Reading about the most recent "Self Help/Men's Awareness"
scandal, I'm thinking a bit about how much these things are like grotesque appropriations from traditional societies, and the results we keep seeing- cult behavior and straight up harm to people.
Traditional initiatory religious practices often use applied stressors as well as specific ritual action to disrupt a person's sense of self and re-arrange it. I suspect the big changes we've seen in modern society is this: you're not in a community where you have to live with this person around, for the rest of your life.
That's not to say there isn't room for abuse, or often enough, historical examples of abuse, but that at least, if nothing else, there is a motivation on your part and others around you to try to limit that stuff- because at the end of the day, you still need a functioning member of your community, and, hopefully one who won't flip out and leave your ass in a ravine with a broken leg.
I'm thinking the fact that nearly all of these modern groups are basically profit-driven enterprises, with attendees from around the country or larger area, but not in close community, means the incentive to actually give a damn about what happens to them drops, not to mention the ability to see what the long term outcomes of these practices are.
In many ways, the hard protocols and traditions of older societies involved with this stuff usually is based in the idea of trying to limit variables and results of what kind of people you "make" in the process.
(This isn't to say there isn't a lot of "traditional" groups now that have been modernized in the same way with the same issues. ATRs that demand $3000 for initiations or guru traditions in which adherents meet from around the country once a year... Again, though, I think the core issue is that it's no longer based in a small community setting.)
The sad thing is that this is pretty much the same problem we talk about when we talk about cultural appropriation - you can copy the obvious, but do you know the full context of what and why things are being done?
If we look at the benefits people are hoping to get out of sweat lodges, drumming, chanting, meditation, etc., it's a real question why they never bother to also consider that these activities are measured in years or decades of training and practice and not just a simple "How to" booklet.
The idea that there is anything in this world that can help without also containing the potential for harm is dangerous and foolish. It's like assuming every pill in the doctor's bag is good for you, so you can pop them at random to solve your problems.
Of course, it doesn't help that a lot of this is couched in terms of transactional thinking and privilege. "I paid this much money, THEREFORE what I receive must automatically be of value". Or, "I just started this thing, but I know BETTER than the people who've done it for thousands of years how to do it, and you don't REALLY need all those restrictions and rules."
I suppose I could just as well make money teaching people that repeatedly hitting themselves in the head with the Bible brings the Word of God directly into their brains, or something.