Danger Signs In Large Group Awareness Training

Often people who have been on these courses are told not to say what goes on there because this will spoil the experience for others who might want to do them in the future. Rubbish! This is a means of not revealing what happens on these courses. If it was known, I would suggest that many people would choose not to do them.
Another thing I have seen is that people who have been on such courses are also very vague about them when questioned. This is a Red Flag. Beware! Some people I have spoken to have had problems remembering what happened on these courses. A number of factors play into this such as confusion, lack of sleep, lack of food, and in some cases (which occur far too often) dissociation. Dissociation happens to people when they are put under extreme stress – this is how the body protects itself from that extreme stress.
The following warnings signs were posted by Chris Mathe, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology. He has worked as a trainer, facilitator, consultant, executive coach, and senior-level manager for over twenty years. I believe the six points he makes are very useful:
1. Radical change in personality or behavior.
Change is normal with any religious, philosophical, political, or social “conversion,” but the key here is the word “radical.”
Has the person gone from being a quiet introvert to being an outgoing extrovert? Has he or she suddenly begun talking about new ideas or using new words or expressions such as the drift, enlightenment, getting it, holistic, human potential, resonance, transformation, transpersonal, transcendental, life force, etc.
2. Severe depression or anxiety.
These symptoms can be indicators of post traumatic stress disorder, sometimes experienced by participants in New Age seminars.
These disorders can be triggered by negative episodes undergone during sessions of guided imagery or past-life regression often included as part of such seminars.
Both depression and anxiety are often accompanied by an inability to concentrate, chronic distraction, and inappropriate emotional response.
3. Confusion about reality, values, or knowledge.
Since Large Group Awareness Training and Human Potential Seminars are designed to “transform” the way one views and relates to the world, as well as to the tasks at hand, the transformational process can result in a disjuncture between the individual and everything else that makes it difficult to determine what is real, valuable, or true.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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