Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform => Mission Mountain School => Topic started by: Anonymous on May 01, 2005, 05:37:00 PM

Title: Attack Therapy - very informative
Post by: Anonymous on May 01, 2005, 05:37:00 PM
After searching the web for a while, this was all I could find on Attack Therapy. It is quite intersting. It does not seem to be a common form of therapy or there would have been more information available, one would think.

Rebecca said:
I am not sayign what he does is okay because I am studing to be a licensed therapist. And from what i can tell from my own experience his methods are called attack therapy and if you would lie to know more about it look it up in a book or ask me and i can share my knowledge.

It's really scary when you read the information below, especially since Mr. Mercer was/is not, according to those posting, a licensed therapist.

If what he does in his night meetings with groups of 30 or so girls is attack therapy, then this information might be important. It's the only information I could find on the Internet.


Confrontation and attack therapy was one form of ventilation. Singer writes,

"Attack therapy is an outgrowth of ventilation therapy. Here the patient becomes the subject of verbal abuse, denunciation, and humiliation. This assault may come either from the therapist in individual session, or from peers in a group context.... As one critic put it, 'Tact is "out" and brutal frankness is "in." Any phony, defensive or evasive behavior... is fair game for... critique and verbal attack."

Sitting on the hot seat and verbal confrontation emerged from "human potential" centers, and were used extensively in LGATs:

"Another variant of the confrontation therapies appeared in the commercially sold large group awareness training programs such as Mind Dynamics... and Lifespring..... Marketed to individuals, organizations, and business and industry as experiential education, they typically use powerful psychological and social influence techniques, not always bringing about the advertised claims of success and profit to the buyer, and sometimes bringing psychological distress to the clients" (Pp. 113-114).

Notice that Lifespring and Mind Dynamics are singled out as users of confrontation therapies. Daniel Tocchini, founder of M/B, was a trainer for Lifespring for about eight years. He also singles out the founder of Lifespring, John P. Hanley, as the biggest influence on him:

"The impact of some individuals has been so profound in our lives that they stand in a class by themselves. John P. Hanley is one such individual. Thank you John for your stand for transformation and passion, and for your stalwart guidance through the years." (Killing the Victim, p. 11)

Newspapers have reported that Lifespring has been sued about 40 times for causing psychological distress of some sort, including at least six allegations that this form of confrontation brought death to participants. (Breakthrough /Moimentus requires participants to sign a "Hold Harmless" form which releases them from liability if trainees should die or suffer other harm as a result of the training; the form is based on one Lifespring uses.) Most suits were settled out of court. Hanley was once on staff of Mind Dynamics, which has been out of business for many years.

Attack therapy was rife in Momentus--most often the trainers attacking the trainees who stood up to speak or react to something the trainers said. But trainees were also encouraged by example to use it against others in the training--and those who picked up on it the quickest were often the ones that were later singled out as being most deserving or who'd best learned the techniques of "self-government" (such as those who were voted into the lifeboat in that exercise, mainly because they were the ones who'd stood up the most and attacked others or engaged in angry exchanges with the trainers).

The attack therapy described in that book is exactly what goes on in Momentus when the trainer picks out people to condemn for minor violations, such as not getting to our seats within one minute after the trainer or crewman responsible for the clock calls "Time." According to a woman I know who served on the crew, the trainer asks the sponsors and crew for the names of people taking the training who may be "trouble" or especially rebellious so that the trainer can single them out early to attack and break down. This seems somewhat similar to boot camp in the military, as the drill sargeant singles out the potential troublemakers to break down first. I recall the trainer doing this to one fellow--getting into a shouting and insult match with him, telling him he was "full of ---" and keeping at him until he wore him down. Later, in the "foot washing" ritual at the end of the training, the trainer picked out this guy to wash his feet, supposedly humbling himself before him, and the guy--by now thoroughly emotionally wrung out--broke out in tears. It was surreal.

Brutal frankness was definitely in during the entire training--even artificially produced, such as when the trainers forced everyone who couldn't remember the name of every other trainee (in a room of almost 60!) to go around and tell them that we "didn't care enough to remember your name." Ethics, kindness, gentleness--all were thrown out in favor of confrontation, the better to force you to determine what made up your own personal beliefs (but if they didn't conform to what the trainers thought they should, they turned out to be self-defeating).

The hot seat technique was used throughout, whenever we were required to sit in groups and let others tell us what they thought of us (even though they'd not had time to validly get to know us) or in twosomes and respond to emotionally charged personal questions such as "What was your greatest betrayal?"

The trainers put people on the "hot seat" and attacked people when they made statements. One woman stood up and said that she thought she was okay, and then the trainer berated her until she sat down almost crying.

Crazy Therapies' descriptions of Kevin in the "hot seat" are very reminiscent of how the trainers treated several individuals in Momentus--as well as how Momentus grads and sponsors treated people after the training. Momentus seems to suggest that such actions by grads have nothing to do with Momentus, but in truth, they're merely following the example that the trainers set in the training itself. Grads apparently figure, "if it's good inside the training, why not outside as well?" Nothing in the training really deters its enthusiasts from practicing it on others outside the training--as long as they limit it to other Momentus grads. Having taken the training apparently makes people perpetual targets in the eyes of the fanatics among the grads, especially if they perceive you doing anything that they don't like, whether it conforms to scripture or not. What I saw on many occasions--and experienced myself--was much like a barracuda attack. As soon as any Momentus grads perceived that one of them had "drawn blood," all of them jump into the fray, attacking the victim--and the word is valid in this context-- as a group in a kind of "feeding frenzy." It's nothing different from what goes on in the training--except that the trainers aren't there afterward so that they can say they didn't prompt it, even though others are just following their example.

The trainers also indirectly lead other trainees to get into the act, such as the times when someone's "buddy" left the training, and they had to convince the other trainees (at least those who participated in the attacks) why they should be allowed to remain in the training and not be thrown out. The trainer left the room when someone failed to complete homework, claiming

he was ending the training unless the others could "persuade" those who hadn't finished their homework to do so. (As I found out later, the trainer wouldn't have ended the training, but used this ruse to induce this peer-control.) I recall that my wife hadn't written a full page, as required, because she couldn't think of how to answer it, and she was brought to tears by the other trainees' hurtful statements.

There was also another painful-to-watch display when trainers urged people to "open up" and tell someone else how they'd hurt that person. One couple got up and started in on each other over the husband persuading the wife to take an emotionally painful action before they were married -- with the wife bearing her raw pain and anger at him out in front of everyone. It was really horrible to have to watch. (That couple divorced after the training--so much for it helping relationships.) Another couple was induced to get up and go at each other over imagined lust for others--which started because the husband thought a trainer had a lustful look. When the couple was worked up, a trainer and another crew member stood up and asked the husband to "please forgive" them for their own adultery--inducing yet another emotional catharsis. (One thing I've seen in Momentus grads who've embraced the training-- is a false, "easy" repentance, where just saying to someone "Please forgive me," whether sincere or not, gets the confessor off the hook and puts the onus on the other person. Even if the requestor shows no signs of actual repentance, if the other person doesn't forgive him, he or she then becomes the "bad person" and the Momentus grad no longer considers himself to have any responsibility in the matter. It was called "giving the ball" to the other person, and a trainer illustrated it in the training by actually throwing a ball to trainees and telling them that they now carried the responsibility for whatever exchange they were engaged in.)
Title: Attack Therapy - very informative
Post by: Anonymous on May 02, 2005, 08:48:00 PM
This is the whackest shit i have ever read in my life, but it so reminds me of the way we used to deal with things there. I remember one time John made my best friend there tell me that she thought she was superior to me because I reminded her of her maid, and that she would never treat me as an equal and all this craziness. She of course cried the whole time, cause I really doubt that is the way she felt towards me. And how did I respond? I expressed anger (fake, cause I knew it was all bulshit) and then things between us could not be the same. I saw her recently though, we still connect even though we havent spoken much since we left. This is not the only time. He made several girls go around and tell everyone why they thought they were superior to them. He loved to make asses out of new people. tell them super harsh shit right off the bat. One time a girl wouldn't eat her dinner on her  first night there and we all sat there waiting for er to eat. When John took charge of the situation, he told this girl horrible things about her dead parents in front of everyone about how they died, (she didn't know before that moment. Crazy shit, huh.
Title: Attack Therapy - very informative
Post by: Antigen on May 02, 2005, 11:02:00 PM
It's actually quite pervasive, but often described in different terms.

Synanon is, I think, the root of it as far as public and government promoted implimentation of it. Here's some history on that. (

God is inconceivable, immortality is unbelievable, but duty is peremptory and absolute.
--George Eliot, author