Work Related Seminar
I went to a 5 day 'seminar' advertised to improve my teaching skills. It turned into a nightmare.
The techniques they used read exactly as described on this website under using mind control for cult recruitment.
As described here, the retreat was in an isolated setting. The faciltators ran to my car as I drove up and walked me to the registration desk. Love bombing all the way.
The first thing that happened was we're told that we were lucky because we had been given all this stuff - free drinks at the reception and a 'gift' - and we didn't have to do anything. Then we were told that the printed schedule was a lie, and the leader literally balled it up and threw it away.
Instead, we were told that he would announce what we would do in the morning at the morning meeting, and after lunch, we would meet again and he would tell us what we would be doing. The times that we were given to meet were very odd times like 9:02 or 9:08. There was an implied threat of punishment if we were late.
We were told that we must wear our name tags at all times. There was again a threat of punishment - here the leader said he would kiss us all on the lips if he found us without a name tag. 80% of the group were female.
He also talked about coming up to our rooms to 'tuck us in at night'.
It was difficult to tell if he was serious or not.
In any case, totally inappropriate.
He performed (literally) for an hour after the dinner, and then many people stayed up late drinking. They offered a lot of free alcohol, which diminishes one's ability to think clear. One is also more like to commit indiscretions, which link you to the group.
The next morning, I wasn't allowed to go breakfast by myself. I had to wait for another person. I was never allowed to eat alone.
So far, all I had heard was a continual reminder "To Embrace the Program". I do not know what the Program is, except there was a continual focus on developing personal relationships with students. Not intimate but friendly. There was no discussion of pedagogy. We were also specifically told that there would be no readings to do.
And this was billed as an academic seminar!
And because my college paid for this event, I felt compelled to stay.
I managed to get alone a few times but they scheduled things so it was nearly impossible to avoid the group from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Many people stayed up even later, drinking and talking.
The rooms we stayed in were freezing. The rooms where we had small group meetings were also very cold.
We never knew what we were doing from hour to hour.
How did 49 adults, college professors, end up losing all decision making abilities? How did we all end up doing the most incredbily childish things? I was totally shocked to see these people revert to child-like behavior, especially when we were forced to go on a field trip.
Well, I was forced to go. We were told it was free time but one of the leaders came to me and told me I had to go. We never knew what groups we would be placed in. The list was given to the leader as a small crumpled ball and he read it out loud. We didn't know what we would do until we were in the group.
The facilitators were former attendants, who were working for free.
It was incredibly well organized. I am 100% sure they discussed the various people, and placed them in groups accordingly.
I was, like everyone, exhausted, and not thinking clearly. I couldn't sleep. It was all so draining and bewildering. I run, and I got up super early to go out, but of course, that became a fact to remark upon. I felt I was watched a lot. I really wasn't participating in the group event or late night 'porch' time.
We did nothing related to teaching. There were a lot of games, and activities designed to create group consciousness. There was a huge pressure to be part of the group.
Only 3 people suggested to me their dissatisfaction with this group. One woman's concerns about the cold, the long days, the lack of privacy (we stayed in a dorm) was rejected by the leader.
At the end, instead of a formal evaluation, we had to go around the circle and say what we learned from this experience. (We sat in circles a lot.) A number of people cried. Not from terror or exhaustion but from what they perceived as euphoria. They talked about how wonderful it had been.
A number of people volunteered to help at the 'seminar' held next summer.
This group has been doing this for 20 years, and they have these seminars in a number of States. I wish I could expose them; a lot of public money is being used to fund our attendance at this event.