Sunday, 7 February 2010

What Do People Who Have Been to Landmark Think?

Not everyone who goes to Landmark Education forums raves about them. Some come away disturbed, but Landmark rarely warns people that their psyches could be seriously damaged. If they did they would lose their income flows, of course. Because ultimately it's about making money out of you--nothing more.

So to balance the scales, here are some quotes from people who have attended the Forum from the Rick Ross website.

"I recently attended the Landmark Forum. I was surprised at how quickly people 'popped' and bought into the program and were ready to bring others into a program that didn't seem to amount to much at all. At the end of one exercise, I asked if there were any academic studies that verified the previous session and was reminded that during the introduction 'We told you that nothing we say is true' so maybe this isn't true either. I walked out and went to a movie. Best thing I ever did. Landmark is running a racket."
"I just dropped out of a Landmark Forum after 1.2 days. I was appalled by the controlling, manipulative conduct of the facilitator and his volunteers. I was followed to the bathroom by three people yesterday and berated for sending a text message. I left early and a 'see the program coordinator' note was on my file. I was very concerned when we were told not to write anything down and with the length of the Forum. 13.5 hours would leave someone vulnerable with exhaustion. I've likely lost $550 learning the hardway. I should have done more research, but I'm glad to know that this information IS out there if someone wants to look."
"In December of 2006 I attended landmark forum due to a VERY persistent friend who kept repeating 'do you trust me? Just ignore what it says on the internet. You don’t know those people but you know me and I wouldn’t get you mixed up in something that would harm you in any way. This experience will change your life.' Well, after weeks of this (and I was ready for a change in my life) I felt 'what the heck' it can’t be that bad. WRONG! I am no longer friends with this person and I regret taking the forum. I keep recalling the last day when they practically forced everyone in the room to take out their credit cards, check books or cash to sign guests up for a future forum date and those who already took the forum were urged to sign up for the advanced class. I realized that it was a money-making scam and never took the free seminars or advanced class. They repeatedly called me asking me to give my deposit and to fax my information form. I’m grateful that I never got my family or friends involved. I regret wasting $440.00 on this sham."
"I took the Forum and a Landmark communication course, but didn't like my experiences there. I thought it was positively sinister the way this organization used manipulation and group peer pressure. Gathering more adherents seemed to be their r'aison d'etre,' after all it's a business. I resisted "bringing guests," everyone I knew had already been through it, got whatever they got from it, and were not interested in paying for more. Landmark has an awful lot of unpaid volunteers to man its courses and run the centers. Seems like this is a great way to get rich off of volunteer stiffs. I believe that there is something rotten in this Denmark."

"I've enjoyed reading your website, especially about Landmark. My husband was involved with Landmark for 2 years and it was hell getting him out. Landmark was the ONLY thing that has ever threatened our strong marriage, and thank God it is behind us now."

"I just did it and actually had a powerful experience, but was really turned off by the constant push to enroll others. About a third of my session in the seminar series was devoted to this. Special coaching was set up to be better at enrolling others. I dared to complain about this respectfully and in private. Then a seminar leader called and told me that I would no longer be participating. They don't like questions and can always turn it back on you, how it's really your 'racket.' It's too bad, because there are some useful things in the course. But I am definitely not giving any more money to Landmark."

27 comments:

AlfonsoG said...

As someone who has taken a variety of Landmark programs, I would take issue with a couple of things that you said. You imply that Landmark doesn't care about the health of the people who take part, not warning people that a course that takes a long, hard look at one's life is not appropriate for everyone. In fact, Landmark's Education explicitly gives a health warning in its paperwork, saying the courses aren't right for some people. I also take issue with the idea that Landmark is in it only for the money - in all my life of dealing with various companies, they are probably the group that is least interested in making a fast buck off of people and most interested in people having happy, fulfilled lives.

Anonymous said...

I have done the Landmark Forum and the communication courses. I was a little annoyed about being asked constantly to register people however I understand that as they rely completely on word of mouth advertising. That will be changing soon from what I have heard. Landmark has a wellbeing policy and always informs people of what will happen before you go into the forum. There is nothing kept secret. I believe my life is better today because I took some of the programs. If anyone had to seek psycho therapy after they attended it most likely is because they had mental issues before they took the course.

Ashenart said...

I took the landmark forum about a year and a half ago, and was kind of intimidated by what at first seemed like a huge push for money. But I tried to let it go and see if I could get any benefit out of it. I was introduced to it through a coworker who I found very inspiring and I will never forget her for what she gave me. I wasn't someone who imidietly "popped" I actually finished the course without really getting the epiphany they talk about but I went back and spoke with the landmark seminar leader and he helped me understand through a one on one talk. I realized after I really got it, the reason they seem so pushy is because they genuinely want you to experience the freedom and joy and relief you get after you "get it". I would love for the world to understand and feel strong and in control but I also understand everyone percieves things differently. I know there will be many who are disapointed maybe because it was presented to them in a way that didn't resonate with them or they were just not ready or open to recieving the information. I hope eventually all who were less than amazed by the program find another way to clarity because everyone deserves it.

Ashenart said...

I took the landmark forum about a year and a half ago, and was kind of intimidated by what at first seemed like a huge push for money. But I tried to let it go and see if I could get any benefit out of it. I was introduced to it through a coworker who I found very inspiring and I will never forget her for what she gave me. I wasn't someone who imidietly "popped" I actually finished the course without really getting the epiphany they talk about but I went back and spoke with the landmark seminar leader and he helped me understand through a one on one talk. I realized after I really got it, the reason they seem so pushy is because they genuinely want you to experience the freedom and joy and relief you get after you "get it". I would love for the world to understand and feel strong and in control but I also understand everyone percieves things differently. I know there will be many who are disapointed maybe because it was presented to them in a way that didn't resonate with them or they were just not ready or open to recieving the information. I hope eventually all who were less than amazed by the program find another way to clarity because everyone deserves it.

Anonymous said...

who is this Rick Ross guy? I see him posted every where there is anti-landmark. why is it this guy is out to find every little comment about a great program. I think I know...

1. he never did landmark
2. he was raped by family member and never able to confront it and is an angry MFer who has no f'in life
3. because he controls this site, he will take my comments down

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Anonymous said...

I participated in just about every Landmark Education course that is offered.

To begin with I found the courses extremely beneficial and life changing. However the methods used are designed to break down every thought or value ever held and question everything you hold on to. I pretty much had a mental breakdown in one course and was told that it was good because now I could start rebuilding. Which is true to a point. It has been 3 years since I finished my last course with them and while for the most part the programs have been life changing they also took me to the brink of suicide because of the use of untrained staff. It is my belief that if a program like this is to run it should be balanced with professional assistance. It is ok to say that only people who have mental disorders will have a reaction, however the pressure put on their participants in some of the courses can cause mental breakdowns. In one course that I did a fellow participant did attempt suicide and was quickly removed from the program and left unsupported. So landmark would not be implicated. Although it took 3 years for me to hit the brink of suicide if I had it would have been as a direct result of having completed their courses and having had issues being brought to the surface that I didn't know were there and then being left to manage them on my own. Although the programs are life changing they are also dangerous in their current form. I am left wondering how many people have ended their lives as a direct result of having participating in these programs?

Anonymous said...

I'd be really interested to talk to people who did some Landmark courses and didn't like them, or who did quite a few courses, thought there was something useful, but then stopped because they didn't feel it was a good idea to go further. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

They have been pushing me a lot and my family to continue with them and they have made problem between us. I know that its all about money but its not a good way.

Anonymous said...

I was involved in Landmark for 6 years. I did all the programs and seminars. During that time I lost everything. I left my high paying career, attempted returning to school and failed, and began an extremely abusive relationship. I was sexually coerced by a seminar leader (called me out of the blue wanting to create the possibility of sex, when I wasn't a listening for that I was told I was running a racket and not being authentic, then he moved me to another coach - a male friend of his - who spent the next 8 weeks yelling at me for not being coachable or authentic in my relationship with the seminar leader). I left after seeing them abuse my children and not even care. I still cant believe it took the abuse of my children to leave. I should have left much sooner, but its difficult when they call you 3 times a day and question you on what it is that you are resisting, because surely the only reason why you arent signed up for the next seminar is because your resisting something. My stepfather was an s.e.l.p. leader. I remember working part time, while taking 20 college credits, while single parenting 3 children under the age of 5, while volunteering at a hospital, while doing landmark seminars and assisting. I was beyond burnt out and in very bad health. Upon mentioning my need for a break to my s.e.l.p. leading stepfather, he said sarcastically "well are you going to stop breathing during that break too?" Because in the language of the s.e.l.p., taking a break means youre resisting something or your not living your possibility and that might as well mean your dead. Since then I've spent 6 years rebuilding my life and recovering, and will probably be doing so for the rest of my life. My health still hasnt fully recovered, I'm still not employed at the same level I was before and I suffer from debilitating anxiety at times. My children are all in therapy (as was I). The bright spot is my healthy marriage to a wonderfully supportive man. My advice to everyone is to get out before you get in. There are many other paths to the enlightenment you seek that are cheaper, kinder and lead to much longer lasting satisfaction and fulfullment.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy...my ex_boyfriend has been attending these seminars and Im afraid he's susceptible to anything. He recently reached out to me and was acting so strange about it all. He began selling me Landmark and I quickly got off the phone. Anyone know someone whos loved one is in this?

Anonymous said...

Please read below!

Anonymous said...

Hi, my dad is a Seminar leader and he doesn't get paid squat, as do a vast majority of the staff at landmark. Why do these great people devote so much of their lives to this money-making scheme, because they are committed to changing peoples lives for the better. Also why does landmark education not pay these people? because they are committed to keeping prices as low as possible, so that as many people as possible can use the training taught in landmark. As far as i know, many of the people above have not actually completed the course, so how can they speak as if they know it like the back of their hand?

David Svarrer said...

I think, that I would humbly like just to share a little bit with you guys. Landmark Education has in a very quiet, very slow, very non-dramatic way, changed my life from being inauthentic, without integrity, and boring, to be lively, real, fun, with integrity almost all the way through, and interesting. I have learned to take up much bigger challenges in my life, see them through - I have started working for street children here in Nairobi with success - so so many things has happened as a result of participating in Landmark's education - so on a very humble note - if anybody asked me, if I wanted my life back from before I participated in Landmark Education - my answer is no. I am very happy with my new life, and so are my friends, colleagues and beloved ones. The statements made in this blog before my little testimony here, are naturally the views of these people - and that must be respected - but it is my experience from Kenya where I live, that not even one person here have experienced horror stories like the ones mentioned above, and for instance the one with sexual harrassment, I find it so completely odd and different from anything I have ever heard or seen by anyone of those I have had the pleasure to talk with about Landmark Education. I think, if those of you who commented like that above, went to Landmark Education Head Quarter, you would likely be supported by them to get to the bottom of your horrible expeirences.. Warmly David Svarrer, 06 October 2013, Kenya.

Anonymous said...

I just recently completed Landmark Forum and went to and did Advance. It left me with a bitter taste from the Advance course. We lost perspectives in an interrogation room type of environment and brainwashed is inevitable.
In saying that, the good essence out of Forum is to coach people not to be so dramatic and most of things are in my heads as long as we review things objectively, the healing and the daily dealings can be taken at ease.
As of from the Advance course, it simply reminds us that there are events, people and incidents happening outside of our individual sphere. Put down our own self trouble and do something good for mankind. Always put ourselves in others' shoes.

I appreciate that after AUS$1,300, this is what I got out of these two courses. All in all, I am disgusted though by the pressurized peer gang up and close to bully for anyone to signup more and more people. After every single break, there's a count on the board to indicate how well everyone's effectiveness by 'measuring the numbers of enrollment'.
Under the brainwashed condition, people forget our human rights and the freedom of choice. NO is a No, please respect that.
Then they made you stand up and publicly shaming you using their jargon that it's your act (your excuse) and your racket (things you run to cover up the badness).

I regret every bit of Advance Course. All in all, I would advise people to stay away from Landmark courses.

Anonymous said...


All I know is that I and seemingly many others have "lost" a person we care about to a place that preaches building healthy relationships. How much wisdom do they possess...obv none...since they all become total control freaks that have only ended or engage in completely controlling relationships.

Anonymous said...

I did Landmark education in 2008. I spent $0 as a sponsor paid for nearly $5000 of the work for me. I completed the highest level course, the introduction leaders program. However, i did not meet my measures, so i was not cleared to lead. The trust of the whole experience of it was underwhelming. Simple lessons like be honest, tell the truth, never give up, push yourself to succeed, are all at the heart of the lamdmark philosophy. The staff get confrontational because they are trying to help you see your own BS. Nobody likes being called on their BS. Nobody. Is it a cult? No. It's no more a cult than a room full of 70 year old church people who really love their gathering place are a cult. Do they charge a lot? That depends on how well off you are. $500 to some is sunatantial. To others, it's a fart in the wind... nothing. The lady here who reported the sexual abuse case... i hope you calles the cops... assuming you are telling the truth, that seminar leader certainly acted without the approval of the whole organization. You can't condemn an entire university for one horrible, crapuliscious professor. Was there a time when I was super hyped about landmark? Yes. Did i go around telling everyone like a good little evangelizing doobilator? Yes i did. It was what I signed up to do. Do I regret it? No, I dont. There are worse things on earth than being overly enthusiastic about something you enjoyed. 8 years later, i do apply what i learned in landmark everyday. In 2008, i had no money, was living with my parents, had juat dropped out of a highly ranked phd program and had no direction. 8 years later, i am married, my wife and I are in the top 10% income bracket in the US, we own a home, 2 cars, travel all the time, have a side business, and work for highly respected organizations... the kind you need badges and key cards to get into.... lol. So, was all thisnfrom landmark? No, it came from me incorporating the lessons i learned, using the ones i liked and throwing out the rest. They are right about on thing my friends: life is a choice. I made bad choices that made me broke and living in my parent's basement and learned to make good choices that made me a respected professional, homeowner, husband, and brother. Will it work for you? I don't know. No one can answer that but you and you won't know unless you try. Good luck ;)

Anonymous said...

Please dont do landmark. There are some "good" things about it, but it is not needed. People will try to convince you otherwise (like some who have previously commented) but it is not worth it in the long run.

Anonymous said...

A friend called me on my summer vacation to snooker me into Landmark. She kept telling me how much I needed it and 'please put down the money to register now, because it starts when you register.' She wouldn't take 'please wait till I get back into town so I can enjoy my vacation' for an answer either. In reading all these comments, I'm glad I didn't go.

Lisa said...

First clue is the money factor!!! Once you pull your head outta your ass give your head a shake... OK ready let's get real, they are after your money, bottom line that's it... Your friends your family and they do high high pressure sales tactics to those who are open accept for those that just run out the door immediately. OK so you are spending money, recruiting for them!! What kind of caring loving person charges those who they allegedly love and supposedly care about for a better life? I'll tell you who, money hungry asswholes ,this is a scam scam, scam. So you might be dealing with some really good honesty here just be honest with your self and recognize what's really GOING ON HERE!! Is your first step to becoming healthy and appreciating you Dodge another disaster in your life. Please, please, stop. This is disgusting and a pathetic cash in on human despair. RUN!!!!!

Unknown said...

I was a part of Landmark for nearly 4 years. The Landmark forum as well as most of its courses have positively impacted my life. However, be aware of the Assisting Programs especially their leadership programs which I participated in most of the time I was a part of Landmark. It is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes of this organization and the people that run it and how cult like it ended up being in the sense of when you are ready to leave the organization how the people running the show will shun you out and speak ill of you. Theyll do everything to try and keep you around until they realized you want to spread your wings and fly away, then they will turn their backs on you.

I read a lot of complaints about always being asked to bring guests to events etc. Well guess what, as a leader of Landmark that is one of their main focuses. It is poor performance and you'll get chastised for not having enough guests. You'll sit there and have an hour conversation after the seminar about how it is your fault and how you suck and you need to get more guests showing up at your events. The center manager lives and breaths how many new registrations did we get, how many guests did we have. Their primary focus is this and as a person who assists they will beat you up mentally for not hitting their numbers for them. Did they forget, Landmark is here for the people who assist, not here to chastise them, but to support them. Maybe if your center is struggling with numbers and you are constantly being denied to become a forum leader, look no further than yourself, you you you.

The pay that the staff makes is against labor laws. They work ridiculous hours, don't get paid overtime, and the way it is justified??? Well, they were assisting when they worked those extra hours, not actually on staff...

One of the main measures of the ILP is how many people can you get registered. You aren't a leader unless you can get a certain number of people enrolled in the Landmark Forum. This is one of the large areas that help fill the forum, the ILP program. Every 6 months a fresh batch of faces with new connections comes in, and that fresh batch of faces the center is counting on to help fill their Landmark Forum.

Take their courses, they are great, but don't fall into the trap of Assisting. Even for just a simple 3 day course. You'll be the one cleaning the toilets, doing heavy labor lifting chairs, getting their at 8 am and leaving at midnight...all for free. Then they try and convince you by asking, what do you want to get out of assisting? Ya, and then the leaders try and convince you that you got something from assisting or it is your fault for not getting something out of stacking a bunch of chairs lol.

Unknown said...

U sound crazy lol smh

Unknown said...

U sound crazy lol smh

Anonymous said...

I recently attempted to complete the 3-day landmark forum and could not, as I became increasingly offended and disturbed by some of the material presented, as well as the way in which it was delivered. From the beginning, it seemed that the goal was to tire and weaken the participants in order to lower their level of resistance...the 13 hr days, the scarcity of breaks, the insistence that all participants complete assignments during their 'breaks' and after hours. The way the group leader approached the participants was bullying and aggressive..lots of yelling and intimidation. . Absolutely no critical thinking is tolerated,if anyone dares to challenge any of the ideas being put forth they are promptly subjected to humiliation in front of an audience, and "enlightened" as to how it is really their own deficiencies that cause them to feel that way. I found it amusing although also sinister that one of the behaviours the 'forum' is supposedly trying to free people from is the pattern of always "trying to look good / avoid looking bad", while it was very obvious to me that they are exploiting this very tendency in order to ensure their own success. Every time the leader wishes to reinforce a point it is delivered as a general question to the entire audience, with the clear expectation that no one wants to be the odd one out by not putting their hand up when everyone else does, etc.

The sales pitch aspect of it all cannot be easily ignored either. One doesn't need to spend much time in 'the forum' before realizing how determined they are to sign you up for further courses and seminars, and to pressure you into recruiting your friends and family. At the end of day two, they present you with what they call a "bonus opportunity" - which is actually a request that you contact 3 people and woo them by describing the powerful transformative experience you've had, that they can't possibly live without. Ugh...I'd rather swallow razor blades than recommend this bullshit to anyone.

What really offended me though, was when one individual, who had just revealed to an audience of strangers that they were molested as a child, was cautioned by the leader that she should not refer to her molestation as "sexual abuse". Apparently, calling it that is part of one's "story" and not actually "what happened". I was appalled by this, both for the damage that could potentially be caused to the victim and also for the broader implications of circulating this view.

Coming out of it, I feel lucky that I am strong minded and was capable of seeing it for what it was. At the same time, I was disturbed by how easily the majority of the participants were led, and how willing they were to accept this doctrine without analysis of debate. In a nutshell, it seemed that the landmark forum is designed to force its' agenda on people in a way that is so manipulative & abusive that it can easily prey on the most vulnerable among us. It should be outlawed.

Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine was involved in Landmark for about three years and had a bad experience, and now I have three colleagues at work who are taking Landmark courses. Wanting to inform myself about LM I've done lots of research, including reading many accounts similar to the above anon (1/7/2017) where emotional and mental manipulation tactics have been used to suck people in and ultimately make sales.

What I really can't get past, and why I would never get involved in LM no matter the value of the content in subsequent courses, is their irresponsible approach to dealing with people's traumas as part of the Forum weekend. Digging into and triggering painful memories and events without a professional therapeutic container. And in the example given above re. child abuse, laying the responsibility with the victim (as if victims don't have a hard enough time to not blame themselves). As if that's not bad enough in itself, this psychological framework of participants telling 'stories' and being responsible etc is all setting them up so that if participants want to leave or start to question/challenge LM, LM can turn around and say 'oh well that's just your story' or 'we're not doing anything wrong, if you have a problem with us then you're the one with the problem, not us - try harder'. They're creating a similar psychological headspace to that in abusive relationships/relationships with narcissists who are never accountable for their actions.

During these w/e's participants are encouraged to call someone that there's been an issue with - I've read accounts of people calling abusive parents or ex-partners that they perhaps have been out of contact with (for good reason). The idea of people dissolving boundaries they've made (usually for their own peace of mind/safety), because of pressure from the Forum, does not sit well with me. This is twofold. Firstly, there are testimonies of people who had a negative outcome from doing this (either the conversation they had reinforced that the abuser didn't give a crap about them and there'd be no healing or resolution between them, or the person had a breakdown hearing their abuser's voice after X years). Secondly, I see this activity as a way for the forum to exert a measure of control over these folks. If you can persuade them to do something they probably don't really want to do (i.e have a hard conversation), what else can you persuade them to do? Sign up to expensive courses, right? You now have them in a state where they're open to dissolving their personal boundaries - if you have weak or fluctuating boundaries then you're more open to influence.

People could take the LM Forum in a more detached headspace and maybe not be so sucked in or affected by it emotionally/psychologically, but personally from a moral standpoint I wouldn't want to give any time or money to an organisation that I know uses questionable techniques and manipulation.

There are plenty of other options and modalities out there that can offer you things you want (counselling, issue-specific therapists, leadership/communication courses, help groups, self-help books etc).

The irresponsible treatment of people who have had significant trauma (ultimately for profit) is the thing that really ticks me off. If their personal development courses are effective and worthwhile, they shouldn't need to be humiliating people on stage, using known manipulation tactics, and prodding people's traumas to make sales.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your clear and precise (should I say authentic??) account of your forum experience. I could not agree more- you voiced my fundamental disgust most eloquently. My husband has been VERY involved in the last 18 months and I attended at his 'urging'. You know what that was like.
The few solid and wise bits of info. are basically negated by the lack of integrity of the organization as a whole. I lasted a day- it was very tedious and repetitive- and knew I want nothing to do with this ever, ever again. I fear for my marriage if my husband is unable to distance himself from this.
I'd gladly post my name bc I stand by my experience of what this racket actually is, but I have no social media accounts. Thank you for your logical and thoughtful writing.
MM

Anonymous Racketeer :) said...

I have done all of the courses and was heavily involved. I would never go back. You are regurgitating what they tell your father to say. I heard these exact words, and wasn't duped. The price of the forum is now close to $1000. They have no labour costs beyond 3 staff members per centre who they pay less than the minimum wage.

This organisation preys on the weak and gullible.
They would say this is 'running a racket' to avoid dealing with the truth about what they are up to.

I feel sorry for the people that get duped. They are convinced their lives are better for it. In reality, some are, yet many are ruining marriages, close relationships, their careers, self generated self esteem and wasting a heck of a lot of money and making some people super rich.

Should be closed down.