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On The Landmark Forum

Why aren't things turning out the way that I want them to? How can I feel better about who I am and the choices I make? How can I live a happy, fulfilling life? 

Sound familiar? These are the kinds of questions we ask regularly of ourselves, and the kinds that the self-help industry attempts to help answer through books, documentaries, CDs, and retreats. One of the most famous self-help organizations is Landmark; a limited liability company that offers numerous personal development programs. The company started with the purchase of intellectual property rights developed by Werner Erhard, creator of the EST training. Landmark's subsidiary, the Vanto Group, markets and delivers training and consulting organizations. 

Here is how the organization bills itself:

Landmark's programs are grounded in a model of transformative learning. Unlike informative learning, which increases what people know and adds to their skills by bringing new knowledge to an existing worldview and frame of reference, transformative learning gives people an awareness of the basic structures in which they know, think, and act. From that awareness comes a fundamental shift that leaves people more fully in accord with their own possibilities and those of others. This shift is the single most powerful attribute of Landmark's breakthrough methodology. 

Landmark's flagship program, The Landmark Forum, has earned both acclaim and criticism for its technqiues. According to Landmark, "94% of participants say that the program made a profound, lasting difference in the way they lived their lives, citing major positive results in the quality of their relationships, the confidence in which they conduct their lives, and the experience of the difference they make." Some former participants have taken to the media, calling out the Forum on its "cult-like" tendencies and "humiliating practices." 

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