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Written by a former member of the Hare Krishnas
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 09, 2014 10:19AM

Here are a few small excepts from a list given by Steven Gelberg, who spent years in the Hare Krishna movement before leaving.


The entire article is worth attention. For what the old time Jesuits called Examination of Conscience, copy the text into a Word document. Then, use the find and replace functions. Replace 'Krishna' 'Prabhupada' and other terms and names with the terms corresponding to SYDA, Siddha or whatever guru, rinpoche, lama, roshi, pir sheikh, psychopomp or shaman your organization or ashram you--or your therapist belong to.

why all this fuss? Here are my reasons to consider this important.

If a therapist's inner life is consumed in this manner, he or she will have little energy to be present to counselees in a balanced manner. It requires stamina, training and empahty to become able to adopt 'evenly suspended attention' or 'listen with the third ear' -- some of the terms used to describe the depth of both listening and presence needed in the psychotherapist.

Attitudes Towards Nonbelievers.

Once again, let us ask how a therapist have empathy for clients who do not share his or her belief system if the therapist is in a group whose social climate has the features described below?

What if therapist's guru or group incurs some crisis of bad publicity?

The leader of the therapist/disciple's sect may become corrupted by adultation and, over the years become greedy.

Or the guru appoints a successor and that new guru becomes greedy and craves a big, expensive new worship center that lowers neighbors's property values, disrupts traffic and blemishes a formerly pristine countryside?

Tensions can run high. How can a therapist in an embattled group feel at ease with and empathic toward clients who do not share his or her beliefs?

How can a therapist whose sect is plunged into controversy feel empathy with those clients who the therapist once felt at ease with but who the therapist now feels afraid of, because those clients demonstrated commitment to social justice, disapprove of ostentatious wastage of money on ashram property when the rest of the nation is suffering.

So, oh therapist. You are disciple to a guru.

You cannot know if some time in the future, your guru develops a craving for expensive luxuries, will later behave in ways that require you to keep secrets.

How can you, oh therapist counsel clients who were traumatized by keepting secrets for their parents, if you, oh therapist, have become an enabler and secret keeper for your guru and your gurus organization? You will send out vibes that clients will unconsciously pick up--vibes that unconsciously they are all too familiar with because those match the emotional landscape they grew up in and adapted to in order to survive.

If you, oh therapist are psychologically enslaved to a greedy addicted guru, you cannot assist others to become conscious and free.

Your inner freedom will be compromised if you are slave to your guru's secrets.

And...even if your guru seems to be humble and all good -- what if your guru
passes the lineage to someone who becomes greedy and corrupt?

Here again is the URL for the essay written by the former member of the Hare Krishnas. Just put in the name of your own guru, sheikh, pir, lama, rinpoche, shaman, or whatever.

As Led Zepplin put it, the song remains the same.

Evangelistic ethics

I learned how economic pressures can, over a remarkably short period of time, transform a religious organization's operational values from spiritual to material (albeit disguised as spiritual via ad hoc theological tweaking). I learned that the prestige attached to personal spirituality can, as a result, shift over to successful salesmanship of spiritual product (books, incense, candles, etc.). I learned that dollars could be re-christened "lakshmi points" [Lakshmi = the Hindu goddess of wealth], and that those who amass the greatest number of lakshmi points should be exalted as model disciples.

I learned that service to Krishna trumps mundane morality and ethics—that ethics is, most fundamentally, whatever serves the mission (ethics based on any other motivation is mere sentimentality and mental speculation). To get one of our books or other products into the hands of a non-devotee, and to separate him or her from their money, one could say and do virtually anything. I learned that, despite appearances, such actions could not be called lying or cheating, because they represent the enactment of a higher law, meant for the true benefit of the donor.

I learned that human beings who are not members of the Hare Krishna movement are essentially clueless as to the nature of reality, and that it is our momentous duty and thankless task to enlighten them. Since most people are not intelligent or pious enough to realize the truth of our lofty teachings directly, we must do whatever is necessary to get them to buy our things and donate money, whereby they will benefit indirectly. In other words, we're so unfailingly kind and compassionate that we will skillfully bypass their external consciousness (which rejects Krishna) and compel them ("by hook or crook," in Prabhupada's words) to give us money, which will earn them Krishna's blessings (like it or not).

I learned, thusly, how the seemingly opposite impulses of compassion and misanthropy can be inextricably melded in the act (or pretense) of saving souls.

How can a devotee-therapist abide by the code of ethics that govern psychotherapy and on whose basis he or she is licensed by the state to practice?

I learned, for example, that even well-educated, intellectually sensitive, liberal-minded people can be co-opted into becoming apologists and champions for a starkly conservative, fundamentalist religious ideology.

I learned that otherwise socially aware, politically progressive people will find themselves quite contentedly inhabiting a social universe that is essentially hierarchical and authoritarian, as well as sexist and racist.

I learned that provided the right theological justification, people with a strong ethical orientation will find themselves quite willing to participate in unethical, immoral, and illegal acts.


I learned, in retrospect, that establishing a doctrine of personal spiritual perfectibility creates, in effect, a three-fold psychological regimen consisting of 1) perpetually flawed imitation of the utopian ideal, and 2) unrelenting self-criticism, and 3) carefully managed self-presentation to other members of the community.

I learned that faced with the imperative of attaining spiritual perfection, one must, of necessity, continually scrutinize one's own psychological character and root out anything that appears to contradict that ideal. This state of perpetual, purposeful self-criticism and self-correction, driven by a constant awareness of one's shortcomings and the fear of failure, is viewed not only as healthy but also as necessary to advancing on the path.

If a therapist belongs to a group with the following characteristics much of his or her inner life will be consumed in servicing needs of a leader and hierarchy. What if that leader or hierarchy hurt others and ask a devotee/therapist to assure a troubled client that this is all for the best--or that client is making too much of it?

Religious absolutism and abuse of power

I learned that when "God" is installed at the top of an institutional hierarchy, the authority and the actions of leaders are divinized and thus rendered immune from criticism.

I learned that when a particular person proclaims himself (or is proclaimed by others) to be a perfect and infallible spokesperson for God, it becomes axiomatic that to submit to that person is a righteous act, whereas to avoid or refuse submission marks one as an offender against God.

I learned that like all human hierarchies, religious hierarchies (however egalitarian in theory or communitarian in style) favor those at the top, corrupt those at the top, and will tend to attract certain individuals who covet power and prestige.

I learned that the intoxication of power can easily replace what originally might have been purer motives for joining a group.

I learned that it is naive to assume that anyone devoted to a religious organization has pure motives for being there, because there are attractive, tangible rewards to be had aside from the advertised spiritual ones.

I learned that ostensive subordination to higher, transcendent levels within the operative hierarchy (i.e., God, past teachers, etc.) is often not sufficient to contain personal ambition and prevent exploitative behavior. Thus, a leader's claim that he is acting as the mere servant of his departed guru, that he is but a humble link in the long chain of spiritual command, can be camouflage for what is, in plain fact, self-serving, autocratic rule

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French journalist description of ayahuasca peddlers
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 11, 2014 11:08PM

This is a URL to another page on this message board.

It contains a French journalist's description of psychotherapists who have
gone rogue and who irresponsibly encourage clients to use ayahuasca, a risky
psychedelic drug.


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If you are from a family that was emotionally violent
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 12:51AM

If you have been on the recieving end of verbal or physical abuse, here is another thing to be aware of when interviewing or assessing therapists.

And something to consider after you have been in therapy for a few weeks or months or even after a couple of years.

Do you feel free to be aware of things your therapist says or does that seem
odd or noteworthy

Do you feel free to ask your therapist questions? important part.

Does your therapist give specific answers to your question -- as stated?

If you ask a question and that question is not answered directly, that is not a satisfactory response.

Those of us from verbally violent backgrounds may feel so relieved that a therapist has not yelled at us or belittled us, that we may not recognize that
he or she has failed to give a direct reply to our question.

An example.

Long ago, I directly asked a former therapist if her consultancy group members were also members of the church she belonged to.

I felt terrified when asking that question.

(Note: you should never feel terrified to ask a question when you are the one paying for the therapy! But, I was very young back then. And did not understand this.)

In reply the therapist said, rather carefully, that one member of the consultancy group was a former Roman Catholic, another was Jewish, another Tibetan Buddhist.

I was so frightened to ask that question and so relieved not to be yelled at that I failed to catch on that this therapist had not responded to my question as I had stated it.

This reply did NOT directly match up with my question.

The therapist should have been able to say, clearly, either yes, many or all members of my consultancy group are in my same church.

Or she should have been able to say all or most of his consultancy group members were not members of his church.


So again if you are from a background where you were yelled at, belittled, and left with a legacy of fear, you need your therapist to respond to your questions directly.

And if you cannot get over feeling afraid to ask your therapist direct questions about possible conflicts of interest (and you are entitled to know this -- you are paying!) -- then hard as it is, you should consider looking for
a therapist you are not afraid of.

Persons who have suffered abuse can easily settle for too little. Set your standards high.

And, always feel able to discuss your therapy with friends. They may be able to catch on and tell you that something seems off kilter.

If a therapist conveys a message that you must keep things secret, thats the last thing you need -- especially if you are from a secret ridden family.

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another example of an unsatisfactory answer
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 03, 2014 10:52PM

At one point, working up all my courage, I asked my therapist
this question:

"Did you ecourage or play any part in my friend's* decision to convert to the same belief system you are in?"

(This friend who was also her client and had recommended this
therapist to me, when I was feeling down.)

My therapist did not reply to my question as stated -- a matter I did not recognize at that time.

Instead, this therapist replied, "I have always discouraged X's interest in
metaphysical matters."

At that time, many years ago, when I was already emotionally dependant on this therapist, yet at the same time very concerned about boundaries, I took this
as a reassuring answer.

I was from a verbally abusive, sarcastic family.

I was thus so relieved to ask a question and not get yelled at that I felt satisfied with this reply.

Knowing what I know today, this reply by the therapist was not actually a reply to my question as stated.

The reply evaded the question.

Again, if you are from a background where you learned to feel afraid of
asking direct questions, for valid fear of being yelled at or ridiculed or worse--

you can easily feel so grateful that your therapist isnt yelling at you when you
ask a question that you may, in your relief, not recognize that you did not get a direct answer to your question.

And...though you may be pacified for the time, some part of you will remain
aware that the issue was not fully addressed.

Another tip off. YOu should not feel afraid of your therapist or feel afraid to
do the following:

*Ask direct questions of the therapist

* Request (with reasonable notice) breaks. If you have broken no laws, therapy should not be county jail.

* Finally, if you find you have to call in sick to skip a session and you find you are relieved not to go in to see the therapist, please feel free to
ponder this matter. Health is pleasurable and should remain that way.

If you are glad to feel ill so you have a face saving way to avoid a therapy
session, thats a sign to investigate. Especially if you formerly had good rapport with your therapist, and if you faced hot and heavy issues and did it by working hard in sessions with that same therapist.

If you know you faced earlier ordeals with courage and resilience, but are now in a phase where you are glad to come down with a cold or bronchitis because
you get a break from seeing your therapist--pay attention. When someone with a history of courage becomes glad to stay home ill, that is a very powerful warning.

Final note: If a therapist has spent very many years as submissive disciple
to one or a series of self proclaimed gurus, and perhaps has attained high rank
in the ashram, over time, that therapist may acquire some despotic tendencies
not had before.

If the therapist has spent years believing that only highly realized human beings are worth paying attention to, that therapist may not have the same regard for persons less 'evolved' than the guru. If a client aquires autonomy but manifests that newfound autonomy in the form of skepticism, becomes aggressively critical of secretive groups and gurus, a guru worshipping therapist may have difficulty feeling the same empathy toward a skeptic client, versus clients who adore gurus--whether it is the therapists guru or a different one.

And if the therapist is given special rank within an ashram community, and
is given special treatment as a favorite of the guru, this may lead to ego
inflation for the therapist.

If a therapists own guru presumes to teach a method of psychology that is based on a templatethat is based on theosophy, hinduism, neoplatonism, planes of realization, and the guru teaches that this can be incorporated into psychotherapy, this can corrupt the work of a devotee therapist who
fails to see that what the guru is teaching is not recognized by the American Psychological Association or by licensing agencies within the state.

Even if a guru was once a credentialed therapist, that credential, if ever awarded at all, refers to evidence based therapy, not to therapies based
on religion or esoteric systems not recognized by the American Psychological Association.

It may be the more honest matter for a person to become credentialed to practice pastoral counseling so as to remain loyal to the teachings of a beloved

One cannot serve two masters.

If one is to practice properly as an MD, Ph.D, Psy.D, MFT, or LSCW/MSW
loyalty to one's clients has to come ahead of the guru, even if the guru claims to be God.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 04, 2014 10:51PM

To repeat: If a therapist is a high ranking member of a group
that keeps its actual teachings and leadership secret both
from the public and from lower ranking members and potential
recruits --

A therapist in this predicament will be re-enacting the role
of enabler secret keeper in a dysfunctional family.

If the leader has to be kept a secret, if the leader's behavior
has to be kept secret, the devotee therapist is re-enacting the role
of parentified child.

All that means a therapist in such a predicament is living
in bondage, and will be unable to apply full and emancipatory
insight to similar dynamics in client's lives.

Energy spent covering up for a guru or concealing strange beliefs
is energy not availble to give full and evenly suspended attention
to the presence and uniqueness of one's clients.

If many clients are members of the same dysfunctional group the therapist
belongs to, these difficulties are multiplied.

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If you follow this type of guru, you, therapist are codependant
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 23, 2014 09:26PM

If a therapist or student therapist follows a guru of the type described below, he or she will be in a relationship of codependance, that is spiritually rationalized.

If a guru of this type becomes sexually promiscuous, a shopping addict, a heavy user of drugs or alcohol or both, a therapist or student therapist who is a devotee of this guru will be in the role of enabler of addiction.

(For "sat guru" one can substitute any number of terms: renunciate, seeker, teacher, adept, avatar, medium, channel, sheikh, etc)

""When someone presents themselves as a sat-guru*, or when we project sat-guru onto someone, we tread on dangerous ground.

'To be sure, some individuals are worthy of our devotion, but we have to be very careful. The legacy of the exploitative guru is a long one, and it has caused undue suffering.

*(It has happened that worthy teachers apointed successors who were greedy, exploitative. A worthy teacher may have a pack of family members who are greedy and pressure the teacher to use the role to get money, power and persuade disciples to build and remodel the house into a better property. Property which the greedy family members might then inherit when the leader dies.)

One cannot abandon discernment and one's individual conscience.

Conditions in one's sect can change for the worse. If one has renounced one's own discernment, one will be morally adrift when the guru situation has turned corrupt. )

'There are many signs that we are dealing with an ungrounded and potentially untrustworthy spiritual teacher.

"For instance, they have one set of rules for you, one for them. They deny their unresolved issues.

They see the body as substandard or entirely distinct from the soul. They reframe painful life experiences only in terms of spiritual learning.

(Corboy Even if they once were licensed as psychotherapists, as gurus, these teachers may slip untestable terms and concepts into therapy)

They see the world of emotions as illusion (except when it is convenient not to--as in being willing to hire accountants to count money which is ultimately illusory but quite useful in this phenomenal world--Corboy).

They rely on their so-called purity .as an excuse for not forming adult boundaries.

They defend their behavior by reference to a higher knowing. If you complain about their actions, you are told that your complaints are emanating from the mundane world.

They may also re-frame their own dysfunction in heightened terms (“I quit the world because I had a higher calling”) rather than facing their shadow head-on (“I had too many issues to deal with the world”).

A giant warning sign is the use of “the mirror” as a defense against wrongdoing.

The guru claims that his (questionable) actions were not actually for his own benefit but done with the conscious intention of reflecting back to you the unresolved aspects of your own consciousness"

Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-CreationIf you complain about their actions, you are told that your complaints are
emanating from the mundane world and that you just can't grasp their lens. They
may ...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2015 08:39PM by corboy.

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An example of dodging issues rationalized spiritually
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 24, 2014 07:45AM

One big problem with the guru scene is that it posits a class of human beings
of so exalted a status that no historical or psychological analysis of their life stories is permissible.

This suggests Corboy, is an idealization, a fantasy.

And, fantasies, especially complex ones take vast energy to maintain.

Energy that is not available for maintaining evenly suspended attention.

And a thearpist who need needs a guru for self cohesion may feel less empathy for clients who are loudly skeptical of gurus, and may feel more empathy
with those clients who also believe in gurus.

If a psychotherapists ultimate role model is a human being who is considered
so exalted as to be unaffected by the social, historical and economic forces that shape human lives, then a therapist who sets that guru in thsi special analysis free catagory leaves a zone where human issues go unexaminated in the name of holiness.

This zone is a zone in which unconsciousnesss will run rampant and possibly
affect the therapist disciple -- especially if he or she hopes to become
as exempt from unconscious motives and exempt from social economic forces as the alleged guru.

If someone dares suggest that perhaps some venerated guru dropped out of school, had strange illlnesses and left home to become a renunciate, the usual
guru stories frame it as evidence of special destiny to become a saint.

In India one faces terrible guilt at the mere thought of going against both family and clan. Around the turn of the 19th/20th century, this woudl have been amplified

No one dares to ponder whether Guru X might have:

*Been expected by parents to get an education to become a leader of an
ethnic group or clan facing intolerable inner conflicts and misgivings.
Some ethnica groups had special elite status under the Raj and went into
social crisis and self doubt as the British lost hold of India. To become
a leader of such a group would have been a terrifying prospet for
young persons being educated to take on that role.

To imagine wanting to flee one's duty would seem the worst of sins. But...a coma,a vision of a diety, a call to serve God and leave home to do so -- that would be an honorable way to sidestep a family agenda one does not want

* Not wanting to marry and the only way to sidestep family and caste pressure
to do so was to leave home.

* Perhaps the presssure of reconciling a traditional upbringing with education
at a British school or college was intolerable and the only dignified escape
was for the young person to become a wanderer

* Pressure by family to become educated so as to compete for high scores
on the British civil service examinations, and at a time when the Indian
independance movement was causing the Raj to falter may have led the young
person to unconscious feelings of impasse and guilt on account of family monies
being spent on an educational career track that the young person sensed
would be obsolete when the British departed

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Actual Greatness can Withstand Scrutiny
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 24, 2014 07:57AM

Actual greatness can withstand scrutiny

By contrast, psychoanalyst Erik Erikson wrote Young Man Luther, a now
classic examination of the life and upbringing and conflicts that
shaped the personality and career of Martin Luther.

Luther's accomplishments are in no way diminished by Erikson's
examination of the family pressure put on Luther to become university
educated and a lawyer, and how the young Martin instead chose
religious renunciation -- sidestepping law school and enraging his father
by becoming a monk -- a career trajectory similar to many a tale told of a
guru's beginnings.

But Luther never claimed to be anything but a man.

Buddha in the earliest texts never claimed to be anything but a man.

Human beings constantly have to make choices in assigning meaning or giving up.

Each of us has to decide if the bit of universe we inhabit will be honest
and benevolent or a fog of self protective fantasy.

Each day is different.

And that is what makes it so interesting.

BY contast, guru biographies tend to be similar becausae they are based
on a fantasy of some ideal being-- a fantasy that can be maintained only
by excluding large areas of life and large tracts of emotion.

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Thwarted Development of Autonomous Professional Identity?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 27, 2014 01:10AM

Thwarted Development of Autonomous Professional Identity?

I would like to propose a possible scenario.

In the 1960s and 1970s, some psychotherapists, influenced by
the tenor of the times, became disciples with Eastern gurus, or
in some cases, after time spent with such gurus, became self proclaimed
gurus themselves.

Even if the guru title was not invoked, these persons, nevertheless
functioned as gurus, for they exercised authority and demanded
submissing to their whims, not through empirical evidence and rational
persuasion but by claiming exalted status and by utilizing social charisma
and arguments, not from evidence, but via revelation.

These leaders claimed authority from ability to trigger
unusual experiences, in indiduals and in groups.

In some cases, these leaders had academic training and advanced
degree. some were psychotherapists who became guru-figures themselves.

In times of massive social breakdown, as occurred in the 1960s/70s many
young persons tested all kinds of options. Some were badly shaken and
sought guidance. Many who sought guidance from gurus would have
appreciated psychotherapists already disciples of these same gurus.

Some of these young persons might have re-appraised time spent as hippies
or druggies in the dropout scene. Rather than admitting that parents
had been right, some might have preferred gurus and older disciples who
served as mentors.

And groups of these young persons might have clustered together to
worship gurus who preached enlightenment without drugs. Such an
association would have preserved the closeness of the commune

** One danger here is that issues of addiction and co-addiction
which had made the drug life appealing, would not have been
healed by transferring attention from drugs and drug experiences to
guru-mediated experiences.

Hippies and drug users who repudiated drugs via guru devotion and by
remaining in guru led communities would have swapped out chemical addiction
and substituted process addiction to the guru.

Dependance on a drug dealer would have been replaced by dependance on
a guru or some human claiming to be God. No drug dealer claims
that much.

The exotic trappings of guru and ritual would have made justified
what would otherwise have been an embarassing capitulation to
bourgeois values. Repudiation of the drugs scene could be justified
as a new and still radical stance, seen as service to a higher cause--the mission led by the guru.

In this context, and in a submission to the guru denied
to Mom and Dad, the kids (disciples) could have re-learned to wear
shirts, ties, skirts and pantyhose, while still consideing
themselves a spiritual elite, an avante-garde.

Considered themselves still a part of a noble cause in
by having submitted to Guru X, and Guru X's successors.

And reinforcing each other's uniqueness through maintaining
close contact with and social support of each other's business
concerns and in shared donation of money and service
to the ashram community.
far more demanding and arbitrary than Mom and Dad had been.

(Continuing this imagined scenario)

Meanwhile, inspired by therapist mentors within guru-led groups,
some members might have entered or been guided into social services
work -- a way to earn a living and yet one that could give
and outlet for compassion, healing and service.

The practice of social service and therapy might have been seen
as expressions of spirituality--something more advanced than
seemingly mere secular social work.

Compared to the cozy environment of the guru led group and its older
guides, boundary conscious secular therapists would have seemed too
cold and too cautious.

In those times, many were eager to fuse the role of guru, or shaman
and psychotherapist, ignoring that the first rule of the
professional healer is to select modalities where benefit outweighs
risk. To do (no further) harm.

By contrast, the shaman and guru lead one on a spiritual journey,
an adventure, one all the more worthy for it entails genuine risk --
a level of risk that is far beyond what the licensed, truly
professional therapist could offer and still remain within
the ethics of the profession.

And a true professional therapist is the guardian and mentor
in service not to a guru but to the client's own dignity as an
ordinary human being, and in service to that client's own autonomy.

The guru relationship requires submission. Gurus often belittle
and denigrate autonomy, teaching it is a risk to spiritual
practice; the professional therapist's mandate is to protect
and when possible, enhance the client's autonomy, leaving it
strictly to clients to seek out thier own spiritual

And no professinal therapist can ethically offer the level of
social connection offered by guru led groups. Professional
therapists are supposed to assist clients' to find and build
their own relationships apart from the therapist, not depend on the
therapist for such connections.

But these important distinctions were not often discussed or
given value at ashrams in which the therapist role and guru role
were co-mingled.

Many young persons who felt themselves healed by therapists
who claimed to be gurus or shamans were inspired to become healers
and on that same model.

But this career trajectory could be influenced in other ways.

Here is another hypothetical scenario.

Suppose a young person person A becomes a member of a cult in which
some older members, perhaps even its leader, are already psychotherapists with good academic connections, as decribed above.

And the young person A were to become married within the cult, or,
already married, is expected by the cult to remain married
within the cult.

After a probationary period, member A is "talent spotted" by the
e group leader. Talent spotted as someone to invest in for long term,
someone worth training in a professional capacity to serve the group
as a future elite member.

Meanwhile, other members, just as enthusiastic, are also scrutinized.
Some may also be talent spotted as worth training for future slots
in the elite rank.

But some were not. Members C and D, may be considered not quite
trustworthy. They have pasts that are less shame ridden, they have
not burned all their bridges, and stay in contact with their parents.
These persons are capable of being loose cannons. They have social
assets outside the group, meaning they could more easily leave
the group, vs those who had no other source of nurture
but the group.

Persons like these can be trusted with grunt work, sweat equity
jobs, such as remodeling the leader's house, improving its value,
remodeling a newly purchased building into an ashram complex, but
who are not trusted as long term investments. Persons in this
catagory who show too much independance can be kicked out on the leader's whim.

Member E might be kicked out too -- Member E might have been
spotted doing an impromptu skit, impersonating the guru, dancing around
in a bedsheet and wearing a dime store rubber nose, mustache
and wig, making members C and D laugh much too hard. Someone like E
has to be kicked out -- but not until E has donated enough free
carpentry work to remodel the guru's house.

Members like A, selected for long term training can be trusted never
r to ask questions if members B and C and E disappear. Members such as
A can always be counted on to make excuses for the leader, and to
persuade skeptics that their grief for missing the company of members
C D and E is evidence of ego deficiency--and that bad thoughts will
ensure that they lose access to a promising rebirth.

Back to member A.

Older members with academic connections might, after advice from
the leader, step forward to mentor A. These older members, themselves professionals, write letters of recommendation, enabling A to gain
admission to professional school -- law, accountancy, medicine, or
clinical psychotherapy -- schooling of a caliber that A would never
have attained without the cults' mentorship and social connections.

Low interest or zero interest loans might be advanced by wealthier
members of the group to sponsor A through professional training,
on understanding that A is to return after graduation and upon

So ...if this young person A has been earmarked to go to
professional school, not in service to all humanity but in service
to the guru even before graduate education begins, A will
have the utmost difficulty creating a fully autonomous professional
identity, especially if the guru commitment is kept hidden from the
student therapist's training supervisors -- worse yet, if the supervisor is also a devotee of the guru.

In this hypothetical scenario, our youngster's professional development
could be severely compromised because loyalty to the guru will be inextricably linked with mentorship from older cult members and entry
into a professional school that the young person might not otherwise
have been able to access-- especially if the younger lived a wild hippie lifestyle and had a college career that was mediocre or worse.

Unless A shows exceptional candor and can disclose full details of
his or her background and current mentorship to a training supervisor
while at a professional school, cult loyalty may remain an area of unconsciousness.

The student therapist may get good grades in the ethics and law
courses yet be unable to apply this information in a conscious manner
to the guru and group and mentors in the group who sponsored the young persons education.

If upon graduation, older therapists who are members of the cult
supervise the trainee therapist A and sign off on the recommended
supervised hours needed for licensure within state of residence,
the newly licensed therapist may remain "owned" by the guru.

Short of a moral miracle, a person who is mentored and trained in
this manner may never attain and sustain a professional identity
independant of the guru who underwrote and supported the young
therapist's schooling.

If a persons conscience and entire professional schooling are
encompassed by and supported socially and perhaps materially by
a guru or group, a therapist will be the "creature" of this set
up and not be able to function autonomously or be capable of
recognizing when client welfare is in conflict with the demands
of the group.

If the therapist is referred many clients by the group which
also supported that same therapist's training as a clincian, the
conflict will be yet more complex.

The only remedy for a therapist in this predicament would be

*To consider training and licensure as a pastoral counselor and offer chaplaincy services explicitly tied to the group's belief system.

*If licensed as a psychiatrist, psychologist, MFT or MSW, a
therapist would be well advised to contact professionals entirely
outside the social purview of the group and give an honest and
complete description of his or her situation.

One Man Who Woke Up

Psychoanalyst Daniel Shaw, LCSW, was a longtime devotee of Gurumayi (SYDA Yoga)
and through his training as a social worker, realized that the behavior of his guru conflicted with the ethics of social work.

Shaw choose to opt for the dignity of the ordinary human person and the
values of social work.

His article is well worth reading. Here is an excerpt.



In my first social work field
placement, many of the clients I was assigned described
terrible histories of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in
childhood, and in some cases were involved in ongoing
abuse, either as perpetrators or victims. Many of these
clients were struggling to recover from devastating
addictions. Although my own life has been something of a
bed of roses in comparison with the suffering these clients
have known, I soon discovered I had a deeper connection to
their experiences than I at first realized.
I had always portrayed my participation in Siddha Yoga (also
known as SYDA), to myself and others, as an idealistic
commitment to a noble spiritual path, dedicated to spiritual
Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2003, Page 103
awakening and upliftment in the world.

Just after school
began, my perceptions were shattered when I learned of an
incident concerning a friend of mine, a young woman just
turned 21, who was sexually harassed in the ashram by one
of its most powerful male leaders.

When she sought help
from Gurumayi, the now 48-year-old female Indian guru who
is the head of the ashram, Gurumayi told the young woman,
with contempt and disdain, that she had brought the
harassment upon herself.

Through her chief assistant,
Gurumayi warned the young woman, "don't ever tell anyone
about this, especially not your mother
." The woman's
mother, who had made substantial donations to the ashram
over the years, was a long-time devotee of

(Daniel Shaw continues)

"I had deeply suppressed my doubts about SYDA yoga for many
years, but they suddenly and dramatically crystallized when I
heard the story of the young woman I knew.

In the phrase, "Don't ever tell anyone about this, especially not your
," I heard a chilling echo of the voice of the
incestuous father, the battering husband, the sexual
harasser, the rapist. As Judith Herman says, in her seminal
work entitled Trauma and Recovery (1992), "secrecy and
silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense
" (p. 8). It
was hearing these words, "Don't ever tell," that broke for me
what Ernst Becker (1973) has called "the spell cast by
persons -- the nexus of unfreedom

"I recognized that, like many of my social work clients who were abused as children by their parents, I too had been subjected to abuse—by the
person I called my guru.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2014 08:39AM by corboy.

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Another trick that a guru devotee therapist can utilize
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 31, 2014 09:36PM

Suppose you are a devotee of Guru X and your therapist
is also a devotee of Guru X -- and this therapist is a trusted
upper level member of the ashram.

Suppose you have friends in the ashram community who have
fallen from favor and been kicked out.

You love them. Suddenly, they are gone.

You trustfully go to your therapist.

The therapist is in service to Guru X, who was the one
who kicked your friends out.

But, Guru X can do no wrong.

So, one possible trick is for the therapist, to distract

Here you are, grieving for your friends. Your grief for them is

If the therapist (who serves Guru X, rather than you, the client)
assisted you to explore your grief about your friends,
this could lead to dangerous territory -- grief for your friends
leading to questions about Guru X, and the kinds of people
Guru X kicks out, versus the types of people (not nearly so
nice) favored by Guru X.

This could lead to even more dangerous questions -- that perhaps
Guru X could be fallible and possibly even exploitative of people.

Oh no. A guru devotee therapist cannot allow the exploration
to serve the client's valid grief for the friends turfed out
from the group by Guru X.

So the therapist could easily distract the client by soothingly
inviting the client to recall other losses he or she has

Soon the therapist can adroitly remind the client of past grief
that the client has mentioned -- what it was like when a parent died
or the cat had to be put down.

The therapist might even edge the discussion into the larger issues
of mortality, impermanance, etc.

All this leads the client away from the valid, genuine loss of
friends because Guru X kicked those friends out.

Get the client to wallow in past griefs unrelated to the ashram
and this ensures that Guru X will escape scrutiny.

All this is speculation.

And it is written to assist people who may be having doubts
about a therapist who is a disciple of a guru.

For emancipatory purposes only.

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