Among the self-development programs promulgated by humans there are some that are exceptional, encouraging growth in the advocates by unleashing mental or emotional shackles, but most simply use existing channels of learning and strict or even harsh rules. EST falls into the latter group, producing graduates that are more akin to well trained dogs than thinking humans. All resistance to the imperviousness of rules is broken, so that the advocate becomes a virtual robot in the instructors hands. Thus guided, the advocate presumes they have improved, when in fact they have improved only in the eyes of their instructors. EST, like many cults, creates followers that can be counted on to obey, as all who were inclined otherwise dropped out of the program in disgust.
These types of programs are the opposite of what they claim to be, self-improvement or confidence builders, which would be the case were the programs run by individuals oriented towards Service-to- Others. Slavish obedience even in the face of pain and humiliation is quite the opposite, a program run by those in the Service-to-Self, who have many guises for their aims.