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First a breakthrough in thinking, then action!

Demokracija, by Petra Jansa, June 26, 2013

Transformative learning removes the barriers that prevent us from effectively using what we know and what we learned in the past. These barriers usually consist of fears that have built up within us in the past because of some negative experience.

Attendees at Landmark’s programs discover that they too can think and function outside their existing views and limits.

When you were in school, at some point you probably raised your hand and gave a wrong answer, and your classmates laughed out loud. That’s why today, you have within you ideas that could bring about positive change in the lives of those around you, or that could help you make more money or improve your life... but you are afraid people will laugh at you. You’re afraid of failing. You’d rather keep quiet and remain where you are, at least as far this area of your life is concerned.

As children, we create stories in our heads which our brain interprets and then records in our subconscious; when we face similar situations as adults, we act as if we’re traumatized children and not adults. The Landmark Forum helps you uncover these stories (even the most difficult) and become conscious of them. It is then up to the person to do something, to make a change. In most cases this is very difficult, as the fear of change can be very great. This is precisely what sets Landmark’s programs apart from other “therapies.”

Where do fears and resentment come from?

Demokracija First a Breakthrough in Thinking
        Attendees at Landmark’s programs discover that they too can think
        and function outside their existing views and limits.
From May 16 to 21, I took part in a course at The Landmark Forum in London. The course brought together over two hundred attendees from throughout Europe; interpreters were provided for guests from Slovenia. As a journalist, I had to sign a code of silence before arriving due to the extremely sensitive subject matter. Talking about your own life, and especially about childhood traumas, is not just a serious matter; it can also be dangerous, and there’s always the chance that somebody could wrongfully use this information.

I myself can guarantee that the program truly is successful, having seen how, after years of not communicating and hostility and resentment towards your parents (or those nearest to you), you experience a breakthrough in thinking; you call them and forgive them and thank them for everything good they’ve done for you. For many adults, bringing about a change in oneself is an extremely difficult task. It is an action that dismantles the family system as it has existed to date and in its place establishes a new, improved, healed one. Then the only thing you’ll “complain” to yourself about is that you didn’t do it sooner. And why didn’t you? Because nobody told you about it.

Thinking outside existing limits

As I already mentioned, due to the sensitive nature of the stories people share at The Landmark Forum, I thought it would be easier to ask the organizers some questions. Landmark’s Director of Corporate Communications, Deborah Beroset, was kind enough to reply.

For whom is The Landmark Forum intended? Are the things we learn in the framework of the courses held there of assistance in solving all of the problems we face in life?

Landmark is the leading international organization in the field of personal development, professional development, training and developmental activities. To date, over 2.2 million people have taken part in its programs. Landmark’s programs offer people of all professions practical, powerful and important tools for advancement and achievements in different areas of their lives such as productivity, communication, relationships with others, general satisfaction and inner peace.

Independent studies show that program attendees have experienced visible, significant, positive changes in various areas, including in the quality of their relationships with others, on the level of self-esteem, and in personal productivity, role awareness and efficacy and enjoyment in life. Furthermore, Landmark has been the decisive factor and stimulus behind the over 100,000 non-profit and pro bono projects created by course attendees since 1991 with the aim of helping individuals, organizations and communities throughout the world.

In what way do classic psychotherapy approaches differ from the approach used by Landmark?

By their very nature, Landmark’s programs are not psychological. As Christopher Was, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at Kent State University said, “Landmark’s educational system is based on ontological education and established pedagogy versus other programs that may employ psychological or experiential methodologies.”

Landmark’s programs are not based on informative learning, but on a transformative learning model. In informative learning, people expand their knowledge, improve their skills and use new knowledge to build upon already established capacities. Transformative learning familiarizes people with the basic structures they use to understand, think and act in the world. Attendees thus discover that they can think and act outside their existing views and limits – in both their personal and professional lives, in relationships with others and in the extended community of those who share their interests.

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of educational courses at The Landmark Forum? How do you receive feedback from clients?

We regularly survey our clients. In independent studies conducted by recognized research organizations, most Landmark program attendees said that the programs exceeded their expectations and that they turned out to be very useful. In surveys, over 94 percent of Landmark’s clients have actually said that education at Landmark brought about profound and lasting change in their lives.

Does the knowledge one acquires in the framework of education at Landmark need to be memorized and repeated?

In our programs, which are both interesting and intellectually stimulating, content is learned naturally; you are not forced to memorize it, and you do not need to make an effort to use it or be motivated to learn. In this way they make it possible for people to use what they have learned naturally and effortlessly. Although Landmark does offer continued participation in a number of programs, it is designed as an independent course; additional courses are neither required nor demanded.

We can find a number of claims on the internet about how personal development programs are similar to cults or connected to certain political or religious sects. Is this also true of Landmark? Can one find this kind of effect on people in educational courses at Landmark?

Certainly not. Landmark offers high-quality transformative educational programs. Because they are based on ontology and phenomenology, these programs are not psychological, spiritual or religious, and they certainly aren’t similar to cults or sects in any regard. This has been confirmed by experts and spiritual leaders from a number of religions. Dr. Raymond Fowler, the retired CEO of the American Psychological Association, has studied a number of Landmark’s programs; he had this to say about them: “In my opinion, The Landmark Forum is not a cult or anything like a cult, and I do not see how any reasonable person who has carefully examined it could say that it is.” Dr. Charles Watson AM, former chief health officer of Western Australia and now Professor of Health Sciences at Curtin University, said: “It is quite clear that Landmark’s programs are of exceptional importance to people.”

To my knowledge, Slovenes have to go to London if we would like to take part in educational courses at this forum. Do you perhaps have any plans to conduct Landmark programs in Slovenia?

At the moment we do not have the possibility of conducting programs in Slovenia, nor do we plan to do so in the near future. We greatly value our clients from Slovenia and will continue to provide course translations in their native language.