Abstracts of Articles in Psychological Journals concerning est and The Forum


David Shy's House of Knoweledge
By David Shy

  • Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training:
    I. A report of cases.
    L. L. Glass, M. A. Kirsch and F. N. Parris.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 1977;134(3):245-7.

    Erhard Seminars Training (est) is a large-group experience that is becoming widely available in this country. This is the first case report in the professional literature of psychiatric disturbance following est training. Five patients, only one of whom had a history of psychiatric disturbance, developed psychotic symptoms including grandiosity, paranoia, uncontrollable mood swings, and delusions. Further work is necessary to ascertain the factors that determine outcome in est.


  • Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training:
    II. additional cases and theoretical considerations.
    M. A. Kirsch and L. L. Glass.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 1977;134(11):1254-8.

    In a previous article, the authors reported on 5 individuals who developed psychoses after participation in Erhard Seminars Training (est). Two additional cases are reported, and the combined case material is discussed in terms of group and psychodynamic theories. The authoritarian est leadership style may mobilize in trainees an overdetermined and pathological reliance on identification with the aggressor. Such a mechanism may be central to the production of psychiatric casualties, particularly in individuals with defective ego boundaries. Future controlled research is necessary to ascertain the rate of occurrence of psychiatric disturbances associated with est and to test the authors' hypotheses.


  • Observations on 67 patients who took Erhard Seminars Training.
    J. Simon.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 1978;135(6):686-91.

    The author describes the effects of Erhard Seminars Training (est) on 67 patients--49 who took est during the course of psychotherapy with him and 18 who were seen for evaluation, consultation, or treatment after having taken est. Responsiveness to est was assessed in terms of individually predefined psychodynamics and treatment goals. Of the 49 patients who took est during therapy, 30 were judged to show some positive response and 19 were rated unchanged. The author believes that est often has a strong influence toward psychotherapeutic movement in patients with good ego strength who are motivated to change.


  • A psychotic episode following Erhard Seminars Training.
    A. C. Higgitt and R. M. Murray.
    Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 1983;67(6):436-9.

    A case of a psychotic episode following Erhard Seminars Training is reported. This is the first reported case of adverse psychological effects from this type of training in Great Britain but it closely resembles previous reports from the United States of America. The possibility of a distinct syndrome is tentatively raised. The apparent rarity of such episodes is noted.


  • Characteristics of participants in a large group awareness training.
    Y. Klar, R. Mendola, J. D. Fischer, R. C. Silver, J. M. Chinsky and B. Goff.
    Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 990;58(1):99-108.

    A study was conducted to assess the psychosocial characteristics of individuals who become involved in large group awareness training (LGAT) programs. Prospective participants in The Forum, which has been classified as an LGAT, were compared with nonparticipating peers and with available normative samples on measures of well-being, negative life events, social support, and philosophical orientation. Results revealed that prospective participants were significantly more distressed than peer and normative samples of community residents and had a higher level of impact of recent negative life events compared with peer (but not normative) samples. Prospective participants also held preparticipation values more similar to those espoused by the LGAT than peer or normative samples, and the three groups failed to be distinguished by their levels of social support. The implications of the findings are considered for understanding participation in LGATs and other self-change promoting activities.

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