It is pretty well known that Keith Raniere “borrowed,” elements of his courses from other well-known self-help groups, such as Scientology, Est, NLP, Theosophy, Korzybski and Tony Robbins just to name a few.
The Nxivm EM (Exploration of Meaning) aspect of the courses certainly has had many adherents, with, for example, Marc Elliot proclaiming it to have cured his Tourette’s Syndrome, and others saying they were helped tremendously by it.
Was it original? Well, curiously enough, Morty Lefkoe had a book out in 1997 called “Re-create Your Life Transforming Yourself and Your World with the Decision Maker® Process” that could possibly be where Keith copied the EM idea.
A Reddit thread commenter (ILoveMyFerrari) tried to summarize Morty’s process this way:
“For example, let’s say your problem is ‘I’m not good enough’. They [Lefkoe interviewer] will try to question you about your early childhood, trying to get you to remember an ‘event’, where you came to the conclusion, because of the event itself, or the reaction of others, that you’re not good enough.
“Then they focus on explaining that the event, and what you decided about that event are two completely different things. That the event exists all by itself. You gave the event a meaning, but the meaning is just something in your head. They ask you to try to explain to the interviewer, how you are seeing ‘I’m not good enough’ during the event. To explain to the interviewer, how you know absolutely for sure that the event means that ‘you’re not good enough’.
“Then, if you can’t explain in a rational way exactly how that event means that, then basically that belief, around that particular event crumbles. You realize that the meaning you gave to a specific event, is just something that you conjured up, and that it isn’t necessarily true.”
One of the problems with the Lefkoe method, as wildly demonstrated with the NXIVM group, is the unspoken, central idea of going to some outside authority to challenge your negative beliefs. This creates a sense of dependence, submission, and deference to those holding the keys to your healing.
No one else holds the keys to your own healing, but if you believe they do, you give them a tremendous amount of power. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Some people love power and love to wield power over others.
In the USA, the founders tried their best to limit the abuse of power by the government knowing full well that the people that crave power would use it and possibly, if given a chance, impose tyranny as King George did.
Keith Raniere suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), tried to heal his inner emptiness by reading self-help books, and discovered he could create narcissistic supply by claiming authorship of some of the things he read. Sadly, in the self-help industry, it is an all too common occurrence. Perhaps, even more, the rule rather than the exception.