Clearly any and all forms of thought reform cannot be labeled as malignant. The agenda behind said thought reform is what is important.
Many ancient and modern martial arts instructors have employed the exact same tools as mentioned in those articles to reform their students. In many cases this reform was indeed malignant with the only agenda being wealth or power to the guy at the top.
In many other instances this reform was not malignant although the same tools might have been used (fatique, fear/love, repetition immediatly come to mind in MA training) purely because of the agenda behind said reform.
The easiest way to know if you are stepping into a benign or malignant thought reform dojo is to study the character of the instructor and his top students both on and off the mat.
What I am getting at is that if the slap is meant to enlighten instead of humiliate then its not so bad to get slapped sometimes. (In a metaphorical sense)