I have no legal recourse. I have nothing left to do but tell my story, in hopes that others will read it and avoid the pain and suffering that this organization has caused me. I am told that my case is unusual, However, I have read the stories online of others like myself who have had devastating experiences with Landmark Education. I participated in The Forum in January of 1998, and signed up for The Advanced course at the end of The Forum. During the time between courses my life seemed to be right on track and I was functioning just fine. I was more than eager to take the $700+ "Advanced Course". In my eyes my life needed a little shaking up. When I signed the paperwork, I never expected that my life would be turned upside down and my mind would be so shaken that I would wind up on a psych unit on anti-psychotic medication.
I can recall at the beginning of the Course that we were given the instruction to "be coachable". In Landmark being coachable means letting go of your questions and accepting everything that the leader of the session says without inquiry. I remember at one point dredging up a horrid experience form my past and laying myself open for scathing criticism. I was required to place blame on myself for a rape that I had survived about five years previous. Somehow, my mind shut down after that. I was gone, unable to function at any rational level.
I have some vague memories of being driven home. Landmark dismissed me from the session before it ended. They sent me home in a daze, unable to function in the real world. That night I can remember my fears being laid so bare that I was afraid to sleep. I was certain that if I slept that I would die. I did not sleep the next night either. Finally on Tuesday, the day I was to go back for the evening session of the Advanced Course--I wound up on the psych ward at my local hospital.
I was so open to suggestion that I believed that I was under attack by vampires (I had caught an episode of Buffy at a friend's house on my second sleepless night). I was very involved with the Internet so during my second psychotic break I hallucinated that I was a computer. I also had delusions of being a river and various other things. I was mostly catatonic and could not communicate normally, as I was under the impression that I was speaking with others telepathically. To put it mildly--I was a mess.
I spent seven days in the hospital and hallucinated for at least five of those seven days. I had lingering fears for months afterwards and still shake when I talk about the experience. I lost most of my memory of events from both before and during the Forum. It has taken me over a year to piece my life back together bit by painful bit.
I accused my father falsely of sexually abusing me during this break. I am certain that I will never fully regain his trust or our once close relationship. Landmark Education destroyed my life.
I have several other friends who are involved in this organization--they are completely lost to me. I have spoken with them since their participation and they seem like zombies, incapable of making decisions for themselves.
There is no doubt in my mind that this organization is destructive. The most charitable thing I can say about Landmark is that they are a very slick sales force.
I hope that this information helps some people. Please be aware [Landmark] is NOT harmless. It is NOT safe, and it is NOT the answer to your questions about life. What Landmark is--is [like] skydiving with your sanity. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to pack your own chute. Many people make it out in one piece--however, others do not. Perhaps you should:
· Ask questions and do not sign any forms.
· If the person persuading you to take the Forum cannot answer your questions--tactfully decline their invitation.
I cannot stress this enough. Do not wind up being a casualty of this MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION. Like any other CORPORATION they do not have the interest of the consumer in mind--they are simply designed as a self-perpetuating money-making machine. They do not look out for participants, but they do cover their asses when it comes to potential lawsuits.
DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM!!!!!! --stay far away.
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