Author Topic: Washington Post Article: The Trouble with Tough Love  (Read 2258 times)

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Offline Paul St. John

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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Paul St. John

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Washington Post Article: The Trouble with Tough Love
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2006, 02:04:00 PM »
Excerpts:



italics mine

"The more important question -- whether tough love is the right approach itself -- is almost never broached.

This is the important question right here.  the horror stories effect us emotionally.  Occasionally, they get our attention, and so restrictions will be.  For example, in Elan school, some type of hand cuffs were used ofen, and after some some governement organisation got involved, they are now only allowed to be used in extreme cases.  But the simple question is: Is the 'Tough Love" method ever effective, and does it ever do anything but wrong.  I say that Tough Love = False, and it is not a matter of too tough.  The basic premise is wrong.  Do we really have to sit here, and figure this out piece by piece dragged over years?  

 Advocates of these programs call the excesses tragic but isolated cases; they offer anecdotes of miraculous transformations to balance the horror stories; and they argue that tough love only seems brutal -- saying that surgery seems violent, too, without an understanding of its vital purpose."

I heard this anology while in Daytop I hardly concider these counselors surgeons.  As a matter of fact, their philosophy is entirely different.  If a counselor was a surgeon, he might say hit someone in their broken arm, rather then put a cast on it, and tell them that their arm should heal in spite or else they are babies.  Counselors delt in bullshit.  Surgeons have no time for bullshit.  They got a job to get done.  thye are dealing with solids and absolutes.




 ... How could being "confronted" about my bad behavior help me with that? Why would being humiliated, once I'd given up the only thing that allowed me to feel safe emotionally, make me better?

this is another important aspect to be taken into account.  A client has just given up their drug that offered them peace, and comfort in some form or another.  They are "extra" vulnerable, and if anything should be taking with time with themselves, and working WITH themselves- not against.  The experience can literally put a person into shock, and have them sufferring with compounded problems, one after another.  Basically, the process can and often does a mess of a person

 My problem wasn't that I needed to be cut down to size; it was that I felt I didn't measure up...

This was the problem of pretty much every person that I met in Daytop, and the "therapy, only dangerously worsened the pre-existing problem.  Yes, people became sober, and followed the rules, but it was only because they were at their wit's end.  I said it before, and I will say it again. All inside were scared.  the majority of the members were struggling just to hold on to what little psychological sanctity they had, and all the growth shit was usually just an act, and becomes almost as an alter ego, while the real issues of the person, attached to to that supple, spiritual part of all us falls into the shadows.



"
Fortunately, the short-term residential treatment I underwent was relatively light on confrontation, but I still had to deal with a counselor who tried to humiliate me by disparaging my looks when I expressed insecurity about myself."

In spite of all the fucked up stories I have heard about these treatment centers, the little things like these, I still consider worth critical attention.  I consider it sad, and backwards.  It displays quite clearly that these centers haven't a clue what they are doing.  You cannot help a person with psychological issues without even knowing the most basic realities of human psychology.  Their basic philosophy is that if they don't like a behavior, the course of action to take is one way or another to " beat it out of them".  And now, let's also remember that just because a counselor doesn't like a behavior doesn't necessarily mean, it is a bad behavior.  It is the behavior.  It is that which is, and it is that which must be allowed to be in order to be understood.  It is a part of a person.  This counselors response is to reject the person, and their feelings as no good.  Most likely, this was a reflection of the counselor's own issues.




"The trouble with tough love is twofold. First, the underlying philosophy -- that pain produces growth -- lends itself to abuse of power. Second, and more important, toughness doesn't begin to address the real problem. Troubled teenagers aren't usually "spoiled brats" who "just need to be taught respect." Like me, they most often go wrong because they hurt, not because they don't want to do the right thing. That became all the more evident to me when I took a look at who goes to these schools."

!!


"Sadly, tough love often looks as if it works: For one thing, longitudinal studies find that most kids, even amongst the most troubled, eventually grow out of bad behavior, so the magic of time can be mistaken for the magic of treatment.

Exactly!  I have said this all along.  It is the person who finally takes care of shit, and not only probably would have anyway, but would have done it quicker, and easier, had the program not impeded their natural growth prcoess


 Second, the experience of being emotionally terrorized can produce compliance that looks like real change, at least initially.

This is true, and I think we all know this.  It is nice to see it in the " The Washington Post"


"They are not allowed to date (in many, even eye contact with the opposite sex is punished),

God, I hated that.  Love, and romance are two of the most powerful experiences in human existence, but in Daytop, you could not even look at a girl.  I could probably write a whole essay about the wrongs of this alone.


 and they are punished if they dissent from a program's therapeutic prescriptions. All this despite evidence that a totally controlled environment delays maturation."

and of course it does.  It such a program, you are not giving the opportunity to mature correcttly.  You can only grow so far as the program walls will allow.  I could probably write an essay on this as well.  It is just so clear how incorrect this is, and counter=productive to the programs' claimed objective and specailty.
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