I have a story about the Landmark Forum in tomorrow’s New York Times. A successor to Est, the self-help seminar famous in the 70’s for not allowing its participants to use the bathroom during class, the Forum (during which participants are allowed to use the bathroom) is a weekend-long human development class which helps people resolve problems or gaps in their lives. It was one of the more emotionally exhausting weekends of my life; lots and lots of crying in the room–it was like a rain forest in there.
Though jargon-riddled and fairly tireless in its attempts at recruitment, the program is effective for some people–particularly those whose problems (eg, coming out of the closet, making amends) stem from someone’s failure to pick up the phone. As with all forms of self-help, though, there’s a good deal of wariness and antipathy expressed toward Landmark by health professionals and the media; I would suggest that some of this is elitist, coming as it sometimes does from folks who can afford a weekly appointment with a shrink.
Off to the bathroom for me.