|Founder(s)||Thomas Willhite, Jane Willhite|
|Headquarters||Lake County, California
|Key people||Jane Willhite,
President and Chairman
|Services||Personal development coursework|
|Website||Company Web site|
PSI Seminars is a for-profit private company that offers Large-group awareness training seminars for personal development. Programs are held in many locations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and worldwide. There are PSI Seminars offices in major cities throughout North America.
History and Background
PSI Seminars claims to be the oldest continuously-operating personal and professional training company in the U.S., with over 500,000 graduates of the Basic Seminar. Based in Clearlake Oaks, California, it was founded in 1973 by Thomas and Jane Willhite. They also founded the non-profit PSI World, based in Clearlake Oaks, which provides free training seminars and organizes volunteer service projects such as building a new soccer field for an elementary school.
In 1983, Thomas Willhite died when his private plane crashed in a field at the company headquarters. Since that time his widow, Jane C. Willhite, has run the company as CEO.
The Unity Movement cited PSI Seminars as one of nine growth organizations that grew out of Mind Dynamics. Other groups also cited by Vahle as having been influenced by Mind Dynamics include The Forum and Lifespring. As such, PSI Seminars was an early example of the companies providing Large-group awareness training (LGATs) associated with humanistic psychology. Humanistic psychology is one of the major roots of positive psychology, the field that was initiated by Dr. Martin Seligman when he was president of the American Psychological Association in 1998.
PSI Seminars offers a sequence of three "self-discovery and awareness" seminars:
- PSI Basic, a weekend seminar that students attend in a city close to their home. The class typically runs from 10 am to 8 pm, with meal and other breaks, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, plus the following Wednesday evening.
- PSI-7 Life Success Course, a seven day seminar held at the PSI headquarters in Clearlake Oaks, California. Students live in dormitories and participate in both classroom and outdoor activities.
- Men's Leadership Seminar and Women's Leadership Seminar, nine day seminars also held at the PSI headquarters. The curriculum is different for men and women.
They also offer a 90-day goal setting and coaching program, PLD, which includes three weekend classes held in the cities with PSI Seminars offices.
PSI Seminars holds an annual conference, Principia, that is open to graduates of their leadership seminars. It has featured speakers such as Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Lisa Nichols, John Gray, Marshall Thurber, and Marianne Williamson.
Evaluations and Reviews
Dr. Debra Holland, PhD, studied participants in the PSI Basic Seminar to determine the effects a year after taking the class. Of 268 people who took the seminar, 202 people completed questionnaires before the seminar and 89 completed follow-up questionnaires or telephone interviews a year later. She found that:
- PSI Basic graduates, regardless of prior expectations, described mostly positive experiences at the seminar. Even those responses which were subcategorized as neutral, described positive experiences although a negative comment was included. The majority of negative comments had to do with the pressure to attend advanced seminars or to enroll others into the Basic. Many graduates of the seminar made changes in their lives from attending the seminar, changes which continued throughout the following year. This finding may indicate that, although (as some critics have expressed) there was an initial "high" from the seminar, some permanent change was found for certain individuals. ... Individuals who are not dysfunctional, who are seeking enhanced relationships, better communications skills, and desiring to increase self-awareness could best benefit from attending PSI. ... It is important for the therapist to discourage those clients who have psychiatric disorders from attending any LGAT. ... A mostly positive experience [resulting from the PSI Basic] was found, with some types of changes occurring, mostly in the area of relationships.
PSI Seminars has been favorably cited by authors of books on self-improvement. Examples include Jack Canfield's The Success Principles , Chérie Carter-Scott's If Life Is a Game ... These Are The Stories , Mark Chussil's Nice Start , and Rich Fettke's Extreme Success. 
In an episode of Larry King Live, guests Michael Beckwith, author Bob Proctor, and John DeMartini announced that they would be working together for two weeks at PSI Seminars. Bob Proctor stated, "Dr. Martini, Michael Beckwith and myself, are going to [be] working together next week -- is it two weeks -- at PSI Seminars. I don't own the company, but it is the best course I've ever seen."
- "About PSI Seminars". Psiseminars.com. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Vancil, Tiffany (2008-04-25). "PSI Seminars Blog: History of PSI Seminars". Psi-seminars.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Rockenstein, Denise (7 October 2009). "Just for kicks: The grass is greener at Burns Valley Elementary". Lake County Record-Bee. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Vahle, Neal; Connie Fillmore Bazzy (2002). The Unity Movement: Its Evolution and Spiritual Teachings. Templeton Foundation Press. pp. 399, 403. ISBN 1-890151-96-3.
- Finkelstein, Peter; Wenegrat, Brant; Yalom, Irvin (January 1982). "Large Group Awareness Training". Annual Review of Psychology 33 (1): 515–539. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.33.020182.002503. ISSN 0066-4308.
- "PSI Basic Personal Development Seminar". Psiseminars.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Life Success Seminar | PSI VII". PSI Seminars. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Men's Leadership Seminar | PSI Seminars". Psiseminarsmls.com. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Women Leadership Seminar | WLS | PSI Seminars". Psiseminarsmls.com. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Advanced Leadership Course | Pacesetter's Leadership Dynamics". Psiseminarsleadership.com. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Self Development Seminar | Principia". PSI Seminars. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Holland, Debra L. (1993-10-29), A One Year Follow-up of the Experience and Impact of the PSI Basic Seminar, pp. 103,106–108, Thesis(PhD) University of Southern California, 1993. Educ. PhD '93 H734
- Canfield, Jack L.; Janet Switzer (2005). The Success Principles(TM). HarperCollins. p. 447. ISBN 0-06-059488-8.
- Carter-Scott, Cherie (2004). If Life Is a Game...These Are The Stories. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 0-7407-4684-7.
- Chussil, Mark (2010). Nice Start. Inkwater Press. pp. ix. ISBN 978-1-59299-474-8.
- Fettke, Rich (2002). Extreme Success. Simon and Schuster. p. 7. ISBN 0-7432-3386-7.
- Staff (November 2, 2006). "The Power of Positive Thoughts". Larry King Live (CNN).