Author Topic: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?  (Read 4464 times)

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Offline Awake

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Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« on: October 17, 2010, 09:09:47 PM »
Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?-Awake-

This paper attempts to examine the influence of thought reform as it relates to programs for troubled teens. A particular focus will be on the identification of sensitivity training as a potential tool of coercion as it concerns the dynamics of group therapy common in programs. A main point of comparison will be the method of eliciting confessions in thought reform.

But first…. What is Sensitivity Training?

“Sensitivity Training attempts to improve communication between individuals in a group setting by sensitizing them to each other and to themselves . Since such training takes place in a group, the inner workings of the group (hence the community) become increasingly important for the individual to understand and relate to.”


“ to understand the evolution of training practices, let us review the format of a general all- purpose training experience. Such a training group would consist of eight to fifteen people. The trainer, after setting forth the group task of learning from the interactions within the group, would then recede, leaving a leadership vacuum. Such a vacuum compels participants to struggle to develop structure and meaning themselves.”


“The skills to be achieved were intended to help an individual function in the role of change agent. A change agent was to be a paragon who had awareness of the need for change, was able to diagnose the problems involved, who could plan for change, implement his plans, and evaluate the results. To become an effective change agent, it was believed necessary to understand the dynamics if groups.”


“Training orientations are divisible into two main trends: toward interactional awareness and toward expanded experiencing.”

“The training movement has for the most part vigorously denied that it has been engaged in the practice of psychotherapy. It’s processes have nevertheless attracted the interest of clinical practitioners, (as well as social psychologists and educators) mainly because they involve emotional, personality and relationship elements of a very intense kind and level.”


“The open ended possibilities for learning and change in the original rational for Training seemed to invite the application of “optimistic” theories of psychotherapy because of their emphasis upon such concepts as “growth” and “self realization” (Maslow 1962; Rogers 1951)…. Resemblences between training and current group treatment practices are also apparent in such unique rehabilitation efforts as “Synanon” Games and “Daytop” sessions for drug addicts. These methods attempt rehabilitation of severe character disorders through communal adaption and group normative pressures. This is accomplished in confrontation sessions which develop an atmosphere of peak emotionality as peers judge and critique the behaviors of individuals to a degree inconceivable in conventional therapies.”


“Training group discussions and staff “bull sessions” were the scenes of serious debates about the manipulation of attitudes, feelings and beliefs, in the wake of the nationwide concern about brainwashing (mental coercion) after the Korean war.” --Martin Lakin. Interpersonal Encounter: Theory and Practice in Sensitivity Training -1972


“Perhaps one might expect single individuals to be more plyable than groups of like minded individuals. However experience in leadership training, in changing of food habits, work production, criminality, alchoholism, prejudices, all seem to indicate that it is usually easier to change individuals formed into a group than to change any one of them separately. …. If the group standard itself is changed, the resistance to which is due to the relation between individual and group standard is eliminated.”  –Kurt Lewin .  “Frontiers in Group Dynamics” Human Relations 1947. --


“Human Relations Training fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which includes coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing as well as a multitude of less coercive, informal patterns.”  -Edgar Schein. “Management Development, Human Relations Training, and the Process of Influence” Issues In Training. c. 1962 National Training Laboratories and National Educational Association




…   …                                                                           1                                                                                …   …


There is no question  the development of Sensitivity Training is among, if not the most,  influential change mechanism in the design of troubled teen programs and the most pervasive to date. Virtually any teen who has gone through a program has experienced a particular brand of encounter group therapy that has an ulterior motive, to serve as a  tool for Sensitivity Training. However, it is not something the average American or parent has any awareness of. As well, what Sensitivity Training IS by definition, is not very clear.  What is clear is that Sensitivity Training is over and over again compared to communist thought reform or ‘brainwashing‘  techniques. Looking into its’ history I find there are three specific divisions among professionals concerning just WHAT SENSITIVITY TRAINING IS. The consensus is that  IT MAY BE TRAINING, THERAPY, OR THOUGHT REFORM, and the nuances that would distinctly separate these conceptual applications are only loosely defined. Most disturbingly though is that the coercive use of Sensitivity Training would, as it relates to thought reform, mask itself under these false settings to deceive the subject. The question of whether Sensitivity Training  is coercive persuasion is a valid question for the general public as it concerns business and public education, but this concern should be much more relevant in troubled teen programs as the totalistic environment and coerced application present many more similarities to the tactics that originally led to the term ‘brainwashing’.


Is it brainwashing? The father of social psychology and developer of Senstivity Training, Kurt Lewin, outlines his theory in his work that began the Journal of Human Relations, ‘Frontiers in Group Dynamics’. His very first words to describe what leads to his findings state that , “One of the byproducts of World War II of which society is hardly aware is the new stage of development which the social sciences have reached. This development indeed may prove to be as revolutionary as the atom bomb.”  The proliferation of Sensitivity Training suggests he was right. He outlined a theory of unfreezing, changing, and re-freezing of group beliefs values and behaviors that are directly compared with brainwashing techniques among many of the authorities on the subject.  So what do the varying perspectives say about this?


A scholar in the field Martin Lakin, addresses in his book,  ‘Interpersonal Encounter’,  concerns regarding coerced change, brainwashing, and the manipulation of attitudes, feelings and beliefs in group encounter saying, “ It is a mistake to simply dismiss such fears…… In this connection, the early commitment of training to the values of uncoerced choice, autonomy, and voluntary participation in democratic decision making is important to bear in mind. ….. If, however, it were established that training involved not free exchange, but a subtle process of influence WHICH ONLY RESEMBLES FREE EXCHANGE, then the influences of a training experience would indeed be dangerous, the more so for being difficult to detect. “  He discusses the implications of such hidden coercion in Sensitivity Training groups suggesting that a split can occur in terms of “real or illusory” self choosing and self direction.

There is no shortage of claims that compare Sensitivity Training to brainwashing. However, I believe these implications are much more serious in the case of the Troubled Teen Industry. A main point of reasoning comes from Lakin who identifies Sensitivity Training as, “only temporary societies whose members never really lose contact with their primary environments.” This is clearly not the case in the TTI, in fact it is likely that the controlled conditions at these facilities will mirror communist thought reform prisons in many ways. At this point it is of importance to evaluate the coercive applications of this modernized method as described in communist thought reform, namely the interrogation, demand for Confession and elicitation of false confession of POW’s.


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During the Korean war America first encountered the phenomenon of ‘ brainwashing’ as astonishing numbers of our own captured troops confessed to war crimes and denounced the American war effort, and this was done so genuinely that it seemed that their attitudes and beliefs were indeed converted to the ideology of their communist captors. Thus began our own efforts to study, experiment with, and understand ‘brainwashing’, also reffered to as thought reform or coercive persuasion.  One area of focus was the interrogation procedure as carrying out dual functions.


First, interrogation functions to elicit confession (true or false, it is still a success for the interrogator), and second is the interrogation process as a covert teaching tool that makes the prisoner sensitive to the interrogators beliefs and expectations of him as a repentant confessor, INDOCTRINATING HIM WITH ‘ACCEPTABLE CONFESSOR BEHAVIOR’  that is repeatedly elicited.  As well , this manipulation of behavior in interrogation is stated to be possibly covertly hidden in a therapeutic setting. This becomes more and more of a focus as Sensitivity Training becomes a widespread tool in therapy in American culture, which I will come to. But for now some specifics on the methods used by the communist ‘re-educators’ and resulting research done in the U.S. is offered for comparison as it concerns the topic of evaluating Sensitivity Training in Troubled Teen Programs  today.


Albert Biderman was one sociologist who pioneered the efforts to understand indoctrination through interrogation.  He explains this in a 1956 peice,  Communist Attempts To Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners Of War, that “In this extreme form of "confession"-elicitation, as encountered by our men, the objective was not merely having the prisoner "confirm"  that certain acts were committed, but rather to have his behavior confirm the entire world-view of the Communists relevant to those acts.  Learning what behavior was being demanded and, even more, learning the elaborate symbols and nuances through which this behavior had to be expressed to be acceptable -- these were complex learning tasks indeed.  The tasks were perplexingly difficult since the interrogator seldom made these demands explicit.  Only by indirection was the prisoner generally made aware of the "crimes" of which he was "accused". He had to use his own imagination and largely irrelevant events of his own life history to concoct an acceptable detailed account of  things which never happened.”  

He also says, “These "confession"-extortion efforts involve the attempt to manipulate the individual so that he behaves over an extended period as if:

(a) he actually committed certain concrete acts which he can "describe" with meticulous detail'(b) these acts were "criminal", in the sense of being violations of the most fundamental standards of human decency;(c) these acts were not isolated transgressions but manifestations of a "criminal" pattern in his thought and action;(d) his "crimes" were part and parcel of a larger nefarious political conspiracy; (e) his "criminal" role was motivated by a self-seeking alignment with this political conspiracy, of which he was only a pawn; (f) he is now remorseful and repentant; (g) his changed attitude is due to new-found political conviction for which he is indebted to his patient captors. “


Biderman explored a variety of coercive methods in this kind of interrogation style indoctrination but he noted a couple perspectives that were favorable for use by an interrogator. The first finding is that the communist interrogators did not often inflicted direct physical pain to coerce confession as it was an ineffective way to gain compliance. Rather than presenting the prisoner with a contest between himself and the interrogator, a better tactic was to put him in a situation where he ‘acts against himself’. Being made to stand at attention for hours or days the direct source of pain is “not the interrogator but the victim himself ”. “The motivational strength of the individual is likely to exhaust itself in this internal encounter.” The interrogator then is a source of reprieve and salvation from his own persecution when he intervenes, and he can’t be accused of laying a hand on him.


Robert  Lifton further investigates this type of breakdown process  in a 1957 article entitled ‘CHINESE COMMUNIST THOUGHT REFORM: CONFESSION AND THE RE-EDUCATION OF WESTERN CIVILIANS’ published in Psychiatry journal for the Study of Interpersonal processes. It begins with the statement, “The Chinese Communists have developed a peculiar brand of soul surgery which they practice with impressive skill – the process of “thought reform”.


Lifton interprets the experience of westerners in their system of reform beginning with the ‘Penal “reform” Scheme’ saying that their crime is always “attributed to the residual, harmful effects of the ‘old society’ and penal institutions are viewed as therapeutic centers for ‘reform’.”  He uses the term “incriminating labyrinth” to describe this kind of therapeutic interrogation that begins with the accusation that “the government knows all about your crimes, this is why we arrested you. It is now up to you to confess everything to us, and in this way your case can be solved quickly and you will soon be released.” The shocked and defensive prisoner hearing this for the first time is repeatedly reassured of his guilt because ‘the government does not arrest innocent people.’


The interrogation becomes an endless procedure intented to exhaust the prisoner.  Lifton describes, that he is questioned on his history, whereabouts and personal connections in explicit detail, and at  every attempt of the prisoner to provide facts to clear his name is the respose “There is more. You are not telling us all. You must be frank.”  No matter what the frustrated prisoner says he can’t satisfy the interrogator. At this point of frustration and confusion he is offered brief, unpredictable periods of leniency, such as time to sleep that is interrupted quickly to return to interrogation. Denial of guilt is soon met with repercussions and the prisoner feels increasing need to appease the demands to confession.


The prisoner finds that the interrogations don’t cease, for once returned to his cell, “He is immediately set on by his Chinese cellmates, led by their appointed chief, who demand to know what has taken place during the interrogation session. They initiate what is called a ‘struggle to help him with his confession’ whereas they sit in a circle and denounce him as a “stubborn imperialist who refuses to recognize their crimes.”  These cellmates are specifically chosen because they are “ advanced in their reform process, and each one skillfull and severe in their criticism of others.”    They report daily to the inspectors about him.


Lifton describes the disturbing effects of altering between these direct interrogations and the ones the prisoner endures in his cell, which he calls “struggles” or just “help”. It is in this situation in which “ the help offered by his cellmates may include not only persuasion, BUT ALSO INSULTS AND EVEN PHYSICAL VIOLENCE . HOWEVER, “Sometimes the help is well meant, offered by a sympathetic person such as a religious colleague who is placed in the cell because the Communist authorities know even his help will be in the direction of confession. And it can become extremely difficult to distinguish between “real help” and “communist help”.”


Eventually the prisoner is broken down to a point overwhelmed with guilt and despair. It is at this point the Communist captors change their attitude toward him quite markedly; this leniency is a “calculated kindness”. They offer him better privileges if he will “cooperate with the government”. Lifton takes a statement from a prisoner saying after two and a half months…


“I was brought to see the judge. For the first time I found the room full of sunlight. There was no guard and there were no secretaries. There were only the kind faces of the judges offering me cigarettes and tea. It was a conversation more than a questioning. My mother could not have been much more good or kind than the judge was. He said to me, ’The treatment you have received here is really too bad. Maybe you are unable to stand it. As a foreigner and a priest, you must be used to good food and better hygienic standards. So just make a confession. But make it really good, so we can be satisfied. Then we can close your trial and finish your case.”


This leniency is crucial to extracting confession and “reforming” the prisoner. But leniency fluctuates with vindictiveness as each confession only grants a temporary rewards and further confessions are demanded.  Confession becomes the underlying theme of all aspects of life to the prisoner.  Eventually confession is learned to be given from “the peoples standpoint”, which represents the prisoners conditioned response to demands for confession as one that is sensitized to the communist perspective of him.  Lifton quotes another prisoner…


“In the cell 12 hours a day you talk and talk – you have to take part – you must discuss yourself, criticize, inspect yourself, denounce your thoughts. Little by little you start to admit something, and look to yourself, only looking from the peoples judgement…. You have the feeling that you look to yourself on the peoples side, and that you are a criminal.”


The progress in confession may begin with concrete facts, but ends up with the prisoner construing reality, repeating and refining it in such detail that it becomes reality in his daily life, interactions, thoughts, and behaviors.  This continues in ‘re-education’ in which study groups to discuss social issues are formed and the same kind of group criticism method is used to mold the proper Communist response to such issues. However it is not enough to simply agree to and portray the Communist values, because that would be dishonest. They are, “ ‘thought sick’ and could not be cured unless we came out with wrong thoughts.”  A pattern of self and group criticism develops by which ‘thought problems’ are expected to be spontaneously expressed and one must openly examine their early life to determine the cause.  ‘Genuine’ emotional involvement is a constant pressure as the group challenges the confessor with accusations that he is “ ‘spreading a smoke screen (using special phrases actions and attitudes to hide true inner feelings) and ‘window dressing’ (doing as much as is needed to get by without giving oneself fully to the program). They also routinely accuse the prisoner of ‘opportunism’, or of ‘finding a loophole’, ‘assuming an appearance’, ‘failing to combine theory with practice’, ‘forming alliances’, ‘shielding one another’, or ‘buying good will with food’ – that is attempting to win favor by friendly overtures.”


These study sessions include moral criticism of daily life in the cell concerning how much water one drinks, how much sleeping space one takes up, taking too much time for a bowel movement. The cell group must be active in “solving problems” and any misbehavior must be confessed spontaneously. “A chief who is not sufficiently effective may be demoted and the other prisoners now have an opportunity to ‘struggle’ their former tormentor.”


Lifton goes on by conceptualizing the transformation of the prisoner as being a ‘Death and Re-birth’ process by which they “destroy all feelings of inner identity, of being a specific person, of belonging to a group.” Guilt and Confession become the path to re-birth and finally ‘re-birth’ is the process of re-education whereupon he must “live the principles of thought reform” and through his “interminable ‘group therapy’ he eventually finds himself thinking and feeling in terms of these ‘truths’.” His final thoughts impress the dissociating effects of thought reform and that most re-enter society deeply confused searching for answers to their experience, and only a small few maintained the attitudes impressed upon them by their captors.



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Since the Korean War great strides have been made in understanding the influences at play in such settings as the thought reform prison. We have developed a much more refined knowledge concerning the manipulation of human behavior in the fields of social psychology, group dynamics, organizational development, and now Human Relations Training or Sensitivity Training. The processes for individual and group change have gone beyond the crude schemata of the communists and have become a sophisticated science in our modern corporate society where understanding organizational growth and change is necessary. But do we need to be fearful that some organizations and institutions are taking advantage of and undermining the individual by using coercive methods? And, can Sensitivity Training be used by an organization to achieve the objectives like that of thought reform? As well, can it all be done completely covertly, without possibility for implication, under the guise of ‘therapy’?


In a National Training Laboratories manual ‘Issues in Training’, Edgar Schein writes a piece called ‘Management Development, Human Relations Training, and the Process of Influence’ which he begins with an editor’s note:


“Human Relations Training fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which includes coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing as well as a multitude of less coercive, informal patterns….”


He begins the paper with the stated purpose of discussing the problem of “how an organization can influence the beliefs, attitudes and values (herein simply called attitudes)of an individual for the purpose of “developing” him, i.e. changing him in a direction which the organization regards to be in his own and the organizations best interest.”  Schein directly compares Sensitivity Training and Lewin’s change process, Unfreezing Changing Re-freezing, to Communist thought reform. It can be seen how Lewin’s process could be superimposed upon Lifton’s analysis of the thought reform process as ‘death and rebirth’.


Schein says that attitude change cannot come about unless the individual is properly motivated to change. He identifies this motivation to be part of the ‘UNFREEZING’ process which is a basic disruption of a persons stable equilibrium by which there is an increased pressure to change and/or a lowering of resistance to change. CHANGING is the learning of new attitudes through either (a) identification and emulation of others who hold that attitude, or (b) internalization of self-adapted attitudes as a result of the unavoidable demands and confrontations faced in the situation. REFREEZING is the integration of the changed attitudes into the rest of the personality and significant ongoing relationships.


Some illustrations are given, beginning with the unfreezing process, which dissect and isolate the most influential factors. Most importantly is “the removal of the target person from those situations and social relationships which tended to confirm and reinforce the validity of the old attitudes, or self.” This he compares with communist thought reform in that one is cut off from family, friends, normal routines, outside information and communication. The prisoner’s life in the cell constantly invalidates him because, as his cellmates have confessed, and are committed to their own reform, they are also committed to reforming the lone newcomer.

Schein describes a basic Unfreezing model of social and cultural isolation, stimulating guilt and shame to help them see their old self as unworthy and motivate them to adopt new attitudes, and linking rewards and punishments directly with the willingness or unwillingness to embrace change. Once the subject is properly ‘motivated’ he is ready to begin the Changing process.


In the Changing phase Schein describes the adopting of new attitudes by the Western prisoner through the process of (a) identification with his more advanced cellmates. He writes, “In the group cell, it was the discovery by the Western prisoner that his Chinese cellmates were human beings like himself, were rational and yet completely believed in their own and his guilt, which forced him to re-examine his own premises and bases of judgment and led him the first step down the path of acquiring the communist point of view.” Another illustration of this points to the training of a nun in a convent using a buddy or “big brother” system. The relevance to Training groups in organizations is given.


  “In most buddy systems, the buddy is someone who has himself gone through the training program in the recent past. If the target is likely to mistrust the influence attempts of the organization   – as might be the case in a management- sponsored Training program for labor or in a therapy program for delinquents in a reformatory – it is even more important that the influence agent be perceived as similar to the target.”  


In (b) Internalization the new attitudes may not be a direct mimicking of the attitudes of others. The system, or organization someone is held under may tolerate for a certain variety of attitudes within it of which are naturally learned. Such a situation will indirectly face one with their own prejudices naturally in such a culture clash and certain changes in attitude will come about as insight, insofar as what personality changes will make life more tolerable for him.


Finally in Re-freezing Schein explores the difference in creating temporary change versus lasting change and supports his reasoning with the long term results of thought reform prisons. He states that if the acquired attitude is made only through identification it will only persist as long as the influencing relationship exists. Only through internalization will the subject maintain the new attitude after leaving the thought reform environment. He stresses the overall need for organizations to maintain relationships that reinforce the training after exiting.  “Changes which may occur during a training program do not last unless there is some social support for the new attitudes in the back home situation.”


A pattern emerges that shows that attitude changes that are learned through direct coercive threats are simply surface changes that do not persist when the influencing agent leaves. In contrast, as in the case of Communist thought reform, the governors of the system may allow the learning and changes to occur indirectly by means of Identification with peers and cellmates. This kind of change is more permanent, but still requires a continuing relationship to re – indoctrinate him and motivate himself against his more deeply held beliefs and values. Finally, internalization represents lasting change wherein the change in attitude is perceived by the subject to be his own solution to his dilemma and is felt to be his own choice, coming to the conclusion through his own insight. (I will add the Double Bind as relevant to this finding viewtopic.php?f=80&t=30423 .) Schein says this model of Unfreezing, Changing and Re-freezing is best described as Coercive persuasion.



At this point Schein makes a transition from comparing Sensitivity Training with thought reform and begins describing the types of ways that an organization or corporation may covertly use such methods to “develop” people into those that better suit the organization. His basic prescription is for the company to hold a workshop or Human Relations Training laboratory accompanied by conditions that facilitate the Unfreezing, Changing, Re-freezing  process. What sounds suspiciously similar to a description of a corporate retreat also facilitates a coercive setting for ‘Unfreezing’ to take place.



 For this ‘workshop’ an isolated location is chosen. During this time, up to two weeks, communication is limited, one’s normal routine is broken, they are without family, and to share a room with a designated co-worker, a demanding schedule must be followed total involvement in the program is expected and intense pressure is placed on the individual to ‘examine himself’ based on feedback from the group and organization’s rational for change.  The workers’ status is naturally stripped amongst one another as they are equals in this new training exercise. All of this functions to ‘Unfreeze’ the individual and put him in a state of mind where he is ‘motivated’ to Change.



For the Change process he suggests that organizations design their Training experience with an appropriate balance of the influencing methods of Identification and Internalization. (It seems to be suggested that simply maintaining employees under a system of job rotation perpetuates a process of unfreezing and changing, or continuous Training.)


And finally, for the Re-freezing process, Schein maintains that “the organization must realize the reality that new attitudes cannot be carried by isolated individuals”.  He offers little hope for the organization to create lasting change without the continued support of those changes by his superiors, peers, and subordinates. However, the maintenance of this kind of group dynamic can lead to the organization being significantly more successful.



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There is still more to understanding the impact Sensitivity Training in the areas of therapy, rehabilitation and reform. The very concept of group therapy has deep roots in Sensitivity Training, and this influence should be considered in any encounter group therapeutic setting. The encounter group, aside from being a Training group, was also seen by many people to be a tool of genuine therapy. Many varying therapeutic styles, theories, and applications were developed based on this basic kind of encounter group made popular by Sensitivity Training. The new question that arises now is, is training therapy? And if so, can therapy actually be thought reform?


For this I will turn to Albert Biderman’s work, The Manipulation of Human Behavior. In it he explains that “ This book represents a critical examination of some of the conjectures about the application of scientific knowledge to the manipulation of human behavior. The problem is explored within a particular frame of reference: the interrogation of an unwilling subject. A number of scientific areas have figured prominently in speculations regarding the application of science to the manipulation of behavior in interrogation.”  It is written with particular respect to the Communist method of thought reform, however it goes quite a bit further in terms of areas of refinement. One must remember that in thought reform prisons the interrogation continued through different settings that each served a different function in the overall attitude change. Biderman makes a particularly interesting addition with the suggestion that the interrogator may further the cooperation of a prisoner by strategically adopting the role of therapist.



One other notable aspect of this book is that it makes a clear distinction that its emphasis is on extracting true information rather than simply satisfying the need of a false confession as in the case of Communist thought reform.  That said, it serves just as well to supply new techniques in the process of pressing a prisoner to display even more “genuine” characteristics to further refine the change in attitude. Biderman says, “The question of controlling fundamental attitudes and values may hold greater interest for many than our attention to the eliciting of guarded facts by interrogators. “ and “Several scientists have reported on the possible applications of scientific knowledge that might be made by the most callous interrogator or power. The results of their thinking are available here for anyone to use, including the unscrupulous.”




Biderman eloquently states the problem he is attempting to overcome.   “A system in which mental conformity is sought through coercion and manipulation embodies an ever-present fear on the part of the controllers that conformity will be based on opportunism rather than conviction.  In oppressive ideological systems, such as modern Communism, which demand  "true sincerity"   from their subjects rather than mere outward conformity, the inquisitorial process appears to be a natural development.   It is a difficult matter to determine whether thoughts are indeed "true thoughts." The inquisitorial process, being itself highly coercive, reinforces the original suspicion regarding opportunistic conformity. In a vicious circle, coercion is used to produce conformity, generating fears that the conformity produced is insincere, generating in turn further coercion to make it "sincere." The abhorrence of these practices by those subjected to them makes the fears of the controllers well founded and further reinforces the vicious circle.    Under these circumstances, the ultimate test of the loyalty and sincere devotion of the individual to the system is his acceptance of the inquisitorial process itself: the purge, coercion, confession, and the entire paraphernalia of enforced conversion…. One final test of loyalty demands that the prisoner act as though he hated himself with the intensity of the criminal definition which the system has placed upon him.”



How does one overcome this problem of determining whether or not the confession given in a coercive setting is in fact true or false? One important point, that I will only make small note of here, is for the interrogator to be skilled at lie detection through the monitoring of the subjects non-verbal behavior, such as breathing, eye patterns, facial and body gestures, even the use of an EEG. It can be useful to convince the subject that the lie detection is infallible to impress upon him a lesson of ‘honesty is the best policy’.  Biderman explores some harsh disturbing methods including pain, torture, dehydration, shock, hypothermia and starvation and as well as some more passive ones  such as isolation, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, sensory overload, and hypnosis. In all cases the purpose is to induce what he calls “brain fatigue” or “brain syndrome” which is to act upon the victim to lower their defenses and make them less able to withhold information. “Any circumstance that impairs the function of the brain potentially affects the ability to give information as well as the ability to withhold it.” He points out that brain fatigue can be brought about by purely depriving the brain of new information, possibly with a repetition or deprivation of stimulus, which marks the beginning of deteriorating brain function which will progress in a further and further loss of consciousness.


As can be seen the methods being discussed are very extreme, and so Biderman examines a crucial point that the brutal interrogation eventually leads up to. This is the point at which the victim resorts to what he calls ‘malingering’, or ‘the adoption of a deceptive role’ which is basically feigning symptoms that suggest he is compromised. What is to be identified as malingering may simply be any sort of antisocial or incompetent behavior. The pressure to produce truthful ‘sincere’ information through these exhausting methods, producing ‘brain fatigue’, on a deeply resistant subject who won’t or can’t provide the right answer can leave a subject with a realistic alternative of actually falling back on dysfunctional behavior. In a certain sense what is being described as an opportunistic display of mental failure or illness can be a realistic determinant of the subjects breaking point in the grueling interrogation process and such a display can be symbolic of the underlying potential for psychosis to fully develop as a result of progressing with the interrogation.  As Biderman points out this is a point of extreme dissociation for the subject, he is mentally divided trying to satisfy both his captors and himself, and at some point illness may be perceived as the only option to preventing his demise.

 
“He is occupying two positions simultaneously, and the role expectations of the one are not compatible with the other. As a loyal soldier he is expected by his country to withhold information which would aid the enemy. As a prisoner of war, the enemy expects him to reveal what he knows. As shown by Gullahorn (38), a person who is placed in a situation where incompatible demands are placed upon him because of his role relationships in two groups will try to retain both positions and find a way of satisfying them both. Toby (84) in his analysis of role conflict situations suggests that illness is an excuse by which a person in role conflict may avoid performing an obligation or duty of a role, without relinquishing the position and without suffering sanctions for failing to perform the duty. Thus illness, and particularly mental illness, would allow the prisoner to escape the role dilemma”



It is at this point that Biderman offers the interesting solution to this defensive ‘symptom’, for “it would seem that the rational interrogator is constrained to use his extensive power over the prisoner carefully, lest a real disorder be precipitated and the prisoner's potential value be lost completely.” The interrogator is to assume a sympathetic role of therapist in a way that challenges the commitment of the prisoner to uphold this possibly deceptive role, in which if he is caught lying will surely be met with intolerable punishment. In this way ‘therapy’ becomes a convenient way to avoid his deceptive cover from being exposed by being ‘cured’, and being cured relieves him from the punishment of ‘therapy’.


This indirect approach is advantageous in many ways because as each person has taken on different roles the game becomes vastly different. Now the prisoner is to accept treatment for his “illness” and expected to feel guilty for lying about his symptom,  taking advantage of and resisting the “sympathetic” attempts to rehabilitate his disorder. The ‘treatments’ that are given may be more grueling than the interrogation itself which may still facilitate ‘brain fatique’ (such as electroshock, pills), in fact it seems to enable the use of applications, such as hypnosis, to interrogation whereas the subject may be more compliant. The treatment is, of course, infallible and “guaranteed to bring about a cure”. This provides the prisoner with a chance to opportunistically malinger against his malingering without exposing it, and pretend to get well, or in the case of genuine disorders one might learn to cover up the symptoms to prove their recovery was ‘sincere’.  Upon recovery, of course, it will be understood that he is now in control of himself and his confession will now demand a flawless and ‘sincere’ display.  


Biderman clarifies that nothing can assure the prisoner will give up a specific piece of information, but only be more willing to, and that willingness is an attitude that can be molded to be more likely to produce a specific response. It seems unlikely that anyone could resist releasing secretive information in this situation, but in the case the confession being sought is in the realm of subjective reality, or non-existent, this becomes a particularly insidious development for the purpose of thought reform.


…                                                                                     5                                                                                      …


If you have read this far you realize that Sensitivity Training has developed several layers, yet more can be revealed as the influence of Sensitivity Training inspired an exploration into its application in therapy. As Martin Lakin pointed out, Training groups were a major source of inspiration and innovation within the area of psychotherapy. As well, it proliferated greatly in the areas of self help and Humanistic psychiatry. It evolved to be used as a tool for creating various experiences or ‘experientials’ and termed to be a form of ‘therapy for normals’. Inevitably what occurs is a paradoxical use of Humanistic methods to manipulate and achieve behaviorist goals. Programs such as Est and Lifespring http://www.rickross.com/reference/lifes ... ring4.html mask themselves as personal growth workshops, yet were marketed to organizations to enhance worker performance. These influences made their way into reform institutions for drug addicts, such as Synanon, perhaps the most influential model for the therapeutic community and the Troubled Teen Industry, and also identified as a cult that is guilty of using extreme coercive methods in the name of ‘therapy’.


 In virtually every troubled teen program you will find this particular style of group therapy which serves as Training for the subjects. As described earlier, Sensitivity Training had the early purpose of solving organizational and management problems, and is used to ‘train’ new trainers who impart the appropriate attitude onto the next generation. In this type of ‘buddy’ system the process of therapy also serves to train the teen to act as therapist to the newcomer. The program assumes a similar position over the troubled teen, as did thought reform prisons, that they are sick and have problems, otherwise why would they have gotten sent there in the first place?



Behavior restrictions and rules will ensure that the newer students’ non-conformist behavior will be confronted and influenced by the upper level students while conformist behavior is rewarded with contact with peers on their level. Eventually conformity requires each student to monitor the actions of the others, particularly the groups on lower levels.  It is unfeasible to progress in the program without calling people on wrongdoings, no matter how subjective or menial the accusation may be. With the constant pressure to confess any wrongdoing whatsoever, it becomes a relief when witnessing or even being involved in some minor, or accidental infraction of the rules, such as brief eye contact or uncontrolled smile or laughter, when it is prohibited. There is always something to confess, and if it isn’t concerning an infraction of the rules It will concern ones lack of motivation to face and overcome their own problems to become ‘successful’, as defined by the programs doctrine. The doctrine is learned incrementally by the student as they move up phases in peer groups.  Many creative uses of tactics, similar to those used by Biderman to create brain fatigue, have been used in programs such as isolation, grueling and repetitive labor tasks, static and stress positions, and even sleep deprivation. Group therapy sessions may vary from a few hours to marathon sessions that can stretch over days.



I will not attempt to go into detail at this point regarding the kind of doctrine that one of these programs might want to prescribe except to say that this kind of group dynamics can also enforce a psychodynamic perspective of a mentally ‘healthy’ self concept. The training philosophy will focus on molding individual aspects of the whole personality that will most likely produce the desired attitude, although the patient’s own disclosures will be used to form a critical evaluation of himself that supports each lesson.  



A teen can be far more convinced of the integrity of such programs as this type of reform is interested in an outward image of ‘helping’ the teen examine himself and understand  his inherent psychological problems rather than obtaining concrete facts about a crime.  It is far less easy to be sure of ‘why you are the way you are’ than to be sure of specific events that have taken place in your life, and even harder to prove to others.  Similar to Bidermans conceptualization, a troubled teen program will typically associate delinquent behavior as being the result of more deep seated psychological issues. These issues are many times the focus of interrogation and confession in the therapeutic setting . It is not just the behavior that needs to be reformed, but the ‘root cause’ must also be addressed and ‘worked on’ by the teen.  Another common feature of the training is the focus on completely open expression of ‘here and now’ feelings. Even if the interrogation itself is the source of discomfort, those feelings are expected to be shared before the group, otherwise they are labeled ‘closed off’, ‘hiding’ or a ‘look good’.  Overcoming delinquent behavior also serves as justification that one has dealt with their past issues. The confessions, or disclosures are elicited in a context that presumes trust and openness,  and often guided toward  revealing past instances of trauma, shame, or negative feelings of self worth. These unresolved painful, or shameful past disclosures are eventually linked as the cause for their current undesirable behavior and attitude. Resolving issues can require a cathartic purge to rid them of the affliction, such as genuine displays of sorrow for a family member who had died.  Again, it is not to be seen as though they are bringing up disclosures as a punishment, the teen is to believe in the philosophy and be actively involved in rehabilitating themselves. These disclosures build up, and ones true feelings of those events are distorted to support the case against their ‘old self’ and they have changed with the programs help, which will become the final testimony of the teen when they graduate and their parents take them home.   Often times contracts with the teen and follow up measures are implemented to reinforce the new attitude at home.



What has been described is far from a complete description of the inner workings of programs, but hopefully this gives some insight into the ways thought reform has evolved through sensitivity training to be used as therapy for troubled teens.
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Offline Inculcated

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Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 02:22:40 AM »
?I ? that I get so much to think about (and to look up) when you post ?[/color]
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Offline Froderik

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2010, 10:09:09 AM »
It's interesting, but I'm just left wondering how you managed to type a star in your post.
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Offline heretik

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2010, 08:09:36 PM »
Yes, this is interesting. Extremely confusing unless you have studied it a bit.

I have a question Awake, if it is universally understood here on Fornits that the employees at these programs are under qualified, have no formal education ie: college degrees, some have barely a H.S diploma, ex-students themselves with past and now post problems. How exactly could they conduct these sophisticated and elaborate psychological methods of behavioral control. I would think one would have to be extremely educated and have years of experience to implement these procedures of mind control, plus run these group dynamics.

Just wondering what programs you were referring to and within these programs who exactly is performing these practices.
If they are in fact being practiced then we can assume they are being done haphazardly and what effect can they have on the general population or specifically a student. What short/long term effects would substandard behavioral methods have on children.

I believe when a ex-student reads something like this, they can immediately identify on a personal and intellectual level, they find similarities within your discussion here and the dots begin to connect. But to say that a institution with its untrained and uneducated staff can orchestrate a systemic behavioral methodology/psychodynamic atmosphere, I believe is stretching it.  

Taking a step back, to look at a program today and your paper here, I would say your paper and what it holds, I can only pray they don't get people who intellectualize what you are saying here, gather the experience to implement these procedures. They would be some very sick people.

I find it hard to believe there are literally thousands of employees out there systemically injuring kids because they have nothing better to do.
 
So back to my point they are either extremely uneducated, in denial/delusional or they believe what they are doing/practicing is working.

I really don't know what the answer is for todays programs.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 01:11:45 PM by heretik »

Offline Whooter

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2010, 09:00:04 PM »
Quote from: "heretik"
Yes, this is interesting. Extremely confusing unless you have studied it a bit.

I have a question Awake, if it is universally understood here on Fornits that the employees at these programs are under qualified, have no formal education ie: college degrees, some have barely a H.S diploma, ex-students themselves with past and now post problems. How exactly could they conduct these sophisticated and elaborate psychological methods of behavioral control. I would think one would have to be extremely educated and have years of experience to implement these procedures of mind control, plus run these group dynamics.

Just wondering what programs you were referring to and within these programs who exactly is performing these practices.
If they are in fact being practiced then we can assume they are being done haphazardly and what effect can they have on the general population or specifically a student. What short/long term effects would substandard behavioral methods have on children.

I believe when a ex-student reads something like this, they can immediately identify on a intellectual level, they find similarities within your discussion here and the dots begin to connect. But to say that a institution with its untrained and uneducated staff can orchestrate a systemic behavioral methodology/psychodynamic atmosphere, I believe is stretching it.  

Taking a step back, to look at a program today and your paper here, I would say your paper and what it holds, I can only pray they don't get people who intellectualize what you are saying here, gather the experience to implement these procedures. They would be some very sick people.

I find it hard to believe there are literally thousands of employees out there systemically injuring kids because they have nothing better to do.
 
So back to my point they are either extremely uneducated, in denial/delusional or they believe what they are doing/practicing is working.

I really don't know what the answer is for todays programs.

That was a very interesting perspective, Heretik.  You have inspired me to re-read the original post.

but my immediate thoughts are as follows:

Brainwashing in todays program is virtually impossible.  If you had a program which was a "closed system" with no interaction with the outside world and a group of employees which were trained and dedicated to the philosophy then I think the thought reform could be pulled off.  But if you look at how these programs function today.  They have a high turnover rate and struggle with even training employees with the basic CPR certification.  Their employee base is mostly college grads and/or young people who are looking to enter the filed of child psychology or working with kids.  So they are highly motivated to helping children and easing their discomfort (not the opposite).  They have an eye on a future vocation in child care.  The therapists are becoming more and more independently hired and are not paid by the programs so there is a huge conduit to the outside world which would inhibit any isolation or thought control to seed itself and take root.  The kids never fully lose contact with their primary environment which is critical to the success of thought control and brainwashing.  They are allowed to write letters and speak to their parents weekly.  They go on white water rafting trips and have trips into town on weekends, are involved with competitive sports with neighboring high schools.

So this thought that programs embrace thought control or brainwashing is a thing of the past in my opinion and there is no evidence even here on fornits that this process is in place in present programs.



...
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Offline Awake

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2010, 09:11:02 PM »
Huge disagreement with you there Whooter. Only its not just that the kid loses contact with their primary environment, they manipulate contact with their primary environment to manipulate the kid. Control over that communication and contact is a tool of coercion.
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Offline Whooter

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 09:26:03 PM »
Quote from: "Awake"
Huge disagreement with you there Whooter. Only its not just that the kid loses contact with their primary environment, they manipulate contact with their primary environment to manipulate the kid. Control over that communication and contact is a tool of coercion.

I understand that you disagree with me, Samara, and that is okay considering your experience and perspective.  I dont knock you for that.  But once you open up the communication and allow kids to speak with their parents openly without any staff around and they are able to send out letters unscreened like we have seen in todays programs, and engage the surrounding community the chance of a successful thought reform or brainwashing falls away.  There is no way to sustain enough control to be successful.



...
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Offline Awake

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 09:40:45 PM »
Quote from: "Whooter"
Quote from: "Awake"
Huge disagreement with you there Whooter. Only its not just that the kid loses contact with their primary environment, they manipulate contact with their primary environment to manipulate the kid. Control over that communication and contact is a tool of coercion.

I understand that you disagree with me, Samara, and that is okay considering your experience and perspective.  I dont knock you for that.  But once you open up the communication and allow kids to speak with their parents openly without any staff around and they are able to send out letters unscreened like we have seen in todays programs, and engage the surrounding community the chance of a successful thought reform or brainwashing falls away.  There is no way to sustain enough control to be successful.



...


I’m sorry but I think you are opining. These programs have a history of intercepting interpersonal communication and manipulating communication between the child and their family and there is no proof it has changed. Your conjecture that i am Samara is also wrong.
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Offline Samara

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 09:51:13 PM »
In practically every fora for every TBS from Fornit's inception onward there are posts about our calls being cut off and monitored. COMMON PRACTICE!  This is an isolating tactic. Letters were also read and censored before they were mailed. Another common practice.
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Offline Awake

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 10:15:55 PM »
That is definitely a good thing, Whooter, but neither is it a standard, and it has a history of that specific kind of manipulation. It also it does not excuse the fact that the teen is in a confined restricted environment in which the attitude they portray is the object of punishment or reform. And It is also traditional for the parents to go through training seminars that coach them on how to communicate with their child when they do. In this way the program can utilize the deep rapport that has developed between them and the motivation of the family dynamic.  They are now separated and neither has truly informed consent as to the influences behind the communication of the other. From above

“the early commitment of training to the values of uncoerced choice, autonomy, and voluntary participation in democratic decision making is important to bear in mind. ….. If, however, it were established that training involved not free exchange, but a subtle process of influence WHICH ONLY RESEMBLES FREE EXCHANGE, then the influences of a training experience would indeed be dangerous, the more so for being difficult to detect.”
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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 10:27:29 PM »
Quote from: "heretik"
So back to my point they are either extremely uneducated, in denial/delusional or they believe what they are doing/practicing is working.

All of the above.  Usually the program owners/directors are clued in to the fact that it's basically a scam, but even some of those were once staff and simply believe they have the one true way to help kids.  As to how they can implement such elaborate tactics without knowing what they're doing?  They learned from predecessors who designed the system.  Most programs today are basically cult copycats.  They might not have designed (or even understand) the thought reform system/processes, but they implement what they were taught and from their perspective, it "works".  It does provide dramatic results while the participant is in the program.  It's a dramatic illusion for the staff as well.
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Offline Anne Bonney

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2010, 10:40:19 AM »
Quote from: "Whooter"
Quote from: "Awake"
Huge disagreement with you there Whooter. Only its not just that the kid loses contact with their primary environment, they manipulate contact with their primary environment to manipulate the kid. Control over that communication and contact is a tool of coercion.

I understand that you disagree with me, Samara, and that is okay considering your experience and perspective.  I dont knock you for that.  But once you open up the communication and allow kids to speak with their parents openly without any staff around and they are able to send out letters unscreened like we have seen in todays programs, and engage the surrounding community the chance of a successful thought reform or brainwashing falls away.  There is no way to sustain enough control to be successful.

No it doesn't because the parents are conditioned (re-educated) by the programs to not believe anything negative that the child says about the program.
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Offline heretik

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 01:45:51 PM »
Quote from: "Awake"
That is definitely a good thing, Whooter, but neither is it a standard, and it has a history of that specific kind of manipulation. It also it does not excuse the fact that the teen is in a confined restricted environment in which the attitude they portray is the object of punishment or reform. And It is also traditional for the parents to go through training seminars that coach them on how to communicate with their child when they do. In this way the program can utilize the deep rapport that has developed between them and the motivation of the family dynamic.  They are now separated and neither has truly informed consent as to the influences behind the communication of the other. From above


Quote
I asked a question above in my post and have yet to receive a answer from you. The breakdown of the question goes something like this. The staff that are being asked to work with the parents and children are ill-trained, lack in proper education and training so therefore have yet to accumulate real experience. So how is it possible for the results your writing about to happen effectively.

I understand when your writing a paper, you are using a perfect lab setting for your hypothesizes, everyone is highly educated and following correct procedures when creating this model. In the real world inside programs we understand this is but a dream.

Moving on to another subject, teens in trouble. I have a opinion on this comment you made here to Whooter, if I may.
In order to get a teens attention do you not feel it is important to cut off all outside interferences, at least for a short period of time. I would think this would help the teen to become focused on what the issues are that need to be addressed.
Training or educating parents to learn how to communicate with their child, is this wrong. I would think this could always be beneficial, whether in a program or not.

You keep talking about the environment these children are in is restricted, should it be otherwise. I would think not if you are trying to correct destructive thinking which leads to bad behavior, we are talking for a short period of time. Yes it is the "attitude" that is the most watched at first, because your attitude tells people what is going on with you. Bad attitude along with bad behavior does bring discipline.

Your comment here below Awake is poignant, in so far as this paragraph you wrote could be thought to resemble every working environment here in this democratic country we live in. (I highlited your comment I opined on here)


“the early commitment of training to the values of uncoerced choice, autonomy, and voluntary participation in democratic decision making is important to bear in mind. ….. If, however, it were established that training involved not free exchange, but a subtle process of influence WHICH ONLY RESEMBLES FREE EXCHANGE, then the influences of a training experience would indeed be dangerous, the more so for being difficult to detect.”
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2010, 04:18:29 AM »
Quote from: "heretik"
I asked a question above in my post and have yet to receive a answer from you. The breakdown of the question goes something like this. The staff that are being asked to work with the parents and children are ill-trained, lack in proper education and training so therefore have yet to accumulate real experience. So how is it possible for the results your writing about to happen effectively.
Your first question previously posted and now rephrased was effectively answered by Psy here on this very thread.
Anyway...
In answer to the gist of those questions you’ve posed: I’m going to say no, cutting a kid off from the outside world and placing them under the care of individuals whose training includes little more than their experience of having been promoted from within the program is problematic to say the very least. As you may well know, programs in operation today are still promote from within the ranks organizations largely staffed and even directed by graduates.

Placing them in the care of programs that have staffing with broader training that still apply these breakdown methods is no less dangerous—as the tactics that provide the most immediate appearance of change incorporate (with some variations of the theme) the elements that have been outlined quite clearly above. It doesn’t matter the degree of training involved when a “the ends justify the means” rationale is the basis for exhorting control by use of injurious debasing and demoralizing methods that happen to be packaged in tandem with techniques that are not themselves inherently harmful.  

Who’s to say adults are immune from immersing themselves in the dominating themes in a thought reform or simply closed intense environment and simply carrying out orders as instructed? There are some oft cited studies that speak to this phenomenon too. I would hope that there would be many who reject this, but accounts from former employees of abusive programs like RTCS and even Psych settings tell that those who did voice their objections mostly seem to have experienced a common theme of being ignored or dismissed
Quote from: "heretik"
I understand when your writing a paper, you are using a perfect lab setting for your hypothesizes, everyone is highly educated and following correct procedures when creating this model.
Hmmm there’s another poster that I can think of who assumes academic research occurs only in some imagined pristine “lab” setting. That is an erroneous assumption. As is the assumption that such a thing couldn't replicated in "the real world" as it has been over and over again in the surreal setting of TCs
Quote from: "heretik"
In the real world inside programs we understand this is but a dream.
Which programs would those be that you have such knowledge their inner workings?
Quote from: "heretik"
Moving on to another subject, teens in trouble. I have a opinion on this comment you made here to Whooter, if I may.
In order to get a teens attention do you not feel it is important to cut off all outside interferences, at least for a short period of time. I would think this would help the teen to become focused on what the issues are that need to be addressed.
Can you not think of better ways to engage children and get their attention? For that matter any program that does not place an emphasis on making communication with the family an integral part of the treatment is doing a disservice to that family and further goes to treating the child as the problem rather than approaching the breakdown in within the family unit. In the case where the primary care takers are abusive, this should not be pandered to or ignored for any reason, but financial motivations could preclude such considerations as say contacting the authorities. It’s a damn shame, but it’s just not the financially prudent move.

Quote from: "heretik"
Training or educating parents to learn how to communicate with their child, is this wrong. I would think this could always be beneficial, whether in a program or not.
How can that be done with the family excluded from contact or for that matter when the only inclusion for the family as participants comes from those programs that have engaged in practices that subvert the family bonds by  kid swapping  placements in host homes or from those programs where parent's participation is limited to attending meetings  separate from the child wherein the damaging labels are perpetuated and divisive concepts applied rather than emphasizing communication and cohesion?
Quote from: "heretik"
You keep talking about the environment these children are in is restricted, should it be otherwise. I would think not if you are trying to correct destructive thinking which leads to bad behavior, we are talking for a short period of time. Yes it is the "attitude" that is the most watched at first, because your attitude tells people what is going on with you. Bad attitude along with bad behavior does bring discipline.
If you’re speaking of purely Juvenile Justice that is a different topic. Therapy is not authentically therapeutic when it is punitive—therefore in appropriate.  
Additionally, Your comment that this is for a short time is presumptuously broad. Many programs are restrictive throughout and others rely heavily on systems that demand compliance with the very tactics that are the subject of this area of the forum. Also, that does not take in to account the vary many accounts here of recent programs associated with one another that will hold a child for long spans of time (years) and others who routinely refer to from one program setting designed for a given duration to still others for “continued care”.
Quote from: "heretik"
[Your comment here below Awake is poignant, in so far as this paragraph you wrote could be thought to resemble every working environment here in this democratic country we live in…
Wow, your reply to ^ comment was rather poignant in its’ own  way.  I would be very interested in reading your CV. I’m not really soliciting /anticipating a pm—just expressing my curiosity at that statement. While there can be overly simplified comparisons drawn from really vague understanding of the context of terms like training within a given post...(some corporate retreats aside)I just don’t agree that our country has sunk so low that all employment opportunities include the coercive thought reform endemic to programs being discussed on this thread. I mean gosh sure a residency is going to come with some training (I would hope so) and even some sleep deprivation...but that does not mean that by the time one has moved on to their fellowship that they are indoctrinated.
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Offline heretik

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Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2010, 08:41:12 PM »
Quote from: "psy"
Quote from: "heretik"
So back to my point they are either extremely uneducated, in denial/delusional or they believe what they are doing/practicing is working.

All of the above.  Usually the program owners/directors are clued in to the fact that it's basically a scam, but even some of those were once staff and simply believe they have the one true way to help kids.  As to how they can implement such elaborate tactics without knowing what they're doing?  They learned from predecessors who designed the system.  Most programs today are basically cult copycats.  They might not have designed (or even understand) the thought reform system/processes, but they implement what they were taught and from their perspective, it "works".  It does provide dramatic results while the participant is in the program.  It's a dramatic illusion for the staff as well.

I got caught up in Awakes answer to this other poster that I neglected to respond to your comments. Not that I'm sure you were holding your breath. :)
Thanks for your direct summation of what I was driving at here. It can be very confusing for someone not educated on treatment programs to understand the elaborate processes of a everyday program.
I wonder if the employees were trained properly and had experience would these thought reform processes still provide a viable education for the participant. Does thought reform work, is it a suitable model, can we expect positive results if instituted properly.
A question here that has crossed my mind, it goes along with the comment I made concerning work environments, is there not thought reform happening in practically all work,educational and family settings to a greater or lesser degree.
I am not bringing this up to rationalize the atrocities going on in programs people here have talked about, just trying to understand how it all transpires.
I have heard words spoke here concerning re-education, thought reform and others I can't remember right now and I am trying to understand.
I am reading more and I have to say that sitting in a chair or standing in front of a room is a hell of a way to be re-educated. Not very subtle. I get this type of overt thought reform also to include the violent yelling at one another during groups and the emasculation you received by your peers while experiencing a "haircut".
I want to get at the more subtle reformation of the mind that went on/goes on in a program. How is this happening.
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