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Several research reports point to benefits of the est trljlnlng.

Behauiordyne (t 973)1: lJarious Psychological ImproLJements

In 1972, Behaviordyne, an independent research firm , was engaged to

conduct psychological studies to determine the psychological impact of the
est training and tww long it lasted. Tt1e 227 persons participating in the
July 1972 est training ,vere the experimental subjects for nle stUdy. Prior
to taking the training, the subjects were administered the California
Psych010gica1 In'~entory (CPI), consisting of 480 items, measuring 141
psychologice1 dimem~. ion!;;. The Callfornie Psychological Inventory (CPI) is a
wi de 1y researched end respe.cted measurement of eff eet i ve beh8vi or.

After comcdetion of the traininq. the participants were contacted for

retesting: j 44 participated . Ttu-ee months after O-Ie traininq, a fol1o'vYup
retesting WaS conducted, and 93 of the training participants 'vvere react-led
and participated. Comparative analyses of those 'who continued to
perticipate in the stUdy v'lith those who did not showed fe'N significent
dHfe.rences bet"Neen the two groups--es measured in the initial testing.

A cont.t-ol group of 200 SUbjects, matched with those particlpljUng in

H-Ie est training in terms of 8ge , sex, and vocational and economic variables
were administered the CPI at the three times it was given to the
experimental group. V. . hile tile experimental subjects showed many.
significant ct1anges on the CPI scales , the control group showed none.

I Murray Tondo't/, Ron Teague, Joseph Finney, and Gross Lemaistre, "A Report
on Psychological Changes Measured After Taking the Erhard Seminars
Training," San Francisco: Behaviordyne, 1973
Overa 11, more S1 gnlfi cant erltmges were found emong \·vomen trion
among men Of tile 141 sceles measured by the CPI , wornen impt-oved
significantly on 76 and men on 26. Both men and women increosed
si gnifi cant! y, for examp Ie, on "Basi c Trust, Confi denee elnd Opt i mi sm."

Both men and women decreosed significently on the following scales

(among others):

Dependency urge
Di seouragernent
Resentment/host iIi ty
Blaming self
Phobi a and fear
Teking thlngs out on self
Social introversion
v·lorry and obsession
Guilt feelinQs
Feeling sorry for self
Suppression end outbursts of hostilit~
Dependent masochi sm

The reS8atTr-ters summarized their findings as follows:

", . T~le
overriding finding of Hie study was that
measurable changes in personality occur as the
result of the EST training.

"2. These changes continue to manifest themselves

three months Mter the trllining hilS ended

"3. i"1ore changes were noted for the female participant.

Ulan for Ule male in the study.

"4. The psychological picture that emerges is that of a

~Iappi er and psycho I ogi eEl II y sounder person"

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lemis (1916)2: long-Term Psyrhologiral ImproLlements

The primary purpose of the Lewis study was to determine if the

changes discovered in the Behaviordyne study persisted over a longer period
of time. In 1974, Lewis mailed the CPI questionnaire to the 87 est subjects
who participated in all three testings of the Behoviordyne study; 34 were
reElched and pert i ci peted in the 18-month (011 owup study.

While the number studied in the 18-month followllp are relatively

small, the study is of interest in that it offers the longest-term evaluation
of the training's impact through an experimental design.

The o'~erell findings of the Lewis followup were that the

psychological improvements found among est graduates three months after
the training persisted after 18 months. lewis summarized her findings:
"The picture thl'lt emerges is that of a person who continues to be
psychologically sounder since the est training."

Weiss (1911)3: ImprolJements in Self-Concept and Rutonomy

The purpose of this stUdy was to examine personality changes in est

grl'ldul'ltes following their pl'lrttcip/jtton in the tr/jining. The prim/jr!:j
instruments used were the Self-Concept Incongruency Scele (SCIS) end the
t'looney Problem Check List (~1PCU.

Participants in the June 1976 est training in Newport Beach,

California, were selected as the est SUbjects (or the study, 77 of whom
completed questionnaires before and after the training. As a control group,

2Leileni Lewis, "Erhard Seminars Training: A Psychological Study of Its

Psychological Effects, Using Selected Scales Measured by the California
Psycho I ogi ea I Inventory.," Ph.D. di ssertati on, The Cal i f orni a School of
Professional Psychology, 1976.

3Jeffrey A. ~/eiss, -Reported Changes in Personality, Self Concept, and

Personal Problems Following Erhard Seminars Training (est), _ Ph.D .
di ssertat i on, The ea I if orni a School of Prof essi ana I Psycho logy, 1977.

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Wel ss usea J El peopl e wrro nad enroll ed earl y for We NovemDer 1975
trai ni ng in Newport Beach.

In this study design, \rleiss guarded against the possibility that the
kind of people who enrolled in the est training might be ready for and
committed to personal improvement and thM tmy observed improvements
would have occurred even if they did not participate in the training. If Hlis
were the case , Weiss's control group should improve prior to actually taking
the trai ni ng.

Wei ss's anal ysi s of hi s data reveal ed a number of statist i call y

significant differences in the changes observed among the est and control
group SUbjects. Here are some of his findings:

• The distress scale scores of est subjects decreosed by 32

percent, whereas the control group subJects' scores only decreased
4 percent.

• Self-Concept .ncongruence (the discrepancy between who

people INant to be and who they feel they are) IN8S substantially
reduced among those taking the est training--e 44 percent
decrease in scal e scores--as opposed to a 5 percent decrease in the
scores of the control group.

• Tr,e est SUbjects increosed their scale scores on outonomy tty 57

percent, 'v'v't",ereas the scores of the control group increased by 17

The increased autonomy of those taki ng the est trai ni ng was 81 so

reflected in other results. Several other scales in Weiss 's stUdy measured
changes in subjects' needs for a variety of psychological supports from
SOCiety. Overall, the est sut1jects showed less need for such supports after
H-,e training. and Hie shifts found among ttle est subjects were significantly
different from stlifts found f:Jrnonq n,e control qroup.
~ ~

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lindberg (1978)4: Increases in Internallofus of Control

The purpose of Hie LindDerg et al study was to determine wtleUler est

graduate s differed from others in terms of their "locus of control." Internol
control refers to the view thBt the individual determines his or her O\f/n
life, whereas external control refers to the view that individuals' lots in
life are the effect of environmental conditions. To measure the two
orientEltions, the researchers employed a modified version of the Rotter
Inter-na I-Externa I Control Scale.

The study was conducted in Hawaii, with a sample of 100 est

graduates living there. 50 who were currently active in est progr-arns and 50
\'vho were not. Probability samples from these two subpopulations 'vvere
sele cted from est records . For a control group, the researchers asked each
est SUbject "to obtain the cooperation of a friend who was not an est
graduate, but who was much 1i ke the graduate, of the same sex, and si mi I ar
age, educaUonal and occupational levels."

Sixty-seven of trle 100 est SUbjects completed questionnaires, as dilj

39 of the contro I group sub j ects . A compari son of the two gr-oups of
SUbjects found no significant differences in age, sex, or ethnicity.

On the whole, Lindberg et al found the est respondents significantly

more internal than the non-est control group. (No significant differences
were found among those est SUbjects who were active in subsequent est
programs and those wtw were not.)

For example, the est sample 'vvere more likely than the controls to
agree \'vi 0-1 staternents like these:

"The average cit i zen can have an i nfl uence in government


"By taking an active part in political end social affairs tt",e

people can control worllj events"

4MarJene A. Lindberg, George P. Danko, and Ronald C. Jormson, "Est Exper-ier.~e

and Locus of Contro 1," Uni versity of Ha\A/ai i: unpub I i shed . 1978.

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By the stlme token, the est sample were more likely Hlort trle corttro l ~;
to disagree with statements like these:

"Th i s world i s run by the few people in power, and there is not
much the Ii tt Je guy can do about it.·

"As far as world affairs are concerned, most of us are the

victims of forces we can neHher understand nor control "

Hartke (1980)5: Positiue Impact on [go Deuelopment

Hartke's interest was in examining the impact of the est training on

ego development level. Eighty-six people taking 8 stfmdard est training
agreed to participate in the stUdy. Subjects were tested two weeks prior to
the training, two weeks after, and three months after. Loevinger's Sentence
Completion Test was used to measure ego development level, as scored by
the Automatic Total Protocol Rating paradigm.

Although Hartke notes that "Loevinger's theory conceives of ego

development as a stable master trait, not easily influenced by brief training
or educational experiences,· his research results indicated that hSignificant
increFlses in ego development level were found both immediately following
trle training and several months later."

Simon (1918)6: Positiue I mpact on Psychotherapy Patients

Some studies have focussed on the impact of the est training on

psychotherapy patients . This report presents a clinical analysis of sixty-
seven of Simon's therapy patients who had taken the est training . Most of
Simon's analyses are devoted to the 49 patients who took the training while

5John Martin Harke, ·Ego Development, Cognitive Style, and the EST
Standard Training,h Ph.D. dissertation, Temple University, 1980.

6,Justin Simon , ·Observations on 67 Patients Who Took Erhard Seminars

Tra i ning," A.I7?BnCfJ/'JjOt/rlJfJ/ofPs!/c/JifJtr!/, Vol. 135, NO.6, 686-691 , 1978.

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in therapy wiU, him . so he was able to observe their condition before and
after the training.

Thirty (61 percent) of the 49 patients showed E1 positive response, 19

were unchanged, and none got worse . As Simon reports, positive effects of
the training were more common and more dramatic among patients with less
severe prob I ems

Paul/Paul (1978)7: Positiue Impact on Psychotherapy Patients

Norman and Betty Paul are therapists with a family-focussed

orientetion . This is e clinicel report on 145 patients who took the est
trelining while in family-focussed therapy with Norman Paul.

The est trai ni ng and f arnll y-f ocussed therapy were found to be
mutually reinforcing, especially with respect to patients taking
responsibility for tt,eir own lives. The researchers summarized their
conclusions as fo11ov'/s:

The EST training represents a destigmatized

atternpt to transcend the emotional linlitations of
life so rampant today~ and bring bock to the
individual some semblance of participation in his own

In the search For the appropriate array of

expe.-iences and the phaSing of diFFerent ones~ the
EST training experience looms as on exciting entity
which can be coordinated with Family-Focussed
tr-eatnlent so as to provide individuals and members
of their families~ who have been seen in family and
muJtipJe-fanlily therapy~ with on additional
experience ~ the EST training setting~ wherein they
con become related to the brooder community.

7Norrnen L. Paul and Betty Byfi e1d Paul, 'The Use of EST as Adjunct i ve
Therapy to Family-Focussed Treatment, L/O{lrne/ of l"Ierri8ge olJdFom//j/

{(i//"7SPJJ;n,g, ,.January, 51-61 1978.


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Hamsher (1980)8: PositiLJe Impact on Psychotherapists and Patients

To learn about mental health professionals' experience of the est

training, Hamsher, a psychotherapist and professor of psychology , mailed
questionnaires to 725 psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and
other menta 1 hea lth workers i denti fi ed as such in the est records. The 242
respondents 8ver8ged nearly 10 years of experience in the field and saw EI
total of 4777 patients a week .
Ninety-five percent of the respondents said the tr8ining r,ad a
positive impact in their personal lives, and nine in ten said it had a positive
impact on their ability to do therapy successfully.

The 242 mental health professionals in Hamsher's stUdy reported that

a total of 1739 of their patients had taken the est training. When asked to
8ssess the impact of the training on those patients' therapy, 93 percent said
it was positive.

Of the 1739 pat i ents who had taken the est trai ni n~t 163 had been
/10spitalized at some time prior to the training. Hamsher's survey found that
tl10se patients were much less likely to be hospitalized aftenvard .
Seventy-three percent of the pati ents were reported to have had no
hospitalizations after the training, 20 percent had fewer hospitaJizetions
than before, 7 percent had the same number as before, and none had more
hospitalizations after the training than before.

Knight-Meyers (1982)9: Positiue Impact on Psychotherapists

Another, smaller-scale stUdy also pOlnts to the positive impact of the

est training on the practice of psychotherapy. Knight-Meyers' specific

3Herb Harnsrler, "Study of est Graduate t1ental Health Professionals ....

unpublished. 1960. [Note : Althougrl full details of nlis study are not
available, I have reported on it, since it rlas been cited by Finkelstein (see
belovi) and others.]

9Barbara Kni ght -Meyers, "Shi fts in the Countertransference Percepti ons of
Selected Psychotherapists Undergoing Est Self-Awareness Training," Ph .D.
dissertEltion . University of Pennsylvania, 1982.

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interest was in whether the training would affect therapists' t'Hmdling of
the problem of countertransference: Nt he unconscious projection of the
therapist's unresolved personal issues into the treatment."

To examine this Question, she undertook case studies of 15

psychotherapists, enrolled in an est training in the Northeast US. She
administered a structured interview schedule three different times, the
last being three months after the training.

Fourteen of the fifteen SUbjects reported decreases in their feelings

of frustration with their Nmost frustrating clientsN following the training.
Thirteen of the fifteen, moreover, reported that they were more satisfied
with the progress of those "most frustrating clients.-

Ornstein (J 975)1 0: R National Survey of est Graduates

In 1973, Dr. Robert Ornstein. a nationally-noted psychologist . and a

team of social scientists conducted a national survey of est graduates. A
probabi Ii ty sample of 2,000 graduetes was selected was among the 12.000
people who had completed the training as of that time. A lengthy
Questionnaire--containing 680 Questions--was mailed to each member of
the sample. .

Of the 1895 Questionnaires that were deJjyerable, 1258 were initially

returned. Of the nonrespondents. 60 were selected for telephone
interviewing and the remainder were sent a shorter Questionnaire. Fifty-
four of the telephone interviews were completed, and 153 of the shorter
Questionnaires were returned. Ultimately, then, 1465 of the 1895 possible
respondents--77 percent --responded to the survey. Moreover, as a
comparison of the initial 1258 respondents with those interviewed by
telephone and those completing the shorter Questionnaire revealed no
significant differences, suggesting little or no nonresponse bias overall.

10Robert Ornstein, Charles Swencionis. Arthur Deikman. and Ralph Morris, "A
Self-Report Survey: Preliminary Study of Participants in Erhard Seminars
Training," report to The est Foundation, 1975.

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Tt1e Ornstein study was reported prl . . . ately to the sponsor. T~le data set wcs
subsequent! y reanal yzed and reported pub 1i c1Y by Babbi e and Stone (see
belo 'r,;).

Babbie/Stone (1977) 11: I mprouemenfs in Uarious Rreas of Life

In 1976, Babbie and Stone reanalyzed the data from the Ornstein
survey and presented their findings to the 1976 meetings of the American
Psychiatric Association, in a paper entitled ·Psychiatry and Large Scale
AINareness Trai ni ng Groups." An edi ted versi on of thei r paper was pub 1i shed
in Bi asci ences Communi cat ions.

Respondents to the Ornstei n sur . . . ey were asked "A 11 in all, hOY-.. do you
feeJ about your experience of the training?" and gi . . . en a scaJe ranging from 1
("Very unfa . . . orable .. ) to 7 ("Very favorable") for recording their answer to
the Ques ti on. The vast rna j ority reported f a. . . orab 1e experi ences of the
trEJininQ, as reported below:

Very favorable 1........... 50.3 %

6 ............22.5
5 ............ 14.1
4 ..............6.3
3 ..............2.6
2 .............. 1.1
Very unfavorable 1. ............ .1.9

11 Earl Babbi e Elnd Dona 1d Stone, "An Eva1 uat i on of the est Experi ence by a
National Sample of Graduate s," B/OSC/Bl')cBsCommi/f}/ctitiof}s, Vol. 3, No. 2,
123-140, 1977.

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In addition to reporUng their overall experiences of the training, the
respondents were asked to report on various aspects of their life since
taking the training and were Elsked to compare their condition Elfter the
training v'lith their condition before it: whether things hEld gotten worse,
remained unchanged, or gotten better. They responded as follows:

Hlorse Same Better

Productivity in job or schoolwork ........... .4 % 24 72

Relationships with family and friends ......3 % 12 85

Sexual relationships ..................................... 7 % 36 57

Finding more meaning in life ...................... 3 % 17 80

Improved mental health .............................. 3 % 14 83

Wt1ile these findings do not proye that the chemges experienced were
due to n,e est trai ni ng--nor wer-e respondents asked that --thei r responses
should be viewed in U-,e context of whot might have been expected if U-,ey
hdd not tElken H,8 est traininq and/or if it hEld no qeneral pElttern of impact.
~ ~

In that case, we should reasonably expect that some people's lives v't'ould
heve gotten worse over time, some would have gotten better, and others
wou1d have stayed about the same--in the various areas asked about.
Moreover, it would seem reasonable to assume that about equal numbers
would S8~ "worse" or "better." In the survey, however, far more respondents
sai d tr,ei r lives improved than waul d haye been expected if the trai ni ng had
no impact, thus adding to the weight of evidence that the training produces
benefits for those taking it.

In their reanalysis of the Ornstein data, Babbie and Stone raised a

Question as to the qualifications of the survey respondents to m8ke
jUdgrnents such as those asked for. Were they really qualified to eVllluete
thelr "mental health.... for example?

To anSVv'8r- H-ds Question, thew examinelj seperatelw t! panel of

~ ~

"experts" 'vvho stwuJd be qualified to judge each of U-,e areas asked about.
For ei;arnple, U.,ey e>~3mined the way mental health professionals among the
samp 1e answered the quest i on about menta I health. [1 ergy and educ8tor~;
'1\1 8re examined with regard to the question on the "meaning of life"
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Engineers and salespeople were examlned w1th regard to proauctlV1ty , and
so forH!.

In eelch case, the Mexperts" were at leest as likely as the totel semple
to say the area inquest i on had gotten better. I n some cases, the -experts"
reported more positive results. For example , 96 percent of the mentel
health professionals said their mental health r,ad improved--compared to 83
percent of the total sample


The severa l studies reviewed above provide a weight of evidence

warranting the conclusion that the est training is a source of substantlaJ
benefit for the vast majority of those wr,o par-ticipate in it. 'w'hile no single
study is without its meUl0dological shortcomings (which is true of research
in Qenerai), U,e collection of studies reviewed above compliment each oUler.
That is, the shortcomings of one stUdy are dealt with in others. This
process of "triangulation" is a common strategy in social science where it
is often impossible to satisfy all methodological considerations in a single

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