Navigating the world of self-help, self-improvement, professional development, etc, can be confusing. Here’s a list of common terms, tactics, and practices at self-help events and other terms and concepts to be aware of when weeding through resources or trying to understand the industry.

There are a number of companies that run LGAT sessions, which usually last 4-5 days and involve intense psychological exploration in a group environment. The techniques used by LGAT groups raise many of our Red Flag concerns, and seem to be aimed at coercing participants into purchasing more materials or further seminars.

This popular self-help philosophy claims that you can manifest your reality through your thoughts–that positive thoughts will attract positive things into your life and that negative thoughts will attract negative things into your life. Most authors and speakers on the subject focus on material wealth. This is the main idea behind “The Secret,” the popular book and movie that propelled James Ray into self-help fame.

NLP is a largely debunked therapeutic technique that nevertheless persists in the self-help world, both as a technique for personal growth and change that is promoted by practitioners, and as a persuasive technique that is used by practitioners to influence their customers. It focusses on the connection between the mind and language as a means of shaping one’s experience in the world.

The popular industry promoting products (books, CDs, apps) and services (personal coaching, group seminars) that offer a holistic approach to self-improvement, touching on one’s personal, professional and spiritual life. It is currently an unregulated industry and often uses techniques that are of questionable value and safety.

This is the process of reducing stimuli to the senses, such as light and sound. In group settings, it can involve isolating participants from one another. The effects of sensory deprivation include disorientation, suggestibility, hallucinations, and loss of mental clarity. This technique is sometimes employed at self-help events to make participants feel they are “getting a their money’s worth,” as they’ve been told that these experiences are proof of the program working. They can also be used to make participants more open to buying further into the program.

Is the fundamental technique of underlying reality creation. It is the process of using your thought power to consciously imagine, create and attract to yourself that which you intend to experience in your life. Mastering creative visualization grants you direct control over your thoughts at the subconscious level. While there are several ways to programme the subconscious mind, visualization is the most effective and its results the most rapid.

A trancelike state resembling somnambulism, usually induced by another person, in which the subject may experience forgotten or suppressed memories, hallucinations, and heightened suggestibility.

Inner child work is the process of contacting, understanding, embracing and healing your inner child. Your inner child represents your first original self that entered into this world; it contains your capacity to experience wonder, joy, innocence, sensitivity and playfulness.

A process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher, either in person or via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.

Similar to other techniques designed to invoke a state of relaxation, such as hypnosis. Both techniques involve some visualization, a focus on the inner mental experience, and a relaxed state of mind.

Specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.

A term that connotes someone who is a teacher, guide, expert, or master of certain knowledge or field.

To make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

To release (someone) from apparent brainwashing, typically that of a religious cult, by the systematic reindoctrination of conventional values.

Refers to standard principles that encourage the greater values of trust, fairness and benevolence. Ethical standards may refer to responsibilities for some professionals.

A powerful approach to self-exploration and healing that integrates insights from modern consciousness research, anthropology, various depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices, and mystical traditions of the world.

A term used in esotericism to describe a willful out-of-body experience (OBE), a supposed form of telepathy, that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness called an ” astral body” that is separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside of it throughout the universe.

The ability to know you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming. A lucid dreamer is able to go to sleep at night, and wake up within his or her dream. Once lucid, you can explore and even change elements of the dream.

The realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.

A non-denominational spiritual healing method that involves working with a person’s guardian angels and archangels, to heal and harmonize every aspect of life.

Fire walking refers to the activity of walking on hot coals, rocks or cinders without burning the soles of one’s feet. In some cultures fire walking is part of a religious ritual and is associated with the mystical powers. In America, fire walking is part of New Age religion, i.e., self-empowering motivational activity.