Author Topic: Kevin Dubrow, Nancy Heraty AKA Kevin Redbear, Desert Lizard White Owl Crone Woma  (Read 10581 times)

Offline thetruth

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I haven't checked back on this thread in a while but want to encourage others who have left the group to reach out to me if they'd like to talk about it.

Offline milehighsalute

  • Posts: 324
ha.......i thought this had to do with the singer from quiet riot who died a few years ago

This group self-identified as “The Cult.”  It was meant to be ironic, sort of a passive aggressive moniker, adopted by the group’s leader.  IMO, it was used to maintain status quo with existing members, and make the community seem non-threatening to those transitioning in.  He always said in a smug voice with a wide smile “You can leave whenever you want.  No one is forcing you to stay.”   He used this type of paradoxical brainwashing frequently in my many years with this group.  He was a good manipulator.  The truth is that this group met just about every criteria of a cult.  Everyone drank the proverbial Kool-Aid.  Anyone who left this group is still healing from the psychic damage.  Anyone who remains and who still defends its former leader and his tenets, is and will be forever asleep…and quite dangerous.  As someone commented above, many of these cult members are current therapists.  You just have to pray hard for their clients. 

At first glance, the group was attractive to me.  Everyone seemed to be liberal and open-minded, like myself.  Many members were studying to be artists, teachers, therapists, etc.  Everyone seemed to want to be more, and to seek a deeper spiritual life.  A lot of the work people did was honest, altruistic, and important.  Though at times it still had to be scrutinized by the group, and ultimately approved by its narcissistic leader.  To be fair, many of us didn’t know how much we were being manipulated and controlled.  It was easy to be convinced our families were toxic, because at times, they were.  Not nearly as toxic as he (Dubrow) projected them to be.  He had his own family issues.  For a group that studied and professed about the dangers of transference, displacement, attachment, co-dependence, etc., we were all neck deep in it.   And for a group which supposedly supported and defended cultural and racial diversity, it was, and stayed, mostly vanilla.  Which always kind of bugged me.  Dubrow often used the word "Fayguhluh," Yiddish for homosexual, to refer to those in the group who he deemed as small or weak; basically whoever didn't conform to his warped view of masculinity.  The group had twisted views on masculine and feminine.  They’d constantly speak about gender with this Half Jungian, Half-Freudian gobbledygook.  Not to mention that it was expected that you only date people within the community.   If you didn’t, you were ridiculed or ostracized, or encouraged to recruit them. 

To those that left:   I still ask myself why so many of us stayed and didn’t question or challenge him (at least not as much as we do now).  Hindsight 20/20.  We were lonely.  We were lost.   But many of us got stronger.  Clearer.   We are much better healers without his, and the cult's, influence.  And I think…I hope…that now we know ourselves a little more intimately… and know how really messed up all of it was. 

Offline disillusioned

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Hi, I'm new.
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2019, 12:42:56 am »
Hello readers,

If there is one take-away I can offer before beginning, it is this thought alone.


Thank you for reading my first post, and particularly for creating this space for much needed reflection, healing, accountability, and investigation. I'd like to first introduce myself as one of the former members of the now defunct Sangha/Community/Cult/Dinosaurs. I shotgunned the "proverbial kool-aid."

As overwhelming as it is to pour over all of the posts, and I've only been able to take in a little at a time,   I am glad this exists.  As a preface, I don't know if any of the information I have to share will shed new light, or if this may just add to the choir of uproar, but it's become crucial for me, in this moment and time, to step forward and have a voice.

It's simple for me. I think what Kevin Dubrow did was wrong. I think his massive ego and insatiable thirst for power corrupted him. The left over shame and embarrassment I have in this moment is not in response to having become a member in the first place. Instead, I am haunted by the fear that if he were still with us, I wouldn't have left the community. That statement speaks to the undeniable hold he had on those of us on the inside. I was controlled by my own fear, which he preyed upon, in group after group, session after session. He weaponized our deepest, most primal fears against us, and it worked. Many of us, including myself felt inferior and ill-equipped to confront "The Culture" which was full of non-journeyers who were marked as "Muggles." We didn't stand a chance without him, or so he said. Lies. I, too, used the fears of others as a weapon to coerce fellow members to stick around to their detrement. There was a sophisticated system in place for policing the behavior amongst us. I am deeply sorry to anyone in the community that I lied to, sold out, or manipulated out of loyalty to a power-hungry "Red Bear."  We were not trusted to trust ourselves. Had it been a safe and healthy community, people would have left and carried on with their lives, and it should have been an acceptable practice to do that. Endings are an important, healthy part of the process. It's unethical to keep members for 10+ years. Yeah, that happened. Fucking bonkers.

No, I'm not a victim. I was a willing participant, and because of that, I have a lot to be accountable for. In my own search for a mentor and community, I played a role in Kevin Dubrow's scheming economy. I am deeply regretful that I was complicit in countless ways during my time with the community. I am regretful that I participated in vision quests, spirit guides, creating prayer ties, 7 direction rituals, etc. The list truly goes on. Obliviously, I participated in cultural appropriation at some its of its worst. I am deeply sorry for the unintentional pain I've caused. As a result, I am here to listen. I am here to respond. I am here to share. I am open to being corrected about any ill usage of terminology, even in this post. I am simply stepping forward, shedding light, and owning up. Thanks for reading.

Over and out,

Online findingtruth

  • Posts: 1
I was a client of one of Red Bear's LCSW followers, here's my story.
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2019, 10:58:00 pm »
I am a previous client/"mentoree" of one of the LCSWs who participated in the dinosaurs/community/Sengha led by Red Bear.

I started my work with this LCSW when I was just a teenager. I was introduced to Red Bear and my therapist's community at his storytelling event, only after a year or so of being in therapy. It's important to note that when I started therapy, that's all I thought I was getting into, mental health psychotherapy.

Within a short amount of time, my teenage support group slowly turned into a miniature version of the community that has already been described in the previous forum posts. None of us really knew what we were getting into. But, we were young, lonely, and searching for identity and meaning. So of course we all followed it. We wanted to trust our therapist's method. It all happened so quickly. And it all fell apart so fast. The only friends I have from my "sangha" are the people that I've reached out to apologize to for shunning them when they left.

I'm now in my early twenties. With my guide name, fellow journeyers, and shared moral code, I was certain I knew who I was, I knew my vocation, and I thought I knew myself. But to be honest, most of what I experience now is existential crises and lots of uncertainty. A lot of what I learned about myself and my personality still remains true, but I feel like I'm on a new path of self-discovery, and truly learning what it means to love myself and just be. This is why "echo chamber" dynamics like this one are severely dangerous. Like another post in the forum said, I feel like my spirituality and growth stood at a stand still after a certain point. Using Zen/Buddhist/Hindu/Zuni/Lakota rituals, although meaningful and sacred, was wrong for the context. I am deeply sorry for participating in these rituals in this given context.

I often times have great difficulty describing or understanding what I went through these past few years. While I'm grateful for what I learned about healthy relationships, strength, self-awareness, and the development of some of my gifts and creativity, I now have to accept all of the trauma that I have endured on various "vision quests" and retreats, as well as weekly groups. I can't even count the times that I was humiliated and broke down in front of my group. I suffered from the competitive nature that this environment perpetuated. It's just not right. It's not fair. Seriously, thank you to all of you that have come forward to share your experience of Red Bear's community on this forum. It has helped me to more clearly understand what I've gone through.

One of the saddest parts, I think, is that we were all led to believe that the annual "vision quests" were the only chance we would have to act from or experience our true selves. And the only way to keep developing connection to my Self and Soul was through these quests. I believed that the "5 step model" was the only genuine way to connect with who I really was, to not act out of childhood wounds, and to be a real, spiritually awakened adult. This belief had led me to judge myself more harshly on a day to day basis. I couldn't trust myself. It's not self-love or acceptance. I understand paying for weekly sessions with a licensed counselor. But vision quests and retreats should have been free, with maybe a small fee, if anything. Not hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Me and my fellow group members regarded nearly everything else outside of our little community as "fake," "shallow," "meaningless," "ego," etc. My fellow group members and I idealized our mentor/therapist to no end. My mentor told us countless times that we were welcome to question them or challenge them. We were told "the doors right there, you can leave if you like." But, rarely anyone ever stepped up to this test. It always felt like a game or a test with a hidden meaning or purpose. It felt like a riddle that we had to solve. And of course, those that did walk away were shunned. Everyone in the group acted as if the person who left either succumbed to their childhood wounds, gave into unhealthy addictive patterns, etc. There was no balance, compassion, or understanding for those who left.

It has been very difficult to reflect upon all the ethical issues involved in my group. To know that rituals and actions I once praised and defended could be tried against in court. To know that my previous therapist who I idealized, and truly respected, loved, and cared for, could've lost their license in a heartbeat. After reading these forum posts, I can't help but have compassion for my mentor/therapist. They were probably very inspired by Red Bear's model, and given the echo chamber environment of "the community," probably believed that what they were doing was not only okay, but right, and in dire need given the way things are in our culture. However, I'm still thankful to be working with a different licensed professional, who affirms that what I've experienced is not okay.

I am not comfortable describing particular events in detail publicly on this forum. But I want to share my story, and I am willing to discuss privately. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out.

Thank you for reading,


Offline Jane1970

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It is interesting reading the myriad of responses here, the anger and betrayal many felt, and the confusion many were left with.  Anyone who wants to reach out is free to do so. I do not wish to malign anyone personally in this post.

I write to shed some light on what I feel may have happened.

The original "group" (a SMALL group of fewer then 10 people) began back in the late 90s/early 2000s. Consider  for a moment what that time was like - cell phones had just come into existence, and the Internet was a new thing (back then you couldn't exactly type "shaman" into Google and get thousands of pages worth of information). What Kevin Red Bear Dubrow was offering then was truly unique. He was an excellent one-to-one social worker. I personally witnessed many people's lives positively impacted by him over the years. Most people who saw him really didn't know much about any other religion than Christianity. As a Jewish man in DuPage County (largely Republican, largely Christian), he added something that most counselors could not. He brought a lot of experience to the table. He was truly a man of the 1960s. His vision for groups and communities was huge, and he attempted to enact this vision. His views at times were limited, and at times a bit old-fashioned (dare I say sexist?). He just didn't seem to understand modern life and had values that reminded me of a mixture of a 1950s workaholic man's man and a 1960s hippie. Confusing, I know.

I simply cannot emphasize enough how absolutely boring life in DuPage county in the 1990s and early 2000s was. It was like living on an island of Conservative Right Wing Christians and surviving a childhood of repression and abuse. He was a breath of fresh air.

For quite some time, the groups seemed to work. People were growing, and people didn't seem to want to leave them. The people who left in the beginning truly were people who could not confront their own demons, could not leave failing jobs, could not leave failing marriages, etc. Most of the original members were educated professionals - people in their mid to late 20s at the young end and 50s at the high end. These people weren't naïve. They had been brought up in abusive families for the most part. I prefer not to disclose too much about that as I would not want to take away anyone's privacy. People who had lived very closed off lives were finally becoming happy. He validated them and helped them find paths they really loved (jobs, soul mates, etc.).

Things began to change as he moved out of his separate place of business and had his clients come to his home. His children got older and moved out, and suddenly weekends were more of a time for his "community" to come together More and more people joined over the years. He also began to suffer ill health, and at the same time more and more people kept joining or being persuaded by members to join. Within about a three-year span, he almost died, doubled his community, and had several members marry and have children. There was simply no way to keep up with that growth in his main community. While that was happening, he was encouraging the older members to do the quests and retreats that once worked for him with their own clients.

A big issue here is that Kevin Red Bear Dubrow never really considered the impact HE had on people. No one could really BE him. He seemed to assume (in my opinion) that any of the social workers he trained could just do what he did, and from what I have seen, they just could not. He had a unique way of working with people, and he seemed to get cynical and frustrated (I can only guess), as he saw that he was getting older, and his "community" was pretty much doomed to fall apart. He based his original community very much on individual growth. It was also his business. After all, he was providing counseling. He ran into a few problems - and these were never discussed - but in retrospect, they were huge:

1. His original business model included mentoring people one-on-one and counseling regular people at the same time. So half of his clients (or more) were NOT in his community. He was not so reliant on people staying on his journey with him to make money. He was also not married at the time and because of that put a lot of time into his mentorees.

2. His health became very bad, and he needed to keep earning an income. In my opinion, he truly needed to retire but could not face that fact. He wasn't doing what was best for himself or for anyone. I can only guess money was an issue, but I do not know that for a fact. It could have also been fear of death.

3. The members of the community who could pay him regularly (they were older, had jobs, and they were just honestly much more competent in the world), wanted to move on. If they moved on, how would he handle the people he had just taken on? They weren't regularly paying him (they were seeing him free of charge, barely getting by and often getting monetary help from older members who took pity on them). The sad thing is that after he died, we went on to find out that many of these "poor young people" actually had wealthy and middle class families and had access to help.  For some reason, they preferred to not work, work part-time, and have all sorts of difficulties, often made up in their own heads. I believe this was an issue of HIS. He needed to tell them that they needed to pay him a certain amount for counseling and not dump these youngsters on the older group who needed to leave.

3. The older people felt they needed to stay with them as they were well aware they were the only ones paying (they were often barraged with emails about how he wasn't "being paid"). However, they were paying for all their own counseling and their retreats. They also had many "friends" (dare I call them that) in the group. They didn't want to "abandon" their friends or abandon him. It was obvious he was overwhelmed and needed the older people to stay, though he would often berate them for their "failings" (i.e., not being a miniature version of him). By the end, being in that group was like being a in a pressure cooker - he kept adding more and more things to do.

4. When he became very ill several years before his death, he did suffer some damage. His mentoring simply was NOT the same. He continued to take on people, and due to his stubborn nature refused to see that he really should have NOT been doing that. Therefore, the people who were new from years 2012 and forward truly were NOT seeing the Kevin Dubrow that he was all his life before. Their view of who he was as a person is somewhat messed up (in my opinion) as they saw him at his worst.

5. Yes, he had some personal failings such as believing himself to be larger than life. He did seem to truly want to help people. I feel that when I started to fall ill and kept himself more and more away from society, the entire group/community became an echo chamber of his ideas and the ideas of the members who had been there far too long.

6. I do NOT believe he had some mastermind plan. Anyone who knew him could easily see he could barely organize himself let alone have a plan. He lived in the moment, he was truly alive, and he loved his people to the extent he could. He needed someone in his life who would confront what he was doing, but he surrounded himself with mentorees, so there was no peer his age who could or would do so. Besides, he was losing his mind due to his illness, and he really couldn't hear what people were telling him. People did try. But he wouldn't stop.

7. I was NOT a social worker, so I do not know what he was telling his social workers to do. However, from the outside, I could see there was a lot of pressure on them to be more and more like him or to have him come on retreats. He would want to "mentor" their people. It didn't seem to be about the money as many of these young people weren't even paying him! He was not the type of person to leave anything behind. He just kept taking more and more with him and the entire thing was like a mish mash by the end.

8. There were clearly favorites in his group. It had always been that way and the sad part is if you were a favorite, you were destined eventually to be a disappointment to him. The more recent favorites would not really see that as they were still a favorite. He had an issue of people being either with him or totally awful, etc. I can tell you it felt very bad to go from being special to being a grand disappointment because I wasn't living some life he had planned for me, or I wasn't who he wanted me to be, or who even knows what. If only the more current favorites could experience that, maybe they would see things a little differently.

9. The group clearly fell apart after his death because there were those that needed to see him in a certain light and could not face the pain many had gone through as a result of several of his poor decisions the past few years of his life. They simply HAD to be loyal. Their past depended upon it, their businesses as social workers depended upon it, and their happy story of being heroes depended upon it. After his death, many of those people needed to move on immediately and keep doing very similar things, things that had hurt many people.

10. Finally he disclosed too much to some of his older people, treated them as confidantes when it put them in an awkward position. Midnight calls about his fears and issues resulting from poor decisions on his part were really not necessary for our growth. Telling us to reach out to past clients he was afraid would sue him or force us to see our parents if they were harassing him were NOT ethical and in fact were harmful. Had he truly cared about us, he would have directed us toward our journeys and our goals instead of trying to guilt us into staying with him. If he had made a path where we could have still had some type of relationship with him and the community but been allowed to pursue some of our own things, maybe some new ideas would have been allowed to flow into the group. But he didn't like that loss of control. He wanted to run a tight ship with himself as captain, and unfortunately he ran into some storms.

***I am gratefuly I knew him, and I am grateful I grew from the experience. I do not regret my years there, but it continues to be difficult to get over how it ended and how so many people simply had no inner resources to pull out and deal with the pain of what happened. Many people simply RAN AWAY. People who I'd knows for YEARS just left the state, sold their home, and basically refused to get together. There was an air of paranoia and distrust after his death as you had to either be on THEIR side (the people who would continue) or AGAINST them. It left no room for questioning or growth. Others clung to the sinking ship. I wish more people had some amount of depth. It really made me question how much he was helping people given how people acted in the end.

A truth I have learned: Therapy and communities do NOT go together.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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back in the late 90s/early 2000s. Consider  for a moment what that time was like - cell phones had just come into existence, and the Internet was a new thing (back then you couldn't exactly type "shaman" into Google and get thousands of pages worth of information).

Yes, you could. This forum was up and running as a Yahoo group, as were other groups and websites speaking out against this sort of exploitation. It's just that then, as now, white people didn't care. The nuage went mainstream in the 1970s and 80s. By the 2000s, even the Midwest was no stranger to all of this, and the world wide web was as accessible as the bookstores where people were consuming all the books about this stuff.

What Kevin Red Bear Dubrow was offering then was truly unique.

It really wasn't.

He was an excellent one-to-one social worker. I personally witnessed many people's lives positively impacted by him over the years.

Doesn't sound that way to the rest of us reading these accounts. He's been moved to Frauds for good reason.

Most people who saw him really didn't know much about any other religion than Christianity. As a Jewish man in DuPage County (largely Republican, largely Christian), he added something that most counselors could not. He brought a lot of experience to the table. He was truly a man of the 1960s. His vision for groups and communities was huge, and he attempted to enact this vision. His views at times were limited, and at times a bit old-fashioned (dare I say sexist?). He just didn't seem to understand modern life and had values that reminded me of a mixture of a 1950s workaholic man's man and a 1960s hippie. Confusing, I know.

No, not unusual or confusing at all. Totally typical for a white, nuage, pretendian exploiter. Read the forum. These guys are everywhere, and have been for a very long time.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 12:15:00 am by Defend the Sacred »