Page 30 - LCT December 2019
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 participant to enter into non-ordinary reality. Regarding safety, Taylor warns that transference (which is often explained as an unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another) can potentially be an issue due to increased desires for nurturing, personal contact, and spiritual connection that often occurs during NOSC (Taylor, 1995). It becomes easy to see how participants in NOSC can be more vulnerable to persuasion and manipulation if those directing the process have not been trained in the ethics of using NOSC, or worse if they allow financial gains to take precedence over ethical considerations.

Taylor emphasizes the moral responsibility of the therapist (or coach, as it relates to this article) to prepare clients before they enter into a non- ordinary state because it can sometimes lead to unusual or peculiar feelings. She adds that it can also increase the potential for cognitive dissonance, which could result in a somatic or psychospiritual crisis (which can be described as an identity crisis related to intense changes in beliefs about body- oriented or spiritual perceptions). Taylor is firm in her assertion that the facilitator should also assist clients in returning to ordinary consciousness before concluding with the session (Taylor, 1995). This ensures that they are grounded before returning to daily life activities such as driving or making important life decisions. 

When charismatic group leaders create conditions for participants to enter into NOSC directly preceding a sales pitch, it may be wise to question their integrity and ethical standards. The conditions for NOSC can be very beneficial in bringing participants together and for inspiring courage, creativity, and perspective. Still, it is ethically irresponsible to create NOSC to take advantage of or to manipulate participants, or for financially- motivated coercion. It is particularly disheartening when leaders in the self-help genre take advantage of participants from vulnerable populations who are seeking support or help with managing their lives.
Dangerous Pitfalls for Facilitators of NOSC
Most facilitators of NOSC who have been trained in NOSC maintain strong ethical standards with their clients and participants. The concern comes from rogue group leaders who are charismatic and
influential, but have no formal training in or do not adhere to the responsibilities for working with clients or participants in these states. In The Ethics of Caring, Kylea Taylor cautions us to consider that facilitators who are creating their therapeutic techniques are not typically in a position where they look for or receive peer feedback and supervision (Taylor, 1995). The lack of checks and balances can potentially put these leaders at a higher risk for questionable or corrupt behavior.

According to Taylor (1995), additional pitfalls include the potential for therapists to follow a therapeutic model that excites the therapist but is not working for the client, or when boundaries become blurred due to extraordinary experiences in NOSC shared between client and therapist (Taylor, 1995). What should therapists or facilitators do to prevent some of these pitfalls? Taylor explains that “Because of this tendency of energy to affect energy, a caregiver working with clients in profound states needs, more than any other single attribute, her own extensive experience doing her work as a client in non-ordinary states of consciousness.” She also believes that those who have not received considerable training, personal experience, and supervision in these processes may be hurting the clients they are practicing (Taylor, 1995).
The potential consequences for the unethical exploitation of participants can be far-reaching, mainly if the participant is in a vulnerable position, to begin with. If the participant signs a legally binding contract for a program he or she cannot follow through on or cannot afford, he or she may experience additional compounding stress due to potential impacts to his or her credit, pressure from debt collectors, loss of home or resources, and the humiliation of “failing”...especially when participants are assured that the program is fail-safe for everyone who puts in effort. In consideration of these potential consequences, any offer presented by a group coach/leader should be made only when the client is in a healthy, rational state of mind, can think clearly, and can decide if the purchase is a viable decision at this time in her life.

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