Author Topic: "Attack Therapy" at The John Dewey Academy  (Read 30457 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Anonymous

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 164661
  • Karma: +3/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Re:
« Reply #105 on: November 29, 2009, 11:41:28 PM »
Quote from: "anonymouslyfree"
Quote from: "Avalon"
I went to JDA and it was the worst experience in my entire life. I ran away half a year ago. I was virtually homeless for four months because my parents were advised by the JDA staff not to let me come home.

The therapy session quoted in this article was mild compared to JDA standards. Therapy was usually much, much worse. It wasn't uncommon to be called "a fucking worthless piece of shit" "a manipulative, dishonest bastard" etc. It was verbal abuse.

After I left I received a letter from Bratter telling me, among other things, that I was friendless, that I'd never had any real friends in my entire life and I never would learn how to make friends. He wrote that the only way I would survive outside of John Dewey was if I resorted to prostitution and the only way I could become a "worthwhile" person was if I came back and completed the program. He wrote that he feared all I would ever become, at best, was "the assistant to the assistant to the assistant manager at a fast food restaurant."

When I first came to the program I was a senior. I'd already applied to several highly selective colleges. Tom Bratter asked me where I wanted to go and I told him my first choice and he told me if I stayed, he would get me in because another student who was graduating that year had applied early and been deferred, but with his insider info and leverage he was confident he could threaten the school into accepting the student. While I was at JDA this particular student was accepted into the school and is now attending it thanks to Bratter.

In his letter he also mentioned acceptance to the school, that if I came back I still had a chance of going there but if I left I'd never get in. I refused to go back, determined to never, ever return to a place where I'd felt so horribly worthless, which was quite a feat for someone who has been severely depressed for almost half her life.

I wasn't like most of the kids sent to JDA. I had never done any drugs, even pot, in my life, I never drank, I'd never engaged in promiscuous behavior, I'd been a straight-A student. I'd never cheated, stolen, or hurt other people. I was just severely depressed, and had attempted suicide several times even after years of therapy. My parents were fed up and didn't want to deal with me anymore, and John Dewey provided a great solution.

It was the worst thing they could have done.

The first time I tried to leave, I announced that I was because of their "open-door" policy. Bratter told me I was welcome to leave, but a student told me he'd call the cops the minute I set foot outside the door.

One day a while after that incident, I just walked out the door and across the street to the general store that sold bus tickets while most students were in classes. I hid in the bushes of the station until the bus arrive and boarded. I had all of $8.34 when I arrived in New York City, where I'd lived, and no phone numbers or means of contacting anyone because when I'd arrived at John Dewey they had taken all of that personal information away.

At John Dewey I suffered verbal abuse and isolation. I had to scrub the toilets my second week there because I'd asked a "Younger Member" a question without a Middle or Older Member listening. I worked through Closed House, which was a school-wide "consequence" where, among other things, we weren't allowed to eat cooked food, or sit down at all during the day, except for designated therapy time. The only place we were allowed to sit during the day was the floor, and only if it was hardwood or marble, no carpet. If we leaned back on our hands we were punished. We were never allowed more than six hours of sleep. All our "privileges" were taken away. We weren't allowed to go outside at all. We couldn't groom ourselves. During the day we had to "Super-GI" the entire castle, which included scrubbing the group in between the tiles on our hands and knees with q-tips. We could have no cooked food, prepared meals, or sweet foods. We could only drink water.

Closed House lasted almost an entire month.

I still have nightmares of John Dewey and it's affected me more than my parents care to understand. They still think they were right in sending me there, but I can't disagree more.


These places are not the answer.


Well, first off I can confirm that all of that is true, nothing exaggerated. I was a Dewey "graduate" as they call them and got into a top 15 liberal arts college and all that jazz.

I'd like to provide a little bit of a different take on JDA, though I assure you it will be ABSOLUTELY OBJECTIVE.

I also didn't quite fit the mold at JDA. I seldom did drugs, never got arrested, and my biggest problems were social issues. I also endured the closed house experience and also had to sit on a floor for 3 weeks and write and only get six hours of sleep a night...but I actually think it was one of the best things that happened to me, but i'll explain why later, because I don't want to come off as a total Dewey advocate.

The flaws of the place I list as follows: 1: Tom Bratter runs the school. Tom Bratter is a now fully senile egomaniac who thinks he is the best therapist since Freud but in reality is completely incompetent, at least at his current age. He makes blanket generalizations about all students, most of whom he hardly knows, and yells at them and screams profanities at them until they agree with him. Often times he never knows what students psychological problems are and won't let you explain them so he can go on a tirade about self-respect, hard work, the importance of going to a good college, and values. As many of you know Dewey focuses heavilly on group therapy, but group therapy is almost useless because of his constant domination of the groups without understanding what's going on.

2: Most individuals have little to no power of their lives unless they get in the staff and peers good graces. Though the school claims to be about accountability and decision making, the reality is one has very little self-governance until given a stamp of approval, usually manifested by status in a membership system. Until you get to a certain status (usually takin up to 8 monts), every single action you do is scrutinized; you have little to no credibility and you are attacked if you try to defend yourself in anyway. You MUST listen to them and at least try to hear them at (no matter how absurd) or you will be put in the shitter.

3: Stubborness: They have their beliefs and you can't criticize them. Over-relianc on attack therapy is one. My biggest qualm was time. The place just doesn't need to be 2-3 years. However, they blindly believe that students not doing well just need more time, so they have developed a trend of making students stay for inexorbitatnly long times. For most, the last 2 years of one's stay (should it be that long) are spent killing time, agonizing about leaving, and repeating a mindless lifestyle of cleaning, HW, responsibilites, and confronting newer people via attack style therapy. So Time is probably the next biggest problem. Another huge believe is that they are almost 100% that kids will not be OK unless they graduate John Dewey according to their timetable, which terrifies parents and kids and strains their relationship and objective treatment.

4: they manipulate parents into doing really stupid shit. They take away all credibility from the kid and other sources using scare tactics that lead parents to make REALLy stupid decisions like cutting off their kids or having them live on the streets.

So that's a breif list of my biggeest qualms, now it's strengths.

1: It changed my life. Before JDA, I had little to know drive or self-determination. I had no values, no work-ethic, and no material successes to show for my life. I had no friends and terrible grades. John Dewey's primary ideological focus of values, hard-work, and honesty made me feel good about myself and taught me to acheive. They did this to me by confronting my behavior (attacking if you will) that was driving me into the dust and forcing me to change it. And yes, it was the barbarity like the sitting on the floor and the threats of disownment and w.e. that did it. But it worked for me, and works for....rough modern estimate let's say 50% of the kids who go (it used to have a 25% graduation rate, but now they don't throw kids out as much).

2: The rest of the staff asides from Tom Bratter is amazing. The dean of students Ken Steinner I believe is the best therapist you may ever meet. He's an attack style therapist too, but he is infinietly more methodical and logical than Tom. His ability to assess the individual needs of a student while having high standards for them changes lives of dozens. BTW, he really does run the school, Bratter is more of a figurehead everyone wants out. Equate him with Bobby Bowden at FSU.

3: College: I would not have been able to go to college without JDA. the one thing Bratter does well is use his connections to give you a fresh academic start. He'll get the cute ditzy cheerleader into a top 10 liberal arts college just through a few phone calls and letters. (This is also accomplished because JDA has many teachers who frequently hand out As to students automatically, which I suspect are hired and maintained for that purpose).


My overall experience of JDA.

It had may flaws. I had basically gotten everything I needed to get out of their within my first year and a half and was forced to stay for another year and a half against my will. This was a consequence of their stubborness in their beliefs that I wasn't ready according to them and their manipulation of my parents. Tom Bratter is the most revolting person youll ever meet. In a lot of ways the place is corrupt and bullshit with teacher's who hand out As, clear social hierachies that are enforced by the staff, and scandal. Tom Bratter has had 3 or 4 rape accusations, I believe some of them are real. A student and a teacher had an affair, that's true. A teacher with a tract record of sexual misconducjust resigned after an allegation by a male student (I alwasy believed the guy was a pedophile, so i think its true. If I had said anything there, however, I would have gotten in much trouble, for criticisms of the staff of any kind is basically taboo. Criticizing the program in general is taboo and there are ramifications for doing so, though Bratter falsely claims to promote it. And because of an absolute honesty policy, if you tell one person they have to tell staff and the rest of the community, and these things are always reported).

But, honestly, despite its flaws, I'm glad I went there. I got what I needed to get out. It has a lot of flaws and it does bear a resemblance to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. However, if the kid is right, I think it's a great place. I think if Bratter croaks and the school survives under Steinner's leadership, it will be the greatest therapeutic institution of all time. Don't rule it out, there are programs that are far more severely flawed and won't even get kids into college. Look at the place and give it a chance, and if you're a parent, don't buy into their shit if it stinks. Maintain your own judgment and don't drink their poison punch. It's worth a look I swear.


Since I wrote my initial comment my feelings toward JDA have changed slightly. Although I am not an advocate of the school, I have come to understand it a little bit better, especially after reconnecting with a graduate of the school. I believe JDA was entirely wrong for me, especially since I have been able to achieve everything on my own that Tom Bratter said I could have (only) if I went to JDA. But I believe JDA probably works for a very, very small percentage of people.

Even after all I experienced at JDA, I know from what I have heard that it doesn't even compare to other institutions. It also cannot be denied that JDA offers college opportunities that no other school of its kind can. JDA gets students who would otherwise never have had the chance into competitive colleges. There are some undeniably positive points to JDA - if you can endure the program, it may be worth it. Whether your specific child can endure it without being traumatized, or will be able to gain anything from it, is hard to say.

Perhaps I have just become less bitter to the school, but anonymouslyfree has several very important points. If someone is considering sending their child to JDA, however, please weigh the pros and cons and see if it is worth it. I believe my being sent to JDA was a premature measure on the part of my parents. It was unnecessary for me, but in some cases it may be a option worth considering. But in my opinion, probably as a last resort. And it definitely does not work for all severely troubled teens.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Awake

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 409
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re:
« Reply #106 on: June 28, 2010, 12:24:22 AM »
Bump …. And if I may slide in an additional, applicable,  perspective on this… viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30423&start=0     …. But bump regardless.


Quote from: "ZenAgent"
Bratter still loves quoting Bratter.
 
Confrontation-A potent psychotherapeutic approach with difficult adolescents
Adolescent Psychiatry,  1/1/2008  by Bratter, Thomas Edward,  Sinsheimer, Lisa

Abstract
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q ... 1322/pg_12

This chapter describes the use of confrontation at the John Dewey Academy, a college-preparatory therapeutic boarding school. The treatment utilizes caring confrontation and positive peer pressure within a therapeutic community setting. The authors discuss the conceptual basis for the use of confrontation, drawing upon the literature about therapeutic communities. They offer a rationale for the efficacy of this psychotherapeutic approach in a population of bright adolescents who are resistant to traditional treatment. They illustrate the use of confrontation with an extended excerpt from a therapeutic group. Countertransference issues related to the use of confrontation are also discussed.

Toward a definition of clinical confrontation


Nunberg (1955) provides a reasonable definition of confrontation when he proposes the psychoanalyst "[call] the patient's attention to his inner conflicts, the sources of which are not known to either of them, and asks him to be helpful in discovering the unknown, the repressed. Thus, from the very beginning, the aims of the analyst are opposed to those of the patient, to the wishes of his repressing ego" (p. 123). Nunberg disagrees with Devereux (1951), who explicitly states that confrontation "yields no insight, and merely focuses the attention of the patient on something which he perceived but failed to register-or refuses to acknowledge openly" (p. 69).

Carkhuff and Berenson's (1967) definition has stood the test of time. They report that confrontation helps the person understand:

himself, his strengths and resources, as well as his self-destructive behavior....It is a challenge to... become integrated....It is directed at discrepancies... between what the client says and does...and between illusion and reality....It implies a constructive attack upon an unhealthy confederation of miscellaneous illusions, fantasies, and life avoidance techniques in order to create a réintégration at a higher level of health (p. 171).

Confrontation in self-help therapeutic communities


During World War II at Henderson Hospital in the Belmont Social Rehabilitation Unit in England, Rapoport (1960), a sociologist, was the first to describe group psychotherapy to be "reality confrontation." Shankman (1978) provides a description of the self-help therapeutic community (TC), as illustrated by Casriel (1963); Bratter (1978); Bratter, Collabolletta, Fossbender, Pennacchia, and Rubel (1985); Glaser (1974); Sugarman (1974, 1986); and Yablonsky (1965), in which recovered persons act as catalysts and responsible role models:

The TC might best be described as a school which educates people who have never learned how to live or feel worthy without hurting themselves and others. The therapeutic community helps people who have tried again and again to get what they wanted from life and have continually defeated themselves. The principle combines the basic and universal human values of knowledge, love, honesty, and work, with the dynamic instrument of intense group pressure, in order to recognize and help correct personality defects which prevent people from living by these values. The results lie in rehabilitation so that the individual may reenter his or her community as an independent and productive person (p. 156).

When describing self-help peer psychotherapy, Van Stone and Gilbert (1972) candidly describe the brutality of confrontation in residential therapeutic communities that are run by recovering addicts. Confrontations needed to be harsher in these adult communities than they would be with teenagers, and justifiably so:

[Confrontation is] a kind of group therapy in which each member is...presented with candid, personal facts regarding every observable behavior or attitude recognized by the group as being self-defeating or dishonest. If the member.. .attempts to explain or deny any observation, he is ridiculed.. .and insulted as his fellow members hammer away at the distorted ideas that he offers in support of his damaging behavior patterns. Intellectual insight or genetic self-interpretations are derided as an escape from responsibility for current behavior. Honesty, trust in the group, realistic self-assessment, appropriate emotional release, and changed behavior, in particular, are rewarded by sympathetic counsel and encouragement from fellow members (p. 585).

The professional community initially characterized confrontation as cruel. Maslow (1967), the progenitor of humanistic psychology, recognized the effectiveness of confrontation after attending groups at Synanon, the first exaddict-administered therapeutic community. He wrote, "people are ...tough.... They can take a.. .lot... .I've suggested that a name for this might be 'no crap therapy.' It.. .cleanfs] out defenses [and] rationalizations." (p. 28). Ruitenbeek (1970) agrees with Maslow, describing the essence of this technique as an "insistence upon total honesty....No rationalizations...are allowed" (p. 166). The clinical challenge of confrontation is to help the youth commit to accept responsibility by converting noxious emotions into constructive acts via the internalization of positive values. Self-respect and success become positive addictions.

Confrontation is painful because it penetrates protective barriers. Using a psychoanalytic orientation, Adler (1985) defines confrontation as an attempt to "gain a patient's attention to inner experiences or perceptions of outer reality of which he is conscious or is about to be made conscious" (p. 122). Sifneos (1991) cautions that the therapist who uses confrontation needs to:

"be convinced that the patient is able to withstand [much] stress... .[Effective] confrontation must be based on the therapist's observation about a series of paradoxical behavioral patterns, contradictory statements....It must motivate him to look at himself from a different point of view" (pp. 374, 382). Cohen (1982), who reconciles confrontation and psychoanalysis, provides a comprehensive synthesis when he contends that "confrontation analysis is a method of investigating, analyzing, and evaluating human behavior in the context of interpersonal interaction. It.. .contains a theoretical framework within which to understand the evolution, maintenance, and modifications of personality dimensions" (p. xv).

Countertransference issues


Collabolletta, Gordon, and Kaufman (1998) stress that the therapist's intent determines whether the confrontation is therapeutic or an abuse of power: "When the psychotherapist's intent is to promote change, this kind of confrontation becomes caring and constructive." When the intent is to prevent a student from engaging in destructive, dangerous, and deceitful acts, compassionate confrontation becomes the most potent expression of responsible concern. A skillful confrontation provides prima facie proof of the therapist's care and emotional investment.

The therapist needs to be mindful of potential countertransferential contamination when using this technique. Only the confronter knows personal motivations; thus, one must understand the psychodynamics before confronting. Unresolved countertransferential issues can provoke cruel confrontations. Giovacchini (1985) notes that adolescents can arouse disruptive countertransference reactions because of the intensity of their neediness and defiance, and warns that countertransference may destroy the treatment relationship, or it may lead to therapeutically beneficial insights. The therapist can feel jealous that these adolescents have emancipated themselves from middle-class restraints. Or, more likely, be disgusted by cruel and feel a need to punish the offender. Consultation with colleagues or a supervisor can minimize the likelihood of acting out a destructive countertransference reaction.

Sequence and principles of confrontation


Bratter (2003) asserts that "there are two sequential phases to confrontation: first, the unlearning of dysfunctional attitudes and acts and, second, learning healthy responses. Confrontation can penetrate the permissive and indulgent attitudes of families that [created] the psychopathology of alienation, deceit, irresponsibility, and self-absorbed behaviors" (p. 140).

Bratter (1977, p. 170) lists seven principles of confrontation psychotherapy:

1. Attack the malignant and dysfunctional aspects of behavior.

2. Penetrate the facade of justification of behavior.

3. Force individuals to accept responsibility for behavior.

4. Help persons evaluate their behavior.

5. Assist individuals to be aware and to anticipate the consequences and payoffs of their behavior.

6. Challenge persons to mobilize their resources.

7. Define a direction so that persons can continue their growth and development.

How confrontation facilitates change in adolescents

Confrontation is a potent psychotherapeutic process designed to help the adolescent not only to recognize (and change) the self-destructive aspects of behavior but also to acquire skills that help actualize potential. In a group setting, peers offer insight and suggestions, thus providing the catalytic conditions necessary for selfexploration and improvement. Confrontation pierces the formidable protective armor of denial, deceit, and distortion. Meeks and Bernet (1990) note "accurate confrontation is much easier in the inpatient setting than it is in the treatment of outpatient adolescents" (p. 578). Johnson (1985) views confrontation as supplying an "observing ego" (p. 255). Brook (1996) believes that confrontation helps adolescent "group members...to confront denial and accept responsibility for their actions" (p. 258).

Bratter (1972) describes the therapeutic thrust of a confrontation-group orientation:

Using a confrontation-teaching-interpretative-reasoning approach, the group demonstrates to the [member] the irresponsible and self-defeating aspects of...behavior [and]...begins to understand the consequences of his acts and attempts to become more responsible to himself, others, and society. Emphasis is placed on the eigenweit (the relation to one's self)-i.e., the immediate experience. The individual must acknowledge his perceptions of the conflict, the problem, his irresponsibility, etc....

The individual, gaining the candid opinions and admonishments of his peers regarding the more destructive elements of his behavior, considers a new orientation and behavior (p. 309).

Confrontation can:

  • * Expedite a behavioral change-i.e., stop dangerous and dysfunctional behavior.

    * "Force" the adolescent to be accountable for attitudes and acts.

    * Help students understand future consequences and payoffs for current behavior.

    * Mobilize personal talents to actualize potential.


Confrontation utilizes provocative questions to stimulate self evaluation. Do your attitudes and acts help you to achieve your intermediate and long-term goals? How do others view you? Do you have self-respect? In addition, the therapist must elicit reactions from the confronted and group members about their reactions to the confrontation. Garner (1970) urges the therapist to ask frequently, "What do you think or feel about what I told you?" (p. 231).

Helping each other while helping the self

To minimize the impact of negative countertransference reactions, since a significant age differential exists between adolescents and the group leader, peers are encouraged to do most of the confronting. Volkman and Cressey (1963), among the first to recognize the importance of self-help confrontational psychotherapy groups, write:

The most effective mechanism for exerting group pressure on members will be found in groups so organized that criminals are induced to join with noncriminals for the purpose of changing other criminals. A group in which criminal "A" joins with some non-criminals to change criminal "B" is probably more effective in changing criminal "A" (p. 139).

Brager (1965) notes increased self esteem in group members when they confront peers to better themselves. Reisman (1965) labels this treatment dynamic as "the helper principle," and notes that the helper often gains more from the helping process than the person being helped. Positive peer pressure traces its antecedents to self-help psychotherapy. Hurvitz (1970) reports that when peers are active,

they focus on the presenting problem, and assume that by following principles and methods of their movement, they will help each member solve his specific problem....They may ridicule and attack each other with great hostility and they may provoke aggressive and hostile feelings; however, peers regard such attacks and provocations as other's expressions of concern and concern (p. 44).

Use of confrontation at the John Dewey Academy

Bratter, Sinsheimer, and Kaufman, in chapter 7 of this volume, have described the population and treatment philosophy at the John Dewey Academy (JDA). As they have said, JDA youth are "immune to traditional therapeutic and teaching techniques. They have erected formidable barriers and defenses which need to be cracked before they will think rationally... .Peers confront each other by demanding that each member accept accountability for immature, irresponsible, illicit, and self-destructive acts" (p. 73).

Compassionate confrontation: Rebutting the critics

When entering the John Dewey Academy, most students possess toxic attitudes that reduce others to objects to satisfy voracious narcissistic needs, self-entitlement, and self- aggrandizement. Both traditional therapeutic approaches and the administration of psychotropic medicine have proven ineffective. No chemical imbalance exists. Many Dewey youth have a virulent attitude that renders psychotherapy ineffective which explains why recidivism rates are high.

Critics contend that confrontation is controversial, counter therapeutic, and cruel punishment which often brutalizes persons-in-treatment. Confrontation attempts to modify irresponsible, impulsive, immature, stupid and self-destructive behavior. Confrontation penetrates denial, distortion, and dysfunctional attitudes. Critics protest, furthermore, that the use of confrontation is prompted by a negative countertransference reaction. Confrontation has been labeled "attack therapy" for pejorative reasons. Opponents of "attack therapy" do not understand is that confrontation has proven effective to eradicate malignant, dangerous, vicious attitudes and acts. While some critics condemn confrontation to be "cruel," they need to remember that Dewey students have engaged in dangerous, often death-defying behavior which demands heroic intervention. Unless the therapist can persuade the youth to avoid a collision course with disaster, there can be profoundly serious consequences. The primary goal of psychotherapy is to preserve life, so desperate and heroic treatment interventions are required for this difficult-to-treat population. When viewed from this humanistic perspective, confrontation connotes caring by the therapist who attempts to convince the adolescent to become more responsible, responsive, and respectful.

Similar to other medical procedures, there are abuses of confrontation psychotherapy which the authors acknowledge and condemn. The authors, therefore, do not minimize the noxious impact of confrontation when done for the wrong reasons.

There are similarities between the psychotherapist who confronts, the radiologist who medicates, the surgeon who operates, and the psychiatrist who prescribes psychotropic medication. Stated simply, these procedures are subject to abuse. In addition, each procedure attempts to attack malignancies. If the truth be known, confrontation is more benign than other medical approaches. The surgeon, radiologist, and psychiatrist do more physical and permanent damage under the guise of medical treatment than does the therapist who confronts. Interesting, these professions escape criticism because the end is thought to justify the means. There are more malpractice suits against medical professionals than psychotherapists who confront.

Confrontation psychotherapy: A Case study


As an illustration, we present an excerpt of our group process. Prior to attending JDA, Jason had been diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder and had been prescribed a cocktail of psychotropic medications, including amphetamines, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. Jason's father died when he was twelve, and his mother was in remission from a brain tumor. He witnessed several people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers during the 9/11 terror attacks. Two years ago, Jason learned he had the same hereditary cardiac condition that caused his father's premature death, and he underwent the implantation of a pacemaker-defibrillator.

Considering his history, post-traumatic stress disorder might have been a more appropriate diagnosis. Regardless of diagnosis, however, this boy had clear explanations for his choice to suppress his feelings and for his decision not to trust others. He struggled with a continuing sense of abandonment and betrayal, stemming from his father's sudden death. During the 18 months that he was at JDA, he remained closed off from other students and staff. The following is a fragment of a group session in which first the group leader and then the other members of the group confronted Jason on his behavior and their reactions to it. Before convening this group and implementing this confrontation, the group leader discussed the treatment impasse extensively with colleagues. The intent of this confrontation was to precipitate a crisis, forcing Jason to change or to leave.

Leader: Jason, recently adults have asked if I think you are organically damaged since you refuse to heed repeated warnings not only to change but also to become a contributing member of the community. I admit that for the first time I mentioned that perhaps they are right and I am wrong. Maybe you are damaged goods and are incapable of changing. You might be the first student in our twenty-year history who needs medication to function. I intend to recommend to your mother that you be evaluated by a psychiatrist who specializes in pharmacology.

Jason: I am not. You know damn well I'm not crazy and don't need that crap.

Leader: I no longer know what to think. What I do know is that you have been here for eighteen months, but haven't changed much. You still isolate. You still refuse to relate. You still don't trust anyone. You still are stubborn. But to your credit, you finally have started to do well academically. I think you hide in your academics by claiming you need to study six or seven hours a day.

Jason: Yes, but...

Leader: Yes period. Your classmates complain that you're a drag and a drain. They don't want to waste their time and energy reaching out to you and having you reject them. Ask them.

Jason: I've been talking to people. (He lists five students.)

Mary: Big deal. They are new students. None have been here longer than three months. What about us? We know you much better than they do. They don't know how to confront you. So you continue to play stupid games.

Laurie: I have no idea who you are. When you feel uncomfortable and threatened, you shut down. When my father died abruptly from a heart attack, just like your father, you never even said you were sorry. This is why I stopped pursuing you.

Jason: I don't want to talk to you because you don't want to talk to me.

Leader: That's a very mature response. You're right, but do you know why?

Jason: No.

Leader: You lie. You know damn well. Everyone is frustrated and weary. They have extended themselves by sharing experiences and confronting you. What have they gotten from you? Only silence and sarcasm. So they finally said to themselves, 'Fuck him. He's simply not worth it.' You quit. No, that's wrong. You never tried.

Allie: Tom's right. I quit six months ago. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that, underneath your defenses, you were caring. I don't believe that any more. You talk in a monotone. I cannot remember when I felt you cared. You are the most frightened and self-absorbed person I've ever met. I know why. When I came I was too scared to care. I had a damn good excuse. I had several abusive relationships with guys. I felt sorry for myself and saw myself as the victim. I was confronted that it was my choice. I chose to remain with these abusive jerks when I should have rejected them! It was scary to trust because I feared the worst. Yeah, I got hurt once or twice. I was knocked down. But I got up and tried again. And you know what? Today, I have the best friends I ever had.

Laurie: I don't blame Allie for not giving a damn. No one trusts you. You are nineteen. You continue to treat your mother like she's the enemy! You abuse your younger sister. None of us care whether you leave or stay. I pity you. You are too scared to be human. You are a poor excuse for a person.

Eddie: Jason, it's really that easy. You lack the guts to venture forth. You're a coward. I'd lie if I said I care because I don't. Blame yourself. But what frightens me is that I know if you don't do it at JDA, you never will. You will never be in an environment which is so caring and safe.

Paul: Eddie's understating your problem. Several of us believe you have major guilt, but lack the integrity to take accountability. Fuck your fears. Take accountability. Things can't get much worse.

Shirley: Do you know what I think the problem is?

Leader: No. Tell us.

Shirley: Jason does not believe you will expel him. You've threatened so many times to expel him that he thinks he's immune.

Eddie: Shirley's right. Jason knows you like bright students, so he's gambling since he has not done anything expellable, you'll let him graduate.

Leader: Jason, if this is what you think, your reality testing is flawed. Complete the next two weeks and then go home for the holidays. Think about what you will want to do with your life. And then write a ten-page essay why I should readmit you. Include in this document your guilt and what you will change.

Allie: Why wait? He thinks you are bluffing. He's not going to change. For the next two weeks, he will do nothing.

Leader: You're right, Allie. Jason, leave in three days. I will give you seventytwo hours to make arrangements because I doubt your mother will permit you to return home. My guess is that all the New York City homeless shelters are filled because it's cold, but I suggest you call them.

Paul: We're wasting our time. We have confronted you many times but you ignored us. You have made commitments to change, but you never have. You continue to joke and act nonchalant. You've done this for six months, so I agree with what Tom said at the beginning of the group. Maybe you just don't get it! I believe you lack the guts to come out from behind all the barriers you have erected. You will be a lonely guy who becomes bitter because no one will be knocking at the door asking you to let us in. Maybe you should watch Dickens' "Christmas Carol." You could become Scrooge.

Susan: I've kept quiet because I tried many times to reach out to you, but you always gave me shit. You continue to be obnoxious and confront others about dumb shit which tells everyone to stay away. I know when I confront kids rather than connecting with them, they get the message to stay away.

Leader: Sadly, I doubt if this group will have much impact. You have heard all this shit many, many times. This may be the last group you attend at John Dewey. I won't shed any tears if you do not return, other than we failed to help you in your time of desperate need. But Scrooge changed when he was much older than you are. Unfortunately, Scrooge is a fictional character. Maybe you ought to read Dickens when you go home. Unless you change by letting the sun shine in, you very well could become Scrooge. It would be tragic if you were to live a wasted life because you have been blessed with awesome intelligence. You could have been great. You could have improved the quality of life. But you won't unless you get the guts to show you care. It's late, but there still is time. The next month will be the most important in your life, because the decisions you make will influence you until you die. I hope for your sake, and that of society, you finally make the right decisions because this may be your last chance. Enough. I don't want to waste any more time. I end abruptly because I do not want to have closure. I hope you are scared because I am scared for you! You can win, but time is a precious commodity, which you lack.

Case follow-up

Following this group, Jason enrolled in a four-week wilderness program in an attempt to earn readmission to Dewey. During his stay at the wilderness program, Jason received notification of early-decision admission to a prestigious college of engineering, as well as word that he had been awarded a substantial scholarship.

While in the wilderness program, Jason was admitted early decision to a prestigious engineering college. We thought this would provide the incentive for him not only to return to John Dewey but also to confront his fears. However, when he returned from the wilderness program, Jason remained intransigent. He engaged in provocative behavior, which forced his expulsion for safety reasons. He "played" with the fire alarm. He "played" with the stove, turning it on and off. He asked the dean of students if he could set fires by using his bow and drill, a skill he had learned in the wilderness. His intent seemed obvious-rather than leaving school voluntarily, Jason wanted to be expelled. It seemed certain that the behavior would escalate if he were allowed to remain. The decision to expel Jason was in keeping with the treatment principle that there are consequences for behavior. Students, parents, and staff were notified before any action was taken, and no one disagreed with the decision to expel him.

The president was faced with the dilemma of whether, and how, to report Jason's behavior to the engineering college. One option would have been to hide behind the shield of confidentiality, but it was felt that unsafe behavior does not warrant confidentiality. Additionally, notification was justified because Jason dropped four courses, which, if not explained, would have resulted in his acceptance being rescinded. Finally, there was the importance of maintaining a relationship with this college so others could attend.

At the same time, the president was aware of his reactions to Jason, which included disappointment, betrayal, anger at not being appreciated for convincing the college to grant a generous scholarship, and rage at being placed in a most uncomfortable position. He knew no one would criticize him if he urged the college to rescind admission, but knew this consequence was extreme since the family could not afford to pay tuition. It is dubious if Jason would have attended college. After careful consideration, the president wrote a letter to the dean of admissions at the college, explaining the reasons for the expulsion, reviewing the factors in Jason's background that have made it difficult for him to succeed academically and socially, and recommending that he reapply to JDA and complete a postgraduate year before attempting college. Included in the letter were the following statements.

Please be advised.. .if I thought Jason were "too dangerous" or "too sick," not only would I notify _____college, but also would refuse to give him the option to return to Dewey....Jason's refusal to comply is motivated by fear to trust others and to be emotionally vulnerable, not defiance. The only time Jason cried was when he was confronted about his reluctance to trust.. .because he feared friends would abandon and betray him... .If permitted to attend college, I suggest Jason be required to continue psychotherapy. He needs to resolve his fear of intimacy, not because he is a threat to safety. Jason and his mother will receive a copy of this letter, so hopefully both will communicate with you. I warned Jason that [college] may rescind his acceptance....

I would be willing to accompany Jason for a conference, with anyone you think makes sense, to discuss options. Undeniably, Jason is a disappointment, but I hasten to mention that several have graduated in Jason's position needing to do more work therapeutically. In college, they excelled. His prognosis remains guarded....! conclude...by stating that he has learned much.

The president would have been wrong to suggest rejection essentially because the decision is that of the college, not the preparatory school. To recommend rejection would have been an abuse of psychotherapeutic power. Post hoc, the president knew that had he become retaliatory, his motivation would have been revenge for Jason's disrespect and lack of appreciation regarding his advocacy, which had resulted in Jason's being awarded a $160,000 four-year scholarship. Had he urged that Jason be rejected, which was warranted, Jason's future would have been ruined, because without a scholarship, it would have been impossible for him to attend college. The president retained his therapeutic integrity by reporting what happened, but refraining from recommending any action. The college decided to continue to extend its offer of admission and a scholarship, and Jason plans to completed the required work and attended. Subsequently, he attained a 3.8 average which puts him on the dean's list. The president assumed an aggressive advocate stance, advocating that he become a resident assistant in the dorms. Jason has visited the John Dewey Academy six times during the year because he wants to "give back" to the school which helped him mature. He has forgiven the president and now recognizes the confrontations were expressions of concern.

Discussion

It is premature to know whether Jason will be a "success" or a "failure." Undeniably, Jason was helped by confrontation because he excelled and was admitted by a college of quality. How much has this adolescent grown, and what the quality of his interpersonal relationships will be, has not been determined. Judicious handling of this complicated situation has avoided the preclusion of future educational, professional, and social successes.

This kind of confrontation is justified when the adolescent remains intransigent or engages in extremely dangerous behavior. Alexander (1950) describes a patient who was irritating and engaged in regressive behavior. When the patient complained that no one liked him, rather than commiserating, Alexander opines that no one liked him because he was unpleasant. Subsequently the patient established a positive treatment alliance. Hearing the truth from a caring professional enabled the patient to trust and to move forward. Corwin (1991) labels this kind of intervention heroic: "When such statement is made, it is an emergency situation....The analyst knows it, the patient is...aware....But both know the moment it is uttered that it may have a prophetic significance for the patient....It implies that a psychic reaction must lead toward the establishment of a working alliance" (p. 83). We have utilized this sort of radical intervention for six seniors in past years, all of whom eventually returned to graduate. We believe Jason will not be an exception.

Critics contend that confrontation is controversial, counter therapeutic, and cruel punishment which often brutalizes persons-in-treatment. Confrontation attempts to modify irresponsible, impulsive, immature, stupid and self-destructive behavior. Confrontation penetrates denial, distortion, and dysfunctional attitudes. Critics protest, furthermore, that the use of confrontation is prompted by a negative countertransference reaction. Confrontation has been labeled "attack therapy" for pejorative reasons. Opponents of "attack therapy" do not under-stand is that confrontation has proven effective to eradicate malignant, dangerous, vicious attitudes and acts. While some critics condemn confrontation to be "cruel," they need to remember that Dewey students have engaged in dangerous, often death-defying behavior which demands heroic intervention. Unless the therapist can persuade the youth to avoid a collision course with disaster, there can be profoundly serious consequences. The primary goal of psychotherapy is to preserve life, so desperate and heroic treatment interventions are required for this difficult-to-treat population. When viewed from this humanistic perspective, confrontation connotes caring by the therapist who attempts to convince the adolescent to become more responsible, responsive, and respectful.

Conclusion

We have described a confrontation as a key aspect of a non-medically oriented residential therapeutic community. In our view, confrontation in the context of residential treatment is a potent psychotherapeutic tool that produces not only the acquisition of prosocial values but also behavioral improvement. Since these changes are internalized, long-term prognosis is quite good. Although we have no long-term systematic follow-up, anecdotal data confirm a less-than-ten-percent recidivism rate, which, to the best of our knowledge, is unmatched at any other residential treatment program. Bratter et al. (2006) contend "critics claim that confrontation psychotherapy is painful and simplistic. But they cannot explain how and why adolescents, who were extreme casualties, improve in a confrontational treatment milieu with escalating expectations for intellectual excellence and moral integrity [that] can be achieved without compromising one for the other" (p. 14). Confrontation as a psychotherapeutic technique has a long history in self-help therapeutic communities. In our experience, it can also be very effective in promoting change in adolescents who are resistant to other treatment approaches. Clearly, confrontation warrants further study.

References

Adler, G. (1985), Borderline Psychopathology and Its Treatment. New York: Jason Aronson.

Alexander, F. & French, T. (1946), Psychoanalytic Therapy. New York: Ronald Press.

Brager, G., (1965), The indigenous worker: A new approach to the social work technician. Social Work, 10: 33-40.

Bratter, T. E. (1972), Confrontation group psychotherapy with affluent, alienated drug abusing adolescents. Psychother.: Theory, Res. & Pract., 9: 308-313.

Bratter, T. E. (1977), Confrontation groups: The therapeutic community's gift to psychotherapy. In Proceedings of the First World Conference on Therapeutic Communities, ed. P. Vamos & J. J. Devlin. Montreal, Canada: Portage Press, pp. 164-174.

Bratter, T. E. (1978), The four 'Rs' of the American self-help therapeutic community: Rebirth, responsibility, reality and respect. In Proceedings of the Third World Conference on Therapeutic Communities, ed. J. Corelli, I. Bonfiglio, T. Pediconi, & M. Collumb. Rome: International Council of Alcoholism and Addictions Press, pp. 434-448.

Bratter, T. E., Collabolletta, E., Fossbender, A. J., Pennacchia, M. C, & Rubel, J. R. (1985), The American self-help residential therapeutic community: A pragmatic treatment approach for addicted character-disordered individuals. In Alcoholism and Substance Abuse: Strategies for Clinical Intervention, ed. T. E. Bratter & G. G. Forrest. New York: Free Press, pp. 461-507.

Bratter, T. E. (2003), Group psychotherapy with gifted, self-destructive, drug-dependent, unconvinced adolescents. Group, 27: 131-146.

Bratter, T. E., Bratter, C. J., Coiner, N. L., & Steiner, K. M. (2006), Motivating gifted, defiant, and unconvinced students to succeed at the John Dewey Academy. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 8: 7-16.

Brook, W. (1996), Adolescents who abuse substances. In Group Therapy with Adolescents, ed. P. Kymissis & D. A. Halpern. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, pp. 243-264.

Carkhuff, R. R. & Berenson, R. G. (1967), Beyond Counseling and Therapy. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Casriel, D. (1963), So Fair a House: The Story of Synanon. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Cohen, A. I., (1982), Confrontation Analysis: Theory and Practice. New York: Grune & Stratton.

Corwin, H. A. (1991), Therapeutic confrontation from routine to heroic. In Confrontation in Psychotherapy, eds. G. Adler & P. G. Myerson. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. pp. 69-94.

Devereux, G. (1951), Some criteria for the timing of confrontations and interpretations. Intl. J. Psychoanal., 32:19-24.

Gans, J. S. & Weber, R. L. (2000), The detection of shame in group psychotherapy: Uncovering the hidden emotion. Intl. J. Group Psychother., 50:381-396.

Garner, H. H. (1970), Psychotherapy: Confrontation Problem-Solving Technique. St Louis: Warren H. Green.

Glaser, F. B. (1974), Some historical and theoretical background of a self-help addiction treatment program. Amer. J. Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 1:37-52.

Giovacchini, P. (1985), Countertransference and the severely disturbed adolescent. Adolescent Psychiatry, 12:449-467.

Hurvitz, N. (1970), Peer self-help groups and their implications for psychotherapy. Psychother. Theory, Prac. Res., 7:41-47.

Johnson, S. M. (1985), Characterological Transformation: The Hard Work Miracle. New York: Norton.

Kaufman, G. (1989), The Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes. New York: Springer.

Maslow, A. H. (1967), Synanon and eupsychia. J. Humanistic Psychol., VII:21-32.

Meeks, J. E. & Bernet, W. (1990), The Fragile Alliance: An Orientation to the Psychiatric Treatment of the Adolescent. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing.

Nunberg, H. (1955), Principles of Psychoanalysis. New York: International Universities.

Reisman, F. (1965), The "helper" therapy principle. Social Work, 10:27-32.

Ruitenbeek, H. (1970), The New Group Therapies. New York: Avon Books.

Shankman, S. (1978), Criteria and factors affecting admission into and completion of the therapeutic community program. In Proceedings of the Third World Conference on Therapeutic Communities, ed. J. Corelli, T. Bonfiglio, T. Pediconi, & M. Collumb. Rome: Centro Italiano di Solidarieta, pp. 156-160.

Sugarman, B. (1974), Daytop Village: A Therapeutic Community. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Sugarman, B. (1986), Structure, variations, and context: A sociological view of the therapeutic community. In Therapeutic Communities for Addictions: Readings in Theory, Research and Practice, ed. G. De Leon & J. T. Ziegenfuss. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, pp. 65-82.

Van Stone, W. W. & Gilbert, R. (1972), Peer confrontation groups: What, why, and whether. Amer. J. Psychiat., 129:581-591.

Volkman, R. & Cressey, D. R., (1963), Differential association and the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Amer. J. Soc., 69:131-141.

Yablonsky, L. (1965), The Tunnel Back: Synanon. New York: Macmillan.

Thomas Edward Bratter is President and Founder of The John Dewey Academy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Lisa Sinsheimer, M.D. is a psychiatric consultant and Admissions Coordinator at The John Dewey Academy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Copyright Analytic Press 2008
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

…and

Quote from: "Ursus"
Quote from: "ZenAgent"
Bratter still loves quoting Bratter.

Bratter may enjoy quoting Bratter, but Bratter et al may not do their homework very well...

Quote from: "Bratter, Edward, and Sinsheimer"
Confrontation in self-help therapeutic communities

During World War II at Henderson Hospital in the Belmont Social Rehabilitation Unit in England, Rapoport (1960), a sociologist, was the first to describe group psychotherapy to be "reality confrontation." Shankman (1978) provides a description of the self-help therapeutic community (TC), as illustrated by Casriel (1963); Bratter (1978); Bratter, Collabolletta, Fossbender, Pennacchia, and Rubel (1985); Glaser (1974); Sugarman (1974, 1986); and Yablonsky (1965), in which recovered persons act as catalysts and responsible role models:

    The TC might best be described as a school which educates people who have never learned how to live or feel worthy without hurting themselves and others. The therapeutic community helps people who have tried again and again to get what they wanted from life and have continually defeated themselves. The principle combines the basic and universal human values of knowledge, love, honesty, and work, with the dynamic instrument of intense group pressure, in order to recognize and help correct personality defects which prevent people from living by these values. The results lie in rehabilitation so that the individual may reenter his or her community as an independent and productive person (p. 156).
[/color]

The earliest therapeutic communities that I have seen described would be the Northfield Experiments in the UK (Tavistock) in 1939 and 1942, whose primary objective was to get soldiers off the military psych ward and back onto the battlefield (instead of being released to go home, as many assumed they would). Therapists on this ward saw their primary responsibility to be the rehabilitation of the soldiers as a group back into functional fighting men, not the men as individual patients needing to be healed.

Quote
One of the most important achievements of social psychiatry during the Second World War was the discovery of the therapeutic community. The idea of using all the relationships and activities of a residential psychiatric centre to aid the therapeutic task was first put forward by Wilfred Bion in 1940 in what became known as the Wharncliffe Memorandum, a paper to his former analyst, John Rickman, then at the Wharncliffe neurosis centre of the wartime Emergency Medical Service (EMS)...

The opportunity to test the efficacy of the therapeutic community idea arose in the autumn of 1942 at Northfield Military Hospital in Birmingham, when psychiatrists were invited to try out new forms of treatment that would enable as many neurotic casualties as possible to be returned to military duties rather than be discharged to civilian life...

While Bion and his colleagues at the WOSBs (Bion, 1946) were coming forward with new ideas about groups, some serious problems were affecting military psychiatric hospitals dealing with breakdowns in battle and in units. The withdrawal of psychiatric casualties back to base and then to hospital seemed to be associated with a growing proportion of patients being returned to civilian life. It was as if "getting one's ticket," as it was called, had replaced the objective of hospital treatment--to enable rehabilitated officers, NCOs and men to return to the army...

From "The discovery of the therapeutic community: The Northfield Experiments" (Chapter One), by Harold Bridger, in The Transitional Approach in Action, edited by Gilles Amado and Leopold Vansena; Karnac Books, 2005 (Tavistock)


@ Ursus, thanks for adding those missing parts to Bratter’s history in the development of TC’s. I am adding this as a missing part to his presentation,  as it has historical relevance to TC’s as well. What is presented is an approach that represents the context of the Double Bind as a process of change and ‘growth’.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30423&start=0

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

Offline PastJDAStudent

  • Posts: 1
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re:
« Reply #107 on: March 06, 2012, 01:26:10 PM »
I attended JDA with "Jayson". He was my friend at JDA. It disturbed me to read that article. He had a huge heart and was a very kind and loving person. He also had an amazing sense of humor. When we went to lay in our beds for curfew, I remember he would keep me awake for hours laughing about anything and everything. He also would open up to me about how his problems of "emoting". He tried to act how everyone wanted him, but the tears just couldn't come out. He didn't ever cry and everyone in groups would ride him for it, especially about his fathers death. People would push him to get emotional about it, but he had trouble. I have many friends like Jayson that simply don't cry or get upset as easily as most people do. He had a stone face, but I kinda liked that about him. Maybe Tom was pissed that he couldn't break that stone face.. some people may have seen that as a weakness or a problem, but I saw it as a strength. Jayson always made me laugh, and I always felt safe and comfortable around him. Like if someone were to attack me, I know I could count on him to get by back and fight for me. He was a good friend. So that ridiculous group session I read got me upset. I defended him in groups, yet it didn't matter what I said. It was all politics. The older members were always right, and Tom was the boss. Jayson was an amazing kid and he is missed, its unfortunate that Tom gave him such a hard time, wish he could still be here with us today, because he really was a wonderful person to be around.
TOM: Well we already know about the sexual assault charges he was found guilty of, multiple times. I myself have seen it first hand while attending the school. (this one was not documented but considering all of the investments he has as well as stocks i'm sure he was able to afford to keep a few of them under wraps.) Tom is in no state to be around any girl under the age of 18. Just observe the way he constantly looks down their shirts and caresses them, its disgusting. It would be one thing if they were girls, but these are troubled teenage girls. I noticed he has a method of turning girls against their fathers too for some reason. He always tries to find a way to make the girl hate her father, and then he swoops in and fills the void he created. He also falls asleep in groups ALL THE TIME. He never remembered anything I told him, I could tell him the same story 10 times. At first I thought there was a method to his madness, but there is not. He just didn't care about me, which was fine.... only he was getting a check, because it is his job, so fuck caring about me, but do your job at the least. Even when I left, after the money they gave me, they never helped me with going to another school, or asked me or my family how things were, not once, they just took my family check and abandoned us when could have used there advice or help.  "put him on the street" I'm lucky to have a dad that didn't buy into Tom's bullshit, and took me home, (my mom on the otherhand was completely brainwashed.... kinda like one kids mom... it took a long time to get her back in touch with reality and out of the JDA cult.)

and PARENTS beware, he is extremely manipulative. I mean he convinced multiple parents to leave there children homeless for months and sometimes years.

He also uses sleep deprivation in order to change the students into better human beings.... and if it works then maybe its worth it. But they don't put that on the website.

I would seriously look into his investments and accounts because for the amount of money that school costs, i wouldn't be surprised if he is storing that cash somewhere for himself or his children. Not for profit my ass, did you see how expensive tuition is!!

Oh yeah, and I left that place after about two years, I told them to go fuck themselves after they wrongfully accused me of something I didn't do, I got tired of trying to explain my innocents and I left.

I got into a GREAT school without them.
I started my own business and I currently have 3 locations.
I am happy, and I do whatever I want.

But if you look at all the people who actually graduated from that school only a small amount actually "succeed".

I could go on for hours, but i'm saving for a book (hopefully). I hope Tom leaves that place because I think if Ken called the shots, the school actually stands a chance in helping kids. So far majority of people I know that when there, are just as fucked up if not more fucked up then they were before they got to JDA.

Amen....
oh and Tom.... STOP SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AND HARASSING troubled teenage girls who are vulnerable , you sicko. and don't even try to deny it, I saw it with my own eyes.

Parents, If Tom is still working there, don't waste the money, there are better alternatives
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8989
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: "Confrontation-A potent psychotherapeutic approach..."
« Reply #108 on: March 07, 2012, 12:39:34 AM »
Quote from: "PastJDAStudent"
I attended JDA with "Jayson". He was my friend at JDA. It disturbed me to read that article. He had a huge heart and was a very kind and loving person. He also had an amazing sense of humor. When we went to lay in our beds for curfew, I remember he would keep me awake for hours laughing about anything and everything. He also would open up to me about how his problems of "emoting". He tried to act how everyone wanted him, but the tears just couldn't come out. He didn't ever cry and everyone in groups would ride him for it, especially about his fathers death. People would push him to get emotional about it, but he had trouble. I have many friends like Jayson that simply don't cry or get upset as easily as most people do. He had a stone face, but I kinda liked that about him. Maybe Tom was pissed that he couldn't break that stone face.. some people may have seen that as a weakness or a problem, but I saw it as a strength. Jayson always made me laugh, and I always felt safe and comfortable around him. Like if someone were to attack me, I know I could count on him to get by back and fight for me. He was a good friend. So that ridiculous group session I read got me upset. I defended him in groups, yet it didn't matter what I said. It was all politics. The older members were always right, and Tom was the boss. Jayson was an amazing kid and he is missed, its unfortunate that Tom gave him such a hard time, wish he could still be here with us today, because he really was a wonderful person to be around.
TOM: Well we already know about the sexual assault charges he was found guilty of, multiple times. I myself have seen it first hand while attending the school. (this one was not documented but considering all of the investments he has as well as stocks i'm sure he was able to afford to keep a few of them under wraps.) Tom is in no state to be around any girl under the age of 18. Just observe the way he constantly looks down their shirts and caresses them, its disgusting. It would be one thing if they were girls, but these are troubled teenage girls. I noticed he has a method of turning girls against their fathers too for some reason. He always tries to find a way to make the girl hate her father, and then he swoops in and fills the void he created. He also falls asleep in groups ALL THE TIME. He never remembered anything I told him, I could tell him the same story 10 times. At first I thought there was a method to his madness, but there is not. He just didn't care about me, which was fine.... only he was getting a check, because it is his job, so fuck caring about me, but do your job at the least. Even when I left, after the money they gave me, they never helped me with going to another school, or asked me or my family how things were, not once, they just took my family check and abandoned us when could have used there advice or help.  "put him on the street" I'm lucky to have a dad that didn't buy into Tom's bullshit, and took me home, (my mom on the otherhand was completely brainwashed.... kinda like one kids mom... it took a long time to get her back in touch with reality and out of the JDA cult.)

and PARENTS beware, he is extremely manipulative. I mean he convinced multiple parents to leave there children homeless for months and sometimes years.

He also uses sleep deprivation in order to change the students into better human beings.... and if it works then maybe its worth it. But they don't put that on the website.

I would seriously look into his investments and accounts because for the amount of money that school costs, i wouldn't be surprised if he is storing that cash somewhere for himself or his children. Not for profit my ass, did you see how expensive tuition is!!

Oh yeah, and I left that place after about two years, I told them to go fuck themselves after they wrongfully accused me of something I didn't do, I got tired of trying to explain my innocents and I left.

I got into a GREAT school without them.
I started my own business and I currently have 3 locations.
I am happy, and I do whatever I want.

But if you look at all the people who actually graduated from that school only a small amount actually "succeed".

I could go on for hours, but i'm saving for a book (hopefully). I hope Tom leaves that place because I think if Ken called the shots, the school actually stands a chance in helping kids. So far majority of people I know that when there, are just as fucked up if not more fucked up then they were before they got to JDA.

Amen....
oh and Tom.... STOP SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AND HARASSING troubled teenage girls who are vulnerable , you sicko. and don't even try to deny it, I saw it with my own eyes.

Parents, If Tom is still working there, don't waste the money, there are better alternatives
Thanks for posting that heartfelt defense of Jason. After reading your post, I went back and reread the OP article again, and felt even more disgusted by Tom Bratter and John Dewey Academy methodologies than I had the first time I read it.

Here's the portion of the article,* "Confrontation-A potent psychotherapeutic approach with difficult adolescents," which specifically pertains to Jason for those who may not want to read the entire shebang (although ya may well want to do so after reading this):


    Confrontation psychotherapy: A Case study

    As an illustration, we present an excerpt of our group process. Prior to attending JDA, Jason had been diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder and had been prescribed a cocktail of psychotropic medications, including amphetamines, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. Jason's father died when he was twelve, and his mother was in remission from a brain tumor. He witnessed several people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers during the 9/11 terror attacks. Two years ago, Jason learned he had the same hereditary cardiac condition that caused his father's premature death, and he underwent the implantation of a pacemaker-defibrillator.

    Considering his history, post-traumatic stress disorder might have been a more appropriate diagnosis. Regardless of diagnosis, however, this boy had clear explanations for his choice to suppress his feelings and for his decision not to trust others. He struggled with a continuing sense of abandonment and betrayal, stemming from his father's sudden death. During the 18 months that he was at JDA, he remained closed off from other students and staff. The following is a fragment of a group session in which first the group leader and then the other members of the group confronted Jason on his behavior and their reactions to it. Before convening this group and implementing this confrontation, the group leader discussed the treatment impasse extensively with colleagues. The intent of this confrontation was to precipitate a crisis, forcing Jason to change or to leave.

      Leader: Jason, recently adults have asked if I think you are organically damaged since you refuse to heed repeated warnings not only to change but also to become a contributing member of the community. I admit that for the first time I mentioned that perhaps they are right and I am wrong. Maybe you are damaged goods and are incapable of changing. You might be the first student in our twenty-year history who needs medication to function. I intend to recommend to your mother that you be evaluated by a psychiatrist who specializes in pharmacology.

      Jason: I am not. You know damn well I'm not crazy and don't need that crap.

      Leader: I no longer know what to think. What I do know is that you have been here for eighteen months, but haven't changed much. You still isolate. You still refuse to relate. You still don't trust anyone. You still are stubborn. But to your credit, you finally have started to do well academically. I think you hide in your academics by claiming you need to study six or seven hours a day.

      Jason: Yes, but...

      Leader: Yes period. Your classmates complain that you're a drag and a drain. They don't want to waste their time and energy reaching out to you and having you reject them. Ask them.

      Jason: I've been talking to people. (He lists five students.)

      Mary: Big deal. They are new students. None have been here longer than three months. What about us? We know you much better than they do. They don't know how to confront you. So you continue to play stupid games.

      Laurie: I have no idea who you are. When you feel uncomfortable and threatened, you shut down. When my father died abruptly from a heart attack, just like your father, you never even said you were sorry. This is why I stopped pursuing you.

      Jason: I don't want to talk to you because you don't want to talk to me.

      Leader: That's a very mature response. You're right, but do you know why?

      Jason: No.

      Leader: You lie. You know damn well. Everyone is frustrated and weary. They have extended themselves by sharing experiences and confronting you. What have they gotten from you? Only silence and sarcasm. So they finally said to themselves, 'Fuck him. He's simply not worth it.' You quit. No, that's wrong. You never tried.

      Allie: Tom's right. I quit six months ago. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that, underneath your defenses, you were caring. I don't believe that any more. You talk in a monotone. I cannot remember when I felt you cared. You are the most frightened and self-absorbed person I've ever met. I know why. When I came I was too scared to care. I had a damn good excuse. I had several abusive relationships with guys. I felt sorry for myself and saw myself as the victim. I was confronted that it was my choice. I chose to remain with these abusive jerks when I should have rejected them! It was scary to trust because I feared the worst. Yeah, I got hurt once or twice. I was knocked down. But I got up and tried again. And you know what? Today, I have the best friends I ever had.

      Laurie: I don't blame Allie for not giving a damn. No one trusts you. You are nineteen. You continue to treat your mother like she's the enemy! You abuse your younger sister. None of us care whether you leave or stay. I pity you. You are too scared to be human. You are a poor excuse for a person.

      Eddie: Jason, it's really that easy. You lack the guts to venture forth. You're a coward. I'd lie if I said I care because I don't. Blame yourself. But what frightens me is that I know if you don't do it at JDA, you never will. You will never be in an environment which is so caring and safe.

      Paul: Eddie's understating your problem. Several of us believe you have major guilt, but lack the integrity to take accountability. Fuck your fears. Take accountability. Things can't get much worse.

      Shirley: Do you know what I think the problem is?

      Leader: No. Tell us.

      Shirley: Jason does not believe you will expel him. You've threatened so many times to expel him that he thinks he's immune.

      Eddie: Shirley's right. Jason knows you like bright students, so he's gambling since he has not done anything expellable, you'll let him graduate.

      Leader: Jason, if this is what you think, your reality testing is flawed. Complete the next two weeks and then go home for the holidays. Think about what you will want to do with your life. And then write a ten-page essay why I should readmit you. Include in this document your guilt and what you will change.

      Allie: Why wait? He thinks you are bluffing. He's not going to change. For the next two weeks, he will do nothing.

      Leader: You're right, Allie. Jason, leave in three days. I will give you seventytwo hours to make arrangements because I doubt your mother will permit you to return home. My guess is that all the New York City homeless shelters are filled because it's cold, but I suggest you call them.

      Paul: We're wasting our time. We have confronted you many times but you ignored us. You have made commitments to change, but you never have. You continue to joke and act nonchalant. You've done this for six months, so I agree with what Tom said at the beginning of the group. Maybe you just don't get it! I believe you lack the guts to come out from behind all the barriers you have erected. You will be a lonely guy who becomes bitter because no one will be knocking at the door asking you to let us in. Maybe you should watch Dickens' "Christmas Carol." You could become Scrooge.

      Susan: I've kept quiet because I tried many times to reach out to you, but you always gave me shit. You continue to be obnoxious and confront others about dumb shit which tells everyone to stay away. I know when I confront kids rather than connecting with them, they get the message to stay away.

      Leader: Sadly, I doubt if this group will have much impact. You have heard all this shit many, many times. This may be the last group you attend at John Dewey. I won't shed any tears if you do not return, other than we failed to help you in your time of desperate need. But Scrooge changed when he was much older than you are. Unfortunately, Scrooge is a fictional character. Maybe you ought to read Dickens when you go home. Unless you change by letting the sun shine in, you very well could become Scrooge. It would be tragic if you were to live a wasted life because you have been blessed with awesome intelligence. You could have been great. You could have improved the quality of life. But you won't unless you get the guts to show you care. It's late, but there still is time. The next month will be the most important in your life, because the decisions you make will influence you until you die. I hope for your sake, and that of society, you finally make the right decisions because this may be your last chance. Enough. I don't want to waste any more time. I end abruptly because I do not want to have closure. I hope you are scared because I am scared for you! You can win, but time is a precious commodity, which you lack.[/list]

      Case follow-up

      Following this group, Jason enrolled in a four-week wilderness program in an attempt to earn readmission to Dewey. During his stay at the wilderness program, Jason received notification of early-decision admission to a prestigious college of engineering, as well as word that he had been awarded a substantial scholarship.

      While in the wilderness program, Jason was admitted early decision to a prestigious engineering college. We thought this would provide the incentive for him not only to return to John Dewey but also to confront his fears. However, when he returned from the wilderness program, Jason remained intransigent. He engaged in provocative behavior, which forced his expulsion for safety reasons. He "played" with the fire alarm. He "played" with the stove, turning it on and off. He asked the dean of students if he could set fires by using his bow and drill, a skill he had learned in the wilderness. His intent seemed obvious-rather than leaving school voluntarily, Jason wanted to be expelled. It seemed certain that the behavior would escalate if he were allowed to remain. The decision to expel Jason was in keeping with the treatment principle that there are consequences for behavior. Students, parents, and staff were notified before any action was taken, and no one disagreed with the decision to expel him.

      The president was faced with the dilemma of whether, and how, to report Jason's behavior to the engineering college. One option would have been to hide behind the shield of confidentiality, but it was felt that unsafe behavior does not warrant confidentiality. Additionally, notification was justified because Jason dropped four courses, which, if not explained, would have resulted in his acceptance being rescinded. Finally, there was the importance of maintaining a relationship with this college so others could attend.

      At the same time, the president was aware of his reactions to Jason, which included disappointment, betrayal, anger at not being appreciated for convincing the college to grant a generous scholarship, and rage at being placed in a most uncomfortable position. He knew no one would criticize him if he urged the college to rescind admission, but knew this consequence was extreme since the family could not afford to pay tuition. It is dubious if Jason would have attended college. After careful consideration, the president wrote a letter to the dean of admissions at the college, explaining the reasons for the expulsion, reviewing the factors in Jason's background that have made it difficult for him to succeed academically and socially, and recommending that he reapply to JDA and complete a postgraduate year before attempting college. Included in the letter were the following statements.

      Please be advised.. .if I thought Jason were "too dangerous" or "too sick," not only would I notify _____college, but also would refuse to give him the option to return to Dewey....Jason's refusal to comply is motivated by fear to trust others and to be emotionally vulnerable, not defiance. The only time Jason cried was when he was confronted about his reluctance to trust.. .because he feared friends would abandon and betray him... .If permitted to attend college, I suggest Jason be required to continue psychotherapy. He needs to resolve his fear of intimacy, not because he is a threat to safety. Jason and his mother will receive a copy of this letter, so hopefully both will communicate with you. I warned Jason that [college] may rescind his acceptance....

      I would be willing to accompany Jason for a conference, with anyone you think makes sense, to discuss options. Undeniably, Jason is a disappointment, but I hasten to mention that several have graduated in Jason's position needing to do more work therapeutically. In college, they excelled. His prognosis remains guarded....! conclude...by stating that he has learned much.

      The president would have been wrong to suggest rejection essentially because the decision is that of the college, not the preparatory school. To recommend rejection would have been an abuse of psychotherapeutic power. Post hoc, the president knew that had he become retaliatory, his motivation would have been revenge for Jason's disrespect and lack of appreciation regarding his advocacy, which had resulted in Jason's being awarded a $160,000 four-year scholarship. Had he urged that Jason be rejected, which was warranted, Jason's future would have been ruined, because without a scholarship, it would have been impossible for him to attend college. The president retained his therapeutic integrity by reporting what happened, but refraining from recommending any action. The college decided to continue to extend its offer of admission and a scholarship, and Jason plans to completed the required work and attended. Subsequently, he attained a 3.8 average which puts him on the dean's list. The president assumed an aggressive advocate stance, advocating that he become a resident assistant in the dorms. Jason has visited the John Dewey Academy six times during the year because he wants to "give back" to the school which helped him mature. He has forgiven the president and now recognizes the confrontations were expressions of concern.

      Discussion

      It is premature to know whether Jason will be a "success" or a "failure." Undeniably, Jason was helped by confrontation because he excelled and was admitted by a college of quality. How much has this adolescent grown, and what the quality of his interpersonal relationships will be, has not been determined. Judicious handling of this complicated situation has avoided the preclusion of future educational, professional, and social successes.

      This kind of confrontation is justified when the adolescent remains intransigent or engages in extremely dangerous behavior. Alexander (1950) describes a patient who was irritating and engaged in regressive behavior. When the patient complained that no one liked him, rather than commiserating, Alexander opines that no one liked him because he was unpleasant. Subsequently the patient established a positive treatment alliance. Hearing the truth from a caring professional enabled the patient to trust and to move forward. Corwin (1991) labels this kind of intervention heroic: "When such statement is made, it is an emergency situation....The analyst knows it, the patient is...aware....But both know the moment it is uttered that it may have a prophetic significance for the patient....It implies that a psychic reaction must lead toward the establishment of a working alliance" (p. 83). We have utilized this sort of radical intervention for six seniors in past years, all of whom eventually returned to graduate. We believe Jason will not be an exception.

      Critics contend that confrontation is controversial, counter therapeutic, and cruel punishment which often brutalizes persons-in-treatment. Confrontation attempts to modify irresponsible, impulsive, immature, stupid and self-destructive behavior. Confrontation penetrates denial, distortion, and dysfunctional attitudes. Critics protest, furthermore, that the use of confrontation is prompted by a negative countertransference reaction. Confrontation has been labeled "attack therapy" for pejorative reasons. Opponents of "attack therapy" do not under-stand is that confrontation has proven effective to eradicate malignant, dangerous, vicious attitudes and acts. While some critics condemn confrontation to be "cruel," they need to remember that Dewey students have engaged in dangerous, often death-defying behavior which demands heroic intervention. Unless the therapist can persuade the youth to avoid a collision course with disaster, there can be profoundly serious consequences. The primary goal of psychotherapy is to preserve life, so desperate and heroic treatment interventions are required for this difficult-to-treat population. When viewed from this humanistic perspective, confrontation connotes caring by the therapist who attempts to convince the adolescent to become more responsible, responsive, and respectful.[/list][/size]

      ---------------------------
      * Alternate source for this article, since the link in the OP appears to no longer be active:

        "
      Confrontation-A potent psychotherapeutic approach with difficult adolescents" by Thomas Edward Bratter and Lisa Sinsheimer; in Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 30, edited by Lois T. Flaherty, pp 103-116; ©2008 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC[/list]
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Offline ZenAgent

      • Newbie
      • *
      • Posts: 1720
      • Karma: +0/-0
        • View Profile
        • http://www.freepowerboards.com/strugglingppl/index.php
      Re:
      « Reply #109 on: March 09, 2012, 12:40:16 AM »
      Glad you're doing well post-Bratter, PastJDAStudent, and respect to you for telling JDA to "go fuck themselves".  Arguing with Bratter and his acolytes would be futile.  

      Quote from: "PastJDAStudent"
      I got into a GREAT school without them.
      I started my own business and I currently have 3 locations.
      I am happy, and I do whatever I want.

      That is the best revenge - being happy and doing well, especially if JDA does the program "walk of shame".  (JDA) vents Narcissistic spleen and rage one last time via a defamatory, doom-laden prognosis for your future wrapped in a character assassination called "AMA discharge" paperwork.   When I read Bratter's writings, it is clear the dude doesn't believe he is capable of being wrong.  

      Quote from: "PastJDAStudent"
      'Tom is in no state to be around any girl under the age of 18'...'He also falls asleep in groups ALL THE TIME. He never remembered anything I told him, I could tell him the same story 10 times".
       

      Could you be more specific about Bratter's "state"?  I've heard epithet-filled descriptions of Bratter's mental "state", and his past legal troubles involving young patients, but are you alluding to a different "state" of Bratter?  If you don't want to post publicly, could you PM me please?  I'm intrigued...Going on the nod constantly, memory like a sieve, disregarding personal boundaries...could be caused by senility and career burn-out.  Could be...Strange, though...I have a distant relative who presented identical problems for a long time.  He's in rehab now and the judge dropped the doctor shopping charges, bless his heart.  Must be another reason for Bratter, though.

      This is a shot in the dark, but do you remember if Tommy Bratter had any ties to Jack Rosberg?  Rosberg is a psychologist who worked with John Rosen, who is famous for "Direct Analysis".  Rosberg modified (renamed) Rosen's techniques and called his version Direct Confrontation Therapy Techniques.  Bratter's techniques show he is familiar with the work of Rosen and Rosberg - "Confrontation psychotherapy" is only another name change, Bratter continues cannibalizing, amplifying and distorting Rosen's theories. Rosen's practice of Direct Analysis resulted in him losing his license in shame after patients were killed by his treatment and other patients came forward to report sexual abuse and malpractice allegations against Rosen.   I'm trying to track how far the "cult of Rosen" spread, and how it made it into the TTI.  Rosen's Direct Analysis was directed at those labeled as schizophrenics, but it was modified for "off-label" use, I guess.

      Thanks for posting and for any light you can shine on my questions.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
      \"Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech, unless it be by one to whom injustice has been done; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing\" - The Qur\'an

      _______________________________________________
      A PV counselor\'s description of his job:

      \"I\'m there to handle kids that are psychotic, suicidal, homicidal, or have commited felonies. Oh yeah, I am also there to take them down when they are rowdy so the nurse can give them the booty juice.\"