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As an alumna of Robert Allen's "Creating Wealth" seminar, I felt moved to write to thank you for taking the time to provide a much needed service to the public.

By the time I took this course, a Neuro-Linguistic Programming expert had added his techniques to the seminar, resulting in a "total immersion" weekend of information and emotional bonding/sharing underscored by NO outside contact, rock music blasting from a state-of-the-art sound system (complete with smoke machine) and a grand finale-- ritual "breaking through" a piece of plywood with our bare hands, to symbolize emerging through our blockages to wealth. I couldn't afford to stay in the hotel each evening, so I commuted back and forth from the L.A. the entire weekend. I remember feeling SO elated on the drive home each evening, that it felt like I was in some kind of ecstatic trance: the car seemed to float along the freeway and I would arrive home too excited to sleep.

Motivational speakers enthusiastically inflated one's self-esteem, from early morning to very late at night and (almost incidentally), Robert Allen was present at the first and last sessions, talking about his wife and kids, his philosophy on finding one's "life purpose" etc.; like a kindly paterfamilias who genuinely wanted to help each participant to succeed in life in general, and real estate in particular.

The main idea was, "if you can get 'real' [i.e. confront some of the painful/traumatic beliefs about yourself that are keeping you from being successful], you can get your 'estate'. (Perfect market timing: here was a newly created niche of former aerospace workers [most at or near midcareer], with wounded self-esteem, LOTS of time on our hands, very little investment knowledge, but with large lump sums of buy-out cash on hand!) The worst memory I have, after a few days of role plays and confessions to total strangers some of my most painful childhood memories and disappointments, was the final evening. After days of speeches, applause, dancing, laughter, exhiliration and hugs, we were now (several hundred people of every imaginable description) seated on the floor in a HUGE circle, the room now dark, (except for several dozen flickering votive candles that seemingly appeared out of nowhere), as the soothing sound of birds chirping and water trickling softly came through the speakers. The NLP expert used a low, hypnotic tone of voice to "take us back to a time when we first felt loved", and asked us to write about the experience. Even now, I remember the astonishing, overwhelming feeling of love that enveloped that room; so much so that I (and many others present) began to weep! Then, suddenly, the room lights came on, the candles were extinguished and we were handed a questionnaire to complete and guided out of the room, past tables displaying tapes and books for sale, strategically placed near the exit. I felt so utterly duped and devastated at that moment. I filled both sides of the questionnaire with my feelings of "psychological rape", which it took me years to heal from!

What we basically got was a very expensive "encounter seminar" weekend at a Disneyland hotel. No one from my group made any money from any deals, that I'm aware of, other than one guy who bought a building in the San Fernando Valley that was later damaged in the earthquake. (He managed to qualify for some type of government funding to demolish and rebuild, the last I heard.)

The only thing this weekend taught me was to be VERY wary of anything remotely resembling NLP or any other encounter group, and ESPECIALLY to be wary of any real estate seminars thus disguised!!

Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest.

jancoleman@lycos.com