Fearless – Program Reviews

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“When I came to the Fearless program my self worth was at an all time low. I was able to rediscover how much I love myself. Fearless also let me see how I believe fear was controlling my life and how I was really in control of my fears. Although I may get scared again in my life, Fearless has given me the tools to dissect and get to the bottom of my fears. With that knowledge I can leave here believing I am truly fearless.”

Sean Buxton, Financial Advisor, California

“The Fearless weeklong program has been the most effective experience of my life. It has assisted me in turning my knowledge into wisdom, making it practical and allowing me to rise above my fears.”

Ray Zwack, Business Executive, Minnesota

“I have spent my entire life in fear and unhappiness. After one week at the Option Institute I not only believe that I will heal body and soul completely, I already have begun. I feel happy right now!”

Ava Dweck, Explorer, Massachusetts

“I left Fearless with an incredible feeling of peace and happiness. I learned that I have created fear in my life believing it would motivate me. What I realized was that not only was it not motivating me, it was preventing me from living the life I wanted.”

Kathy de Castro, HR Executive, Connecticut

“I came here with expectations of a major shift, like a big light bulb was to turn on and all would be perfect. Instead, I learned valuable tools to use in many situations- so it turned out to be many small light bulbs going on in the chandelier that is my life. So each time I make a shift, life is brighter. The description may be hokey, but the outcome is awesome!”

John Zieba, Restaurant Owner, Florida

“There is no other program I have seen which employs the teaching methods and content of the Option Institute Fearless program. I learned more about how to deal with my fears in 2 days of this course than in 25 years of psychotherapy.”

Marty Schecter, Director Program Management, Massachusetts

“Fearless gave me the tools to live a completely fearless life and the tools to question when I am not, why I am not.”

Emily Rosen, Chef And Health Counselor, Massachusetts

“I have taken a lot of seminars/workshops and read 1000’s of books, but I would call Fearless the core course, the one that coalesced what I wanted, putting it all together in total completion. I did not believe fearlessness could be accomplished, yet I am now and forever completely free of any fear and I have no regrets.”

Keith Garrick, Life Designer, California

“Fearless has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I’ve dropped beliefs that have haunted me all my life and am loving myself with the one I still have.”

Debbie Anne Binnie, Full Time Student, Scotland

“As a result of the “Fearless experience” I have decide to no longer play small in the world, starting with myself-I now begin a bigger, fuller relationship with the most important person in my life-me! This is my time to play full out-fearlessly!”

Caren Kolerski, Seminar Leader, New York

“Fearless gives you the tools you need to eliminate any fears you wish. It puts your experience right into your own hands, by taking fear from “something that happens to you” and transforms it into an experience you can choose to have, or not. I feel like I can rope a steer!”

Sandy Sinclair Bruns, Mom And Coach, New York

“I am now dancing down the road of greatness verses hiding behind trees and trying to camouflage myself – my fears have been disabling me all my life. I have been, and will continue to, let go of my fears and become the person I always wanted to be! I am empowered – I am easy – I am standing tall and proud – and I am loving myself like never before – I am FREE! This course ROCKS! “

Dane Griffith, General Manager, Massachusetts

“Before this program, I attempted to be comfortable by avoiding the uncomfortable and as a result, compromised my wants. Now, I can identify fearful behaviors and feelings and go straight to the source, my beliefs! This has been the most empowering experiment of my life”

Ericka Pierce, Recreation Therapist, Texas

“I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from my heart, mind and soul. This is the first time I have taken responsibility for my life, my happiness or lack thereof. I am incredibly grateful to The Option Institute for this amazing heartfelt and life-changing experience.”

Linda Cartwright, Social Worker, South Korea

“Fabulous. Focusing on the concept of fear for an entire week enabled me to uncover layers of beliefs, digest and assimilate the changes – and then go deeper yet again. Understanding the reasons why I’ve held these fears has been an enlightening experience, letting them go — a life changing, freeing experience.”

Liz Sturm, Accounting Manager, Massachusetts

“Fearless was the most moving self-development experience of my life! I uncovered and dissolved issues which have been a constant source of anxiety for the past 29 years! I see golden opportunities now where I used to see obstacles that I believed I could not overcome!”

Steve Minkewicz, Computer Programmer, Texas

“I felt desperate when I arrived at The Option Institute, totally immersed in fears that I wasn’t good enough and that people would always reject me. I was exhausted from trying to keep going in the face of constant fear. During this week, I saw underneath the wall of fear to a warm, loving, bubbly, quietly humorous me that people were attracted to! I learned to relax within myself, to enjoy myself and others and remarkably, to feel excited and happy about facing people and events that terrified me when I arrived. I can’t thank the Institute enough for the joys of this week – the love, the laughter, the learning. I’m so happy to be going back to my life. Hugs to all of you”

Judith English, Programmer, Canada

“I came to address fears that have kept me from doing what I really wanted with my life. Within a week, I learned techniques that transformed my fear-based beliefs and empowered me to choose actions that would support the hopeful, happy, and open attitude I discovered for myself. Fearless has laid the foundation and given me the tools to build the life I’ve always wanted, and now I’m no longer afraid to go for it.”

Nathaniel A. Wolfe, Communications Towerman, California

“Fearless is the most wonderful gift! When I came, I had a dream and that dream has come true – I am the best expert for myself and I can, will and already have changed my beliefs, which enables me to end a long history of self-sabotage through panic. I now feel the world is my oyster, full of glorious opportunities.”

Diane Berger, Art Historian/Writer, England

“Fearless helped me deal with a specific fear that was immobilizing me for over a year. It gave me the tools and the time to study that fear, and most importantly, a loving, caring, environment in which to let it go.”

Peter Burns, Writer, Illinois

“I came with a truckload of fears – about my job, my finances, my health and my relationships. Fearless gave me the tools to solve and blast through all of my fears, and create my life from now on in a totally fearless, loving way. If you feel that fear is affecting your life in any way, this is the class for you.”

Maria Kolf W., Editorial Assistant, Editorial Assistant

“Before this week I never knew how pervasive fear was in my daily thoughts and feelings. Through the techniques and concepts presented in Fearless, I feel I have a new way to view my life, one that can help me to feel truly happy every minute. Fear is not a reality, not inevitable, not necessary – it really is possible to live fearlessly.”

David Gaudry, Musician, California

“The Fearless program design and teaching are superb. I feel I’ve gained solid tools to handle fear in my life. I know how to ask myself questions that elicit comfort rather than generate fear. I know of no other place in the world that offers a course that dismantles fear and reduces it to an unnecessary facet of life. What an amazing discovery.”

Sue Davis, Physician, Massachusetts

“Fearless helped me uncover and understand so much about how I use fear to attempt to motivate or take care of myself. The nature of the classes and teachings have helped me to change deeply to being more unconditionally loving. I felt so supported, loved and cared for throughout the week. This place, these teachers and this process are a blessing that have helped me jump forward in how I design myself and relate to the people in my life. I am so grateful that I was able to participate in Fearless. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Sean Fitzgerald, Assistant Director, Massachusetts

“Fearless lives up to its name. I’m leaving The Option Institute with a heightened sense of personal choice and more conviction to choose love and happiness in every situation. I am fearless now.”

Robin Sacks, Student, Canada

“I was living in a world of fear created by my beliefs. My fears were that I was not good enough; I wouldn’t get what I want; I would never really be happy. Wow – Fearless defined fear in a clear way and helped me to become aware of my avoidance as a way to deal with all fears. Now I know I am okay, and my fears, as they come up, can be dealt with by going to my belief about the fear and creating a new fearless belief. Thanks for a life-changing week.”

John Burke, Attorney, Minnesota

“This week I have learned that, since I make up my fears, I can also make up comfortable and happy beliefs to replace them! I feel a great sense of strength in this learning. I also see that my own self-acceptance is the key to my happiness. It’s all up to me now, and I can do it!”

Jane Wyker, Family Counselor, New York

“I came here feeling reasonably fearless. I had some fears in mind to work on but by being here and diving in, I found I had many more. In Fearless, I learned and adopted beliefs that are further expanding my sense of calm and peace, and many fears of mine no longer have any strength. I have had a wonderfully exciting week and I recommend this program to anyone.”

Lawrence Chapman, Model, England

“What I found most extraordinary is that Fearless gave me the tools and new perspectives to identify, explore and diffuse fears that I have used everyday – the insidious little fear-based behaviors that are so ‘normal’ as to not be questioned. I now have the desire and ability to see and then choose for myself what will serve me best.”

Lois Atherton, Museum/Gallery Director, Massachusetts

“Once again I’ve come to another program at The Option Institute that was absolutely awesome. I came away from Fearless clearly seeing a thread of fears I didn’t even know I had. Now that I’ve seen the fears I will definitely explore the underlying beliefs, discard the old ones and take on new ones that will better serve me in my overall ‘mission statement’ on how I want to live my life.”

Stan Cohen, Certified Option Process® Mentor/Counselor, New York

“I’m struck with how calm I feel. There is an absence of drama, which I see as one manifestation of fear. I feel I am walking away with tools that will really work for me.”

Mary Spangler-Blair, Psychotherapist, South Dakota

“To be able to look at both your fears and beliefs and know that you can either eliminate or change them is such an exhilarating way to live your life. I am thankful for Fearless and to all those involved for providing me with the tools to look at the world in a user-friendly and empowering way”

Jeff Cohen, Self-Employed, New York

“The experience at The Option Institute gave me the opportunity to reclaim me. I am deeply grateful and thankful to have had this experience. I have been blessed.”

Cindy Rinehimer, Retired Insurance Broker, New York

“Prior to coming to The Option Institute I had one huge fear that I couldn’t seem to shake: fear of others’ judgments. Fearless showed how we use fear to motivate and protect ourselves, and decide what we don’t want. But all at a price. We can still motivate and care for ourselves and know what we want without fear. Fearless showed me how much clearer and more comfortable I can be.”

Melissa Forg, Business Owner, Illinois

“Fearless is a creative, interactive program with incredible presenters. The program guides you to go toward your fears, face them and then decide whether or not they are serving you and if you want to keep them.”

Bob Brackman, Inventor, Texas

“Fearless provided insights that truly have allowed me to change my life (already!). Several moments of truth leapt out for me to catch. The entire group, though incredibly diverse, definitely had a warm, fuzzy comforter of love enveloped through it.”

Leslie Burns, Flight Attendant, Illinois

“It feels great and empowering to identify fears and know that they are thought-based, belief-based, and that to rid ourselves of them we need only change the thought/belief.”

John Bardeen, Marketing, Colorado

“Fearless is a very focused program with a clear framework. Fear is no longer an amorphous mass that surrounds me like fog. I was given tools that enabled me to dismantle it and deal with it.”

Sarah Barbour, Chartered Surveyor, England

“I came here to address my fears and this time, as always, ended up getting more than I expected.”

Doug Stevenson, Writer, Illinois

“Fearless provides a safe environment in which to explore one’s fears – to work through a process of going to the very core of the fears, know why we have them, and decide what we want to do about them. In doing this, we see that the fears are worse than whatever we are trying to avoid”

Donna Beal, Retired Teacher, Maine

“Wow! What a gift!”

W. Thurston Wilson, Clergy, Georgia

“The staff more than met my expectations. They were thoughtful and loving to the class and I felt they wanted for us what we wanted for ourselves.”

Charlene Black, Retired, Illinois

“During Fearless I was able to delve right into my fears and find a lot of really useful ways to change them by simply focusing on using beliefs that truly work for me. It’s always amazing how easy this can be. All I need to do is make my wanting strong and DECIDE. And I can do this anytime on a dime.”

Jeannie Reid, Son-Rise Mom and Art Therapist, Ohio

“It is one thing to be fearful and think you shouldn’t be and muster the energy and fortitude to go through life anyhow. How exhausting! This week I took my fears apart and when I move in my life now fearlessly and happily I will think of you all and be so grateful.”

Paisley Hillegeist, Mom, Connecticut

“Fearless taught me not only how to look at how I have used fear to prevent acceleration, but also how to be truly honest with myself and to challenge myself to grow. This program was life-changing – funny that when I initially saw it on the list I gave it no consideration. I learned how to strip myself down honestly and love the process completely.”

Noa Stetzer, Writer, Virginia

“I still believe that the Option Institute is one of the most healing places on the planet. Every time I attend a program her I grow in unexpected ways and watch those around me blossom more fully into living their lives with more love and ease and happiness. After being involved with this work (on and off) for 17 years I keep coming back because I appreciate 2 things most highly in life; excellence and growth. Both are available here.”

Stephanie Dickinson, Teacher, Illinois

“Fearless is an amazing program that challenges my beliefs, strength and courage. What an opportunity to delve into myself in a very safe, loving and non-judgmental place. The program is fast paced, raw, authentic and always changing. Perfect.”

Roseann Mardjetko, Self Employed -Travel Industry, Illinois

“So very, very useful! You laid out tools for us each day, explained them, showed us how amazingly effective they were and invited us to pick them up. The learnings build up to an impressive tool kit of different ways to choose fearlessness. Fantastic. I know I am taking a new me home; so much more powerful and effective in my world – and happy!”

Jules Knight, University Administrator, United Kingdom

“I came to Fearless thinking how the hell is this going to help me with my fears , but came anyway. It has been the best week of my life; for the first time I understand me and love others around me in the world. I really had to look at myself which is not something I have ever done because I judged myself and others in my life. I have found my own power and self trust and believe in myself seeing the world as a friendly place, happy to live and be grateful for all in my life, mostly myself and really understood that to make sense of the world I just need to make sense of myself and that everything that happens is for my benefit and the world is my teacher.”

Nasreen Hussain, Property Developer, United Kingdom

“Fearless provided me with very useful tools to go through life without fear. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Worth every penny I paid for.”

Katia Baranovskaia, IT Consultant, Canada

“The Fearless program was a fabulous, enlightening and educational experience. I not only was able to take away an incredible amount of self-learning, but made such a unique and close connection with my classmates and teachers. This experience was made possible through such a loving, non-judgmental and comfortable environment.”

Rebecca Wagner, Interpreter and Educator, Georgia

“Fearless has been an incredible experience of learning clear, practical tools for moving from fearful to fearless, in specific incidents or areas of our lives. I feel so empowered to notice and accept fears and eliminate them if I am ready to and want to. The class also offers wonderful experiences to clarify all the central concepts of the Option Process and how to use them, all in a very loving and supportive environment.”

Judy Baxter, Retired Programmer and Analyst, Minnesota

“I came to Fearless because I had an overwhelming fear of my boyfriend being deployed to and dying in Iraq. I didn’t honestly believe I would ever let go of that fear, but thought it was worth a try. Through the teachings and loving, supportive, accepting environment that I found at the Option Institute I was able to empower myself to see that I was choosing the fear and by identifying why I wanted to be afraid I could find a better way to take care of myself and am now completely unafraid of that!”

Amy Orth, Student, New Jersey

“I was able to identify my greatest fear and realized how much I’ve done or haven’t done because of that fear. The length of the list astounded me! I then determined why I was using that fear and decided that I would be much more effective using ease in my life instead of fear.”

Heather Aschmann, Son-Rise Program Mom, New Jersey

“I have searched for what works for me and Fearless is it. I’m diving in 100%. Thanks for creating this and bringing it to the masses. It truly is the best stuff on the planet.”

Larry Freed, Business Coach, Maryland

“This one week of taking time to look at myself and explore my beliefs and my fears has given me permission to approach life in a whole new way. I know again that every feeling, every experience, every fear, every joy is of my own making. How powerful to realize my own strength. Thank you.”

Michael D. Church, Sr., Mechanical Contractor, Indiana

“Fearless was extremely useful! I now understand that fear and all other emotions don’t just “happen” to me-I am in charge of them and I use them for a very specific reason as a strategy to take care of myself. Now I know how to question the strategy and figure out a more effective way to take care of myself. And there is no reason to judge myself for my past choices because I can decide again in each new moment.”

Nico Panigutti, Production Manager, California

“The programs have given me tremendous knowledge but more importantly the tools to take action. I feel I have ultimate control over who I am and how I choose to handle things in my life.”

Kathy O’Connell, HR Consultant, Pennsylvania

“Fear has been a tool for me to motivate myself in my life. As I lived life, I never felt at ease. Fearless gave me immediate tools to use with myself as soon as I feel the anxiety and fear. I now can immediately switch my thinking to ease and the effects are astounding: more success, more love, more joy and a love of life!”

Jennie Linthorst, Poetry Therapist, California

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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar