The Realm of Psychology Fads
Nowadays, a new psychology fad makes a break onto the popular scene on a regular basis. These incidents shake up the foundation of the mental health faculty. Also, these psychology fads tickle the edge of accepted science, which is mostly made popular by alternative therapy enthusiasts and celebrities. A few such methods such as primal therapy or EST dwell in mental transformation. While a few others like Transcendental Meditation are derivatives of ancient wisdom. Some have echoes of science fiction. Though the extent of their legacies varies, these three psychology movements have stood the test of time. But where do they exist now? Let’s take a look at the current scenario.
EST (Erhard Seminars Training)
In the year of 1971, a former salesman called Werner Erhard introduced Erhard Seminars Training in San Francisco. This is popularly known as EST. It promised of enlightenment, empowerment and direction and asked the followers to discard their old belief systems. It encouraged them to accept the beauty of the present moment. This remarkable feat, once achieved, was popularly known as getting ‘it’ – according to this program, those who got ‘it’, would successfully get control of their lives.
But gaining this new insight was not an easy task: the training lasted for more than 60 hours over two weekends. Also, these sessions were taken by instructors whose sole aim was to “tear you down and put you back together.” In order to achieve results, strict rules were enforced.
According to Steve Salerno, author of “Sham: How the Self-help Movement Made America Helpless”, people forgot their own, real identity and became a part of EST. Today, the EST is owned by Landmark Education, which offers a variety of programs. Also, the training has evolved. Nearly 200,000 people from around the world are reported to take these courses every year.
In his 1970 book “The Primal Scream”, psychologist Arthur Janov paved the entry of primal therapy to the general public. The aim behind this treatment is that any psychological problem shapes up from the repressed earlier traumas. So, these type of ‘primal pains’ can only be cleared by relieving them. This allows the latent tensions to be expelled during the therapeutic sessions. However, these sessions left patients writhing and screaming in the Primal Institute, Los Angeles.
This method gained a lot of media frenzy and popularity when John Lennon, member of the Beatles, underwent several months of primal therapy in 1970. He released his album, “Plastic Ono Band’ just after the therapy. He praised the sessions publicly. Janov claimed that the treatment not only helped to relieve psychological maladies but also other physiological disorders, such as migraines, ulcers, asthma and high blood pressure.
The book became an international bestseller; the sales exceeded 1 million copies. The glorious reputation of the therapy suffered a lot from spinoff therapies which primarily focus on birth memories. Today, he practices at the Primal Center in Santa Monica. The standard mode of treatment starts with 3 weeks of intense individual sessions.
This practice was started by an Indian spiritual guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 1950s. This meditation was based on the enlightenment aspects of ancient Vedic masters, which promised of an elevated state of consciousness. The practice is simple but expensive. The followers have to sit quietly with their eyes shut and repeat a private mantra for 20 minutes, twice a day. This method has spread to millions worldwide in over the last decades, with Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Joe Namath, Howard Stern, Clint Eastwood, David Lynch and the Beatles among its notable practitioners.
The devoted followers of Transcendental Meditation believe in several scientific papers reporting its effectiveness. These research papers suggest that this method establishes a restful psychological state, protects the body from stress and enhances self-esteem. However, this method has faced criticism from all corners of life. Many skeptics believe that the method is just an expensive form of rest.