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Day Two - Psychological Breakdown

Friday Evening - Psychological Breakdown

The second evening starts again at 7 P.M. By this time the class is trained to get to their seats when a particular piece of music is played. The agreement is to be in your seat and ready to begin when the music ends.

However a major traffic jam into the city has caused several people to be late myself included. This is a trainer's dream come true. One by one people were told to stand up and explain why they were late. No excuse was accepted. Every person was made to admit total responsibility for being late often revealing other patterns in their life where they were supposedly irresponsible. This often brought people to tears.

Dr. Singer writes in "Cults in Our Midst"

"Having observed a number of LGATs and having interviewed many persons who attended variants of these programs as part of their work assignments, I am astonished at the gross childishness and unkindness of humiliating anyone under the guise of education, experiential learning, or the claim that participation in such travesties enhances work performance. Nor do all participants find sessions of "sharing" personal details helpful."

Because I was late too I got "called to task" for breaking the agreement. Since I knew how that stupid game is played it irritated me. So the trainer was trying to get me to admit breaking the agreement and I said "that is your context not mine". The trainer hollered at me some more and finally I said "OK, I broke the agreement" and sat down. The trainer ordered me to stand up I said "No, I decide to sit". The trainer ordered me again and I said "I decide". So the trainer said "well just leave then". So I got up and left (my mistake, Doh!). See how the trainer wins every encounter?

Of course then the "handling" begins. When people get pissed off and walk out the door there is a staff member outside to "handle" you. I bitched a bit about it being all too predictable and that I didn't want to be right about this course but looks like I am anyway. I brought out the copy of Singer's chapter on LGATs and started quoting it to the handler. I also made comments like "How come every sentence you say starts with 'Are you open to the possibility...'" Finally I said just leave me alone for a few minutes and I sat and cleared away ALL the anger I was feeling with a little meditation trick I learned. Then I really had fun with the handler.

The handler asks me to come back in the course. I said "Hey, the trainer asked me to leave. Guess I'm not welcome in the course."

The handler says "What would it take to get you to come back in the room?"

I said "An Invitation".

"Well, I invite you to come back in"

I said "From the trainer"

She said "Well, I'm on the staff and I invite you back in"

I said "Let me get a glass of water and think about it."

So I hung out for about 15 minutes purposely having fun with that handler. I even made her open the door and hold it for me going back in.

When I got back in the trainer was in the middle of another one of those fast paced lectures showing all the negative things in people's life and how it keeps them isolated from the possibilities outside their box.

Then the awareness exercises begin again; diads, open body posture, closed-eye reflections etc.

The victim game: Tell your partner a story about which you think you were a victim. Then your partner tells you one. After this the trainer instructs you to retell your story from the point of view that you were responsible and admitting your role in what happened.

They made me do it: This process involves stating as fast as you can things you were *made* to do. My mom made me clean my room. The IRS made me pay my taxes. My boss made me work. The traffic made me late. etc. etc.

I have to: This process involves finding out why you *have* to do things. It is a progression to the underlying cause of why you do things. I have to work. If I don't work, then I don't get paid. If I don't get paid then I can't make the house payment. If I can't make the house payment then the bank will foreclose. If the bank forecloses then I have no where to live. If I don't have a place to live then I'll freeze in winter. If I freeze in winter then I get sick. If I get sick then I die. THEREFORE, I would RATHER work then die.

The Red/Black game: After several of these types of processes it was time for the Red/Black game. In this game people are divided into 2 teams and sent to separate rooms. Instructions were given to get the most number of points, elect a captain who will tally the votes, everyone has to vote and the count has to be taken exactly or it will be declared invalid.

There are 10 frames in this game like a bowling sheet. The 5th frame is double points, the 10th frame is triple points. Points are accumulated from frame to frame. There is no communication to the other team other than a staffer runs back and forth between rooms and tells you how the other team voted. between frames. Each team votes on a color red or black with a simple majority. The trainer goes back and forth between the rooms and observes. There is absolutely no help from the staff.

Scoring is as follows:

Team A vote   Team B vote          Team A scores      Team B scores
Black Black +3 +3
Red Black +5 -5
Black Red -5 +5
Red Red -5 -5

It should be obvious that the scenario is win/win win/lose lose/win and lose/lose. There are people in each group that have figured the game out and tell the others the object of the game. The first frame is voted black/black. In the second frame red/black. The third frame black/red. From then on its red/red the whole way out resulting in a negative score to a negative score. Little did we know there was hell to pay...

By this time it was after 1 AM and we were told to file back into the main ballroom in silence. The trainer had a look that would kill. When we got to our seats we were ordered to close our eyes and the trainer yelled at us for 30 minutes straight. We were told that what we did in the game amounted to war and the way we played that game was the way we lived our lives. That lecture was filled with just about every negative behavior imaginable. You would have thought we were the leaders of Russia and America who just fired off an all-out nuclear exchange at each other and were now being called to account for it in hell.

After a night of sleep deprivation and now another late night plus all the psychological opening exercises, this screaming lecture sends thunderbolts through your subconscious. I felt like with every sentence that a powerful jolt of electricity was sent through my nervous system.

We were told to leave in silence and were given an assignment to spend an hour reflecting on what we just did and to be back at 10 AM. This is in addition to written homework due the next day. By this time it is going on 2 in the morning.

How to win the game? Refuse to vote unless the whole team votes for the win-win scenario.