Joseph Kelly, Joseph Szimhart, Patrick Ryan
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Virtual Summer Conference
July 11, 2020
The title for this presentation, “MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion,” covers a vast arena for specialized workshops that range from one day to several weeks.
Borrowing techniques from:
- encounter group formats,
- military boot camp training, and
- the mindfulness movements.
These specialized groups operate as unregulated mass therapy businesses and are not licensed as mental health professions. The stated purpose of these “large group awareness training” is to increase self-realization and success in life. The outcomes, however, are problematic. Some critics claiming that a form of “brainwashing” is taking place that emphasizes promotion of the workshops while any real-life gains are highly questionable. Some participants report psychological and social harm. The speakers will guide a discussion to address the criticisms.