Last month, we received the following email from a certified yoga instructor from Denmark who has signed our Promise. Here’s what she has to say about the self-help industry in Europe.
Dear founders of Seek Safely,
Since I first read about the sweat lodge incident in Scientific American in 2014, I was deeply moved, and have since researched on what happened, on James Arthur Ray and his whereabouts. I’ve followed with dread how he has dubbed himself an arisen phoenix and still claims that he was not responsible for what happened. I was so moved and sad about reading about Kirby and the other victims, and I admire you all for taking the steps necessary to guide people in the unregulated industry. I send you all my deepest respect and sympathy!
I have been around the self help industry in Denmark and Sweden for many years, and I have seen how dangerous situations arise all the time because of irresponsible and even unintelligent people acclaim themselves as an “intuitive guide” and other kinds of spiritual bullshit. I have seen with my own eyes, how incredibly easy it is to brainwash people. I have seen a woman going into a full psychosis during a retreat, and I have seen how an “intuitive coach” have lured very fragile women into her “master Circle” of utter nonsense. I have been contacted by a lawyer, because I pointed out that this “intuitive coach” was doing very wrong with these people – and their money. (She dropped the idea of taking me to court, though.)
In 2014, I published a short story inspired by real events in a yoga community, which has inspired some people to think twice about their current self help group. And now that I have been certified a yoga teacher, I have signed the Seek Safety pledge and will publish this on my website as I have finished the graphic design, along with my other certificates of education and first aid.
The self help industry is getting bigger and bigger in Europe, and thus more unpredictable and non-transparent. We have currently no initiative in Denmark that can provide guidance in this area. This is why I am turning to your website, and why I want to let you know that you are a great inspiration to me as a yoga teacher and writer. I want to spread the knowledge, as I fear that a similar situation as the one JAR facilitated may arise any time now.
Your initiative with Seek Safely is one of great importance. Thank you, and keep up the good work. Meanwhile, I will continue to spread the word of seeking safely in Denmark!
With love and respect, Louise Kristensen
Consumer protection in the self-help industry is obviously an international need, but we have to start locally. In New York, A6262 and S6018 are in the consumer protection committees of both houses for review before going to a floor vote. Legislators must be made aware of the abuses and need for consumer protection.