Impact Trainings / Misrepresentation/LGAT
I enrolled in the Impact Trainings several years ago and watched my quality of life decline dramatically until I finally pulled out. All the while my bank account was being drained as I paid for trainings that not only failed to add value but encouraged me to live and act in ways that tied me to Impact while disregarding everything else in my life.
No rational or sane person would choose to be involved with the Impact Trainings if they were able to see what went on behind those doors before having to pay a fee and allow the trainers and staff to slowly condition them over a period of several days. When I finally realized what was going on around me I was forced to choose between continued involvement with the group or severing several close family relationships. Impact's marketing strategy makes it very difficult to leave because every trainee is enrolled by someone close to them and severing contact with the training means (in most cases) that the relationship will be severed as well.
Impact begins initiating trainees into its community in the Quest training. When I attended the Quest training it cost $550. Quest consists of four days of mostly intense and degrading activities that are designed to teach trainees obedience to the trainer. Once that obedience has been established the trainers and staff are able to manipulate the trainees emotions at will. This emotional control is used repeatedly through out the rest of the series to keep people paying for more training and enrolling their family and friends. After several days of degradation and a final day where the Impact trainers begin to espouse the early stages of their religious beliefs, the Quest training ends with a "graduation" and a final activity where all of the Quest trainees are either enrolled into the next stage of the training or publicly chastised for "selling out".
Summit is the second stage and cost $795 at the time that I took the training. Summit begins with a day of degradation where trainees are assigned "alternate names" such as "Daddy's Joy Toy", "Womb for Rent", "Still Nursing", "Pee wee pervert", etc and then required to visualize themselves dying and being placed in coffins because they do not deserve to live. The next 3 days involve building the trainees back up and further creating a strong sense of community inside the center by assigning people to small groups and requiring them to act out embarrassing skits (for example a group of heavy set women may be required to dress as cows, whales or belly dancers). Like Quest, the Summit Training ends with a graduation and hard-sell commitment activity designed to get people to pay for the next level. At this stage in my training there were several trainees who's finances were so tight that they resorted to begging for money from other people in the group.
Lift-Off was the third stage of the training and cost $695 at the time that I was involved. Unlike the first two trainings, which were conducted over a 4 day period, Lift-Off consisted of 4 weekends that were spread over a 13 week period. The four weekends all had different themes, one of which was "enrollment weekend" where trainees went out as groups in an effort to fill seats at the next Quest training. Each Trainee in Lift-Off was assigned a specific staff member that they were required to call 3 times a week. Lift-Off was not as dramatic as the other trainings and as a result there were not as many break downs among the trainees. Lift-Off seemed to solidify much of the conditioning that occurred in Quest and Summit as well as provide a bridge between the first two trainings and the next series.
After Lift-Off, trainees are encouraged to "keep their training alive" by volunteering to work on the staff in future Quest, Summit and Lift-Off trainings. Impact Trainings does not screen their volunteer staff at all. I was aware of several registered sex offenders that were allowed to be leaders over new trainees, one of them even staffed a training for teens. I knew of 4 staff members, in my 2 years with the company, who engaged in sexual relationships with trainees. Despite these egregious actions by staff members, I never saw Impact make any effort to screen their staff members for the protection of the new trainees. Since the Impact community claims to value love and forgiveness above all else, the lack of screening is justified by the "everyone deserves a second chance" philosophy.
The next step for the trainees is to begin the "Trainer in Training" (Now called Life Mastery Training) program. Trainer in Training 1 cost $1500 and was the first training specifically designed to influence the trainees' religious beliefs and spirituality. Hans Berger spoke openly in my training of his alleged communications with spirits. He also claimed to have worked in "Intelligence" for the US government. One of the processes in this training involves Hans giving detailed, non-biblical, accounts of the life of Jesus. Later on in the Trainer in Training series Hans claimed to have learned this information and the processes of the Impact Trainings themselves through face to face communicatons with Jesus, Buddha and other "Ascended Masters".
Trainer in Training 2 cost $1800 and further developed the trainees belief that they had the power to create miracles and talk with the deceased. Many trainees at this stage begin to revere Hans Berger as a prophet. The Impact trainers would periodically make statements such as "Hans is not a Prophet" or "Impact Trainings is not a religion" but those statements only served to change the trainees' language as they still continue to build their lives around every word that came out of Hans' mouth.
The Impact Trainings is a manipulative self improvement training that grows into a religious cult where the trainers revere themselves as infallible deities (this is not hyperbole, statements like "I am Perfect" and "I am God' were stated regularly by Impact Trainings staff at the time that I was involved). I personally heard Hans (the owner) state on several occasions "I am God". If you are considering attending the Impact Trainings I highly recommend consulting a trained and licensed therapist. In my 2 years of involvement with the training I never saw anyone leave the group in a state of emotional health. Those that stayed continued to pay large amounts of money to the group and spend several weeks each year providing free labor on the volunteer staff.
In regard to the positive reviews on the company it is worth noting that Yelp has excluded many negative ratings that can still be viewed but do not factor into the rating score. Additionally it is worth nothing that Impact is a Large Group Awareness Training with processes and procedures largely taken from a company called LifeSpring. In regard to LifeSpring participants, it was reported that while participants claimed to have a heightened sense of well being, the phenomenon was largely pathological. I submit to you that Impact Trainings positive reviews are similarly flawed.
Haaken, J. and Adams, R., "Pathology as 'Personal Growth': A Participant-Observation Study of Lifespring Training", Psychiatry, vol 46, August 1983.