Saturday, December 1, 2007

Erhard Seminars Training, Inc., an organization founded by Werner H. Erhard, presented to the general public a wildly popular and sometimes controversial weekend workshop known as 'The est Training'. (The word 'est' is an acronym for 'erhard seminars training', and is also Latin for 'what is'.) The goal of 'the Training' was to allow participants to achieve a sense of personal transformation, a concept that became important during the socially turbulent and war-weary early 1970's, the era of Watergate and Vietnam. The est Training was delivered, unchanged save for minor modifications to the program, for over 13 years, from late-1971 to late-1984.[1]
The first est Training took place at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, California in October 1971. From there, est grew rapidly, expanding out of California, going nationwide, then worldwide, as word of mouth about the new program spread. In December 1984 the est Training was formally retired by the company, to be replaced by a newly-developed workshop called 'The Forum', which began to be offered in January 1985. By this time, over 750,000 people around the world had done 'the Training', and many others had participated in any of the other public seminars and courses offered by est. The est Training introduced several new concepts to the American public, most notably the concept of transformation and taking responsibility for one's life.
'est, Inc.' evolved into 'est, an Educational Corporation', and eventually into 'Werner Erhard & Associates'. WE&A purchased the assets of est in 1981.
The technology of the est Training was significantly influenced by that of Unity Church through Werner Erhard's earlier association with Alexander Everett and his Mind Dynamics program. Werner Erhard had been a Mind Dynamics trainer for Alexander Everett before he founded Erhard Seminars Training. Everett credited Unity Church with having a major impact upon the formation and technology of Mind Dynamics. This connection between the est Training and Unity Church is particularly evident in the theory that one's beliefs, commitments and perceptions create one's reality (a major aspect of the est concept of "responsibility") and the use of affirmations or "declarations" (as est called that which Unity terms "affirmations"). Formulation of the est Training was significantly influenced as well by the American author, philosopher and Zen Buddhist Alan Watts.


Valerie Harper
Yoko Ono
Diana Ross Staff, participants and other individuals
See also the list of associated organizations.

The Hunger Project 1977 - Present Erhard Seminars Training Related organizations

Related publications


William Warren Bartley (1978). Werner Erhard The Transformation of a Man: The Founding of est. New York, New York, USA: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.. ISBN 0-517-53502-5.  Other

Mark Brewerk. "We're Gonna Tear You Down and Put You Back Together", Psychology Today, August 1975
L. L. Glass, M. A. Kirsch and F. N. Parris. "Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training", American Journal of Psychiatry. 1977; 134(3): 245-7.
Peter Marin. "The New Narcissism", Harper's, October 1975, 251:45-56.
Perry Pascarella. "Create Breakthroughs in Performance by Changing the Conversation," by Perry Pascarella. Industry Week, Vol. 233, No. 6 (June 15), 1987.
Eliezer Sobel. "This Is It: est, Twenty Years Later" (QUEST Magazine, Summer 1998)[2]

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