptation to let my own worries sidetrack us from working on your problems.' (pages 198-199)

There are indicated forms of therapist self disclosure.

Epstein recommends how a therapist should discuss his or her illnesses--if these have any potential for disrupting sessions with patients:

* Says Epstein, "If a therapist has a serious illness that might cause a temporary or permanent interruption of treatment, the patietn should be given enough information to allow him or her to deal with the realistic impact on the treatment---and provide for transfer of care (referral to another therapist) if necessary.'

'Even a dying therapist has a responsibility to maintain a professional posture with his or her patients. For example, a therapist with terminal cancer shoudl inform patients that he or she has a fatal disease that is probably incurable. A brief statement of the diagnosis and prognosis is reasonable to help orient the patient to reality and the probability of outcome. It gives the patient an opportunity to grive the loss and enlist the therapists help in saying good bye."

'Excessive detail about the nature of the therapist's disease and treatment probably places an unnecessary burden on the patient." (Epstein, pp 198-99)

(In other words the news of the illness is used to assist patients to let go and find new social support resources, not be further drawn into or obsessed with the dying or ailing therapist--C)

In the section 'Relatively Risky Forms of Self-Disclosure, Epstein wrote, 'Informing patients about minor details of one's personal life, particularly if the purpose is to impress patients, manipulate their behavior, or gain sympathy. ....Inappropriate personal disclosure may endanger the integrity of the treatment because it is a signal to the patient that the therapist is interested in reversing roles (that is, getting the patient to become a caregiver--C), is departing from the strictly professional stance of caregiver, or has problems with self restraint.'

In the subsection Counterindicated Forms of Self-Disclosure, Epstein wrote: 'Making repeated disclosures about one's family relationships marital problems, personal worries, and psychological conflicts.'

(Epstein, page 200)

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Improper Use of Questioning
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 18, 2008 01:44AM


I am in the process of reading a book by psychoanalyst Theo L Dorpat
entitled 'Gaslighting, The Double Whammy, Interrogation, and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Analysis'. (1996) Dr. Dorpat has a chapter where he in which he these forms of therapeutic failure with cult dynamics--and makes use of findings by Margaret Singer, Cialdini and Temerlin.

(The Temerlins were a husband wife team and published some superb papers on how psychotherapy cults work. All are worth looking for and reading)

Dorpat notes that these methods of covertly controlling/therapy subverting communication can be perpetrated without one's being aware of it, and he faced that he had done this to patients and wanted to both clean up his own act--and educate his fellow practitioners--a form of self scrutiny, open communication and consciousness raising outreach to one's profession that distinguishes a true professional from someone running an LGAT.

Dorpat also wanted to get these forms of subtle malpractice on the map because these are not dramatic enough to be legally sanctionable---but can nevertheless subvert therapy. At best, it hinders the effectiveness of an otherwise good working alliance between counselor and client.

At worst these forms of toxic power imbalance can be part of the process of harming the training of professional therapists--and can at the very worst be part of the formation of a psychotherapy cult.

(from Dr Dorpat's website) "In treatment, the psychotherapist is in a position of power. Often, this power is unintentionally abused. While trying to embody a compassionate concern for patients, therapists use accepted techniques that can inadvertently lead to control, indoctrination, and therapeutic failure. Contrary to the stated tradition and values of psychotherapy, they subtly coerce patients rather than respect and genuinely help them.

"The more gross kinds of patient abuse, deliberate ones such as sexual and financial exploitation, are expressly forbidden by professional organizations. However, there are no regulations discouraging the more covert forms of manipulation, which are not even considered exploitative by many clinicians..."

Dorpat writes: 'In both cults and (mismanged-my insertion--C)psychotherapy contexts where the therapist uses indoctrination methods, the cult leader or psychotherapist consciously or unconsciously communicates, (sometimes simultaneously) both the abusive message plus messages which conceal or distort the abusive message.

'Recall what I wrote in Chapter One about a kind of verbal abuse described by Elgin (1980) in which an apparently benign communication conceals as it were an abusive communication which Elgin calls a presupposition.(Dorpat, page 193--author's italics)

On pages 16 and 17 Dorpat gives examples from Elgin:

"If you really loved me you wouldnt go bowling".

(Presupposition) "You don't really love me"

Affects evoked: Guilt, Shame

"Example 2"

"Dont you c[/i]are about your children?"


"You dont care about your children" ,"You should care about your children, its wrong not to."

Affects evoked: Guilt, Shame Depressive Affect

*(Corboy's note: The reader should keep in mind that these printed dialogue do not include the subtlties of non verbal communciation, such as voice inflection, or facial micro expression that would convey a shaming or derisive impact. If these dialogues occurred in public, in front of an audience, we can imagine the impact would be heightened.)

If you want this book, go to sites like or and see if any copies are available.

Further info available here


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Re: Reading Material on Psychotherapy Issues
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 18, 2008 01:46AM

Continuing Education Module: Therapists are Fiduciaries--They Are Obligated to Protect and to Reduce Risk Exposure for Clients

Social worker and psychoanalyst Dan Shaw served time in
the entourage of a cultic leader. He liberated himself through internalizing the values taught in clinical social work--truthfulness, respect for the inherant dignity of the ordinary human person, and the obligation to do one's utmost as practitioner to safegard and enhance the personal autonomy of one's clients--not to foster their increased dependence.

Mr Shaw tells of how in one dysfunctional spiritual project, devotee therapists actually were encouraged to recruit their clients into the group--read the section of the paper under the heading 'Malignant Narcissistic Authoritarianism"


The hazard for devotees who are also mental health professionals is that their occupation, unlike that of 'guru' or 'life coach' is clearly regulated by law, but 'guru-ing' and 'LGAT-ing' do not currently seem to be regulated by law with the same precision as psychotherapy--or for that matter, accountancy.

Robert S. Epstein in his book Keeping Boundaries:The Nature and Function of Therapeutic Boundaries (1994) writes on page 18:

'The therapist's role is that of a fiduciary (Frank and Frank 1991);(R.I.Simon 1987). The patient's compliance with treatment requires vulnerability and trust. Patients lack the objectivity and the expert knowledge to treat themselves, and must rely on professionals with special training. Peterson(1992) emphasized that some exploitative therapists attempt to disavow this responsiblity by disclaiming any disparity in the treatment relationship. They employ pseudo-egalitarianism to exculpate themselves with the excuse that the patient is a 'consenting adult.'

(eg: These pseudoegalitarians deny the existence of both the power imbalance in which they as poweholders are at advantage, by denying their accountability for responsible use of power they dis-avow that they are accountable to an ethos of care. A classic method of false empowerment is the favorite, 'There are no victims, only volunteers.' In this line of reasoning, there is no conscious way to acknowlege the power imbalance in which the person who claims its nonexistence--continues to stay on top--and shoves all accountability onto the underling the moment something goes wrong C)

In their book, Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, Lielienfeld, Lynn and Lohr provide a chapter on New Age therapies and discuss the fiduciary relationship in greater detail:

'Under the laws of most states, both licensed and unlicensed clinicians who hold themselves out to the general public as performing the functions of a therapist establish a relationship with their clients based on trust, confidence, and confidentiality. (Corboy comments--how is confidentiality maintained in an LGAT setting? Do LGATs sign paperwork promising to hold records, videotapes and recordings confidential? Many gurus collect adoring letters from devotees or demand written grovelling apologies as a price of regaining favor. Do they ever promise to keep such letters confidential or return them to anyone who later chooses to leave?)

Back to Lilienfeld and Lohr: 'In the law, when a relationship exists between individuals, based on trust and confidence, and one individual has greater knowledge, experience, training and skill, than the other, (that is, a power imbalance--C), then that relationship is generally considered in the eyes of the law to be a fiduciary relationship. In many states therapists are considered fiduciaries. Because of their disproportionate knowledge, training, and experience, fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care and responsiblity for 1) the services provided to a client and 2) the appropriateness of the services to aid the client in overcoming problems.

'We propose' state the authors 'that all therapeutic relationships be considered fiduciary relationships and that the standard of care against which a therapist is judged be the standard applied to fiduciaries. That same standard should be applied to the New Age or traditional therapist, regardless of espoused ideology.'

(Lilienfeld Lynn and Lohr: Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, 2003, page 191)

'Clients have the right to know in advance that they are being subjected to experimental approaches. Therapists have the fiduciary obligation of informing clients when such methods are being used. Therapists have the further responsiblity of informing clients that alternative therapeutic approaches are available and that these approaches are based on methods commonly accepted within the professional psychological fiduciaries, therapists must ensure that psychotherapy furthers the aims and purposes of clients (my italics-C), rather than adding to the prestige, self image, or feelings of power and control of the therapist. (Lilienfeld, Lynn and Lohr, 201)

(Or adds Corboy) 'Adding to the prestige, self image, or feelings of power and control of a charismatic guru or LGAT whose internalized image becomes co-mingled with a devotee-therapists' core self.

In this case, a situation described in article entitled 'The Group'


3 therapists who were disciples of a secretive guru and who had recruited their own clients to become disciples of this guru, surrendered their licenses rather than face criminal charges. The erring therapists had also permitted this guru who was not trained in any way as a therapist, to function as their clinical supervisor. When threatened with publicity, the therapists seem to have chosen to surrender their licenses to protect their guru from public scrutiny.

Because he was not a professional or in any occupation regulated by law, the guru escaped legal consequences, while the disciple-therapists took the rap.

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Re: Reading Material on Psychotherapy Issues
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 18, 2008 01:47AM


Robert S Epstein has an entire chapter on confidentiality in his book, Keeping Boundaries:Maintaining Safety and Integrity in the Psychotherapeutic Process

In the section, 'Counterindicated Forms of Release', Dr. Epstein writes:

'In the absence of an authorized release, requests for (patient) information from third parties should be refused. A breach of this rule is likely to seriously interfere with the patient's ability to trust the therapist. At times, such an impropriety can lead to injurious consequences that neither the therapist nor the patient could have anticipated...

'Third parties frequently make unauthorized requests. Such requests are often couched in ways calculated to elicit shame in the therapist. The embedded message is "How can you be such an unfeeling and uncooperative person as to refuse a simple request?"

'Because this induced feeling of shame appears to center around the high value that most therapists place on being helpful and facultative, it is important that therapists be prepared for the demeaning intonation and subtle pressure that frequently accompany unauthorized requests. (my use of bolding-C) Many people, even trained therapists, simply fail to understand the high risks involved.

'Some third parties, such as relatives of the patient, attorneys, journalists, and other health care professionals, are quite aware of the laws regarding confidentiality, but use guile to intimidate or trick the therapist
into revealing forbidden information. Therapists must undertand their obligations in this regard, regardless of whether anyone else does'(my underlining-C). (Epstein, page 191)

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Re: Reading Material on Fiduciary Issues in therapy
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 11, 2008 11:19PM

This was written as part of a training module for psychiatric residents.

The reader is invited to extrapolate this to other human potential/spiritual projects. Bold text and italics are not in original text but are supplied for emphasis)


(Printed in normal test as a Word document this runs to a full 8 pages. Here are a few excerpts)

Professional relationships are both social and also contractual
The state specifically regulates the relationship

Boundaries maintain social and contractual elements of the professional relationship.

Boundaries in professional relationships
Duty of care
Fiduciary duty

FIDUCIARY DUTY - An obligation to act in the best interest of another party.

A fiduciary obligation exists whenever one person, the client, places special trust and confidence in another person and relies upon that person, the fiduciary, to exercise his discretion or expertise in acting for the client; and the fiduciary knowingly accepts that trust and confidence and thereafter undertakes to act in behalf of the client by exercising his, the fiduciary's, own discretion and expertise.

When one person does undertake to act for another in a fiduciary relationship, the law forbids the fiduciary from acting in any manner adverse or contrary to the interests of the client, or from acting for his own benefit in relation to the subject matter.

The client is entitled to the best efforts of the fiduciary on his behalf and the fiduciary must exercise all of the skill, care and diligence at his disposal when acting on behalf of the client.

A person acting in a fiduciary capacity is required to make truthful and complete disclosures to those placing trust in him, and he is forbidden to obtain an unreasonable advantage at the latter's expense.

What does the GMC Say?

Maintaining trust

Successful relationships between doctors and patients depend on trust. To establish and maintain that trust you must:

be polite, considerate and truthful;

respect patients' privacy and dignity;

respect the right of patients to decline to take part in teaching or research and ensure that their refusal does not adversely affect your relationship with them;

respect the right of patients to a second opinion;
be readily accessible to patients and colleagues when you are on duty.*

*(Editor's note: this was written for psychiatrists who, as prescribing physicians are rightly expected to return phone calls and refill prescriptions in a timely manner.)

Key points.

Duty of care and fiduciary duties establish positive duties
Ie there are acts one must perform
It is important to establish if you have acquired a duty
Eg standing up and saying “I am a doctor” in an aeroplane
Your duty once established endures untill it is positively ended.

Why are boundaries important in professional relationships.

Patients are vulnerable – why? Concept of “undue influence”

(In contrast, note how very often in New Age/Human Potential circles, vulnerability is ignored or denied, often in some form of 'there are no victims' argument. The recognition of "undue influence" is not possible unless one also recognizes the existence and impact of the power imbalance that exists between caregiver and patient. Power and power imbalances are often ignored, or even denied in the New Age/Human Potential scene and practitioners who buy into this denial often like to contend they are friends to patients, rather than authority figures who are answerable to an ethos of care. Lilienfeld, Lynn and Lohr in their chapter on new age therapies published in Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology (2003)warn that this pseudo egalitarianism carries the risk of denying the actual impact of power imbalance...and the attendant risks. C)

Causes of potential for undue influence
Sick role
Traditional deference to professionals obscures contractual nature of the relationship
Professional guarding of “secrets”
Gating of entry.
**Asymetry of information/expertise
**Anxiety and personal risk
(Asterisks added for emphasis by C)

Why are boundaries important in professional relationships?

Concept of autonomy and dignity
Human rights

Autonomy – power to make own decisions about core issues and medical treatment.

Dignity (controversial – some have questioned its value as a term) – right not to be avoidably humiliated or shamed as a result of medical treatment

Boundaries maintain these rights.

Why are boundaries important in professional relationships

Damage to patients
Boundary violations damage patients because of
Direct harm
Breach of social conventions
Failure to deal with patient’s primary problem

Types of boundary violation

Now somewhat old fashioned idea.

Modern ethical standards framed in terms of positive duties to maintain good standards rather than negative duties to refrain from bad actions.

**(Note by C: If someone denies that conventional ethics and conventional notions of 'good standards' and 'bad actions' are meaningless due to exalted spiriutal realization, or rendered nugatory because the practionter is enlightened, or of such stature that his or her actions cannot be judged as 'good' or 'bad' then evaluation of actions and their impact upon clients, patients or customers is rendered impossible and we lose access to any guidelines whatsoever. These sentiments show up a great deal in human potential ideologies. The notion that good and bad are inherantly meaningless seems liberating, but in practice it means vulnerability cannot be acknowleged and protected, and power is exercised without boundaries--or even any vocabulary by which to evaluate its impact and correct any pattern of harm while still in its early stages. C)

Maintaining Trust

You must not allow your personal relationships to undermine the trust which patients place in you. In particular, you must not use your professional position to establish or pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a patient or someone close to them.

“undue emotional influence”

Useful term


Persuading a patient to something they would not otherwise consent to which is not in their interest.

Wrong but common

Persuading a patient to something they would not otherwise consent to which you think is in their interest.


Persuading a patient to something which you think they would consent to if they “were in their right mind”


Clear violations of professional practice.
Soliciting money or services.
Sudden charges
Refusing treatment before further payment is received to the immediate detriment of the patient’s health

Grey areas.

Accepting a gift (how large)
Donations to research charities
Giving patients your own money/in kind.

What does the GMC Say?

Financial and commercial dealings
53. You must be honest and open in any financial arrangements with patients.

In particular:

you should provide information about fees and charges before obtaining patients' consent to treatment, wherever possible;

you must not exploit patients' vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge when making charges for treatment or services;

you must not encourage your patients to give, lend or bequeath money or gifts which will directly or indirectly benefit you.

Self aggrandisement

Clear breaches of professional boundaries
Making false claims to expertise
Practicing beyond professional competance
Grey areas.
Using a medical title to obtain advantage
Use of the term “student doctor”


48. If you publish information about the services you provide, the information must be factual and verifiable.

49. The information you publish must not make unjustifiable claims about the quality of your services. It must not, in any way, offer guarantees of cures, nor exploit patients' vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge.

50. Information you publish about your services must not put pressure on people to use a service, for example by arousing ill-founded fear for their future health. Similarly you must not advertise your services by visiting or telephoning prospective patients, either in person or through a deputy.

* You must not put pressure on patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations; you must not put pressure on patients to accept private treatment; if you charge fees, you must tell patients if any part of the fee goes to another doctor.

Culture of Oversight listed among risk factors for problems

Note: Toward the end of this article (which was written for psychiatrists), one risk factor listed was 'Culture of oversight '-- that is a social context in which colleagues turn a blind eye to a practitioner's risk taking and fail to advise, admonish or report it in a timely manner.

IMO this culture of oversight is yet more pervasive when one leaves mainstream medicine and ventures into the New Age/spiritual seeker's scene. So called negative thinking is frowned upon, and someone who misuses authority is often excused for it, on the grounds that they are enlightened or special and that their actions cannot be understood or judged by ordinary social standards. Few seekers understand this this is not freedom but a culture of oversight that puts underlings at risk and protects abusive leaders and groups from scrutiny.

Few aspirants understand that within the seemingly sweet and benevolent human potential scene there is, in some important quarters, a pervasive culture of oversight. The antics of an abusive leader are often blamed, but the contribution made by this unexamined culture of oversight is often ignored.

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Essays on Clergy Power Abuse--Western and Asian Traditions
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 19, 2008 09:27PM

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Re: Reading Material on Psychotherapy Issues
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 19, 2008 10:51PM

A Case Study: Corruption of the Psychotherapeutic Process within SYDA Yoga.

(taken from a dialog on AOL in 1996)


(Note: Further on in the Dialog it states these conferences took place in the
early 1980s. So this wasnt a brief aberration in SYDA yoga culture. It appears to have been a systematic long term pattern. C)

Here is a quote indicating how early this corruption process took place in SYDA--suborning and flattering the narcissism of therapists.

"Howie, did you not know that these "conferences" for the mental health
professionals have been going on for years? I remember hearing about one in the early 80s, and I believe they have been offered fairly regularly to such practitioners. They are NOT ordinarily listed in the regular summer

A NYC psychologist and SY meditation teacher has offered scholarly
presentations to the professional community on "spirituality and meditation"
and a large number of his clients are now in SY. He would be a likely
candidate for this summer's panel.

The *first* time I *ever* saw a picture of Gurumayi (of her at the 1982
Patabhishek - successor installation) was in a *therapeutic* setting with
this therapist. He (showing me the wallet-sized photo): "Isn't she the most
beautiful creature you've ever seen?!" Me: "Uh, she's ... BALD!" When I
later began participating in SY, I received very specific strokes from him"

Subj: some thoughts - 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-21 16:14:52 EDT
From: Dissent222

Part 2 of 2

Next rant.

Now, There is a psychotherapy conference happening at the ashram this summer, the 4th annual conference. It's called Kashmir Shaivism in Professional Practice. Among the lead speakers are: Sw. Durgananada, the one who lied and refused to admit that she had acknowledged to the Boston devotees that Baba did have sex with many young girls. She'll be helping the participants to use "the witness consciousness, as we discover how to work with and dissolvedeep tendencies with the fire of our own awareness." Perhaps she will also be teaching how to use witness consciousness to lie about and conceal sexual abuses in the ashram.

Then there's (name omitted) one of the psychologists that breaks his
professional code of ethics and violates the confidentiality of his clients
by schmoozing with GM about them and listening to her make sarcastic comments about them while he joins in the laughter.

Then there's the conference organizer, (name omitted), one of those guys who chased GM's brother around Kennedy Airport, threatening him and shouting, "we're going to get you." ( BTW, the other "clones" in the airport incident were (names omitted.)

One of the most astonishing parts of the conference is a section entitled:
"How Can We Share Siddha Yoga With Clients" led by a panel of syda

There is only one answer which is in accordance with the ethical
codes of the psychotherapy (psychiatry, psychology, social work)
profession(s): that is NOT to share SYDA at all. Nothing could be more
unprofessional and more damaging to a pscychotherapy client than for their
therapist to recruit them into a religion.

And yet again and again, SYDA devotees who are therapists bring busloads of their clients to the ashram to meet GM. There are innumerable implications, all of them damaging to the client, to doing something so patently unprofessional as that.

The most obvious is that, say the client is wandering around the internet and gets pointed to this discussion. They read every word, the open letters, the essay, the archives. And then they try to discuss it with their therapist, if they aren't too frightened of his potential response to broach the subject.

And say this therapist decides to tell the patient that their doubts
are projections, paranoia; maybe the therapist says "trust your own

And really, that's just the tip of the iceberg of this issue.

More later -


Subj: Re:some thoughts - 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-21 18:30:56 EDT
From: Howie Sm

Dear AOL readers,

It was just mentioned that a SYDA program offering is titled:


Do they mean how can professional therapists discuss (share?!) Siddha Yoga

For the love of Caesar! Talkin' bout zombie recruitment strategies! This
is lower than a fishbelly in the Mariana trench!

If this is true, these mere eight words--IN THEMSELVES--are unethical, and an outrage.

--It is prima facie evidence of SYDA's lack of regard for any standards (such as PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS) except their own.

--It is prima facie evidence of SYDA's automatic assumption that it can
violate anyone's boundaries, that it can use the emotional vulnerabilites of
those seeking help as an entree for self-serving spiritual-vampire
adventures. Not to mention as an entree to pocketbooks and strong backs.

--It is STRONG EVIDENCE that SYDA therapists are already accustomed to using their profession for zombie recruitment. The relish and magnitude with which the idea has been embraced indicates the momentum that is behind it, within the ranks of the SYDA therapist population.

--The fact that those participating probably SINCERELY THINK THAT SIDDHA YOGA IS THE "WAY," and that they let this belief affect their professional conduct indicates that these therapists are MENTALLY DISTURBED as a result of their protracted brainwashing--it indicates yet again that: SIDDHA YOGA IS A DESTRUCTIVE CULT.

Can one imagine a Jewish, Catholic, or Islamic therapist with this kind of
unethical hubris?

Dissent222, am I misinterpreting what you wrote? This course sounds so
unethical and crazy that I can't believe even wacko SYDA would go public with a title like "HOW CAN WE SHARE SIDDHA YOGA WITH CLIENTS."

The final kicker is: I bet the discipleship is so brainwashed that they
won't even notice how grossly problematic this cockamamy concept is.

Subj: SYDA Therapist Disorder
Date: 96-05-21 21:23:01 EDT
From: Dissent222

No, Howie, you haven't misinterpreted anything. The Flyer for this event
lists the following:
Saturday, July 20
9 - 12:30 Morning Prog.w/GM
12:30-2 Lunch
2-2:15 Welcome, overview and history
2:30 Psychotherapists Panel: "How Can We Share Siddha Yoga with Clients?"
Case histories, discussion, small groups and sharing.

And it goes on and on.

So you see, the recruitment aspect of the program is given billing second
only to Gurumayi.

Pretty stunning, isn't it?

(Great Caesars ghost!—more! Corboy)

Subj: Recruiting therapist stooges
Date: 96-05-22 11:32:23 EDT
From: Howie Sm

Dear Dissent222,

Thanks for the information about the

<<>> Case histories, discussion, small groups and sharing.>>>

CASE HISTORIES! Case histories of "sharing Siddha Yoga with clients," case histories of zombie recruitment activities? Good grief! Freud is rolling in his grave. What happened to professional ethics!

<<>>--Small group meetings are ideal settings in which
"oldtimer" therapists with dirty hands can induct "green" therapists into
their unethical society of zombie-recruiters. Small groups = peer pressure
brainwashing. No doubt they'll pull out the "small group" brainwashing
techniques that were perfected in activities such as "center leader"

<<>>--"Sharing" of how to "share Siddha Yoga"? Sounds like more
standard mind control. My guess is sharing here will function as a bonding
ritual. Hearing "oldtimer" therapists talk comfortably about using their
professional office for zombie recruitment will neutralize the impression of
professional ethics that may be in place in the minds of "newcomer"

MY HYPOTHESIS: This workshop is about recruiting therapists! About training therapists to become SYDA-stooges, who will use their professional identities as a cover!

So, this seems to be about recruiting stooges--who will then go out and
recruit zombies. What we need now are workshops on how to recruit "trainers" who will recruit stooges who will recruit zombies. Then a workshop on how to recruit "trainer trainers" who can recruit trainers who will recruit stooges who will recruit zombies. Then a workshop on how to recruit . . .

Subj: "Therapy" as "yoga"
Date: 96-05-22 19:26:28 EDT
From: Cker

Howie, did you not know that these "conferences" for the mental health
professionals have been going on for years? I remember hearing about one in the early 80s, and I believe they have been offered fairly regularly to such practitioners. They are NOT ordinarily listed in the regular summer

A NYC psychologist and SY meditation teacher has offered scholarly
presentations to the professional community on "spirituality and meditation"
and a large number of his clients are now in SY. He would be a likely
candidate for this summer's panel.

The *first* time I *ever* saw a picture of Gurumayi (of her at the 1982
Patabhishek - successor installation) was in a *therapeutic* setting with
this therapist. He (showing me the wallet-sized photo): "Isn't she the most
beautiful creature you've ever seen?!" Me: "Uh, she's ... BALD!" When I
later began participating in SY, I received very specific strokes from him
about how open and loving and welcoming I was becoming. (Image: Bliss Bunny distributing sweetness and light). When he found out I had been attending satsang, his response was, "Ah, I *knew* something was different!"

I felt the thrill of being recognized by my therapist as someone who was becoming a healthier, more loving person - and all because of my involvement in SY, his chosen path.

This therapist, prior to his involvement in SY, was scrupulous in denying
clients access to information about his personal life. His professional
distance eroded gradually. Early on, if a comment arose during a
conversation at the ashram which even bordered on a "therapy issue," he would quickly absent himself.

When it happened between us one time, I was initially offended, but then I realized (correctly, I might add) that it was inappropriate for me to converse with him at the ashram (even as a "samskara") some concern on which he and I had worked together.

As time went on, this therapist began to engage in some personal activities
with the community of client-yogis, and a SY "context" developed in my
approach to my work with him. I thought this was OK because this appeared to me to be the most fortuitous marriage, combining all my "inner work" under a mantle of grace. I'm sure I'm not alone among his clients in coming to the conclusion that I would win his approval, be considered an "advanced," if I presented my problems, interpreted my experiences, and reached resolutions ("breakthroughs") within that context.

In order to win and keep approval, I began to hide things about myself from my therapist and others in SY that were, to say the least, "inconsistent" with the teachings, including my doubts about SY.

After all, aren't most issues that arise in therapy mere products of negative thinking or wrong understanding? Psychological well-being took a back seat to "enlightenment" as the goal of therapy. This defeated the purpose of therapy *and* yoga, but how could it *not* happen when a therapist allows his and his client's personal stake in a corrupt cult to become a factor in a therapeutic relationship?


Subj: "Therapy" as "yoga" 2/2
Date: 96-05-22 19:27:45 EDT
From: Cker

It *is* the client's responsibility to be honest in a bona fide therapeutic
relationship. It is the therapist's responsibility to maintain professional
distance. I'll grant that neither of us met our responsibilities in this
situation. But both considerations, and integrity itself, become secondary
when both the client and the therapist are members of a cult which has at its core a conspiracy of silence, a "big lie." Both my therapist and I, heavily
invested in SY, agreed by our complicity and lack of honest inquiry to
respect the code out of loyalty to the master.

My therapist used to be a master at pointing out when and with whom I was
being manipulative, but he was unable to see it within the context of SY.

I dare say there are few more effective disguises that can be assumed by a client to protect his neuroses than cult-think that the client knows he
shares with the therapist.

It happened, in my case at least, that the demonstration of improvements in "understanding," rather than the resolution of psychological issues, became the measure of progress in my "therapy."

As I learned the jargon of the spiritual path, it became easier and easier to manipulate the process. In fact, it was a new version of the "performance" game I'd been playing all my life.

I had found a shortcut around real issues that my previously very
discerning therapist could not detect.

People (at least in SY) thought I was a very nice person to be around. And I was - for them. *Living* with me, now *that* was (and is, I'll admit!) a
different story.

The contrast between my "yogi" self (reserved mostly for SY
events) and my "bhogi" self (the side not as guarded about my flaws, which
also swears when angry and includes meat in the definition of "prasad")
became painfully obvious even to me. I spent tremendous energy, and became irritable, anxious, and guilt-ridden, trying to maintain this facade.

My family was painfully good at pointing out my inconsistencies. One time, I explained to my seven-year-old that we had to clean his bedroom because the Mandali was coming and this person, who would take over his room for the duration (thereby infusing the very coils of his mattress with shakti) was "special."

Without hesitation, he replied, "But, I'm special too." To this
day, his remark pains me. Talk about "duality"!

"Exit counseling"? Fagetabotit. If you leave the cult you share with your
therapist-father, you lose him *and* your guru-mother, guru-grandfather,
guru-great-grandfather, and all your guru-sisters, -brothers, -cousins, and
-aunts and -uncles, Death might seem preferable, and apparently might be at least threatened if your leaving is enough of an embarrassment, if you consider the experience of Michael Dinga as described to Lis Harris.

I'll wager that "Maintaining the Illusion of Professional Distance,"
euphemistically titled of course, will be a major topic at the conference
this summer. Forgive me for this gut-spilling, but when I contemplate the
issues raised in this forum, I find that the most effective way for me to
endorse the truth is to relate how it happened to me.
Subj: therapy - NOT
Date: 96-05-23 03:47:13 EDT
From: Dissent222

Dear CKer -

Your account of therapy with a syda recruiter is pretty chilling. The old
fashioned phrase is "contamination" of the therapeutic relationship, which is
apt here, I think. I imagine this therapist you mention subtly pushing syda
like a drug-pusher. "here take this, you'll feel better - take some more -
more - ahh! now you're hooked" And the therapist office becomes an opium den.

Of course, therapists who recruit lots of dakshina-forking-out clients get
brownie points - they might even get to speak publicly at a syda conference
about their success story. "How I Manipulated and Subtly Controlled My
Clients With a Covert System of Rewards and Punishments Based on Their
Professed Devotion To My Guru - And How Doing So Brought Me Special Attention From the Guru, Further Reinforcing My Narcissism".

They left that off the conference brochure, but it still reads loud and clear.

I hope someone reading this goes incognito to the therapist conference this
summer - July 20-21 - and reports back. Because I bet GM's talk to introduce the conference will follow the typical pattern of all her recruitment and maintenance talks: icky sweet seductive stuff to start; then bash everyone
present by referring to how inadequate they are and how badly they do their lives; then suggest how to solve that problem - by giving much much more to the guru, including giving her more recruits. When a therapist is so seduced and duped and manipulated himself, by the syda rewards and punishments system, what can s/he really be offering her/his clients?

Subj: Cker's therapy
Date: 96-05-23 08:45:23 EDT
From: Fibonacci8

Cker wrote,

<< In order to win and keep approval, I began to hide
things about myself from my therapist and others in SY
that were, to say the least, "inconsistent" with the
teachings, including my doubts about SY. >>

In this situation, who was providing therapy for whose anxiety? Clearly,
your behavior was a form of therapy for your therapist's anxiety which he had transformed, syda-style, into denial. In an implicit way he must have let you know that he needed you to help him, while you paid him to participate in that relationship.

Did you ever wonder who needed therapy more, you or your therapist? His
psychic neediness led him to the magic kingdom before he recruited you, and apparently he remains lost within it after you've left. You never required falseness from him, while he clearly required it of you. You came to him with your perceived need for therapy but you were and are, clearly, the more real person. You are much farther along the road of the *real* sadhana than he is. I think recognizing that will lead to more human dignity than anything he gave you.

Too bad you can't send him a bill for your therapeutic services.

Subj: SYDA Therapy
Date: 96-05-24 07:26:24 EDT
From: BVena

Just a note about my ex SYDA therapist. Oddly, a dreadful illness could be
saving people from an abhorrent nightmare. He tells his HIV positive clients
"The ashram is not for sick people." He is also the person GM sends "New"
people to if they ask questions about being gay in the darshan line. I can't
imagine that there would be a problem here, could you? Think about someone you view as God sending you away because you are unclean. This is consistent with the general lunacy, but ethical? OOPS, I mentioned ethics and UberGuruMayi in the same post. Any ACT UP members lurking out there?

Subj: more therapy 1 of 2
Date: 96-05-24 08:04:39 EDT
From: Dissent222

Dear CKer -

I'm still mind-blown by your description of the unethical, unprofessional
practices of the NY syda-devotee therapist you described in your 2-part post.

At least he isn't the NY syda-therapist who also invites folks to her
channeling sessions, where her 19th century English lady personality, by some strange coincidence, speaks in Gurumayi quotations. The fact that this therapist was a wannabe actress years ago might account for her "Importance of Being Earnest" stage mannerisms.

You've made so many very important points, I'd like to comment on a few:

>" When I later began participating in SY, I received very specific strokes
from him about how open and loving and welcoming I was becoming. (Image: Bliss Bunny distributing sweetness and light). When he found out I had been attending satsang, his response was, "Ah, I *knew* something was different!" I felt the thrill of being recognized by my therapist as someone who was becoming a healthier, more loving person - and all because of my involvement in SY, his chosen path."<

So the therapist, who is acting as a procurer for his guru, abuses his power
over his clients by rewarding them for their compliance and accomodation.

In other words, by rewarding their adoption of a false self and encouraging the sequestering of their true self.

In this way, the syda-therapist fulfills his mission to recruit more devotees and enhances his status as a favored person in the ashram, who gets strokes from the guru. That is, if the clients he recruits are attractive middle-class types with some money to spend, or else the willingness to do plenty of slayva. (slayva is a pun on 'seva'-syda jargon for unpaid grunt work)

WOW. Isn't that precisely why so many seek therapy - because they had nochoice as children but to learn to comply and accomodate, and had to hide their true self in the process? But in your scenario, as you struggle to
find and express your true self, you run up against a false self therapist
who trains you, once again, to hide the true self and display the false,
accomodating self - as Fibs put it, to meet the therapist's requirements.
What a sad, sad mess.

>"In order to win and keep approval, I began to hide things about myself from my therapist and others in SY that were, to say the ast, "inconsistent"
with the teachings, including my doubts about SY. After all, aren't most
issues that arise in therapy mere products of negative thinking or wrong
understanding? Psychological well-being took a back seat o "enlightenment"as the goal of therapy. "<

If a therapist encourages clients to think that the issues that arise in
therapy are mere products of negative thinking or wrong understanding, he is not a therapist, he is a moralizer, a teacher, and a person who has not dared to face himself in a real or full way. He might as well just be saying, "oh that's hogwash, get over it." Or "don't think about that today - think about that tomorrow - after you've given more dakshina and done more slayva. After all, tomorrow is another day."

see part 2

Subj: more therapy 2 of 2
Date: 96-05-24 08:05:29 EDT
From: Dissent222

part 2

Issues that arise in therapy should be carefully explored and elaborated and permitted to emerge from hiding. The meaning of the issue, what function it has served, why it has been needed, how it came to be established - this is what the therapist slowly and empathically helps illuminate.

The therapist should not be speaking from a place of higher power and authority (that is not what his training confers), not be offering rewards and punishments for compliance, not making moralistic judgments by dismissing issues with the slogan "wrong understanding". As obvious as this may be, it's just a sad fact of life that there are many incompetent therapists who do exactly these things and make a bundle.

The issue here is relationship: the syda therapist, trained to keep eyes
strained upward at all times, gazing up at the guru, is not looking at his
client. The client, like all of us who come to therapy, wants to try to
understand and heal and develop the ability to be in fuller, truer
relationship to self and others. Getting trained to dismiss issues as "wrong
understanding", and to mask the pain of isolation and aloneness by focusing
instead on looking up at the guru, is a tragic, cruel distortion and
manipulation of the therapeutic process.

">My therapist used to be a master at pointing out when and with whom I was being manipulative, but he was unable to see it within the context of SY. I dare say there are few more effective disguises that can be assumed by a client to protect his neuroses than cult-think that the client knows he shares with the therapist."<

How manipulative this therapist is. Pointing out your manipulativeness while
steadily manipulating you to fulfill his needs, allay his anxiety, give him
what he wants - the feeling that he's a good therapist with the power to win
recruits and influence people. Whatever talent and motive this therapist may have had has become badly distorted by the syda game.

Forgive me if I'm belaboring all this, but CKer, your posts really struck a
nerve. Being a therapist is hard work, it means inviting, tolerating and
containing intense feeling. If a therapist becomes frightened and anxious
about his own feelings that are triggered by working with clients, he might
seek a short-cut to numbness - and many therapists drink or do drugs or have sex with clients as part of their avoidance and control routines.

And others do SYDA with their clients. As syda devotees, a part of us always knew that by gazing up at the guru, we were denigrating and isolating ourselves - and were caught in a trap. The "bliss of devotion to the guru" is a mask - worn by therapists, swamis, darshan panel members, center leaders, ashram managers - - that is worn to hide one's fear, numbness, emptiness and feeling of being trapped.

A therapist wearing the SYDA mask will be the blind leading the blind.

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