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Solutions for Trainer & Training Abuse 2
Emotional Freedom Martyn Carruthers 2005

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Research the consequences of a course before attending it - especially if hypnosis and belief change are themes of the training.

Continued from Training Abuse 1

Training, Trainers & Mentor Abuse

Some training programs have toxic consequences for both participants and trainers, and some are designed to attract students who will comply with cult-like rules.

Trainers generally teach content - information, skills to expand capabilities and beliefs about the context taught. However trainers also impart, overtly or covertly, information about their values, relationships and sense of life.

Consequences for Abused Students

As students learn explicit skills, awareness and practices, they may also copy or  imitate attitudes; and later express those attitudes in their own lives. If they were victims of abuse, they may act out their abuse with their other people. A code of ethics does not prevent abusive behavior. Abused students may damage the lives of other people - often with the best of intentions.

Consequences for Abusive Trainers

Although trainers who abuse students may enjoy some short-term rewards (often egotistic, financial or sexual), the longer term consequences often include guilt, entanglements and diminished sense of life. Victims of toxic mentorship may immerse themselves in distractions, obsessions or addictions. They may damage their most intimate relationships, and become suspicious of potential mentors. They may cut themselves off from healthy people and from the world.

In this chart, I shaded mentor roles pink and trainer roles cream.

Healthy Training or Mentor Damage?


A mentor can encourage or discourage students to find deep and lasting happiness.
  • Does a mentor help students assess their sense of life?
  • Does a mentor create an egocentric charismatic mission?
  • Does a mentor promise to fulfill students deepest needs?
  • Does a mentor promise spiritual power?
Identity A mentor can bond to students with healthy or toxic relationship bonds
  • Does a mentor boost or damage their students' self-esteem?
  • Does a mentor try to become a focus of student fantasies?
  • Does a mentor enmesh students in a closed system?
  • Does a mentor lure confused people with dreams of utopia?
Values A mentor can accept or deny that students have different values
  • Does a mentor demand alignment and allegiance?
  • Does a mentor require group conformity and compliance?
  • Does a mentor blame, silence or expel independent students?
  • Does mentor expose or ignore unpleasant thoughts or emotions?
Beliefs A trainer can influence the empowering or limiting beliefs of students
  • Does a trainer enforce rules by manipulation and scapegoating?
  • Do students hide or expose limiting beliefs to the trainer?
  • Does a trainer teach secrets that exclude other people?
  • Does a trainer require students to show faith in course material?
Modeling A trainer may be competent or incompetent in the training context
  • Does a trainer claim that resistance to training is regressive?
  • Does a trainer requires that students 'work through' their resistance?
  • Is a trainer trapped in high expectations and dependency?
  • Do students repeat their own abuse with future clients / students?
Behavior A trainer's relationship skills can encourage or discourage bad manners
  • Does a trainer avoid or seek tests of own competence?
  • Does a trainer avoid or encourage student objections?
  • Does a trainer admit or hide incompetence?
  • Are outsiders considered fair game for manipulation?


A trainer may welcome or avoid feedback from real-world tests
  • Does a trainer invite or discourage external influences?
  • Does a trainer protect students from real-world tests?
  • Does a trainer demand faith or arrange real-world testing?
  • Does a trainer distort feedback to hide own limitations?

Hopefully these questions can help you recognize and avoid mentor damage, and you can recognize some cult-like schools and guru-like trainers.

Exit Coaching from Cults . Abusive Therapists

I took courses on energy healing. We paid a lot to learn how to use energy to heal disease, although little was demonstrated and there were always good reasons why those few demonstrations didn't work.

Cults vs. Training

Some people need people who recognize their specialness. The desire to be special often originates in the early family, when a parent is missing or entangled with a child. See Mother-Son Entanglements and Father-Daughter bonds. Some trainers may specialize in recruiting and training cult members. Some warning signs are:

  1. Need for success
  2. Desire for authority
  3. Fascination with power and powerful people
  4. Desire to found a special group of special people
  5. Desire to fulfill the expectations of the new cult family
  6. Desire to fulfill idealistic expectations of loving relationships
  7. Perception that cult membership ensures or improves specialness

Since I entered the world of NLP, hypnotherapy and inspirational self-improvement, my life changed. I definitely don't like these changes, but I can't get out of them because they were imprinted in me on an emotional level.

Were you Abused?

We can help you heal yourself of training abuse. We perceive emotional healing as an adult responsibility and we can coach you through the steps. A paradox is that a symptom of mentor damage is that a victim may refuse guidance from any other trainer, coach, mentor etc. This person may be suspicious of and unable to trust other helping professionals.

As many people who suffer from mentor abuse or therapy damage were previously abused by family members, it is important to change these transferences first.

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I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2005-2018 All rights reserved.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email