As we have met with legislators, these are some of the ideas for how to regulate the self-help industry that we have been presenting:
- Stricter penalties for the self-help provider if a participant is harmed physically in a self-help event regardless of having signed a waiver. There is a realistic expectation of protection if an accident occurs and there is a common sense assumption that the provider will minimize personal risk. If there is NO risk management plan, or no medical support offered when an incident occurs, the provider should be held accountable.
- When a participant is asked to sign a waiver indemnifying a self-help provider, a RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN must be produced in order for the participant to view how the provider will minimize risk and what safeguards are in place if an accident occurs.
- If a self-help provider is planning a challenging physical event, there must be MEDICAL SUPPORT available in the event of an accident as well as a clearly specified RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN which will minimize risk and insure protection and support if an accident occurs. When there are physical challenges at an event, there are limitations on numbers of participants.
- Application of consumer protection laws and truth in advertising laws for self-help experiences. If a consumer has been deceived in the advertising promises or harmed at a self-help event, the existing laws of reasonable protection should be applied.
- When a large Group Awareness Training is held that employs tactics of sensory deprivation (over-crowed schedule that challenges the need for healthy hydration, food intake and sleep), combined with strong encouragement for extreme emotional examination, licensed medical/psychological support is available for participants who may become emotionally overwhelmed. (limitation on numbers of participants?)
- Seminars and retreats that require physical challenges need to have participants offer their medical background for clearance to participate safely. Commonsense standards for medical safety need to be applied to allow participation.