Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Danger of Gurus and Cults

N. Sylvie - I read your experience with PU [People Unlimited] and I'd like to talk to you.  I have a few relatives involved and I have many questions.  I personally have not attended and do not plan to get involved.  I am worried for my granddaughter.  Would you be willing to contact me? N

Sylvie Imelda Shene: Hi N, I just saw your message. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have and if I can I will be happy to answer. I am sorry you have relatives that have fell victims of the illusion of PU.

You also might like reading the article in the link below:

N. Hi Sylvie - I really don't know what to ask - I just don't understand why anyone would continuously attend a group meeting where the focus is "you are never going to die". Maybe I am wrong, but what is the attraction for the people who are so hooked at these meetings?

Sylvie Imelda Shene: Hi N, the meetings are very electrifying and addictive just like a drug and for people to keep feeling high, they need to keep going to the meetings, just like a person addictive to drugs needs to keep taking a drug to feel good. Gurus and cult leaders are masters at regressing people to the state of the child so they can have total control over them. You might like reading my book that I just published. Below is a little excerpt where I talk about these psychological mechanisms.

Good luck,


“…I really want to reinforce the idea that so-called therapists and gurus only substitute one dangerous illusion for another. As Alice Miller writes, “What can happen when a doctor doesn’t stop at self-deception in his flight from pain, but deceives his patients, even founding dogmatic institutions in which further ‘helpers’ are recruited to a faith advertised as scientific truth,’ can be catastrophic.”64 The key to effective therapy is learning how to use your present triggers productively. They can help us clarify, understand and consciously feel our intense emotions within the context of our own childhoods without losing our adult consciousness. A good therapist can help us regain our adult consciousness if we lose it and encourage our autonomy, so we can deal with present issues from an adult perspective. But when a therapist regresses us to the state of the desperate child we once were and keeps us feeling old pain over and over again, that just reinforces our dependency, keeps us vulnerable to all kinds of manipulations and makes our addiction to pain harder to shake. Why do people keep punishing themselves? As Alice Miller writes, “… the awareness was borne in upon me that in a state of regression it is not possible to judge the competence and integrity of the person one has turned to for such guidance. This opens up all kinds of opportunities for abuse. The intensive phase with which primal therapy begins is an immediate obstacle to the formation of a balanced, critical, independent assessment of the therapist’s abilities by the client. The fact that the attendant uncritical and irrational expectations of healing and ‘salvation’ can lead to the establishment of totalitarian sects is borne out by the crass example of mass abuse at the hands of the exponents of ‘feeling therapy’ as described in detail by Carol Lynn Mithers in her book Therapy Gone Mad: The True Story of Hundreds of Patients and a Generation Betrayed (1994). But this study was possible only after the community she describes had disbanded, something that frequently takes decades. Today we know that such groups exist and that members of sects are done irremediable harm before they become aware of the fact.”65 In another book, she goes on to say, “The thing that concerns me most about cult groups is the unconscious manipulations that I have described in detail in my work. It is the way in which the repressed and unreflected childhood biographies of parents and therapists influence the lives of children and patients entrusted to their care without anyone involved actually realizing it. At first glance, it may seem as if what goes on in cults and cultlike therapy groups takes place on a different level from the unconscious manipulation of children by their parents. We assume that in the former instance we are in the presence of an intentional, carefully planned and organized form of manipulation aimed at exploiting the specific predicament of individuals. … First, they had learned how to reduce people to the emotional state of the helpless child. Once they had achieved that, they also learned how to use unconscious regression to exercise total control over their victims. From then on, what they did seemed to come automatically, in accordance with the childrearing patterns instilled into them in their own childhood.”66 Most people who search for answers never actually find them, because people suffering with their own repression are the ones who practice traditional therapies. Since the beginning of human history, priests, teachers, gurus, psychics, doctors, philosophers and psychologists have all duped people into thinking they could provide real assistance, when it was never possible because the healers were also victims of their own childhoods.” From the book:  A Dance to Freedom: Your Guide to Liberation from Lies and Illusions, page 129, 130 and 131

Original blog about my experience with People Unlimited

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