• Report: #279191

Complaint Review: Impact Trainings, Hans Berger And Sally Berger

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  • Submitted: Tue, October 16, 2007
  • Updated: Sun, December 02, 2012

  • Reported By:Taylorsville Utah
Impact Trainings, Hans Berger And Sally Berger
14823 S Heritagecrest Way Bluffdale, Utah U.S.A.

Impact Trainings (Hans Berger And Sally Berger) Company Uses Mental Manipulation and plays on Emotions to Take Money Bluffdale Utah

*Consumer Comment: Thank You

*General Comment: Been along time

*Consumer Comment: The Negatives and Positives of Impact

*General Comment: Impact Training...The best experience of my life!

*Consumer Comment: Peace be with you.

*Consumer Comment: 1st Presidency against Impact

*Consumer Comment: Word

*Consumer Comment: Impacted Rantings

*Consumer Comment: Impact Trainings is Great

*Consumer Comment: Wow. Seriously?

*Consumer Comment: Impact Training is only for those who WANT change!

*Consumer Comment: Comments for Spiritual?

*Consumer Comment: Questions and comments for Steve

*Consumer Comment: Trust your friends and family, not internet strangers!

*Author of original report: Another Update

*Consumer Suggestion: Spouse of Impact Trainee

*Author of original report: Impact Trainings' Results are unverifiable the deliberately misleading

*Consumer Comment: Another Impact Graduate

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I enrolled in the Impact Trainings several years ago and watched my quality of life decline dramatically until I finally pulled out. All the while my bank account was being drained as I paid for trainings that not only failed to add value but encouraged me to live and act in ways that tied me to Impact while disregarding everything else in my life.

No rational or sane person would choose to be involved with the Impact Trainings if they were able to see what went on behind those doors before having to pay a fee and allow the trainers and staff to slowly condition them over a period of several days. When I finally realized what was going on around me I was forced to choose between continued involvement with the group or severing several close family relationships. Impact's marketing strategy makes it very difficult to leave because every trainee is enrolled by someone close to them and severing contact with the training means (in most cases) that the relationship will be severed as well.

Impact begins initiating trainees into its community in the Quest training. When I attended the Quest training it cost $550. Quest consists of four days of mostly intense and degrading activities that are designed to teach trainees obedience to the trainer. Once that obedience has been established the trainers and staff are able to manipulate the trainees emotions at will. This emotional control is used repeatedly through out the rest of the series to keep people paying for more training and enrolling their family and friends. After several days of degradation and a final day where the Impact trainers begin to espouse the early stages of their religious beliefs, the Quest training ends with a "graduation" and a final activity where all of the Quest trainees are either enrolled into the next stage of the training or publicly chastised for "selling out".

Summit is the second stage and cost $795 at the time that I took the training. Summit begins with a day of degradation where trainees are assigned "alternate names" such as "Daddy's Joy Toy", "Womb for Rent", "Still Nursing", "Pee wee pervert", etc and then required to visualize themselves dying and being placed in coffins because they do not deserve to live. The next 3 days involve building the trainees back up and further creating a strong sense of community inside the center by assigning people to small groups and requiring them to act out embarrassing skits (for example a group of heavy set women may be required to dress as cows, whales or belly dancers). Like Quest, the Summit Training ends with a graduation and hard-sell commitment activity designed to get people to pay for the next level. At this stage in my training there were several trainees who's finances were so tight that they resorted to begging for money from other people in the group.

Lift-Off was the third stage of the training and cost $695 at the time that I was involved. Unlike the first two trainings, which were conducted over a 4 day period, Lift-Off consisted of 4 weekends that were spread over a 13 week period. The four weekends all had different themes, one of which was "enrollment weekend" where trainees went out as groups in an effort to fill seats at the next Quest training. Each Trainee in Lift-Off was assigned a specific staff member that they were required to call 3 times a week. Lift-Off was not as dramatic as the other trainings and as a result there were not as many break downs among the trainees. Lift-Off seemed to solidify much of the conditioning that occurred in Quest and Summit as well as provide a bridge between the first two trainings and the next series.

After Lift-Off, trainees are encouraged to "keep their training alive" by volunteering to work on the staff in future Quest, Summit and Lift-Off trainings. Impact Trainings does not screen their volunteer staff at all. I was aware of several registered sex offenders that were allowed to be leaders over new trainees, one of them even staffed a training for teens. I knew of 4 staff members, in my 2 years with the company, who engaged in sexual relationships with trainees. Despite these egregious actions by staff members, I never saw Impact make any effort to screen their staff members for the protection of the new trainees. Since the Impact community claims to value love and forgiveness above all else, the lack of screening is justified by the "everyone deserves a second chance" philosophy.

The next step for the trainees is to begin the "Trainer in Training" program. Trainer in Training 1 cost $1500 and was the first training specifically designed to influence the trainees' religious beliefs and spirituality. Hans Berger spoke openly in my training of his alleged communications with spirits. He also claimed to have worked in "Intelligence" for the US government. One of the processes in this training involves Hans giving detailed, non-biblical, accounts of the life of Jesus. Later on in the Trainer in Training series Hans claimed to have learned this information and the processes of the Impact Trainings themselves through face to face communicatons with Jesus, Buddha and other "Ascended Masters".

Trainer in Training 2 cost $1800 and further developed the trainees belief that they had the power to create miracles and talk with the deceased. Many trainees at this stage begin to revere Hans Berger as a prophet. The Impact trainers would periodically make statements such as "Hans is not a Prophet" or "Impact Trainings is not a religion" but those statements only served to change the trainees' language as they still continue to build their lives around every word that came out of Hans' mouth.

The Impact Trainings is a manipulative self improvement training that grows into a religious cult where the trainers act like gods among men. I personally heard Hans state on several occasions "I am God". If you are considering attending the Impact Trainings I highly recommend consulting a trained and licensed therapist. In my 2 years of involvement with the training I never saw anyone leave the group in a state of emotional health. Those that stayed continued to pay large amounts of money to the group and spend several weeks each year providing free labor on the volunteer staff.

Former Impacter
Taylorsville, Utah
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/16/2007 11:38 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Impact-Trainings-Hans-Berger-And-Sally-Berger/Bluffdale-Utah-84062/Impact-Trainings-Hans-Berger-And-Sally-Berger-Company-Uses-Mental-Manipulation-and-plays-279191. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Thank You

AUTHOR: Erika L - (United States of America)

Thank you for exposing this for what it is. I attended Impact for for the first training and The Great Life Foundation for Part II and part of Part III when I quit. Every single thing the original poster mentioned is what I too, experienced. Also, the original poster stated, " I also know the owners intimately and as a result, I find it unlikely that a wonderful training could be owned and operated by such despicable and dishonest individuals." I couldn't agree more. I know them both from their trainings as well as a certain credit repair "Law Firm." I could write pages on my experiences, but you've said it all. I'm very accustomed to the words "get" "deserve" "choose" and "accountability." Only a person who has gone through this will truly understand; brainwashing at its finest and cult indeed.
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#2 General Comment

Been along time

AUTHOR: ThereAndBack - (USA)

I wrote my last report on impact 3 yrs after i'd taken the training and just recieved an email saying someone had rebutted against me. And i ask now that you forgive me if I jump around a little, it gets hard to write proper and chronalogically when I'm in the moment. And i ask patience if you plan to read this because I'm a writer so it'll be long XD.

It has been 6 yrs since I Graduated Impact Trainings. Is my life absolutely cloud 9, happy, joyful, and glorious every moment of every day? Hell no. I have some super sh!tty days!!! But i will never regret going to Impact.

When my brother and sister in law first approached my husband and i about going, we werent interested. They asked us to attend a guest presenation and we refused. They let it go, other family members went and my sis-in-law who lived with us asked if we would be willing to attend a presentation with her just that once. We agreed.That night we were enrolled into Quest and did we have money, HECK no and I had a 4mo old baby boy and marrage that was about to end. I was fretting about money and how was i gonna care for my boy..my husband... Let me tell you, never have i seen so many people gather around to make sure all was well. Even memebers who hadnt even heard of impact showed up for me to watch my son. We would check our account and find deposites of $20, $100 anonymously. To this day I've no idea who did that for us. I had family bring my son to the center and the staff was notified so i could nurse him! In between i was given a room to myself to pump.

I'm not afraid to let people know me. My husband is the son of a polygamist and while my husband WAS NOT, you can only imagine the kind of stress that causes between us two and us and MY family who is LDS and obviously NOT for polygamy.

I walked into quest with the idea "i'm here to save my marriage" and boy did i get a wake up call! Its so hard to put into words what i learned! First i really got to realize it all starts with me and from there.... it got amazing. I got to be accountable and realize i was a victim because i allowed myself to be, but when i chose to BE accountable for what went on no matterhow awful and terrbile...it was enpowering! I was able to truely let go of so much fear and anger and pent up crap! I was able to tell my husband about things that had gone on while we were dating, after we were married, etc i was so afraid he'd divorce me for. I'd dated other guys, messed around while we'd "seriously dated". After we were married i let a good guy friend from work take me out to breakfast and a movie. To some this might seem harmless but to me, it had always felt like a huge anvil hanging over me ready to crush me and my relationship with my husband. The trainings allowed me a safe enviornment to be honest with him and him with me. We were able to work through it and now i am free from that burden.

I struggled with baby blues. I had a stressed marriage and home life. I kept what i felt, thought, etc inside. Through the trainings i was challenged to tell my deepest darkest secret. At that moment in time it was that i wished my hubby and little boy would disappear! I took so much for me to tell that to a group of people, especially when your mother in law, husband, and other family memebers were there, but it allowed them to realize something was not ok and now that they knew, we could do something about it. When I was honest, it allowed others the opportunity to show up and show me their love and service.

I mentioned in my earlier report i was molested by my cousin, I sat face to face and told him i forgave him and how i in my own way allowed those things to happen. Many people would hold that against him and keep their children away but i trust him. he is not the 18yr old kid he was, hes learned, I've learned and there is no doubt in my mind he has not and will not inappropriately touch any child again in HIS LIFE. To be able to forgive him for that was HUGE for me, and when my family learned I had i spent many hours talking to them about why i did it, how i was able to do it, and how free i felt and still feel.  

In the training I chose the boundaries with people. the "hugging"... there were plenty i wouldnt "full body hug" and do you not full body hug people you love like your parents, children, grandparents, etc? I do, DID before i went to impact. The things i got to experience from those people allowed me into parts of their life i cant put into words it was so amazing and touching and they got to be in mine. When I see someone and can remember those moments we shared, all i want to do is hug them as tight as i can and let them know how much i love them, whether they are impacters or not. Its because of my experience in impact that i'm not afraid to SHOW my love, appreciation, affection to people around me. Yes that has both repaired, built anew, and in some cases hurt relationships. I am honest with people, which ALOT of people dont like. I take things to the source and challenge others to do the same when they come to me b!tchin and moaning. But my strength in being those things i said have assisted so many around me.

It is true that I am a different person inside the walls of impact. I am excited, joyful, full of energy and light, while also being reverent and peaceful, but thats the atmosphere there. Thats the vibe I get from the people there. I'm a completely different person in my own home or at a party or at church, etc. Different situations and people resonate with different parts of me and I live in effect to some of those.

I will agree that the hours werent the greatest, but I hated getting up every couple hours with my infant son to feed, change, burp, etc him. Do i feel all that wasnt worth the shining 6yr old i have now? HELL NO! Impact's hours sucked but that alone isnt enough for ME to sway from it.
As i mention i went in with the idea that i was going to save my marriage. Some people have asked me Did impact save my marriage? and i tell them "No, impact did not save my marrige. I DID!" With work, honest, blood, sweat, and tears. I saved my marriage and 7yrs, 3 kids later and through all the sh!t that comes my way being married to the man i love with every ounce of my body and soul, I will continue till the end of my existance....

I graduated from Impact over 6 yrs ago. I staffed a few times speratically (misspelled), but otherwise have only done the levels to liftoff. I have never been pressured to do anything. once in a while i recieve an email about the different trainings that will be starting but thats because i chose into being on the mailing list. I keep in touch with a number of my own "impact family" as i call them and that includes people from my quest, summit, liftoff, and other trainees, staff, etc I have met.

I will ask forgivness of those my earlier report may have upset or offended. My intention was to give a different light to impact than the ones I'd read. I will be honest and repeat that anyone who has heard of impact and it has perked your interest to continue to read EVERYTHING good and bad. I went to a graduation to see what it was like and while i was seated in the audience next to my husband, i looked and him and shook my head NO!!!! Then we went to the guest presentation and it was different than the graduation i'd experienced so i chose to go if my husband went because "i was going to save my marriage"

To those who dislike impact with the passion they show, i get it. I get where you're coming from. I see the protection you want to allow others. To save them from the cancer. We'd all like to save the ones we love, even strangers from cancer. I lost my dad in 2009 to cancer, he made it 6mo. During the last week he was alive my husband sat down with my dad and opened his heart to him. asked him to forgive him for marrying me even though my dad had said no, for treating me the way he did somtimes. My dad hugged him and said, "I love you. You've been a good son in law." He was gone the end of that week. My husband was the most stubborn, egotistical, ass before we went through impact together. Our experince allowed the healing in our reltionship, thus rippling out to others like the one with my dad and the results speak for themselves.

LOL to sum this all up i still have some low moments and i too think "alot of good impact did" then i sit and look at all that went on and i remember what i went through, the things i learned and i again am at choice to sit in my sh!t all pissed off at the world or i can choose to get over it and either change it or step into a whole new moment and put that dark moment behind me. Sometimes i sit and stew, sometimes i bottle it up and eventually let it all fly, sometimes I choose into something new. It's all up to me.

Steph B LO225
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#3 Consumer Comment

The Negatives and Positives of Impact

AUTHOR: Lisa - (United States of America)

I'm not here to endorse Impact or judge anyone.  Only to give my personal experiences of the Impact Trainings.  I was involved with Quest, Summit and Lift Off trainings over 15 years ago and I will go ahead and tell of my negative and positive experiences:

The positive experiences were knowing that through hard work, urgency and keeping focused on what I wanted out of life and myself I could achieve anything.  I felt that I had gotten to know myself on a more personal and spiritual level and that asking for what you need and want in your life is the best way to get there.  I achieved a level of communication that I will never forget in a positive way.  I enjoyed the friendships I had made and loved experiencing how I could create my own results.  I still remember and miss the people that were in the same training.  I now know that I am responsible and accountable for my own life.

The negative experiences were having to be in the trainings at 6am sometimes until 2am the next day.  They would give assignments to do that would interfere with time to sleep, so most of the time I would only get 3-4 hours sleep.  I will agree with previous posts that there was a lot of yelling and screaming.  Sometimes to the point of vomiting or feeling like you were going to pass out.  If you said something the trainer didn't like or thought you weren't being honest, they would yell right in your face like a drill sergeant would.  There was an exercise where you had to stand in front of the group and they could make up degrading names.  Some of the names I felt were verbally abusive.  If you tried to leave for whatever reasons, they would follow you and try to get you to come back.  But, I never witnessed any threats of putting the persons life in danger.  If the person truly wanted to leave, they could.  You could be "put out" of the trainings altogether if you violated any of their ground rules.  One of them was NOT to engage in any intimate relationship with anyone else in the training including the trainers AND for at least 12 months after the training.  I don't find that negative by the way lol.  It also tore down my walls and boundaries, which later in life I found out that people NEED boundaries to be healthy.  It has taken me years to build my boundaries again.

I did NOT graduate from Lift Off because someone thought I was having an intimate relationship with someone else in the group.  When I tried to explain that we were just friends they didn't believe me.

So there you have it,  the positive and negative.  I don't believe it was worth the money I paid.  If they lowered how much each one costs, then maybe.  The training is very intense and not for everyone!  Is it a cult?  I have no idea since I don't know what a cult truly is.  Make what you will of what I had to say.  15 plus years ago I had first hand experience of all these trainings and there are definitely things I would change and things I would keep the same.  :)
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#4 General Comment

Impact Training...The best experience of my life!

AUTHOR: Impactliftoff194 - (United States of America)

I am surprised to read this report.  I have experienced Impact Trainings Quest at the 3 levels discussed.  I watched 68 other people experience it with me, and we shared a positive, life-changing experience.  I learned to let go of the anger created by the past, and live for the future.  At no time did I feel harrased or obligated to continue to another level.  I felt an obligation to myself to improve my life by improving myself.  I consider the others in Lift-off 194, my FAMILY because we shared such personal growth during a short period of time.  I am thankful to them for opening their lives to me as I opened mine to them, in order to teach me about life and learn from their experiences.  I have seen more than 10 others go through the Impact experience and improve their lives.  I was introduced by a close friend who found greater happiness with his wife as they completed their impact experience.  They still talk about it today.  There is not a day that goes by that I think of that experience and my "family", even after 8 years.  I have never felt "tied" to impact.  On the contrary, many feel that some kind of on-going connection would be nice.  I know I would.  I have fond memories of my experiences, and consider them some of the most significant of my life.  I would recommend Impact to anyone.  I spent very little time with Hans or Sally, but will always cherish the few minutes as I listened to Hans relate his experience of escaping from behind enemy lines to freedom, and ultimate love. 

As for suggestions of sexual misconduct, it is clearly accepted by all entering impact that there is to be no dating, or any other kind of intimate relationship during the impact experience.  We made a promise to each other to keep the rules and hold to them, and we did.

I have known the son of the trainer for Summit for many years, and know him long before I knew about impact.  I always admired him for his love for others and compassion and honesty.

This is my honest and open opinion.  I trust others will enjoy the experience, over 100.000 people form all over the world have.  I know I did.

Dr. Gary Lee
Salt Lake City
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#5 Consumer Comment

Peace be with you.

AUTHOR: Zo The Peacemaker - (United States of America)

This rebuttal is not intended to be aimed towards any of the previous posts in particular I am just sharing my personal experience. First of all I didn't learn anything NEW at the Impact Trainings. 80% of the content in the trainings can be found in other creible sources and programs that work for people all over the US. What makes Impact different is the fact that you get all of the information in one place, you get to interact with people and have these experiences in a safe, sacred and controlled environment, instead of just reading them in a book or on the internet and that, to me, is real value. Even if I asked someone every single process they use start to finish, I wouldnt be learning for myself, it would be someone elses account or experience and I dont take others peoples advice when it comes to making life decisions, I roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty and find out for myself. In fact the very basis of this website we're on right now goes against my life philosphy, its simply a forum for subjective opinion, for example ie: someone tells me that YOU are a bad person, is that fair for me to conclude that your a bad person, or is there a more constructive way of handling this situation. I believe I get to have my own opinion of you based on what I have experienced of you and after which I get to draw my conclusion, that sounds fair to me, wouldn't you agree?

Of course it costs money! Theres staff and rent and equipment involved but just because YOU dont value it doesnt mean it doesnt have value. I've spent more money in a weekend at Vegas than I have at all of the trainings combined, and trust me, that  weekend in Vegas didnt change my life, I just had a week long hangover. I cant even say the Impact Trainings have changed my life either, its how I use or do not use them that changes or doesnt change my life, I can't blame Impact and I can't credit Impact, I am in the Driver seat at all times, and so is everyone else that goes there.

Like I said I didn't learn anything new there, I learned something more valuable. I learned uncover who the original, authentic "ME" is and who I have been from the beginning of my life. I grew up thinking "well only if I become a pro snowboarder, or a dj or a business owner I'll be happy, or that or make a certain amount of money will I be good enough". I've battled and overcome addictions, I've owned mutiple businesses, and been down every path one can concieve in my short life. I looked all over this planet for my happiness and have tried to prove myself to other for years. At the trainings I learned that just me, in my simplest form is a powerful, honest, kind and loving person and that's more than enough for me to be happy, my happiness resides inside of me and has the wholes time. Since the trainings I have healed multiple relationships in my life including me and my father's who haven't stood face to face with in 11 years. We found out he has cancer and now I get to share these last few years with him as his son and not his enemy. I don't have to force myself to be around my own family anymore (whom I couldn't stand before), in fact I love being there for them now as some one they can talk to and count on to give a unique perspective. I have found my soul's purpose to become a motivational speaker and I am in the middle of writing 2 books and are planning on a 3rd. All of the above mentioned was "impossible" to me before training, I thought I'd have to work this out in another lifetime but thanks to Impact Trainings, I didn't have to.

The Bottom line, if you don't like Starbucks, go to Beans and Brews.

In other words, if something doesn't serve you, MOVE ON...don't dedicate your life to slandering something just cause you don't know why it exists, because you'll just constantly find yourself at war and this world is already plenty of that in stock. I wish you all peace and tolerance.
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#6 Consumer Comment

1st Presidency against Impact

AUTHOR: Justdroppinby - (United States of America)


Coming from an LDS point of view, Impact Training seems to be what the First Presidency is coming against in it's 5th letter against self-awareness groups. Here is the letter, with some information on how Impact does that exact thing.

Also, they claim to have a letter from the First Presidency stating that they are exempt from this. But, I have obtained a copy of that letter, and it says NOTHING of the sort. I've transcribed it below.



LDS Church News - Members counseled about self-awareness groups
Policies and Announcements, Ensign, Sept. 2001, 78
The First Presidency sent the following letter, dated 11 May 2001, to General Authorities; Area Authority Seventies; stake, mission, and district presidents; and bishops and branch presidents, to be read in sacrament meeting. 
It has come to our attention that some commercial enterprises promising heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, increased spirituality and the like by participating in their programs are implying Church endorsement. Such claims are untrue and unfounded. The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. Neither should the Churchs failure to formally challenge any such enterprise coming to its attention be construed as a tacit endorsement or stamp of approval. 
We repeat the counsel set forth in the Church Handbook of Instructions, page 157:
Church members should not participate in groups that:
1. Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching ones potential.
2. Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.
3. Foster physical contact among participants.
4. Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.
5. Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.
6. Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other parties.
We strongly counsel against affiliation with any such group and warn against believing any claim of Church approval, tacit or otherwise, by any private organization offering experiential or empowerment training.

From Impact Trainings website: 
The Impact Trainings are unique in this world. Each training is targeted at a different aspect of life and is designed to empower the human spirit toward a free, unconditional loving and joyful life.
Our purpose is to provide experiential trainings that will assist you in taking on your life
For the fifth time since 1989, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is warning its members to stay clear of such personal empowerment programs. The governing First Presidency recently issued a statement saying the church does not endorse "commercial enterprises promising heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, increased spirituality and the like. Meetings can go past midnight. Participants are paired with "buddies," often of the opposite sex, rather than their spouses, and hugging is encouraged. Some Harmony practices, such as foot washing, are similar to rituals occasionally performed in LDS temples and often in other Christian churches. (Self-Awareness Groups Have LDS Church Feeling Edgy, The Salt Lake Tribune/June 23, 2001 By Peggy Fletcher Stack) 

Quoting the First Presidency with commentary of what Impact Training practices:

1. Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one's potential

As a part of the Lift Off training, trainees are asked to write a letter to a family member describing all of the ways that their relationship has been disfunctional in the past. As a "Plus One" challenge, trainees are told to mail or read the letter to that family member. While the intent of the exercise is to foster an improved relationship, the act of mailing or reading the letter definitely "advocates unwarranted confrontation as a means of reaching one's potential."

Both of my adult children who have attended these seminars have engaged me in what I would easily consider "unwarranted confrontation" as a direct result in their participation in the Impact Training Seminars. I have had lengthy conversations with both of my kids regarding negative memories that re-surfaced as a result of their training, whether real or imaginary. My adorable mid 20's age son, with whom I have always had a very loving relationship, accused me of spanking him at an early age, and he claimed he remembered the spankings as part of his Impact Trainings. I NEVER in my life laid a hand on my son, but now he claims that he remembers me spanking him. 
At the recommendation of the staff at Impact and through "meditation and reflection" she "remembered" that her father had sexually abused her repeatedly throughout her entire life but she had repressed each incident (she claimed that there were hundreds) until her trainings allowed her to deal with the "memories". She claimed that she was molested in LDS temples, churches and other extremely unlikely places. Soon after Debbie's "memories" began resurfacing she started taking her children to see the TIT3 power coach and they started to experience "repressed memories" about their grandfather as well.

2. Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies. 

As a part of the Summit Training, trainees are encouraged to wash each others' feet as a part of a particular process. This is an obvious imitation of a rite or ceremony that is sacred to people of many faiths.
Impact Training Has "sacred" Trainer in Training 3 rites and influences.

When I went to my children's graduation from Quest, I noticed jewelry for sale in the lobby. I saw a specific hand symbol, or sign, on several of the pieces of Jewelry. When I asked the young woman who was selling the jewelry about the hand sign, and what it meant, she told me that it was a secret that I could only learn if I took the trainings. I later learned the meaning of this secret sign of the hand. Those of you who have gone through an LDS endowment ceremony may recognize the similarity in the hand sign, and one that is given in the Temple. 

Additonally, when I asked the employees of the Impact Training Facility specific questions regarding what goes on the training seminars, they told me that they could not tell me what was being taught in the seminars, because the information was secret. 

3. Foster physical contact among participants. 
Hugging and other physical contact is encouraged and expected. 

When I attended my children's graduation, I was amazed at the lack of boundaries that the participants had, in regards to giving and receiving full body hugs. After the graduation was over, it seemed as if the entire auditorium was melting into one big group hug. Males hugged males, females hugged females, males hugged females, etc. And some of the hugs were not just quick, grandmother type hugs, but long, full body hugs. In my opinion, the use of the graduation for a big hug-fest, even among strangers, was in clear violation of the warning regarding "physical contact among particants." 



4. Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours. 
Most of my core trainings and nearly all of my TIT trainings ended long after midnight.

A quick visit the main informational and advertising website for the Impact Trainings Seminars provides easy proof of what I consider to be a violation of this warning. Both Quest and Summit training weeks include a starting time of 11:30 am, and an ending time of 11:30 pm, on a daily basis. My daughter said that the ending time was only a "suggested" ending time, and that her group stayed until at least midnight, or 1:00 in the morning, on a routine basis during both Quest and Summit. 

Even the graduation started at 9:30 on a Saturday night, and I had had enough by 11:00 pm, and left. I have been told that the graduation ceremonies, and the meet-and-greet part afterward, may extend as late as midnight, on a routine basis. 

5. Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings. 

In the first day of the Quest Training, I was asked to disclose my "deepest and darkest secret" to another member of my training group.

I do not wish to violate confidences that my daughter has shared with me, but she reported to me that the trainers sometimes push the participants to work through their pain, and their issues, by publicly disclosing personal or painful information with the group. 


6. Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other partners." 
Husbands and wives were paired with other partners at every level of the core trainings, often with another member of the oposite sex.


Some Graduates of Impact Training claim that Impact has a letter from the First Presidency saying that their admonition to avoid groups like Impact, was not actually referring to Impact, but to other groups. Some go as far to say that this letter is an endorsement from the First Presidency regarding Impacts methods and training. Perhaps this is why the First Presidency stated It has come to our attention that some commercial enterprises promising heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, increased spirituality and the like by participating in their programs are implying Church endorsement. Such claims are untrue and unfounded. The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. Neither should the Churchs failure to formally challenge any such enterprise coming to its attention be construed as a tacit endorsement or stamp of approval. 

However, after obtaining a copy of this letter, neither explanation fits what is the letter actually says. It reads:


Dear Brother Berger:
I have been asked to acknowledge your letter of March 11, 1990, to the First Presidency.
The Churchs Bulletin item on self-awareness groups offers general information for the use of priesthood leaders and members of their wards and stakes. No groups were mentioned by name in the item. It is the responsibility of each member to educate himself about such matters so he can make an informed judgment whether to associate with such a group, and whether the groups practices and procedures meet his standards.
In view of the above, it would not be feasible to arrange for you to meet with the First Presidency about your particular business.
I also have been asked to extend best wishes to you, and to advise you that a copy of this response has been forwarded to your stake president for his information.
Sincerely yours,
F. Michael Watson
Secretary of the First Presidency


Better Business Bureau says this about Impact:
Harmony Institute | Better Business Bureau Review | Salt Lake City, UT
This company offers training that is commonly referred to as Large Group Awareness Training programs or LGAT. Training of this type often involves dozens or hundreds of participants in intense instruction aimed at discovering what is hindering participants from achieving their full potential in life.

Programs of this type have gone under the names, EST, Insight Seminars, Phoenix 2000, Mind Dynamics, Landmark Forum, Lifespring, The Forum, Momentus, Impact Training, Discovery Training and Harmony.

While promoters of these programs provide testimonial evidence of their program successes, few if any of these programs have attempted to test their processes in order to substantiate claims that might establish a degree of effectiveness to their methods. Few if any have established criteria for what counts as a success, and few if any keep records or report "failures" or those who feel they didn't receive promised results, or perhaps were harmed by the program.

Those attending the seminars or training have reported that part of the process is a "tearing down" of the individual which includes being subjected to verbal abuse, insults, ridicule or humiliation. The BBB has been presented with complaints from participants indicating that they experienced psychological disturbances or episodes as a side-effect of the training. Studies done by mental health professionals have also identified this possible side effect of the training.

Because these seminars are presented as education, trainers and presenters are not required to be licensed as mental health professionals in many states, inluding Utah. However the focus of the training is clearly behavioral, psychological and personal relationships.

We advise consumers to obtain references from skilled, trained mental health professionals regarding the benefits, efficacy, and possible side effects of such training prior to making their own decision to purchase the training, or participate.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Word

AUTHOR: birdrider - (United States of America)

My mom and cousin have got sucked into this BS.  If you are in support of this training you are weak minded.  I instantly knew this was a cult like group.  Many of their practices follow the guild lines of cults.  Thanks for this report.  Hopefully the weak minded of the world will wake up and quit being sheep.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Impacted Rantings

AUTHOR: FormerImpacter - (United States of America)

I happened upon this ripoffreport that I wrote awhile back and I wanted to respond to some of the rebuttals and make general comments after having had a few more years to reflect on my "Impact Experience".


Steve:

I find it interesting that you chose to make a "Consumer Comment" on this site instead of identifying yourself as an employee of the Impact Trainings.  Steve Christensen works in the office at the training center and while it is true that he was once strictly a consumer of the Impact Trainings, it is very dishonest of him to offer public opinions about the firm without making it clear that he, since 2004, relies on the Impact Trainings for his sole financial support.  Steve needs people to sign up for Impact, otherwise he is out of a job. 

As far as his "Trust friends and family" comments are concerned, I would dispute them for several reasons.  Impact's processes (and those of other Large Group Awareness Trainings) are designed to manipulate the behaviors and thought processes of those who participate.  As a result, the opinions of friends and family may not be reliable (this is especially true if their opinions are expressed while they are currently involved in a level of training).  Of course anonymous online message boards are not ideal either but in the case of Impact Trainings, the Utah State Courts detail a long history of improprieties committed by Hans and Sally Berger (last time I checked in 2005 I found 21 separate cases).  In addition to the specific court records regarding Hans and Sally, there is plenty of information regarding the effects (and eventual closure) of Lifespring.  Impact and Lifespring share many of the same processes so insight into the effects of Lifespring can provide insights into some of the operations of Impact (especially the Quest, Summit and Lift-off levels).  In short, its not a matter of "Trusting Friends" or "Trusting Anonymous Internet People".  Neither one of those sources can be counted as entirely accurate but in the case of the Impact Trainings, independent court documents provide verifiable insight into some of the improprieties I have discussed here and at the rickross.com Impact Trainings Forum.


Tamara Pickens':

Impact has not had over 140,000 graduates.  They often tell this lie to make the company seem more legitimate than it actually is, the math to disprove this claim is quite simple.  Their current training center has a maximum capacity of around 120 people.  Assuming every single training was absolutely full and every single person followed through until their lift off graduation, that would mean a maximum of 120 graduates could emerge each month.  120 people times 12 months equals 1440 people per year.  Impact started in 1986 so using the 1440 per year number for every year from 1986 to 2009, the total number of trainees is 34560.  In my training there were less than 20 people who graduated Lift-off but even assuming an average of 120 (which is the most they could possibly have at the new center) the total number of graduates falls short of 140,000 by over 100,000 graduates!  In order to have serviced 140,000 graduates, Impact would have had to average 486 trainees per month for 24 years.  The 140,000 number is an obvious lie.

The rest of her comment could serve as a great object lesson for the convoluted thought processes of an indoctrinated individual.  She claims that Impact is not a cult, but the very tone, language and posturing of her rant seems to reinforce my assertion that the company clearly promotes cult-like behavior in its members.


Steph B:

I find it interesting that you would criticize me for being "judgmental" then proceed to tell me that I "have no integrity".  Its obvious from your post that you (like many other fairly recent Impact grads) are very passionate in your support of Hans and Sally Berger but (also like most fairly recent grads) you do not employ critical thinking skills in your analysis of the Impact Trainings and its results.  Many organizations require non-disclosure of various practices but in the case of cults and cult-like organizations (such as the Impact Trainings) the issue of non-disclosure serves only to allow them to manipulate and take advantage of more unsuspecting trainees.  I was a much younger (and more naive) man when I took the Impact Trainings and I am acutely aware of individuals who stayed away from Impact and other Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGAT's) because I was willing to discuss the interworkings of the Impact Trainings with them in detail.  One of the rules of mental conditioning is that if an individual is aware of the processes and activities that are supposed to condition them, then those processes and activities will usually fail to achieve their goals.  I see the Impact Trainings as a cancer in the lives of many of its graduates and if my disclosure of processes prevents people from ingesting this cancer then I will tell them everything I know.  I do not see any breach of integrity in my decision to break my agreement with an organization that profits at the expense of its members.

Your statements on accountability show a true lack of understanding of what the word means and how it applies to the situation at hand.  The reality is that the Impact Trainings share accountability for the actions of their trainees to the extent that the trainees are being influenced by their "Impact Experience".  Blaming Impact for the misdeeds of its recent graduates or employees does not absolve the individuals for those misdeeds.  The converse is true as well, simply because those people are ultimately responsible for their own actions does not mean that Impact does not have shared accountability for influencing behavior and (in some cases) providing a safe environment for the misdeed to occur. 

It is clear that you lack a basic understanding of sociology and statistics but in the interest of providing insight to other individuals who may not be indoctrinated I will explain the situation as clearly as I can.  In my time at the Impact Trainings I saw a number of Impact Staff members (at virtually every level of the training) prey on trainees in an effort to satisfy their own sexual needs (in several cases one or both of the parties involved was already married).  Impact creates an environment where trainees are emotionally raw and looking to connect with trainers, staff members and each other.  In this state, several trainees established relationships with staff members who turned out to be sexual predators and their marital (and often parental) relationships paid the price.  By choosing not to screen their staff members, Impact Trainings is absolutely culpable for every one of those occurrences because Impact Trainings created the environment that allowed the predators to act and they did nothing to make sure their staff behaved with integrity.  Humans tend to act in specific ways when they are in large groups so statistically speaking, it is implausible to think that these instances of impropriety would not occur given the environment and social structure that Impact creates, yet Impact does nothing to protect their trainees.

Your justification for begging for money is insane.  Impact is aware of the situation that they create and they allow it to occur in their own building, it isn't any more complicated than that.

Your statements about my mental health are an example of a practice often employed in defense of Scientology called "attack the attacker".  You have no basis for making such accusations but you do so to defend the Impact Trainings because that's what you have been conditioned to do.  You have no knowledge of me personally and no knowledge (based on your misunderstanding of basic human social behavior and general terminology) of psychology or sociology but you insist that I am not healthy because I have made a "judgment".  Notice that the wording of my original statement was quite clear, "I never saw anyone leave the group in a state of emotional health", is not the same as "Everyone that leaves in unhealthy", just as the observation of 1000 consecutive "white swans" is not a sufficient basis to say "There are no black swans".  The people I referred to in my original statement were only those that I kept in touch with and observed over a prolonged period of time.  My statement was not a judgment, only an observation.  Frankly, the vast majority of those I am referring to would agree with my observation and the statement itself was written several years after I ceased involvement with Impact so I am sufficiently convinced that any "Impactedness" in my thoughts and actions had been worked out.

Also, equating the public berating of a trainee in a large room to the quiet screening of a potential staff member behind closed doors in completely ridiculous.  It is apparent that you lack perspective, the training has obviously impacted you in its intended way.


TeeBeeLeeBee:

Thanks for your insight.  I do not believe that everyone is damaged by the Impact Trainings and would never argue such a point.  However, having seen a handful of individuals profoundly effected in negative ways, it is clear to me that the organization is willfully irresponsible and creates chaos and tragedy in the lives of some of its trainees.  I also know the owners intimately and as a result, I find it unlikely that a wonderful training could be owned and operated by such despicable and dishonest individuals.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Impact Trainings is Great

AUTHOR: TeeBeeLeeBee - (United States of America)

People who walk away from any group often have bad reports.  From their viewpoint all is true that they say.  But there is more than on viewpoint to any situation.

I have completed all the trainings by Impact Trainings.  It was everything I expected.  Anything of value costs money.  The rates charged by Impact Trainings is lower than trainings in most Universities.

The value that one puts on education is always different.  I have taken college courses that don't produce the results I hoped I would get.  But I don't blame the college for choosing the course for me.  I choose my courses and I get my results.

If you want your life to be different that it has been then you must do things differently than you have done them in the past.  I was ready to choose a new way of being in my life so that I produce results that work for me!  If I continue doing what I have always done I will get what I have always got. 

I have friends that have done various trainings and choose to do other things in their life that does not involve Impact Trainings.  We are still friends.  There is no pressure for me to get away from Impact Trainings.  And there is no pressure from Impact Trainings or anyone I know to sever friendships or any ties with others that are no longer part of the sense of community. 

Trust your heart in all decisions in your life.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Wow. Seriously?

AUTHOR: ThereAndBack - (USA)

Of all the trainings I've staffed I've never once seen a person what took on the training 100% +1, 212 degrees, full force, etc sit by and "watched my quality of life decline dramatically". How can you take on your life and "watch" it decline. My experience is that when you are at effect/ victimness those are the results you see.

As for "the trainers and staff slowly condition them over a period of days", what the heck??? LMAO the only person who can make me do anything, is me. No one can make me do, think, say, act, etc unless I myself choose to do it. Do i then continue to act or react to a certain situation in a way someone outside may judge as "conditioned"? Duh, of coarse.

I did love when you said "No rational or sane person would choose to be involved with Impact Trainings if they were able to see what went on behind those doors.." Again, DUH!!! I went to a graduation and was like," you drank the koolaid!". But after having been through the training, I know now there's no way non-impacters would "understand" the importance of the processes. But just like any important "surprise" like Christmas, birthdays, what have you. If you tell someone whats gunna happen, why do it in the first place? It takes away from the experince.

"I was forced to choose between continued involvement with the group or severing close family relationships." How were you forced? I myself have a sister who hates impact because she believes people on the bathroom wall of the world (the internet) rather than me, her sister, and hates to hear about impact. She even gets frustrated when I choose to be at cause and not live in effect to her misunderstandings. Someone outside might look at our relationship as severed, but its never been stronger because I now have tools to show up in such a way for her that she gets to take a look at her life and whats comin or "showing" up for her in those moments. After taking on my life 3 yrs ago, she still has not chosen into the trainings, but because of my continued commitment to be me, she now knows that all the "other opinions" of Impact are not always let my the truth and spirit.

"Quest consists of mostly intense and degrading activities that are designed to teach trainees abedience to the trainer." If thats not the biggest VICTIMNESS statement, I dont know what is, but i'll keep reading. Not once in my training was i degraded. I had people around me give me their experince of the way i show up. But again, no one forced me to take part. I chose to do the processes. To be honest, there is a level of "obedience"- for lack of a better word- to the trainer. The trainer simply gives ground rules on how certain processes so as to create fluidity or order, not chaos. No one takes on the training the same as anyone else. Same processes, different results, different experince, different everything. So if everyone expericences something different, how can a facilitator "manipulate the trainees emotions at will"? Thats a huge thing to attempt when they've got over a hundred different people with more than a hundred different experiences that created more than a hundred different emotions. Example: While I broke down in tears, my buddy experienced absolute joy. No one can force me to feel anything. I am at choice, what to feel.

"This emotional control" which doesnt really exist "is used repeatedly through out the rest of the series to keep peple paying for more training and enrolling their family and friends." They do not force in any way. The tell you price, dates, etc. Then leave it open to you. There were so many in my quest that chose not to continue. While that saddened the rest of us, it was their choice. There was NO harrassment, pushing, or "public chastisement". When i got to summit, there were new people who chose not to continue with their quest and had joined our summit- same with my lift off. And what i can tell you is those people became so important to me. I cannot imagine my life, training, anything had they not made the choice they did.

I would like to say at this point, having followed your report chronolgically so far, that your report on summit is a HUGE window into your life. Having taken on summit as a whole, you too commited to not disclose the processes of summit. Reading detailed accounts of summit in your report shows ME you have no integrity. You are NOT your word based on results- namely you disclosing what happened in your summit. And i will not- out of my own integrity- go into any more clarity on your summit experiences.

I too- like so many- have limited finances. When my quest and summit learned i didnt have the money. They came together and assisted me. Yes, that looked like some giving me cash, some put it in credit cards, etc. If i asked or "begged" for money, those beautiful people opened up their hearts to me and made sure i made it to the next training. There were people i knew needed the money more thanme but still gave their bit. And there were those i may have asked who said no, but to claim "the training ends with hard-sell commitment activity designed to get people to pay for the next level." and have trainees "resort to begging for money from other people in the group" is an insult to the kindness and generousity those people had and showed to those individuals. The gratitude i have and i know those people have is inmeasureable and who are you to TRY and make that look like Impacts fault? They cant control people who want to continue the training, nor can they control others giving.

Lift off for me was bigger and more intense than the previous two. Quest showed me who and what I'm NOT. Summit showed me who i AM and why I'm here. They didnt TEACH me, force me, brainwash me, or GIVE me any answers. I found that all out myself. Even now, no one can tell me who i am or what my purpose in life is because i learned that for myself. And I AM a powerful, passionate, beautiful, loving woman of light!!! Lift off gives you the opportunities to take the trainings and intertwine them in your life. And that was huge for me because it is easy to live the training inside their walls. For me, the challenge was to take it on in life and thats EXACTLY what liftoff was. I had my biggest breakthroughs those weekends. You say lift-off isnt as intense but that is simply your opinion/ experience because it was THE MOST intense training for me.

When you screen someone and find out they- like us all- had a past. To exclude someone based on that past is extremely judgemental. Personally, I wouldnt want someone to kick me out because i chose to do something someone views as "bad, sick, or wrong" because thats just judgements, beliefs, limitaitons, and fear. To allow someone a new opportunity to chose something new, to finally be free of their history shows unconditional love and trust. Something i get the world needs to experience.

One of the tools i learned was to take my issues to the source. "I knew 4 staff members, in my 2 yrs with the company, who engaged in sexual relationships with trainees. My experience of that is that you've got some "stuff" you get to take to the source. We all know the game telephone, the original word/statement/etc never ends the same. Stop creating a btch-line. And how did to come to the knowledge they were in sexual relations? Where you there to watch them ingage in those activities? Were you at all conscious of their relationship prior to the training? Stories and excuses and reasons dont change results but they also dont allow back doors. If your tale was true, thats something they get to be in relationship with. Something they get to take a look at. I have experienced how impact takes on "violators" of the ground rules. "several registered sex offenders were allowed to be leaders over new trainees, one of them even staffed a training for teens." Are you the same person you were before Impact? Do you THINK that because you didnt get a "positive" result that no one else did? That no one else was truely changed forever? My own cousin was a sex offender- i was one of his "victims"- and what i can tell you is that because of the training he has created SO MUCH healing not only between me and him, but with the others he had effected. Forgiveness and repentance are real. It happens every day. Who am i to hold someone in thei history when they have shifted and changed?

"I never saw Impact make any effort to screen their staff members for the protection of the new trainees." That would require judgement, limitation, fear, and lack of forgiveness. Plus, you chastised Impact ealier for their alleged "public chastisment". How now can you be upset that you were not witness to another alleged "public chastisment"? Cant have it both ways. You either want them to do it openly or you dont.

Again for the TIT stuff, thats something i haven't gotten to take part in. Even if i had, its a huge window into your integrity again.

As for all the Hans stuff. I've heard Hans speak numurous times. In my quest, summit, he even prosessed me in one of my lift-off weekends. My experience of all the times i've seen or heard hans has been uplifting. He, to outsiders, looks controlling, degrding, whatever. He cuts through peoples' crap, walls, lies, their masks and gets them to really look inside. To dig deeper in that moment to see the truth and feel the freedom and light. I dont see him as a prophet at all. I see him as a man who found a way to create so much for people- whether THEY allow it to be good or bad is up to them. He knows the spirit that lies in all of us and has simply created an opening (the trainigs) to assist people in finding that out for themselves. There is and will be those who live in effect and THINK the training ruined them. That is simply choice.

"I personally heard Hans state on several occasions 'i am God'". I have too. I am the creation of God. I am made in his image. Just as Jesus and the Holy Ghost join him to make up the God Head, the literally are god. They join together in him and become him. Just as we join together and will be one with him created one god so..

"I never saw anyone leave the group in a state of emotional health." That's another judgment. Another way to see that is that YOU were not in a healthy emotional state so how can you see that in others. Just like you cant give something you dont have. You can't trust others if you dont trust yourself. YOu cant love others if you dont love yourself. How can you see others emotional health if you're not healthy?

The whole money issue? In that respect, Impact is a business. They have expenses that must be paid. My brother-in-law owns the building Impact is in and i know how much that rent is. That doesnt include utilities, sewer, paper for the trainees, name tags, the furniture, etc. PLUS, if the training was free, it wouldnt have the same value. I paid "big bucks" for the quest, I was gunna make sure i got my money's worth. And i got so much more.

I feel for you. I'll pray for you. I'll send you all the love and light.

To all others. We all experience things differently. Look at both sides of this. Do all the research you can. My only challenge is that you go to a guest presentation. Dont sign up right away. Take what you learned from your reasearch and that presentation and allow yourself time to process it all. If you have questions, ask both sides. See which touches you the most. If that looks like you not going, thats perfectly ok. Just be open to all possibilities and the opportunities opened up will astonish you.

Thank you for your time

Steph B LO225

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#11 Consumer Comment

Impact Training is only for those who WANT change!

AUTHOR: We Are All One - (U.S.A.)

While reading a lot of the 'negatives' of Impact - I must say that those who don't like it - I believe can stick it where the sun don't shine (!) lol ~ I, being a Graduate of their teachings - can say is I had to do all the work - not the other way around (!) This is NOT a cult. If you ask me, the CHURCH is the biggest CULT of all. Telling people to listen to them only and not themselves - now that is what I call the kettle being black.

Not everyone wants to change - some just want to cause havoc by being negative and generally being a *&^*disturber - that's why they feel the need to judge and assume while thinking they are the 'saviors' of supposed victims. Self help outside a church should always be open to discussion but for those who have 'issues' within themselves - well, just hear the whining, the negatives, the twisted accusations of the ego to be 'right'. What a joke.

The only reason there is darkness in this world - is for the rest of the ones who are sick of it and want to rid it's ugliness from their lives. The darkness that lives in these individuals and groups will NOT go without a fight. They use hate, judgment, assumptions, threatening gestures and vile tactics to scare those off who want to get out of their dark, lonely world of FEAR. Hate groups thrive on that.

Impact has over 140,000 graduates and personally I find the people there more than open to your questions, concerns or anything else for matter. They do NOT hide from the ignorant individuals who HIDE behind their computers and use aliases to make pock shots at those who cannot defend themselves. Cowards are those who desperately need attention by putting others down. My father always said "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all"

To attack a group or individual based on ignorance and assumption is contradicting since they themselves are open to debate. Look into your own glass house before you throw your bricks and see what happens!

Impact Training is optional NOT mandatory. If you aren't stable emotionally or mentally, then this is NOT for you! I believe some of the ridiculous comments the nay-sayers on this site have to say are jealous, insecure and well, unstable...these people may belong in a mental institutions with all their malice and threatening statements towards something that is intended for positivity and love for all mankind. LOVE IS ALL THERE IS!!!

Love and light,
Tamara K Picksons
Ontario, California
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#12 Consumer Comment

Comments for Spiritual?

AUTHOR: MovingForward - (U.S.A.)

Sounds like you followed the advice. You talked to the people you personally know who have gone through the program and then made up your mind as to whether or not you wanted to go. I don't see a problem with that. That is exactly what I would recommend people do. If you like what they see, then go. If you don't, then don't go. I personally have recommended it to several of my friends and all of them have said that they received value out of the program. Do what you want; no one is forcing you to go.
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#13 Consumer Comment

Questions and comments for Steve

AUTHOR: Spiritual? - (U.S.A.)

I read this on another site and thought it would be appropriate to copy and paste it here.

Hello Steve, may you read this forum. I have some questions and comments for you related to your post.

You titled it Trust your friends and family, not internet strangers! So should I not trust you because you are an internet stranger, or because you are not friend & family?.... Both? Both it is.

You said, Talk to your friends and family who have gone through this program. After talking to them, make your own decision.. My personal experience is that most people love it! So I should surround myself with people who have been through and enjoy Impact, then make an unbiased decision?

You said I trusted my wife so I went and I can't think of any aspect of my life that hasn't improved. Steve, does Impact ever use the trust of a loved one as a manipulation tool, such as What is so wrong with us if you don't trust me to do this? This hurts me that we have to have this conversation, dear. I just don't want to see you miss out on this. Am I enough for you to say yes?

You said The first level training is $495 and 4 days. If you don't like it, don't do the other levels! Oh I have $495 to throw out! And in case it doesn't work, I just won't do the other levels. What a deal, a non-refundable deal, a have to sign a waiver deal

You said ..If you are reading this, you have probably read the rest of this site, so you have read some very negative things. I believe that these experiences are the exception. I am not knocking what they feel or what they have experienced, but ALL the people that I personally know that have gone through this program, feel they have benefited; even those that only did the first level. If you classify the criticism against Impact as exceptions and negativity, how are you not knocking what they feel or what they experienced? Complaints against Impact do deal with the raping of the mind, which can cause financial and emotional dependence on the trainings and painful recovery, if there is one. But that's their fault, right, not Impact's?

Steve, you said Trust the people you know and love. Talk to them. They most likely won't talk about other people in the training or the processes they went through, so don't get frustrated if you ask about these things and they don't want to talk about them. So I should trust people who don't want to talk about what I am asking about?

You said: Ask them questions like: Why did you go? What is different in your life now compared to before you went through this program? How long ago did you go through? What did you learn about you? Are you happier after going through? Are you happy that you went through? Knowing what you now know, would you do it all over? What was the biggest thing you got out of the program? What are your relationships like now? Those are good questions Steve, and when I asked them to my trusted family and friends who have gone through all levels of Impact they responded to them as follows: I never should have, I now know what a cult is, I went during the time Hans was a sociopath and chummy with the ladies, nothing but what I was told, if you mean after leaving then yes, hell no, look at previous answer, the desire to wish it didn't exist, better.....because we left Impact.
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#14 Consumer Comment

Trust your friends and family, not internet strangers!

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

I would be surprised if people reading this trust total strangers more than their friends and family. Talk to your friends and family who have gone through this program. After talking to them, make your own decision. I trusted my wife so I went and I can't think of any aspect of my life that hasn't improved.
If you want to check it out before going, you can go to one of their free guest presentations on Tuesday nights. It's free and takes about 2 hours. The first level training is $495 and 4 days. If you don't like it, don't do the other levels! My personal experience is that most people love it. If you want to do the second level it is $695 and 4 more days. The third level is $695 and 5 weekends (1/2 of Friday and all Saturday). The weekends are spread apart by about 2 to 4 weeks. It is a busy 3 months and it takes commitment, but it is well worth it. I can't promise you that you will love it as much as I did and if you are reading this, you have probably read the rest of this site, so you have read some very negative things. I believe that these experiences are the exception. I am not knocking what they feel or what they have experienced, but ALL the people that I personally know that have gone through this program, feel they have benefited; even those that only did the first level.
Trust the people you know and love. Talk to them. They most likely won't talk about other people in the training or the processes they went through, so don't get frustrated if you ask about these things and they don't want to talk about them. There are plenty of questions that most would be happy to answer. Ask them questions like: Why did you go? What is different in your life now compared to before you went through this program? How long ago did you go through? What did you learn about you? Are you happier after going through? Are you happy that you went through? Knowing what you now know, would you do it all over? What was the biggest thing you got out of the program? What are your relationships like now? If they asked you to go, ask them why you feel I should go? Are you asking me because you think I need fixing? What benefit do you feel I will receive by going? Was it easy? Was it worth it? These types of questions won't tell you what they did, but will definitely let you know what they have experienced and how it has affected their lives. Trust your friends and family.
If you want to see my personal experience visit
www.fastcompany.com/user/impact-trainings-0
Steve
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#15 Author of original report

Another Update

AUTHOR: Former Impacter - (U.S.A.)

As I was reading through the original rebuttal I came across the comment that Impact Trainings does not exhibit any cult like tendencies. In response to this remark I pulled off the list of social tendencies attributed to cults from Wikipedia. These tendencies are considered essential factors in the principle of "coercive persuasion which suppresses the ability of people to reason, think critically and make choices in their own best interest".

The following 5 points themes are commonly used by cult and cult-like organizations to coercively persuade their followers:

1. People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;

This occurs many, many times in the three core trainings. In Quest trainees are yelled at repeatedly and forced, through more yelling, to scream at each other. Individuals are singled out and emotionally stripped down in front of the rest of the group and one person's actions are commonly used as a basis to criticize or punish the entire group.

In Summit trainees are put in emotionally distressing situations when they are required to simulate their own deaths and burials during the lifeboat exercise, given insulting nicknames that they must use when referring to themselves or each other and forced to participate in skits that are very degrading for some trainees (for example a group of heavy set women may be required to dress as whales or cows and dance in fron of the group).

In Lift-Off trainees are tasked to perform a number of physical challenges that are very terrifying for certain individuals in the group.


2. Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;

In the Impact Trainings the simple explanation is always "You chose this"(either consciously or subconsciously), even when referring to sexually or physically abused children.

3. They receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from the leader;

The idea of unconditional love is constantly used to manipulate trainees.

4. They get a new identity based on the group;

Alternate nicknames, summit contracts, various (made-up) alternate lives that trainees discover in the Trainer in Training series.

5. They are subject to entrapment and their access to information is severely controlled.

Impact works very hard to suppress the actions of former trainees who speak out about the harm caused by the program. Impact's attorneys are quick to make threats and accuse trainees of "Tortious" conduct. While in the training, trainees are allowed no contact with friends of relatives outside (at least for the first few training series) and all are encouraged to avoid watching television or using the computer when they return home after a full day of training.

If these five traits can be used to identify the social structure of a cult organization then it seems apparent that the Impact Trainings is a cult.
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#16 Consumer Suggestion

Spouse of Impact Trainee

AUTHOR: Mwvh - (U.S.A.)

Recently, the Impact Trainings fad swept through my wife's family like a virus. It started when my wife's brother-in-law was bugged by his brother to come to a guest presentation. He was convinced to put down the $450 and attended the 4 day Quest training. Then he convinced his wife to pay and go. Then my wife was convinced and paid the $450 out of the little money we did have, and she went after attending her sister's "graduation". After two nights of coming home at 2 AM, the third night she came home, late as usual, but in a manic and creepily uncharacteristic high. She was speaking new and unfamiliar words. This scared me. The net change in my wife can be summed up: She came away from Impact wanting, needing to go back for more. She became critical of me and told me I needed to go. Of course, this caused a rift in our marriage that has not fully healed after two years. After my wife attended the first meeting, she went on to the next two "trainings". Then her two brothers began Quest. Then two more of her sisters, and then her parents all paid thousands of dollars to send themselves and even some of their kids to the trainings! As I mentioned at t he beginning, it was like watching a virus sweep through the family. It was easy for the more wealthy members of the family to pay out a few thousand and spend days and weekends away from their home and family to attend the intense training. But those members of the family, my wife included, who are struggling financially certainly missed that large savings as it disappeared and went to Hans & Sally Berger. By the way, as I was witnessing this strange phenomenon with my wife and her family, the insurance agency I work for has a history with Mr. Berger and his enterprises. Several years ago, the Bergers owned and operated a business strikingly similar to Impact, a twin as it were, called Harmony (now called Great Life Foundation) which my own brother and sister attended a few years ago. Among other questionable activities, Harmony imitated sacred LDS Temple rites and dress (as does Impact, but to a lesser degree) and engaged in humiliating label-making to the participants. As I brought up the name of Harmony and Hans Berger to one of my co-workers, a insurance customer representative, she informed me that Berger and his second in command had established accounts with our agencey, and still owe thousands of dollars in liability coverage provided to Harmony. Berger simply skipped town, so to speak, changed the name of the business, and has since refused to pay what he owes to the insurance agency. The agency was forced to "eat" the bill and count it as a loss. Berger's business is still in collections over this money owed. Does Berger have integrity? Does he display accountablility? Not in my estimation. He is a liar. He told my wife and her sisters that he was told by an LDS general authority that the statement about self-help groups in the Bishop's Handbook of Instruction do not apply to his groups. Specifically, the Handbook, page 145, states that Bishops should not encourage, pay for, or engage their member in groups that meet late into the night, imitate LDS Temple rites, promise to solve psychological problems, pair members with others of the opposite sex, use methods of getting individuals to confess past transgressions and the religious beliefs of members. My parents went to a so-called "graduation" for my sister, who was called a "fat whale" during her "training", and were appaled at what they witnessed. A man dressed in all white, similar to the LDS Temple garb, conducting the Petecostal-like meeting. My wife, who refuses to this day to tell me details of what went on at Impact (she made a covenant to never reveal the "processes" used in Impact) confessed that at one point the group engaged in footwashing, which is a rarely practiced sacred LDS Temple rite. I could write a book about what is wrong about Impact and similar groups, and perhaps I will. This scam must be exposed and reason prevail. All of the people I know personally that have paid thousands of dollars to attend advanced Impact Trainings have shown no lasting change in their lives beyond the initial, manic behavior they had when they were in the midst of the trainings. There have been divorces, continued drug use, selfishness, pettiness, and a general return to life before Impact. Not a good return on the investment.
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#17 Author of original report

Impact Trainings' Results are unverifiable the deliberately misleading

AUTHOR: Former Impacter - (U.S.A.)

In respone to the rebuttal posted to my initial post on Impact Trainings I wanted to add the following points:

1. Impact Trainings commonly makes claims that they have "empowered, enlightened, ..., etc" thousands or even hundreds of thousands of trainees into living better lives but the sad fact is that the Impact Trainings has done no research and can provide no evidence to verify this claim. I have heard plenty of trainers and staff talk about results but since they cannot verify any of them their claims are not believeable. Many of the trainers themselves (including Hans and Sally) have very questionable legal histories (which can be verified) so it would be foolish to assume that they were being honest when they have documented histories of dishonesty and deception.

2. The nature of classical conditioning is such that if a subject allows themselves to be conditioned they will respond certain ways when specific triggers are imposed upon them. The very nature and structure of the trainings (especially Quest and Summit) scream classical/pavlovian conditioning. One of the tendencies that I observed in my time at Impact was the tendency for trainees (especially in Trainer in Training 3) to be completely different people inside the training room than they were in every other area of their lives. I commonly watched fellow TIT 3 trainees scream and cry about how their life wasn't working the way it should, then stand in front of the group and talk about how wonderful everything has been. If the training makes a positive difference inside the center but does nothing or makes things worse in other areas of life then it has no value. In my experience, many people talk about incredible results when they are in the center but stare curiously at the disfunction in their lives when they are anywhere else, all the while singing Hans' praises.

3. Your chatisement regarding accountability was humorous and hypocritical at the same time. You accused me of not being accountable for what happened because I claimed that my involvement with the Impact Trainings severely detracted from my life during the time that I was involved. What exactly are you accusing me of being unaccountable for? Are you implying that I should not take it personally when my loved ones are manipulated by the sick social structure that exists between the trainers, staff and trainees at the Impact Trainings? Does stating that the Impact Trainings were a very negative influence in my life mean that I am being unaccountable? Is it not possible for me to be accountable and criticize Impact at the same time? From here you go on to excuse Impact's allowance of sex offenders on their staff by stating that once they realized there was a problem it was addressed, THAT seems incredibly unaccountable to me. The Impact Trainings put deviants in positions of authority who repeatedly manipulated trainees sexually. It seems like Impact has a lot more to answer for here than I do. Do they do any kind of background checks on their staff members or will they merely accept anyone willing to take a few days off work (if they have a job)?

That sums up my rebuttal. Many arrogant Impact trainees and trainers insist that because some element of the training worked for them then any one who claims to have been harmed must be unaccountable or irrational. I'm sure you could find a number of German's under Hitler who would espouse the virtues of Naziism but obviously in the case of the Nazi's the evil far outweighed the good. In the case of the Impact Trainings, I have heard a lot of discussion about Impact's results but given the personal history of the Impact Trainers and Founders anything unverifiable is likely false.
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#18 Consumer Comment

Another Impact Graduate

AUTHOR: Impact - (U.S.A.)

I attended Impact Training over 10 years ago. What I discovered is that the whole point of the training is that I/we have personal power that is influenced by using my/our personal choice. And that I/we really create our own experiences and lives, if not through direct action, through allowing something or someone to influence or shape our lives. The training for me was about recognizing my personal power and the courage to take control of my life rather than let myself react to life's circumstances.

I went to Impact after attempts at sessions with more than one licensed psychologist, hoping that I would find one that would fix what made me unhappy. I was even given a harmless label, but no suggestions from any of the licensed psychologists about how to change myself.

At Impact training I was given the opportunity to look at my personality, how I react to situations and the patterns I have, which was at times uncomfortable for me to do. I could then determine whether these things produced the life I wanted or the goals I had in life. I was given many tools and techniques gleaned from modern self help books, some of the tools are sayings like The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, if you have a pattern make a new choice and the definition of FEAR is false event appearing real These tools were and are like diet tips that I could use individually if I want to but like diet tips, we have to implement them as healthy practices to change, not blame the diet center.

So in contrast to my experiences, I can not help but notice your language of powerlessness, helplessness and unaccountability for any results for your choice to pay for or leave the training. I do not mean this as an insult, merely an observation. Your following excerpts of your rip off report seem to assign and attribute the cause of your experience to the environment instead of to your personality and how you react to life circumstances.

My account was being drained trainings failed and encouraged me to live and act in ways that tied me to Impact while disregarding everything else in my life.

having to pay a fee and allow the trainers and staff to slowly condition the degrading activities that are designed to teach trainees obedience to the trainer manipulate the trainees emotions at will. This emotional control forced to choose between continued involvement with the group or severing several close family relationships initiating trainees into its community very difficult to leave because every trainee is enrolled by someone close to them and severing contact with the training means (in most cases) that the relationship will be severed as well.

Your language is so contrasting to the lasting positive experience I had. I have only seen trainees empowered to obtain lifelong dreams if they desired with all the support they needed, I have only seen trainees given the choice to attend any of the trainings if they want to. Impact supports relationships and I have seen trainees who insisted another family member go to improve their relationship, but this is as a result of family dynamics and pressure, and when discovered, discouraged by Impact, who was adamant that the trainee decide to go or not for themselves, not for another family member.

I have never observed in any Impact event, and there were many, where Impact made anyone do anything, especially to pay, beg, sever relationships, make life changing decisions, stay, volunteer, or worship anyone or a religion. I have never heard Impact or the training promise it would fix me or someone else.

I have witnessed attendees, because of their personal experience of the training be thankful to the point that they would try to attribute their success or newfound happiness to the Hans Berger or other contract Trainers. As you pointed out, corrections were publicly announced. It is not about the organization, it is about the person. Impact is not religious, however a person might be, and I have heard people share different personal aspects of it as it pertained.

I found Impact to be highly responsible, moral, and non judgmental. There are rules of conduct not only for trainees, but for everyone involved to protect other trainees. When Impact became aware that a rule had been broken, or had a complaint, the offenders were questioned and held accountable. Problem solved.

So while you have your perceptions about your experiences of Impact, I feel compelled to write my own positive ongoing experiences and observations. And to witness that I have seen probably close to a 1000 Impact graduates from all walks of life, many in positions where they would not be allowed to work if they were not sane, like teachers, nurses, doctors and even licensed psychologists, who all felt it was the one of the most life changing experience they had been to. In fact once in awhile a trainee would announce that the training was not for them. They left; a return of their money was offered.

So I find both your experience of the training and your feeling of powerlessness as you watched your quality of life decline dramatically interesting. My life has continued to incline dramatically!

After the training I was empowered to look at how I did not finish things and I enrolled in college at an older age and in 2005, I earned my Bachelors Degree in Communications and studied persuasion techniques. I did research and a paper on the elements of a cult. And although there are some cults which are considered positive, such as AA and certain religions, Impact does not have the elements of a cult.

In closing some see the glass half empty, some see the glass half full!
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