An Australian coroner said Tuesday that participation in an intense self-help course led a woman to suffer a psychotic breakdown before she stripped naked and leaped to her death from an office window in front of horrified co-workers.
The coroner’s findings come four years after 34-year-old Rebekah Lawrence’s death in Sydney, providing a sense of relief to family members who had long argued the young woman never would have killed herself if not for her participation in a seminar called The Turning Point. […]
Turning Point officials acknowledged during inquest hearings in August that the course was intense and included the controversial technique of childhood regressive therapy. Such therapy uses hypnotic techniques designed to emotionally regress people to childlike states so they can confront issues from their past.
Lawrence’s behavior changed as the course progressed, and in the hours before her death, grew particularly childlike, to the point where she could no longer dress herself. Over the span of a few days, she began to forget basic things such as her favorite song, tried to command the family dog with her mind and spoke of a fear of death.
On her last day alive, co-workers recall she became increasingly erratic and placed dozens of calls to Turning Point officials. The normally shy and quiet woman then stripped off her clothes, screamed at and shoved her supervisor, burst into song and dove out the window.
Readers of this site know I have no love for the self-help industry, but I find it fairly difficult to believe that they were somehow responsible for this woman’s actions or that regulation of the industry would have helped this poor woman. That said, remember this study that found that self-help makes you feel worse?