Werner Erhard and Associates
|Private sole proprietorship(defunct)|
|Industry||Personal development, Large Group Awareness Training|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, USA|
|Werner Erhard (Founder)|
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 and professional development 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".
- February 1981: Werner Erhard and Associates (WE&A) set up.
- 1984: WE&A replaces the est training with "The Forum".
- 1991: Erhard sold the assets of WE&A to a group of employees who later formed Landmark Education.
A scientific study conducted by a team of psychology professors, concluded that attending the Forum had minimal lasting effects — positive or negative — on participants. The research won an American Psychological Association "National Psychological Consultants to Management Award" in 1989.
The results of the research study appeared in two articles in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1989 and in 1990, and in 1990 in a book titled Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training.
The abstract of Charles Denison's PhD dissertation for the College of Education (University of Denver), "The Children of est: A Study of the Experience and Perceived Effects of a Large Group Awareness Training (the Forum)", reported that the Forum had a definite structure, curriculum, and pedagogical approach. Denison's study identified the primary concepts of The Forum, called "distinctions". Data indicate that qualitatively significant results were produced in participants' self-assessed functioning in cognitive, affective, and behavioral domains. Most participants attributed significant life effects to their experience.
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".
Professor of Communication Studies, Bruce R. Hyde in his paper, “Saying the Clearing: A Heideggerian Analysis of the Ontological Rhetoric of Werner Erhard” discusses the Forum as the beginnings of Erhard's work in developing transformational education utilizing an ontological approach rather than an epistemological approach.
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.
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." 
- "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
- Anthony Gottlieb: "Heidegger for Fun and Profit", in The New York Times, January 7, 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/07/books/heidegger-for-fun-and-profit.html?ref=martinheidegger, retrieved 2011-10-29
- Dan Wakefield, "How Do We Know When It's God?: A Spiritual Memoir"
- "Site by Former Associates committed to providing accurate and reliable information about Werner Erhard". Retrieved 2007-09-09
Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Cohen Silver, Roxane; Chinsky, Jack M.; Goff, Barry; Klar, Yechiel (2012) . Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training: A Longitudinal Study of Psychosocial Effects. Recent Research in Psychology. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461234289. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
[...] with the exception of one univariate effect, no evidence of negative effects was found on any of the measures [...] Many of the potential favorable outcomes of the Forum were assessed on constructs represented in the multivariate analyses (i.e., Positive and Negative Affect, Health, Perceived Control, Social Functioning, Life Satisfaction, Self-Esteem, and Daily Coping). On seven of these eight dimensions, there were no significant short- or long-term multivariate treatment effects. On one, Perceived Control, the short- but not the long-term multivariate comparison with nominees revealed that Forum participants became more internally oriented.
- Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Cohen Silver, Roxane; Chinsky, Jack M.; Goff, Barry; Klar, Yechiel (1990). Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training: A Longitudinal Study of Psychosocial Effects. 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."
- Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Silver, Roxane Cohen; Chinsky, Jack M.; Goff, Barry; Klar, Yechiel; Zagieboylo, Cyndi (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Denison, Charles W. (1994). "The Children of est: A Study of the Perceived Effects of Large Group Awareness Training (the Forum)".
This study analyzed what happens in a training, and documented the outcome that participants attribute to the experience. [...] The researcher completed multiple observations of the training, and conducted in-depth interviews with 20 research subjects. [...] 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. )
- Dan Wakefield, "Erhard in Exile", Common Boundary, March/April 1994. Quoted in https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/erhards-life-after-est/ - "Public-opinion analyst Daniel Yankelovich expressed 'surprise' over the results of his own investigation, which reported that 'more than seven out of ten participants found The Landmark Forum to be one of their life's most rewarding experiences.' The study reported that 95 percent of Forum graduates believe it has had 'specific, practical value' for many aspects of their lives, and 86 percent of those surveyed say that it helped them 'cope with a particular challenge or problem'."
Wakefield, Dan (1994). "Outrageous Betrayal[:] The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. 3 (Spring). New York: Tricycle Foundation. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
[...] according to a study by opinion analyst Daniel Yankelovich, seven out of ten participants in The Forum found it to be 'one of their life's most rewarding experiences,' while 94 percent felt the program had 'practical' and 'enduring' value.
- Hyde, R. B., Saying the Clearing: A Heideggerian Analysis of the Ontological Rhetoric of Werner Erhard, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1991
- How Do We Know When It's God?: A Spiritual Memoir, By Dan Wakefield
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