Author Topic: The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S  (Read 4839 times)

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Offline webdiva

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« on: August 20, 2007, 01:49:05 AM »
http://tinyurl.com/26rtmw

the Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry
By Maia Szalavitz
August 20, 2007
 
The idea that punishment can be therapeutic is not unique to the Rotenberg Center. In fact, this notion is widespread among the hundreds of "emotional growth boarding schools," wilderness camps, and "tough love" antidrug programs that make up the billion-dollar teen residential treatment industry.

This harsh approach to helping troubled teens has a long and disturbing history. No fewer than 50 programs (though not the Rotenberg Center) can trace their treatment philosophy, directly or indirectly, to an antidrug cult called Synanon. Founded in 1958, Synanon sold itself as a cure for hardcore heroin addicts who could help each other by "breaking" new initiates with isolation, humiliation, hard labor, and sleep deprivation.

Today, troubled-teen programs use Synanon-like tactics, advertising themselves to parents as solutions for everything from poor study habits to substance misuse. However, there is little evidence that harsh behavior-modification techniques can solve these problems. Studies found that Synanon's "encounter groups" could produce lasting psychological harm and that only 10 to 15 percent of the addicts who participated in them recovered. And as the classic 1971 Stanford prison experiment demonstrated, creating situations in which the severe treatment of powerless people is rewarded inevitably yields abuse. This is especially true when punishment is viewed as a healing process. Synanon was discredited in the late 1970s and 1980s as its violent record was exposed. (The group is now remembered for an incident in which a member placed a live rattlesnake—rattle removed—in the mailbox of a lawyer who'd successfully sued it.) Yet by the time Synanon shut down in 1991, its model had already been widely copied.

In 1971, the federal government gave a grant to a Florida organization called The Seed, which applied Synanon's methods to teenagers, even those only suspected of trying drugs. In 1974, Congress opened an investigation into such behavior-modification programs, finding that The Seed had used methods "similar to the highly refined brainwashing techniques employed by the North Koreans." The bad publicity led some supporters of The Seed to create a copycat organization under a different name. Straight Inc. was cofounded by Mel Sembler, a Bush family friend who would become the gop's 2000 finance chair and who heads Lewis "Scooter" Libby's legal defense fund. By the mid-'80s, Straight was operating in seven states. First lady Nancy Reagan declared it her favorite antidrug program. As with The Seed, abuse was omnipresent—including beatings and kidnapping of adult participants. Facing seven-figure legal judgments, it closed in 1993.

But loopholes in state laws and a lack of federal oversight allowed shuttered programs to simply change their names and reopen, often with the same staff, in the same state—even in the same building. Straight spin-offs like the Pathway Family Center are still in business.

Confrontation and humiliation are also used by religious programs such as Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic and myriad "emotional growth boarding schools" affiliated with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (wwasp), such as Tranquility Bay in Jamaica. wwasp's president told me that the organization "took a little bit of what Synanon [did]." Lobbying by well-connected supporters such as wwasp founder Robert Lichfield (who, like Sembler, is a fundraiser for Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney) has kept state regulators at bay and blocked federal regulation entirely.

By the '90s, tough love had spawned military-style boot camps and wilderness programs that thrust kids into extreme survival scenarios. At least three dozen teens have died in these programs, often because staff see medical complaints as malingering. This May, a 15-year-old boy died from a staph infection at a Colorado wilderness program. His family claims his pleas for help were ignored. In his final letter to his mother, he wrote, "They found my weakness and I want to go home."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
RIP Steve Matthews and all those we have lost along the way!

Offline Che Gookin

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 10:07:11 AM »
Quote
This harsh approach to helping troubled teens has a long and disturbing history. No fewer than 50 programs (though not the Rotenberg Center) can trace their treatment philosophy, directly or indirectly, to an antidrug cult called Synanon. Founded in 1958, Synanon sold itself as a cure for hardcore heroin addicts who could help each other by "breaking" new initiates with isolation, humiliation, hard labor, and sleep deprivation.


I dispute this number as being to low. If you look back on the founding of CEDU you will hear many accounts of Synonan members making their way into the ranks. After the fall of CEDU these members, and those that they indoctrinated into the synanon way via their daily association with the ex-synonan members, didn't do the right thing and conduct a massive lemming like exodus over the nearest cliff. Instead they buggered off to the next program and so on and so forth.

I maintain that it isn't to difficult to trace the roots of far more than 50 programs back to synanon if you are willing to dig a little deeper.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 11:06:03 AM »
I agree with Waygookin.  I think she did not include many due to lack of space.  The chart from the on-line article is helpful and interesting, but woefully incomplete.  Small criticism.  Great article.

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

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 11:11:20 AM »
The one glaring weak point of the above diagram is the lack of connection from CEDU to anywhere else.

Aspen was/is a haven for the old CEDU employees. Plenty of ex-aspen employees have moved on to start their own programs. Take a look at Second Nature as each one of the founding members worked at the Aspen Achievement Academy(not sure on this). On the Second Nature website they use a substance abuse counseling technique that is directly linked to a known synonan technique. I'd have to dig around for the info as I found it when I was pimp slapping Charly all over the place before I decided to play nice with her.  

Not a small criticism in my perspective but a very critical link that is missing from the overall piece of the puzzle. Other than that it is a decent article.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 11:38:17 AM »
The link to Hyde, if there, is missing also.  It should have been inserted to the right of Daytop, since it was started in 1966.  Joe Gauld was a bit of a maverick, and based a lot of his methods on his own twist on AA, with the same type of personality cult that Dietrich developed.  Given how much of an egomaniac he is, I doubt very much that he would credit Dietrich with anything.  I don't know if Joe had any influence from Daytop, although it is said he did spend some time at Hazelden.

Perhaps a curious coincidence:  Hyde School and Elan School are not too many miles from one another.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 11:48:03 AM »
I think the issue is not known facts so much as fact checking and working against a deadline. If you really want to help out, find the corroboration and/or documentation to support those links and send it along to Maia. I think the standard is two or three credible sources to back up each claim.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Anonymous

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 12:05:46 PM »
How is Elan school related to Daytop?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2007, 01:04:14 PM »
Quote from: ""Guest""
How is Elan school related to Daytop?


Joe Ricci went to Daytop, and applied principles learned there to his concept of a boarding school for troubled teens, i.e., Elan.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Oz girl

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2007, 04:28:17 PM »
I think that if 50 is too low a number it is because this is the amount that can definitely be confirmed. It is hard to make a guess on this ever changing industry and look credible. Places are opening and closing on a monthly basis.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
n case you\'re worried about what\'s going to become of the younger generation, it\'s going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.-Roger Allen

Offline Che Gookin

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2007, 06:31:26 PM »
You aren't allowed to think.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Oz girl

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2007, 05:12:54 AM »
Quote from: ""Wandering Waygookin""
You aren't allowed to think.


??
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
n case you\'re worried about what\'s going to become of the younger generation, it\'s going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.-Roger Allen

Offline webdiva

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2007, 11:02:34 AM »
Quote from: ""Oz girl""
Quote from: ""Wandering Waygookin""
You aren't allowed to think.

??


well you weren't allowed to think in a program like straight lol or they did the best they could to keep it from occurring. probably the sarcastic implication in this case or just plain ole TSW sarcasm since he thinks for us all. :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
RIP Steve Matthews and all those we have lost along the way!

Offline Froderik

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2007, 11:30:25 AM »
Why not let TSW answer? I doubt Oz Girl will die waiting...
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Offline Che Gookin

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2007, 11:40:30 AM »
Quote from: ""Oz girl""
I think that if 50 is too low a number it is because this is the amount that can definitely be confirmed. It is hard to make a guess on this ever changing industry and look credible. Places are opening and closing on a monthly basis.

My reply:

Quote
You aren't allowed to think.


Please don't accuse me of deep thinking. Rarely do I bother with going beyond the obvious. I'm just to lazy to bothered with anything more.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Froderik

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The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry By Maia S
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2007, 11:49:39 AM »
"It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." LOL
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »