Sterling Institute of Relationship

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Sterling Institute Inc.
(d.b.a. Sterling Institute of Relationship)
Privately Held Company
Industry Seminars
Founded 1979
Founder A. Justin Sterling
(formerly Arthur "Artie" Kasarjian)
Headquarters Oakland, California
Key people
A. Justin Sterling,
Owner A. Justin Sterling
Website Corporate Web site

The Sterling Institute of Relationship is a for-profit corporation and counseling business run by A. Justin Sterling (formerly Arthur "Artie" Kasarjian[1]) since 1979.[2] Focusing on heterosexual relationships through intensive, multi-hour trainings, male and female participants attend separate trainings. The company is based in Oakland, California.

A. Justin Sterling is also founder and president of "International Community Service Day Foundation", also located in California.[1]


MSNBC reported that The Sterling Institute has been described as "John [sic] Bly meets Est".[3] The evolution from Erhard Seminars Training has also been noted in other media pieces.[1] [4]

Originally titled "Women, Sex and Power," and "Men, Sex and Power," the corporate Web site now refers to the seminars as "The Women's Weekend" and "The Men's Weekend." The price in 1991 was US$400.[5] As of 2013, the price for the weekend was US$600.[6] The main seminar is referred to by participants simply as "the Weekend," and was described in Details Magazine as exhibiting similar traits to "New Age quasi-spiritual movements." [7]

Participants must sign a standard waiver before beginning the weekend.[3] The waiver is presented to the participants upon registering for the weekend and paying the fees, and is also presented through a link on the registration page of the corporate Web site.

The main idea of the weekend is to teach men how to improve their relationships with women. In addition, participants are coached on being better friends, husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers, as the context of the weekend is simply; "being better men, being strong masculine men for the betterment of humanity. " [8] Men are "slaves to their egos," but are "100 percent responsible for the success of their relationships," [2] that a woman should "Never marry a man you don’t trust," and "If giving a man what he wants when he wants it requires you to be someone you’re not, or prevents you from accepting yourself, then he’s not the right man for you." Additional advice for women is detailed in Sterling's book, What Really Works with Men.[6]

The course itself runs all weekend, with breaks in-between, according to a reporter from Elle Magazine.[6] The many rituals that take place symbolize a "rite of passage" from youth to maturity,[1][8] and is a triumphant time of male bonding.[3] The weekend course typically ends in a "graduation ceremony", where the participants congratulate each other.[6]


According to the San Jose Mercury News, the Sterling Institute of Relationship has a "history of complaints" at the Oakland, California division of the Better Business Bureau, and also at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[1]

The seminar was described in Details Magazine as having a "cult like subculture." [7]

Elle Magazine reported that individuals have criticized some of Sterling's methods as abusive, and have used the term "cult-like" to describe some of the methodologies employed,[6] as have other news sources.[2][4][9]

During the course, Sterling was reported to use strong language.[6]


Sterling, A. Justin. [1992] What Really Works with Men, Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-36439-8.


  1. ^ a b c d e Lubman, Sarah (September 15, 1996). "Volunteers Bring Schools More Than They Bargained For: Oakland-Based Charity Pushes its Founder's Views on the Sexes". San Jose Mercury News. 
  2. ^ a b c Lubman, Sarah (April 17, 1996). "Bay Area Service Foundation's Mixed Legacy: Some Parents at South S.J. Elementary School Uneasy with Group's Rites, Ties". San Jose Mercury News. 
  3. ^ a b c Walls, Jeannette (December 20, 1999). "Naked VIPs, on videotape: A new men's movement is taking the country by storm--and it has some past participants in a panic". MSNBC. NBC. 
  4. ^ a b Smart, Paul (August 15, 2002). "The Sterling Men Of Woodstock: A Series (Part I) - A line in the dirt: Woodstock's Sterling society redefines the modern man". Woodstock Times.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "smart" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ Faludi, Susan (1991). Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Crown. p. 307. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Richards, Sarah Elizabeth (August 1, 2006). "To Love and Obey? - A seductive idea floating around the relationship cosmos is that we’d all be better off if men were men, and girls were girls. Is this misogynist bunk or the key to happily ever after?". Elle Magazine. 
  7. ^ a b Yafa, Stephen (December 1999).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b Staff (December 1999). "Filmland Jitters Over Jerky Video". New York Post. pp. Page 6. 
  9. ^ Smart, Paul (August 15, 2002). "The Sterling Men Of Woodstock: A Series (Part III) - The psychology of cults and secret societies". Woodstock Times.