Forewarned is forearmed
Why do people who are completely different in character and level of development perform obviously inadequate, humiliating, and sometimes dangerous actions at group trainings? More than a hundred years ago, this question was answered by Sigmund Freud in his work “Mass psychology and analysis of the human “I”, in which he outlined the signs of an individual who is in the mass. “In the general mass, the individual is no longer himself, he has become a weak-willed automaton, has lost his conscious personality and obeys all the suggestions of a person who has deprived him of consciousness of his own personality. “According to Freud, “enchanted, suggestible, impulsive, devoid of a sense of personal responsibility, obsessed with a primitive sense of its own power and prone to all extremes, the mass excites excessive irritations, and the one who wants to influence it, does not need a logical verification of his argumentation, he should paint with the brightest colors, exaggerate and always repeat the same thing. “It is impossible to give a more accurate description of the essence of the influence techniques used in the Lifespring training.
In form, trainings conducted using Lifespring technology are recognizable by their step-by-step courses. The first stage costs from 120 to 250 dollars:
- “Basic course” (other names are “Basic”, “Introductory”, “Initial” or “First step”) – takes two to three days.
- “Advanced course” (aka “Leadership” or “Breakthrough”) lasts five to six days. Price $ 250 – 700.
- The “Leadership Program” (up to $1,000) consists of permanent meetings, usually on weekends, for three months. The method of attracting new participants is carried out according to the principle of network marketing, when “training” voluntarily recruit new listeners.
The ideological features of Lifespring were summarized in the article “Programming the psyche as a method of social management” by Vasily Pugachev, Professor of Philosophy, Head of the Department of the Faculty of Human Resources Management at Moscow State University. Here are some of these signs:
- Stealth. The process of psychoprogramming occurs only when the subject does not know exactly how he is being manipulated. Therefore, he is told that the effectiveness of the training is ensured only with full confidence in the coach.
- Intimate confessions and self-flagellation. A negative retrospective look at one’s life is an effective tool for destroying the existing value system and freeing up space in the psyche for “new records”.
- Assistant coaches posing as regular competitors. This ancient technique is used, for example, in the game of thimbles. “Helpers” applaud and hiss in the right places, share emotional life conflicts, do everything that increases the effectiveness of suggestion.
- The illusion of omnipotence as the core of a new worldview. The main idea of the training: a person is to blame for his own fate, including accidents and illnesses. Such suggestion breeds confusion, confusion, and guilt. Old values are being questioned. And immediately a new way of thinking is proposed (and in fact imperceptibly imposed) based on the belief in the ability to realize any personal goal. The generally correct idea that a person often has more freedom than he thinks is exaggerated and carried to the extreme, giving rise to self-deception of omnipotence.
- Strict rules of conduct. Establishing binding rules is a means of manipulation that keeps participants in complete control.
- Unexpected interpretation of the exercises done. Participants are not explained the meaning and purpose of the exercise. For example, they demand to run a certain distance, and after the run they report an unexpected interpretation of this event: “the slower you ran, the greater your resistance to change.” The stunning effect is the formation of blind, thoughtless obedience.
- Promises of confidentiality and waiver of claims against coaches. Promised participants are easy to predict and easy to manage.
- Physical and (or) psychological exhaustion. This, a favorite method of totalitarian sects, is used to put a person into a light trance and increase his suggestibility.
- Blocking communications, social isolation prevents the possibility of expressing doubt, disagreement or criticism.
- The use of special breathing techniques, such as interactive breathing without pauses between breaths, slows down the circulation of the brain. As a result, dizziness appears, thinking weakens, feelings become aggravated, which increases the influence of the coach on the subconscious.
- The ban on making notes so that a person cannot record and then analyze what is happening. Rational thinking hinders the effectiveness of training in which the emphasis is on emotions.
group pressure. Another trick from the treasury of totalitarian sects, where the group is the main programming tool. Participants develop a strong sense of group cohesion, exclusivity, and then exclusivity.
- New group language. The technique of psychocults that create a special language for initiates, such as the complex terminology of Scientologists. A specific language forms a feeling fromswearing and camouflages the true meaning of words and expressions for non-adepts.
Relaxation, induction of dreams, fantasies, memories. This technique is often used by professional hypnotists. Participants are offered to relax, to be transferred with the help of imagination to some state, while telling them stories and parabolas containing certain commands.
- Introduction to trance with the help of paradoxes and contradictions. Psychotherapists use this technique to quietly put a person into a state of hypnosis and prevent resistance. A popular lifespring construct is this: “The more you try to avoid the process, the more you get sucked into it.”
- Repetitive movements or music. Sound-rhythmic influence underlies any religious-magical system. In addition to music, the trainings use repetitive group chanting, applause, standing up, turning around one’s own axis.
- Understanding how psychotraining works will help you decide if you need such an expensive and often unsafe test. Quoting an Internet blogger under the nickname Gremlin, who went through Lifespring and described his experience in livejournal: “Life is like hormone treatment. There is a result, but there are a lot of side effects. You should go in the following cases.
1. You have two choices: either hang yourself or go to life.
2. You understand very clearly why you are going there. You are ready to spend 90% of your energy on control in order to absorb what you need.
3. You understand “where” you need, but you cannot “break through” and are ready to throw everything on the “altar of victory”.
In all other cases, you don’t have to go.