Author Topic: For Colleen Harrington  (Read 10325 times)

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Offline katfish

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For Colleen Harrington
« on: April 29, 2005, 08:35:00 PM »
I hear Colleen likes to check up on these posts and even received a phone call from her several years back when my posting where much more frequent and descriptive of my experiences at MMS on the strugglingteens.com forum  In anycase, this is directed at her, in part.

Hi Colleen, I received your phone call and returned it, but never heard back.  I expect after reviewing my many posts you have a pretty substantive understanding what my position is on MMS.  In a nutshell, I found it an abusive institution, and to address you directly, I too found you to be abusive and at best, passive enough to allow your husband, John Mercer and Mike Finn, especially to become meglomaniacs  and run young women ragged to the point of emotional melt down.  Only to secure redevelopment according to Mercer and Finns ideals.  Strange association to some perhaps, but the heirarchical structure, domination, intimidation, isolation, all is, IMHO, contrary to growth and positive change.  The change sought seems to grow only out of an individuals own volition, not forceful change that occurs at MMS.  Words become meaningless and regurgitation ensues.  Minds filled with Mercer-isms.  Viola, her's your automotran formerly known as your daughter.  Until of course the real world is presented and does not fit into the picture Mercer and Finn taught you, taught me, to mimic.  And then everything falls apart, Colleen.  And you think you're doing  good to those girls who feel this way?  The ends justify the means, perhaps you think, but if only you  all of the ends, not just the one who say 'it worked!".
I would hope that one day soon the sate of MT recognizes the need for regulation of this 60 billion dollar a year industry- this is big business now- as a society we fail our children and send 'em away for others even less qualified to deal with them.  At 150,000/year/child at MMS- that's what, 1.5 million for 10 kids, you have 30-40 there approx. 4.5-6 million million a year coming in, I guess that's the right industry to be in, for a man to head a school with a Masters in Ecology, no PhD, nuthin'- I'm wondering what kind of crazed world we're living in?  It must be double the luxury having the kids do all the work to fix up the school, chop would for your own persoanl use, etc. sure the list goes on and on.  30 girls at your service...
That kind of money coming in really makes me ill.  I personally would not be able to live with myself, Colleen, how do you just stand by and justify the harm done, in your own mind...You have 2 children now, how can you bear to bring them into such an environment.
I understand Mike Finn's own son killed himself.  Of course I have no way of knowing what his relatinoship was with Mike and Deb after I left, but this too is still something to consider when both were hired to care for girls, some who were suicidal and yet they were unable to provide their own son with the care and services required.---NOTE: I was asked to remove this post, but have decided to edit it instead- as several girls pointed out and I would agree, this is a point that should be considered and made known to others.
Collen, you're heart may very well be in the right place, however  you and the founders of MMS began this program and seems to me built off Cross? Creek? and other other programs, making it your own but without the qualifications.  Gary maybe had the qualifications he has a PhD I believe, but everyone else did not.  Mike has I belive some certificate to be a rehab counselor- we were not a rehab however.  We were a  school that bullied girls into change.  It also seemed to me Gary was bullied around too, he would occasionally speak up and often frown at John and Mike when they were being aggressive in group therapy, but M and J often didn't seem to give second thought to his concerns- I KNOW part of him felt this was wrong, just like Ron (the teacher) did.   None had expertise on mental illness, on issues teenagers have, does anyone there know how to talk about gay issues- as I had? transgender issues shoud they arise? Things seemed oversimlified, abuse/addiction, that's it- no societal complexities addressed- even the struggles of being a woman, simply ignored and left untapped, in an all grils school!   Was anyone really qualified (besides Gary, who was often not present during group) to be addressing abuse issues and allowing girls enter into dissociative states while free writing and have that bring up 'new'memories?  The idea is controversial in itself, even with doctors who have studied this for years and years, imagine an ecology graduate facilitating it.  While I was there about 5 girls suddenly had this disassociative issue, formerly known as MPD ( multiple personality disorder), like it was contagious.  New memories popping up constantly of ritualistic abuse, even I thought I had new memories!  It was absolute madness.
Once physical labor broke us down emotionally, laying out the framework by which we all should live, without hesitation and unquestioningly?  for the sake of creating independent women and thinkers? Would you say that, as independent logical individuals, that imposing your own will onto others is a good thing?  See, I'm thinking that is not exactly helpful therapy.  Beyond that, I felt it was abusive. (I'm talking about the therpay now, some other things were useful- I learned how to ski, that was a pretty cool thing)
That said, I hope that all of us formerly 'damaged goods' can get it together and see this 'thing' through-that is, tell our stories so that this issue we all feel so passionaltely about is addressed.  MMS should be regulated- it could only help- and reforms need to be made, as should other schools like MMS. A couple of stories told and I can't imagine the public believing this is entirely acceptable.  We have to care for every member in our society, as the idea goes, I think that if half the girls that attended/attend MMS feel subjected to abuse, even if it worked for the other half, reforms should be made so that girls don't have to be damaged or at least so parent are aware and can then make a better informed decision on whther MMS would be good for their child.  As it is the picture painted of MMS is that it is a wornderful program that works...what about those it's damaging...  See reveiws of MMS at strugglingteens.com, according to Lon Woodbury, MMS it wonderful!!
  You know, the funny thing, as sure as I am of myself, there's this naggin feeling that I am wrong.  Isn't that crazy Colleen?  You create a place for abused kids and the kids turn into adults and still fear you?  Do you realize the safe haven was felt possibly as equally as abusive and holds just as many painful memories and carries with it an equally great sadness as the past prior to MMS for some girls?  what was lost there...very sad... I can't think of a single reason why MMS isn't willing to work to ensure that even if it doesn't help all, girls don't leave in worse condition...If the purpose is to help and I ran the program, I'd certainly be re-evaluating.  that's the problem, though, things don't change and more girls are being admitted and many continue to come out with the same complaints. My feeling is that MMS needs an intervention of it's own.

I am sad, I lost much prior to MMS.  What little remained I lost while there and was a raw nerve upon my return to reality.  I hope at minimum if you read this you can consider your methods, John can get educated, things need to change.  I am angered that our gov't does not regulate these schools, but it is what it is, for now.

Katfish[ This Message was edited by: katfish on 2005-05-04 10:09 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2005, 11:52:00 PM »
Katfish,

        I feel the same as you, and you expressed so many things that I have wanted to express, but could not find the words or the courage. I feel crazy often because I can also justify the good with the bad, and say well "it did teach me a lesson"....just as we were taught to think. I have always thought about all that money they make...and all those chores, "punishments" we had to do was it really a chore or a way to save up all that money? All that lawn maintnance, wood chopping, horse shit shoveling, fence building, forest clearing, arena fixing, hay stacking,ice chipping, etc etc etc etc (not to mention the fact that we did it also on john's property) .....that would have been pricey to hire someone for all that! seiously! You are right n target with what you said.
anyway, I would love to hear what Collen has to say about all of this!
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2005, 11:56:00 PM »
Katfish,

      I would also like to try to contact with you..but not sure how.

                           Angel
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2005, 01:08:00 AM »
Angel,

E-mail her at katw@nyc.rr.com

There you go!
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2005, 03:48:00 AM »
this makes me absolutely fucking sick to my stomach. you want to talk about manipulation, this is it in full force.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2005, 04:15:00 AM »
It wasn't perfect, but it was better than where I was headed in life and a hell of a lot better than other places I had friends get sent to, for instance Cedo or some place in Jamaica conveniently located so they could beat the kids as they pleased. Some of the things at MMS seemed strange but I can't speak to them because I don't know the whole story. I don't think it's anywhere near abusive though. As for all the work, I enjoyed it. It helped me not be a spoiled brat, gave me an outlet for aggression, and hell it was fun at times. I'm not so sure about the work at John's. I have no idea about their money situation and I don't want to speculate about shit I don't know about.

Angel... did you go to MMS for a very short time somewhere between 2003-2004? I seem to recall somebody named Angel
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2005, 04:24:00 AM »
Angel is an alias,not her real name.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2005, 11:11:00 AM »
For Colleen,

Thank you for believing in my child.  That she could surmount her problems and learn to be a contributing, functioning adult.

She needed to mature, and learn responsibility.  You and MMS helped her do that.  She had to make the changes, but you gave her the tools.  Not all "bratty kids" in the family have become mature even at age 50+.

Personally, I do not think it abusive to have to shovel horse manure.  Group therapy is not to be carried out of the group, but the group is part of the therapy.  I do not think that a shower is a "right."  Someone has to pay for the water and the electricity to heat the water.  Accountability is important.

I do not know what "licensing" there is in Montana.  I don't remember John's degrees or how he started counseling.  Perhaps that could be cleared up.

I'm sorry for the girls who feel so victimized.  I too have been subject to verbal and emotional abuse.  The only way out of it I found was to change me.  I no longer tolerate it.  

I agree that there is a lot of pain here, that there is a lot of manipulation here, that there are honest differences here.

For those of you who did not finish the program or even have any involvement, I think you should realize that your perspectives will be different than those who were there.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2005, 12:04:00 PM »
Colleen,

Thank you ... Thank you for being an awesome teacher, thank you for supporting me throughout my difficult times at MMS... thank you for being involved with the wonderful yet NOT PERFECT program that is MMS.  Thank you for helping me get in to college.  Thank you for staying in touch with me and giving me updates on your family since I've left.  Thank you for the pictures of your beautiful daughters.  Thank you for playing your guitar and singing for us, and including me in that!  

I appreciate you and won't ever forget what you and all of the staff at MMS have done for me.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2005, 06:23:00 PM »
COLLEEN


THANK YOU FOR LETTING YOUR HUSBAND MANIPULATE YOUNG GIRLS IN TO SAYING THINGS THEY DIDN'T WANT TO SAY AND MAKING THEM DO THINGS THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DO.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2005, 02:09:00 AM »
For those of you posting because you have an issue with Colleen, though you may be angry about many things I think if you focus on things that are non subjective you would get your point across better. I know that you are probably just speaking out of anger which can happen to all of us, but by doing so your point isn't being heard. People will always have opinions about allegations, and as strongly as you feel something it won't change their mind. I don't have a personal vendetta against Colleen myself, though I do find it absolutely ridiculous and humorous that she calls people who write negative posts about MMS and threatens them with lawsuits. I just wanted to try to shed a little light from an outsiders perspective on how these posts come across.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2005, 04:02:00 PM »
Wow well written Kat. I totally agree with all that you had to say in this post. I think it took a lot of courage to speak your mind about the abuse that went on at MMS. I wrote something on the internet about MMS a while ago and got calls from girls who said that colleen had called them asking for my number. She eventually found it and gave me an angry phone call. I thought that it was sick what they were doing, how they searched the whole internet to see if girls were bad mouthing the school. Anyways good for you to write this and i support every word that you said
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2005, 02:32:00 AM »
I don't get why everyone is saying this stuff to Colleen. I'm pissed off about MMS too, but to choose Colleen to get pissed at doesn't make sense to me. There were so many others involved. The successes and/or failures of mission mountain should not fall on her shoulders any more than John, Gary, Mike, or anyone else that works there.
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Offline Anonymous

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2005, 03:06:00 AM »
So then what are the reasons you're mad at each one of them? What did they do? Maybe everyone should break down their experience by each staff member. It could help put things into perspective.
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Offline katfish

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For Colleen Harrington
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2005, 02:04:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-05-06 23:32:00, Anonymous wrote:

"I don't get why everyone is saying this stuff to Colleen. I'm pissed off about MMS too, but to choose Colleen to get pissed at doesn't make sense to me. There were so many others involved. The successes and/or failures of mission mountain should not fall on her shoulders any more than John, Gary, Mike, or anyone else that works there."


I have a problem now where I didn't really before- that is John Mercer and Mike Finn were the real probelm I had against MMS- however Colleen contacted me and has contacted several other girls, aparently threatening them with lawsuits and I felt that was hypocritical.  I began to wonder how on earth she could reconcile those threats and deliberate intimidation with having our best interest at heart?
Then I got to thinking, actually, there were some wrongs on her part that I would like to question should I have her ear (eyes) which I believe I do.

Regarding John and Mike, I've posted I bunch with reagrds to the way I found them to be abusive-- also posted on strugglingteens.com  ...  Look around, it's there.  I believe I haven't been the only one to post specifics regarding the aforementioned bullies.
best,
kat
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead