Werner Erhard and Associates

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Werner Erhard and Associates
Private sole proprietorship[1](defunct)
Industry Personal development, Large Group Awareness Training
Founded February 1981
Defunct 1991
Headquarters San Francisco, California, USA
Key people
Werner Erhard (Founder)
Products Seminars, workshops

Werner Erhard and Associates, also known as WE&A or as WEA, operated as a commercial entity from February 1981 until early 1991. It replaced Erhard Seminars Training, Inc. as the vehicle for delivering the est training, and offered what some people refer to as "personal-growth" programs. Initially WE&A marketed and staged the est training (in the form of the est seminars and workshops), but in 1984 the est Training was replaced by a more modern, briefer, rigorous and philosophical program based on Werner Erhard's teachings called "The Forum".[2][3]

In 1991 Erhard sold the assets of WE&A to a group of employees, who later formed Landmark Education. Erhard then retired[4] and left the United States.


Werner Erhard

For additional Information, see Werner Erhard and est.

  • February 1981: Werner Erhard and Associates (WE&A) set up.[4]
  • 1984: WE&A replaces the est training with "The Forum".[2]
  • 1991: Erhard sold the assets of WE&A to a group of employees, who later formed Landmark Education.

Evaluations of "The Forum"[edit]

A scientific study, commissioned by Werner Erhard and Associates and conducted by a team of psychology professors, concluded that attending the Forum had minimal lasting effects — positive or negative — on participants' self-perception. The research won an American Psychological Association "National Psychological Consultants to Management Award" in 1989.[5]

The results of the research study appeared in two articles in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1989,[6] and in 1990,[7] and in 1990 in a book titled "Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training".[8]

In the study, "The Children of est: A Study of the Experience and Perceived Effects of a Large Group Awareness Training (the Forum)," the Forum was found to have a definite structure, curriculum, and pedagogical approach. The primary concepts of The Forum, called "distinctions" were identified. The data indicate that qualitatively significant results were produced in participants' cognitive, affective, and behavioral domains of functioning. Most participants attributed significant life effects to their experience.[9]

Public-opinion analyst, Daniel Yankelovich did an investigation of the response of participants to their experience of the Forum. Yankelovich reported that “more than seven out of ten participants found the Forum to be one of their life’s most rewarding experiences.” The study reported that 95 percent of Forum graduates believe the Forum had “specific, practical value” for many aspects of their lives, and 86 percent of those surveyed said that it helped them “cope with a particular challenge or problem.”[10] [11]

Impact of "The Forum"[edit]

One of the more common results of the Forum was the healing of relationships with parents. One facet of this course was to urge participants to stop blaming their parents for their problems and begin to express their natural love for them that was often buried under accumulated resentments that went unexpressed.[12]

Many projects to come out of the Forum involved working to foster value, camaraderie and opportunities to serve the community. As an example of this a group of participants in a seminar threw a Christmas party at a homeless shelter by planning and preparing the party, cooking and providing the food, and participating with the people in the shelter. As a result, they "came away with the gift of knowing we are them and they are us, homeless or sheltered, employed or out of work, broke or salaried; we recognized ourselves in their eyes and in their plight." [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Accordingly, Werner Erhard and Associates ("WEA") was established as a sole proprietorship in February 1981." Erhard v. IRS, 1995. http://www.assetprotectionbook.com/erhard.htm Retrieved 2007-10-05
  2. ^ a b Anthony Gottlieb: "Heidegger for Fun and Profit", in The New York Times, January 7, 1990. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/07/books/heidegger-for-fun-and-profit.html?ref=martinheidegger, retrieved 2011-10-29
  3. ^ Dan Wakefield, "How Do We Know When It's God?: A Spiritual Memoir"
  4. ^ a b "Site by Former Associates committed to providing accurate and reliable information about Werner Erhard". Retrieved 2007-09-09
  5. ^ Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Silver, Chinsky; Goff, Klar (1990). Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training. Springer-Verlag. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-387-97320-3. 
    Page. vii. – "The research reported in this volume was awarded the American Psychological Association, Division 13, National Consultants to Management Award, August 13, 1989."
  6. ^ Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Silver, Chinsky, Goff, Klar, Zagieboylo (1989). "Psychological effects of participation in a large group awareness training". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 57 (6): 747–755. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.57.6.747. ISSN 0022-006X.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  7. ^ Klar, Yechiel; et al. (February 1990). "Characteristics of Participants in a Large Group Awareness Training". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 58 (1): 99–108. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.58.1.99. ISSN 0022-006X. PMID 2319051. 
  8. ^ J.D. Fisher, R. C. Silver, J. M. Chinsky, B. Goff and Y. Klar, Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training: A Longitudinal Study of Psychosocial Effects, Published by Springer-Verlag, October 1990, ISBN 0-387-97320-6.
  9. ^ Denison, Charles W. (1994). "The Children of est: A Study of the Perceived Effects of Large Group Awareness Training (the Forum)". 
  10. ^ Dan Wakefield, ‘Erhard in Exile”, Common Boundary, March/April 1994.
  11. ^ Tricycle: Dan Wakefield, The Buddhist Review - Volume 3, 1994
  12. ^ a b How Do We Know When It's God?: A Spiritual Memoir, By Dan Wakefield

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]