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Not all self-help and personal development programs are created alike. What might work magically for one person may not resonate with the next. It’s hard to figure out what’s relevant, because usually, you hear about the program from your overzealous friend or family member, whose enthusiasm seems pressuring, and you feel skeptical. Then, you go online to learn more about the program and all you find are links to cult monitoring websites and flame wars between people with very strong, mostly uninformed opinions about the various organizations. How do you know what to believe?

There are a number of resources online that identify and describe all of the dangerous cults out there.  One of the most well known cult information sites lists anything from Burning Man to Rebirthing alongside the KKK and Charles Manson (!)  There is a dangerous lack of distinction between malicious organizations that intend to harm others, and tools that were created to help people. Since almost all self-help programs are undeservedly accused of being cults, it can deter people from  participating in programs that could truly transform their lives and bring them great joy.

Some of these organizations have leaders who are more controversial than others. However, the most frequently cited evidence that these people are cult leaders, such as mismanagement of resources, superficiality, hypocrisy and hobnobbing with celebrities, is not necessarily accurate.  If it was, many regular organizations and corporations could probably be classified as cults. Instead, these may simply be signs to avoid the particular organization until it improves in these areas, or  even signs that the leader is very subversive and not well-liked by the press.

Additionally, just because a program uses techniques like group training, NLP, hypnosis, and other alternative tools does not make it a cult. Nor are these things necessarily bad for you – it depends on the context in which they are used, as well as other factors, such as the ones we use to rate the programs. Most importantly, only you are ultimately responsible for the results that you receive from any program or education.

For these reasons, unless there is obvious harm to participants or they are not free to leave the organization, we will not consider it a cult and may review the program. We think that there are better questions to ask and address than, “is this a cult?” Instead we have come up with a list of important criteria to help you evaluate whether a particular program is right for you. A full description of these can be found on the Criteria page.

You won’t find any hysterical ‘customer reviews’ here. Listen to the opinions of unbiased, trusted voices instead. All of our reviewers are deeply experienced in the realm of self development and have participated in a wide variety of programs. Learn more about them here.

We hope you enjoy the site and that you learn something valuable about the program you’re considering. Thank you for allowing us to contribute to your transformational journey.