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Offline psy

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Letter: From parents to Parents
« on: December 04, 2008, 08:57:07 PM »
This is written for the websites we're making by a parent you probably all know and can probably guess.  Check it out.  She requests we edit for spelling / gramar.

Quote
To the program parents out there, or those considering a "Specialty
Boarding School" placement, let me say, I have had first hand
experience with this program. I do know what I am talking about.
 
I don't want to go into a lot of detail about our family situation. I will say though, that our situation was fairly typical. I made the same decision you did (or that your considering) probably for many of the same reasons, and with the same hopes. I want to tell you a bit of my story and explain some of what I have learned.

Something that got my attention pretty early on and hoisted some red flags,
was the reaction of the persons on the BBS when concerns about the program
were raised.  I saw that it was widely accepted that none of what the kids wrote home about was true. Anything that wasn't positive about their experience;
anything that might cause a parent concern about the quality of the
education, or sanitation, or meals, or abuse that was reported, was
dismissed as lying manipulation.
 
I noticed that often students had written home about the same disturbing treatment.  This was explained away as conspiracy. They sit and conspire. They think up tales that will push the parental buttons hoping to be pulled. The parents must stand firm. They must respond with the simple statement that the kid should quit manipulating and work their program. Or, it was commonly advised to not write back at all. It was commonly advised to send the kid a post card, as if the family was off on vacation, telling the kid how much fun they were having with out them. This was supposed to make the kid stop manipulating and get to work on their program.

(In reality, I now believe this was intended to increase the teen's
feelings of abandonment, helplessness and despair, so as to help create the
psychological conditions required for "behavior modification" i.e.
brainwashing)

It occurred to me it was impossible for kids in facilities scattered across
the country, and indeed the world, to conspire. Yet, they were telling
similar stories. This was also dismissed as simply being a shared common
knowledge; all kids know their parents will be upset if they complain about
being hungry, or filthy living conditions, or violence and so on.   I had my
doubts. I found the consistency worrisome. But in truth, it seemed
impossible that such stories could be true. I believed, just as do so many
others, that if such were true, the programs would be shut down.

[To my great shock, anger and frustration, I later learned how ignorant and
incorrect this thinking is.]

A related concern was the realization that with the parents so willing to
ignore the pleading and complaints of their children - their children had no
one at all they could report abuse to, that would believe them and
investigate.  I was amazed no one seemed concerned about this. They all
insisted you simply had to trust the program. But haven't you ever been lied to by someone you trusted, I would ask them. How can you just trust them?
Get to Discovery and you'll see, was the reply.

[Discovery was the title of the first of the seminars at the time]

I noticed that anyone posting with a gripe or concern, no matter how legitimate, was shouted down by the majority of posters. They would use mocking terms for them - calling them BMW's (Bitchen' Moaning Whiners) or suggesting they need to step left; occasionally telling them if they couldn't be supportive, then they needed to just pull their child and let them go to jail or die. (The inevitable consequence of pulling a "Half-Baked" teen) They would suggest that the parent’s complaints were non supporting, and that the kid would pick up on this and this would feed the kid's manipulation attempts - which might affect their kid's attitude and hold their child back. So, it was very important everyone be totally supportive of the program.

Another common defense often used to deflect a parent's nagging doubts went
something like this: What do you care if he is hungry/ frightened/ anxious/
depressed . . . He got him self there. You work your program. Let him work
his program. He'll work his program when he gets tired of manipulating; when
he sees that it won't work. Just trust the program.

Those who had left the program amid complaints of fraud and abuse where
dismissed as Chattering Pigs. "They're just chattering pigs" or, "Why are
you listening to the chattering pigs?" was a common refrain if something
they said was brought up on the board.

(I now know that the use of jargon and catch phrases to dismiss critics as
ignorant, irrelevant, un-enlightened and not worthy is called Loaded
Language. This helps the group member maintain a pleasant sense of
superiority and belonging; as well as being a handy way to easily keep the
critics viewed in a negative light, not worth notice)

The friendlier folks would try to sooth worried parents concerns and tell
them to trust the program - and to get to Discovery as fast as they could.
Once they got to Discovery, all would be well. They would understand
then, why it was so important to trust the program, and not feed the kid's
attempts to manipulate. They were assured their life would be changed. This
was a great promise. This change was much lauded as "wonderful".

But I wondered what if you like your life? What if you are basically
satisfied and happy? What if you don't believe you are responsible for your
teen's poor life choices? What if you don't want to change your thinking and
values? This was seen as being stuck in your head (or trapped in your box)
a very bad thing to be.

I found the blind faith of the seminar attendees alarming. That blind faith,
coupled with the near fanatical devotion to the Program, seemed disturbingly
cult like. This chant to 'Trust the Program' in answer to any expressed
concern, brought to mind Orwell's Animal Farm.  The lack of any real debate,
the sameness found in the thinking of the group, the hostility toward any
expression of independent thought,  brought to mind other examples of
"brainwashing" in movies and literature and cult history. It was kind of
creepy.

(Another use of loaded language is to re-enforce the teachings of the group,
as in: "Four legs good. Two legs bad" repeated in response to any troubling
question; effectively halting all debate)

I was told repeatedly that there was no right or wrong - only what works.
(Another common chant) This is the essence of values clarification thought
reform, and is contrary to my faith and personal belief. I was greatly
alarmed to think this was what they were drumming into my son's head.

Something else I noticed that seriously troubled me was how the program
seemed to create an adversarial attitude in the parents toward their kids.
It seemed like the longer a parent was involved with the program (the more
involved they were with the seminars and support groups and so on) the
more likely it was that they developed a very cold and callous attitude
toward their child. You could easily see the changing attitude in their
writing before and after the seminars.  At times this coldness was
truly chilling. The change in these people was chilling. And yet they seemed
to think they were becoming better people. It was disturbing.

Despite these nagging concerns, that fear they instill of certain death or jail had
gotten under my skin. I was beginning to think this was a mistake but I was
also very afraid to pull my son for the fear he would end up dead or in
jail, and it would be my fault for not giving the program enough time; my
fault for being so paranoid and "stuck in my head".  I was at this point
afraid of the program (which a clear head would tell you is a very bad sign
all by itself) but I was also afraid to leave it (a classic cult member's
dilemma) So, I registered for Discovery.

When I got the rules for the Seminar, I realized exactly what it was. This
was a Large Group Awareness Training event - not an educational seminar. I
had long been aware of the controversy surrounding this kind of training; I
had heard and read much about the dangers, and knew something of the
history.

I would strongly encourage you to educate yourself as to what LGAT is.  Not
all change is good. Change for change's sake, is not such a good thing.
Sometimes, change is very bad indeed. And sometimes, when under the
influence of powerful psychological manipulation, a person is not able to
tell the difference. Worse yet, sometimes, a person finds the stress
involved in making such a rapid change to life long values and beliefs
to great, and they break down.

Of corse, with LGAT, all are *intended* to be broken down, then built back,
with what ever the facilitator wants to put in there. (In there, being your self.) The idea being, they will help you abandon the "junk" holding you back and build you back better than before. The intent is to change you in fundamental ways that will free you to be many wonderful things.
 
In LGAT, Everyone gets broken down. But sadly, not every one can be put back together without a lot of cracks showing. Also occasionally, a person who seems to have come through it OK – who seems to have benefited - will after a time, begin to fall apart and show the symptoms we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress. Some poor souls have psychotic breaks. Mind breaking is in fact a dangerous process which can be devastating to the integrity of a person's self.

If you would like to learn more about this, get and read: Cults in Our
Midst, by Margaret Singer. The entire book is of great value but I'd suggest
paying special attention to the chapter on LifeSpring.  You can get used
copies very reasonably on Amazon and most any library will have a copy.

So, anyway - as a consequence of my coming to realize "the Program" was
teaching a life values philosophy that was opposed to our family's and that
they were using what I believe to be psychologically abusive methods of
thought reform to do so - I pulled my son.

Amazingly, it still wasn't easy. Even with all my concern about the
deceptive practices, and what I felt was an assault on the minds of the
parents and students - I was afraid to pull him. They had gotten their hooks
in me, and I was afraid to leave. But I was finely more afraid not to.

At this point, I wanted no part of it; I wanted out, but I had no desire to
rock anyone's boat.  I was concerned - but I wouldn't have dreamed the
problems were as serious as I later learned they are - and frankly, I would
not have thought the reality possible, had I not been slammed with so much
evidence.

I don't want to go to much into the situation with my son. I will say he was
glad to be away from the program; but there was no great spilling out of
information. The stories he told were mostly funny and mostly he talked
about his friends. He had lost a good deal of weight off his already lean
frame, adding credence to his constant complaint of always being hungry.
Also, I noticed he was wolfing his food and declaring it great, when it
was in fact not very good.

I was still on the BBS, even though this was against the rules. As long as I
was "supportive", which in my case meant trying to remain neutral, I could
stay on. I wanted to, simply because I had come to think of many of the
other parents as friends - and I didn't want to be cut off from the group,
as a parent usually is, when they exit the program. I promised not to talk
about removing my son - so I was allowed to stay on. I have wondered why
this was allowed. Perhaps they felt it was better not to have people
question why I wasn't there as long as I didn't go negative on them.

[I realize now, that this desire not to be cut off from a group one has
bonded with, is a powerful influence keeping the group members well in line,
and reluctant to break from the group thinking, by doubting or criticizing
the program, or the cult leader.]

One day, a program graduate (at the time, program grads were also allowed on
the general BBS board) posted a list of links to forums about the program,
which had a lot of accounts written by ex-students. I did a quick copy & paste
so I could look at them later. I knew the BBS would yank that post, which
they did in a matter of minutes. I just happen to be on in that short space
of time the post was up.

The accounts I began reading were hair rising. I was shocked.  These kids
were out. They had no need to manipulate anyone with tall tales of abuse and
neglect; and yet here were dozens and dozens of accounts, all remarkably similar in the treatment they described, telling very disturbing stories about their
program experience, from many different facilities associated with the
Program. This simply couldn't be dismissed.

I eventually ran across court transcripts containing sworn testimony in a case where a family member was trying to get a child removed from a program facility; and what these kids testified to was deeply disturbing. It supported much that
the internet forum kids had related, with very similar accounts of filthy conditions, brutal abuse (physical and mental) forced and extreme exercise, very poor quality diet, and never enough of it.

I felt that the shear number of these accounts, combined with their
consistency, was a powerful indication of their truth. But I foolishly told
myself none of this seriously alarming stuff applied to my son's particular program. It wasn't mentioned. I still didn't realize they are all just exactly the same.



Shortly after this, I had a conversation with another ex-program parent. She
was talking about the physical abuse that is so common. She asked me about
beatings; had my son reported seeing anyone beaten up. No he hadn't (and surely he would have told me) but it nagged at me. That night I asked
him had he ever seen anyone beat up? The answer was yes, he had. He explained he didn't often actually witness it, but that he did often see his friends showing evidence afterward; and he also often heard the kids screaming in pain begging for the staff to stop. I should perhaps explain, that while there were kids who got beaten badly by staff, most of this screaming in pain was a result of restraint, program style; a very painful and very common event often described by ex-students. Why didn't you tell me? I asked. He replied: "I thought you knew."

[The point here being, if you don't ask you'll not be told; they think you
know and approved it]

When I asked why he thought there were no accounts about these conditions at
his program, when there were for so many others, he pointed out that his
program had been a new one; there hadn't been time enough for kids to get
out and start talking in any numbers yet. I felt like such a fool. That had
never occurred to me.

It was about this time I got myself evicted from the BBS; and was cut off
from all contact with the Program faithful.

Since then, I have been an outspoken critic of "the Program". Consequently,
I have spoken to, or exchanged email with countless program students and
their parents. Some are pro, and others like myself, outraged that this has
ever taken place; and worse, been allowed to continue.

I have learned a great deal over the past few years that has been shocking
to me. This industry has a long history - going back directly to the now
notorious Synanon. All these "behavior modification" programs are built on a
Synanon model. The harm this does has been well documented. Yet, it
continues. There are many reasons why. Money and influence in economically
depressed regions is a major factor. Divorce, remarriage and the
fragmentation of the family is another. Zero tolerance policies are another.
Drug war propaganda, keeping parents terrified beyond reason, is yet
another.

I am not saying there is no reason to be concerned when a child is doing
drugs, but I am saying, those who profit from these programs have a lot
of political influence. They keep parental fears fanned to a fever pitch
that is far beyond the reality.

For you upper level parents:

You say your kid likes it "now"? What about at first? The upper level kids
have great advantages and power over the lower level kids. They often quite
enjoy this, after so many months of being victimized by the upper levels
that came before them. Its on the lower levels, that they are not allowed to
talk, or look up at the sky, or out of a window. Its on the lower levels,
that they are frequently put into torturous restraint, for breaking any of
the many inane rules. Its on the lower levels, that they are fed so little,
and so often placed in the horrible discomfort of stress postitions.
 
Once they make it to the upper levels, except for the dread of being dropped back into hell, they may find aspects of the experience gratifying. Often they are extremely reluctant to leave friends behind.

Also of corse, it is possible they fear and dread the exit plan. If you are
holding the exit plan over their head you can't expect anything like the
truth from them. If they are typical, they will tell you exactly what you
want to hear and bide their time until they are out from under the threat
of the exit plan, or if they're home, the guarantee.

There is something I sometimes suggest to parents who doubt its possible
their child has been treated in any abusive or negligent manner by their
program. When you see your child, or if they are home, print out a few of
the accounts available on the internet. You can find some in "the
Tranquility Bay report" ISAC (www.isaccorp.org ) put together. Give them to
your son or daughter. Give them a highlighter. Have them highlight anything
that they witnessed or experienced. But first - (and this is extremely
important!)  promise them that they will not be penalized or given any
consequences for doing this. This is an exercise in truth, and between you
and them and no one else.

You see, if they have spent any amount of time in the program, they know
that complaints are viewed as manipulation and result in very unpleasant
"consequences". Even with heart felt assurance of confidentiality, they may
not trust you (they may never trust you again) but you can try.

If your son or daughter is on, or goes back to the drugs and so on, please
don't fall into to deep a despair. They inevitably grow up. It can take a
painfully long time but they do seem to nearly always eventually pull it
together - program or not.

In fact, in all honesty, after talking with dozens of post program kids, I
can tell you a program experience only delays this process. They invariably
go further into the depths of what ever they were into before, once they are
free of the program or the threat there-of. They seem determined to prove
they belong to themselves and to make up for lost party time. Also perhaps,
they are self medicating. Believe me when I tell you, the ends do not
justify the means, besides which, the ends in this case are by no means
positive. If you place your kid in a "Specialty Boarding School" or "Boot
Camp" you will not get yourself a drug free kid; you will get a drug abusing
kid with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What to do? Educate yourself. Knowledge is power.  If drug and alcohol abuse
is the main concern, get a copy of: Recovery Options. By Joseph Volpicelli
and Maia Szalavitz. It is extremely helpful and full of hope.

And please read: Help at Any Cost, by Maia Szalavitz. It explains the
Troubled Teen Industry, with clarity and compassion, and a great deal of
well documented research. In the final chapter the author explains how to
evaluate the actual need for intervention, and how to obtain legitimate help
if needed.

And you really should educate yourself with regard to cults and thought
reform. I do hope you will read Cults in Our Midst. There are numerous other
volumes on the subject, and probably many well worth reading; but Cults in
Our Midst is a classic, that covers the issue in an easy to read and
understandable manner.

Finely, if you’re a believer - pray. I honestly do believe a parent's prayers
do more good than all the drug therapies in the world combined.

I realize this is long and a bit rambling. I tried to hit the points I think
most important. If you think me some sort of "chattering pig" and want to
dismiss it all as hogwash - well, I regret that - but this is my firmly held
opinion, based on my personal experience. I hope it is helpful.
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"Our services are free; we do not make a profit. Parents of troubled teens ourselves, PURE strives to create a safe haven of truth and reality." - Sue Scheff - August 13th, 2007 (fukkin surreal)

Offline hurrikayne

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 10:52:55 PM »
To the program parents out there, or those considering a "Specialty Boarding School" placement, let me say, I have had first hand experience with this program. I do know what I am talking about.

I don't want to go into a lot of detail about our family situation. I will say though, that our situation was fairly typical. I made the same decision you did (or that you’re considering) probably for many of the same reasons, and with the same hopes. I want to tell you a bit of my story and explain some of what I have learned.

Something that got my attention pretty early on and hoisted some red flags, was the reaction of the persons on the BBS when concerns about the program were raised. I saw that it was widely accepted that none of what the kids wrote home about was true. Anything that wasn't positive about their experience; anything that might cause a parent concern about the quality of the education, or sanitation, or meals, or abuse that was reported, was dismissed as lying manipulation.

I noticed that often students had written home about the same disturbing treatment. This was explained away as conspiracy. They sit and conspire. They think up tales that will push the parental buttons hoping to be pulled. The parents must stand firm. They must respond with the simple statement that the kid should quit manipulating and work their program. Or, it was commonly advised to not write back at all. It was commonly advised to send the kid a post card, as if the family was off on vacation, telling the kid how much fun they were having with out them. This was supposed to make the kid stop manipulating and get to work on their program.

(In reality, I now believe this was intended to increase the teen's feelings of abandonment, helplessness and despair, so as to help create the psychological conditions required for "behavior modification", i.e. brainwashing)

It occurred to me that it was impossible for kids in facilities scattered across the country, and indeed the world, to conspire. Yet, they were telling similar stories. This was also dismissed as simply being a shared common knowledge; all kids know their parents will be upset if they complain about being hungry, or filthy living conditions, or violence and so on. I had my doubts. I found the consistency worrisome. But in truth, it seemed impossible that such stories could be true. I believed, just as do so many others, that if such were true, the programs would be shut down. [To my great shock, anger and frustration, I later learned how ignorant and incorrect this thinking is.]

A related concern was the realization, that with the parents so willing to ignore the pleading and complaints of their children, their children had no one at all they could report abuse to that would believe them and investigate.

I was amazed no one seemed concerned about this. They all insisted you simply had to trust the program. But haven't you ever been lied to by someone you trusted, I would ask them. How can you just trust them? Get to Discovery and you'll see, was the reply. [Discovery was the title of the first of the seminars at the time]

I noticed that anyone posting with a gripe or concern, no matter how legitimate, was shouted down by the majority of posters. They would use mocking terms for them, calling them BMW's (Bitchen' Moaning Whiners) or suggesting they need to step left; occasionally telling them if they couldn't be supportive, then they needed to just pull their child and let them go to jail or die. (The inevitable consequence of pulling a "Half-Baked" teen) They would suggest that the parent’s complaints were non-supporting, and that the kid would pick up on this and this would feed the kid's manipulation attempts, which might affect their kid's attitude and hold their child back. So, it was very important that everyone be totally supportive of the program.

Another common defense, often used to deflect a parent's nagging doubts, went something like this: What do you care if he is hungry/ frightened/ anxious/depressed? He got himself there; you work your program, let him work
his program. He'll work his program when he gets tired of manipulating; when he sees that it won't work. Just trust the program.

Those who had left the program amid complaints of fraud and abuse were dismissed as Chattering Pigs. "They're just chattering pigs" or, "Why are you listening to the chattering pigs?" was a common refrain if something they said was brought up on the board.

(I now know that the use of jargon and catch phrases to dismiss critics as ignorant, irrelevant, unenlightened and not worthy, is called Loaded Language. This helps the group member maintain a pleasant sense of superiority and belonging, as well as being a handy way to easily keep the critics viewed in a negative light, not worth notice)

The friendlier folks would try to soothe worried parents concerns and tell them to trust the program, and to get to Discovery as fast as they could. Once they got to Discovery, all would be well. They would understand then, why it was so important to trust the program, and not feed the kid's attempts to manipulate. They were assured their life would be changed. This was a great promise. This change was much lauded as "wonderful".

But I wondered what if you like your life? What if you are basically satisfied and happy? What if you don't believe you are responsible for your teen's poor life choices? What if you don't want to change your thinking and values? This was seen as being stuck in your head or trapped in your box,a very bad thing to be.

I found the blind faith of the seminar attendees alarming. That blind faith, coupled with the near fanatical devotion to the Program, seemed disturbingly cult like. This chant to 'Trust the Program' in answer to any expressed concern, brought to mind Orwell's ‘Animal Farm’. The lack of any real debate, the sameness found in the thinking of the group, the hostility toward any expression of independent thought, brought to mind other examples of "brainwashing" in movies and literature and cult history. It was kind of creepy.

(Another use of loaded language is to re-enforce the teachings of the group, as in: "Four legs good. Two legs bad" repeated in response to any troubling question; effectively halting all debate)

I was told repeatedly that there was no right or wrong, only what works. (Another common chant.) This is the essence of values clarification thought reform, and is contrary to my faith and personal belief. I was greatly alarmed to think this was what they were drumming into my son's head.

Something else I noticed that seriously troubled me, was how the program seemed to create an adversarial attitude in the parents toward their kids. It seemed like the longer a parent was involved with the program (the more involved they were with the seminars and support groups and so on) the more likely it was that they developed a very cold and callous attitude
toward their child. You could easily see the changing attitude in their writing before and after the seminars. At times this coldness was truly chilling. The change in these people was chilling, and yet they seemed to think they were becoming better people. It was disturbing.

Despite these nagging concerns, that fear they instill of certain death or jail had gotten under my skin. I was beginning to think this was a mistake but I was also very afraid to pull my son for the fear he would end up dead or in jail, and it would be my fault for not giving the program enough time; my fault for being so paranoid and "stuck in my head". I was at this point afraid of the program (which a clear head would tell you is a very bad sign all by itself) but I was also afraid to leave it (a classic cult member's dilemma) so, I registered for Discovery.

When I got the rules for the Seminar, I realized exactly what it was. This was a Large Group Awareness Training event, not an educational seminar. I had long been aware of the controversy surrounding this kind of training; I had heard and read much about the dangers, and knew something of the history.

I would strongly encourage you to educate yourself as to what LGAT is. Not all change is good. Change for change's sake, is not such a good thing. Sometimes, change is very bad indeed. Sometimes, when under the influence of powerful psychological manipulation, a person is not able to tell the difference. Worse yet, sometimes, a person finds the stress
involved in making such a rapid change to life long values and beliefs too great, and they break down.

Of course, with LGAT, all are *intended* to be broken down, then built back up, with what ever the facilitator wants to put in there. (In there, being your self.) The idea being, they will help you abandon the "junk" holding you back and build you back better than before. The intent is to change you in fundamental ways that will free you to be many wonderful things.

In LGAT, everyone gets broken down, but sadly, not every one can be put back together without a lot of cracks showing. Also occasionally, a person who seems to have come through it OK, who seems to have benefited, will after a time, begin to fall apart and show the symptoms we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress. Some poor souls have psychotic breaks. Mind breaking is in fact a dangerous process which can be devastating to the integrity of a person's self.

If you would like to learn more about this, get and read: ‘Cults in Our Midst’, by Margaret Singer. The entire book is of great value but I'd suggest paying special attention to the chapter on LifeSpring. You can get used copies very reasonably on Amazon and most any library will have a copy.

As a consequence of my coming to realize "the Program" was teaching a life values philosophy that was opposed to our family's and that they were using what I believe to be psychologically abusive methods of thought reform to do so, I pulled my son.

Amazingly, it still wasn't easy. Even with all my concern about the deceptive practices, and what I felt was an assault on the minds of the parents and students, I was afraid to pull him. They had gotten their hooks in me and I was afraid to leave; but I was finally more afraid not to.

At this point, I wanted no part of it; I wanted out, but I had no desire to rock anyone's boat. I was concerned, but I wouldn't have dreamed the problems were as serious as I later learned they are, and frankly I would not have thought the reality possible, had I not been slammed with so much evidence.

I don't want to go too much into the situation with my son. I will say he was glad to be away from the program, but there was no great spilling out of information. The stories he told were mostly funny and mostly he talked about his friends. He had lost a good deal of weight off his already lean frame, adding credence to his constant complaint of always being hungry. Also, I noticed he was wolfing his food and declaring it great, when it was in fact not very good.

I was still on the BBS, even though this was against the rules. As long as I was "supportive", which in my case meant trying to remain neutral, I could stay on. I wanted to, simply because I had come to think of many of the other parents as friends and I didn't want to be cut off from the group, as a parent usually is when they exit the program. I promised not to talk
about removing my son, so I was allowed to stay on. I have wondered why this was allowed. Perhaps they felt it was better not to have people question why I wasn't there as long as I didn't go negative on them.

[I realize now, that this desire not to be cut off from a group one has bonded with, is a powerful influence keeping the group members well in line, and reluctant to break from the group thinking, by doubting or criticizing the program, or the cult leader.]

One day, a program graduate (at the time, program grads were also allowed on the general BBS board) posted a list of links to forums about the program, which had a lot of accounts written by ex-students. I did a quick copy & paste
so I could look at them later. I knew the BBS would yank that post, which they did in a matter of minutes. I just happen to be on in that short space of time the post was up.

The accounts I began reading were hair rising. I was shocked, these kids were out. They had no need to manipulate anyone with tall tales of abuse and neglect, and yet here were dozens and dozens of accounts, all remarkably similar in the treatment they described.  Telling very disturbing stories about their program experience, from many different facilities associated with the Program. This simply couldn't be dismissed.

I eventually ran across court transcripts containing sworn testimony in a case where a family member was trying to get a child removed from a program facility; and what these kids testified to was deeply disturbing. It supported much that
the internet forum kids had related, with very similar accounts of filthy conditions, brutal abuse (physical and mental) forced and extreme exercise, very poor quality diet, and never enough of it.

I felt that the sheer number of these accounts, combined with their consistency, was a powerful indication of their truth. But I foolishly told myself none of this seriously alarming stuff applied to my son's particular program. It wasn't mentioned. I still didn't realize they are all just exactly the same.



Shortly after this, I had a conversation with another ex-program parent. She was talking about the physical abuse that is so common. She asked me about beatings; had my son reported seeing anyone beaten up. No he hadn't (and surely he would have told me) but it nagged at me.

That night I asked him had he ever seen anyone beat up? The answer was yes, he had. He explained he didn't often actually witness it, but that he did often see his friends showing evidence afterward; and he also often heard the kids screaming in pain begging for the staff to stop. I should perhaps explain, that while there were kids who got beaten badly by staff, most of this screaming in pain was a result of restraint, program style; a very painful and very common event often described by ex-students. Why didn't you tell me? I asked. He replied: "I thought you knew." [The point here being, if you don't ask you'll not be told; they think you know and approved it]

When I asked why he thought there were no accounts about these conditions at his program, when there were for so many others, he pointed out that his program had been a new one; there hadn't been time enough for kids to get
out and start talking in any numbers yet. I felt like such a fool. That had never occurred to me. It was about this time I got myself evicted from the BBS; and was cut off from all contact with the Program faithful.

Since then, I have been an outspoken critic of "the Program". Consequently, I have spoken to, or exchanged email with countless program students and their parents. Some are pro, and others like myself, outraged that this has
ever taken place; and worse, been allowed to continue.

I have learned a great deal over the past few years that has been shocking to me. This industry has a long history - going back directly to the now notorious Synanon. All these "behavior modification" programs are built on a Synanon model. The harm this does has been well documented. Yet, it continues. There are many reasons why. Money and influence in economically depressed regions is a major factor. Divorce, remarriage and the fragmentation of the family is another. Zero tolerance policies are another. Drug war propaganda, keeping parents terrified beyond reason, is yet another.

I am not saying there is no reason to be concerned when a child is doing drugs, but I am saying that those who profit from these programs have a lot of political influence. They keep parental fears fanned to a fever pitch that is far beyond the reality.

For you upper level parents:

You say your kid likes it "now"? What about at first? The upper level kids have great advantages and power over the lower level kids. They often quite enjoy this, after so many months of being victimized by the upper levels that came before them. It’s on the lower levels, that they are not allowed to talk, or look up at the sky, or out of a window. It’s on the lower levels, that they are frequently put into torturous restraint, for breaking any of the many inane rules. It’s on the lower levels, that they are fed so little, and so often placed in the horrible discomfort of stress positions.

Once they make it to the upper levels, except for the dread of being dropped back into hell, they may find aspects of the experience gratifying. Often they are extremely reluctant to leave friends behind.

Also of course, it is possible they fear and dread the exit plan. If you are holding the exit plan over their head you can't expect anything like the truth from them. If they are typical, they will tell you exactly what you want to hear and bide their time until they are out from under the threat of the exit plan, or if they're home, the guarantee.

There is something I sometimes suggest to parents who doubt it’s possible their child has been treated in any abusive or negligent manner by their program. When you see your child, or if they are home, print out a few of the accounts available on the internet. You can find some in "the Tranquility Bay report" ISAC (www.isaccorp.org ) put together. Give them to
your son or daughter. Give them a highlighter. Have them highlight anything that they witnessed or experienced. But first, and this is extremely important, promise them that they will not be penalized or given any consequences for doing this. This is an exercise in truth, and between you and them and no one else.

You see, if they have spent any amount of time in the program, they know that complaints are viewed as manipulation and result in very unpleasant "consequences". Even with heart felt assurance of confidentiality, they may not trust you (they may never trust you again) but you can try.

If your son or daughter is on, or goes back to the drugs and so on, please don't fall into too deep a despair. They inevitably grow up. It can take a painfully long time but they do seem to nearly always eventually pull it together - program or not.

In fact, in all honesty, after talking with dozens of post program kids, I can tell you a program experience only delays this process. They invariably go further into the depths of what ever they were into before, once they are free of the program or the threat thereof. They seem determined to prove they belong to themselves and to make up for lost party time. Also perhaps, they are self medicating. Believe me when I tell you, the ends do not justify the means, besides which, the ends in this case, are by no means positive. If you place your kid in a "Specialty Boarding School" or "Boot Camp" you will not get yourself a drug free kid; you will get a drug abusing kid with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What to do? Educate yourself, knowledge is power. If drug and alcohol abuse is the main concern, get a copy of: ‘Recovery Options’ by Joseph Volpicelli and Maia Szalavitz. It is extremely helpful and full of hope.

And please read: ‘Help at Any Cost’, by Maia Szalavitz. It explains the Troubled Teen Industry, with clarity and compassion, and a great deal of well documented research. In the final chapter the author explains how to evaluate the actual need for intervention, and how to obtain legitimate help if needed.

Educate yourself with regard to cults and thought reform. I do hope you will read ‘Cults in Our Midst’. There are numerous other volumes on the subject, and probably many well worth reading; but ‘Cults in Our Midst’ is a classic, that covers the issue in an easy to read and understandable manner.

Finely, if you’re a believer, pray. I honestly do believe a parent's prayers do more good than all of the drug therapies in the world combined.

I realize this is long and a bit rambling. I tried to hit the points I think most important. If you think me some sort of "chattering pig" and want to dismiss it all as hogwash, well, I regret that but this is my firmly held opinion, based on my personal experience. I hope it is helpful.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 12:34:16 AM »
A piece like this, which is highly personal, I would not want to do much to, for fear of altering "the voice." I changed very few actual words, save spelling or occasional common usage errors (e.g., "finely" for "finally"), but in a few cases I did rearrange a phrase to make things clearer. I did end up putting in a healthy sprinkling of "that's" — which may well be my bias — so...best to have her check whether she is in agreement with those.

I kept her asides, the should-have-known's, in brackets as separate paragraphs. It helps to break up the length of this very long piece, and also serves to emphasize them as a separate type of thought. There were some consistency issues with some of the brackets being parentheses, and punctuation omissions...hopefully I worked those out appropriately.

As previous, most changes are in red. Some I did not bother noting, e.g., the punctuation rule about end-quotes being outside of the period or comma. Also, book titles should rightfully be italicized; I didn't bother to note those in red either.

Some additional comments on my part:

  • I indented the "letter to upper level parents." This may or may not be what she wants. I am also not sure whether I picked the right place to end the indent (say that fast five times).
  • I wonder whether the word Discovery should be all caps or bolded to distinguish this nemesis from ordinary usage of the word. It is probably not necessary. Just thought I'd mention it.
  • Should letter be "signed?" E.g, "A Parent" at the very end...

—•?|•?•0•?•|?•— —•?|•?•0•?•|?•— —•?|•?•0•?•|?•—

To the program parents out there, or those considering a "Specialty Boarding School" placement, let me say, I have had first hand experience with one of these programs. I do know what I am talking about.
 
I don't want to go into a lot of detail about our family situation. I will say though, that our situation was fairly typical. I made the same decision you did (or that you're considering) probably for many of the same reasons, and with the same hopes. I want to tell you a bit of my story and explain some of what I have learned.

Something that got my attention pretty early on and hoisted some red flags, was the reaction of the people on the BBS when concerns about the program were raised. I saw that it was widely accepted that none of what the kids wrote home about was true. Anything that wasn't positive about their experience; anything that might cause a parent concern about the quality of the education, or sanitation, or meals, or abuse that was reported, was dismissed as lying and manipulation.
 
I noticed that often students had written home about the same disturbing treatment.  This was explained away as conspiracy. They sit and conspire. They think up tales that will push the parental buttons hoping to be pulled. The parents must stand firm. They must respond with the simple statement that the kid should quit manipulating and work their program. Or, it was commonly advised to not write back at all. It was commonly advised to send the kid a post card, as if the family was off on vacation, telling the kid how much fun they were having without them. This was supposed to make the kid stop manipulating and get to work on their program.

[In reality, I now believe this was intended to increase the teens' feelings of abandonment, helplessness and despair, so as to help create the psychological conditions required for "behavior modification," i.e., brainwashing.]

It occurred to me that it was impossible for kids in facilities scattered across the country, and indeed the world, to conspire. Yet, they were telling similar stories. This was also dismissed as simply being a shared common knowledge; all kids know their parents will be upset if they complain about being hungry, or filthy living conditions, or violence and so on. I had my doubts. I found the consistency worrisome. But in truth, it seemed impossible that such stories could be true. I believed, just as do so many others, that if these stories were true, the programs would be shut down.

[To my great shock, anger and frustration, I later learned how ignorant and incorrect this thinking is.]

A related concern was the realization that with the parents so willing to ignore the pleading and complaints of their children, their children had no one at all they could report abuse to; no one who would believe them and investigate. I was amazed that no one seemed concerned about this. They all insisted that you simply had to trust the program. But, I would ask them, haven't you ever been lied to by someone you trusted? How can you just trust them? Get to Discovery and you'll see, was the reply.

[Discovery was the title of the first of the seminars at the time.]

I noticed that anyone posting with a gripe or concern, no matter how legitimate, was shouted down by the majority of posters. They would use mocking terms for them — calling them BMW's (Bitchen' Moaning Whiners) or suggesting they need to step left; occasionally telling them that if they couldn't be supportive, then they needed to just pull their child and let them go to jail or die (the inevitable consequence of pulling a "Half-Baked" teen). They would suggest that the parent’s complaints were non-supporting, and that the kid would pick up on this and that this would feed the kid's manipulation attempts...which might affect their kid's attitude and hold their child back. So, it was very important that everyone be totally supportive of the program.

Another common defense often used to deflect a parent's nagging doubts went something like this: What do you care if he is hungry / frightened / anxious / depressed... He got himself there. You work your program. Let him work his program. He'll work his program when he gets tired of manipulating; when he sees that it won't work. Just trust the program.

Those who had left the program amid complaints of fraud and abuse were dismissed as Chattering Pigs. "They're just chattering pigs" or, "Why are you listening to the chattering pigs?" was a common refrain if something they said was brought up on the board.

[I now know that the use of jargon and catch phrases to dismiss critics as ignorant, irrelevant, unenlightened and not worthy is called Loaded Language. This helps the group member maintain a pleasant sense of superiority and belonging; as well as being a handy way to easily keep critics viewed in a negative light, not worthy of notice.]

The friendlier folks would try to sooth worried parents' concerns and tell them to trust the program - and to get to Discovery as fast as they could. Once they got to Discovery, all would be well. They would understand then, why it was so important to trust the program, and to not feed the kids' attempts to manipulate. They were assured their life would be changed. This was a great promise. This change was lauded as "wonderful."

But I wondered...what if you already like your life? What if you are basically satisfied and happy? What if you don't believe you are responsible for your teen's poor life choices? What if you don't want to change your thinking and values? This was seen as being stuck in your head (or trapped in your box) a very bad thing to be.

I found the blind faith of the seminar attendees alarming. That blind faith, coupled with the near fanatical devotion to the Program, seemed disturbingly cult-like. This chant to 'Trust the Program' in answer to any expressed concern, brought to mind George Orwell's Animal Farm. The lack of any real debate, the sameness found in the thinking of the group, the hostility toward any expression of independent thought, brought to mind other examples of "brainwashing" in movies and literature and cult history. It was kind of creepy.

[Another use of loaded language is to re-enforce the teachings of the group, as in: "Four legs good; two legs bad" repeated in response to any troubling question, effectively halting all debate.]

I was told repeatedly that there was no right or wrong — only what works (another common chant). This is the essence of values clarification thought reform, and is contrary to my faith and personal belief. I was greatly alarmed to think this was what they were drumming into my son's head.

Something else I noticed that seriously troubled me was how the program seemed to create an adversarial attitude in the parents toward their kids. It seemed like the longer a parent was involved with the program (the more involved they were with the seminars and support groups and so on), the more likely it was that they developed a very cold and callous attitude toward their child. You could easily see the changing attitude in their writing before and after the seminars. At times this coldness was truly chilling. The change in these people was chilling. And yet they seemed to think they were becoming better people. It was disturbing.

Despite these nagging concerns, that fear they instill of certain death or jail for your child had gotten under my skin. I was beginning to think this was a mistake, but I was also very afraid to pull my son for fear that he would end up dead or in jail, and it would then be my fault for not giving the program enough time, my fault for being so paranoid and "stuck in my head." I was at this point afraid of the program (which a clear head would tell you is a very bad sign all by itself), but I was also afraid to leave it (a classic cult member's dilemma). So, I registered for Discovery.

When I got the rules for the Seminar, I realized exactly what it was. This was a Large Group Awareness Training event — not an educational seminar. I had long been aware of the controversy surrounding this kind of training; I had heard and read much about the dangers, and knew something of the history.

I would strongly encourage you to educate yourself as to what an LGAT is. Not all change is good. Change for change's sake alone, is not such a good thing. Sometimes, change is very bad indeed. And sometimes, when under the influence of powerful psychological manipulation, a person is not able to tell the difference. Worse yet, sometimes, a person finds the stress involved in making such a rapid change to life-long values and beliefs too great, and they break down.

Of course, in an LGAT, all participants are *intended* to be broken down, then built back up, with whatever the facilitator wants to put in there. (In there, being your self.) The idea being, they will help you abandon the "junk" holding you back and build you back better than before. The intent is to change you in fundamental ways that will free you to be many wonderful things.
 
In an LGAT, everyone gets broken down. But sadly, not everyone can be put back together without a lot of cracks showing. Also, occasionally, a person who seems to have come through it OK — who seems to have benefited — will, after a time, begin to fall apart and show the symptoms we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress. Some poor souls have psychotic breaks. Mind-breaking is in fact a dangerous process which can be devastating to the integrity of a person's self.

If you would like to learn more about this, read: Cults in Our Midst, by Margaret Singer. The entire book is of great value but I'd suggest paying special attention to the chapter on LifeSpring. You can get used copies very reasonably on Amazon and most any library will have a copy.

So, anyway — as a consequence of my coming to realize "the Program" was teaching a life values philosophy that was opposed to our family's, and that they were using what I believe to be psychologically abusive methods of thought reform to do so — I pulled my son.

Amazingly, it still wasn't easy. Even with all my concern about the deceptive practices, and what I felt was an assault on the minds of the parents and students — I was afraid to pull him. They had gotten their hooks in me, and I was afraid to leave. But I was finally more afraid not to.

At this point, I wanted no part of it; I wanted out, but I had no desire to rock anyone's boat.  I was concerned — but I wouldn't have dreamed the problems were as serious as I later learned they are — and frankly, I would not have thought the reality possible, had I not been slammed with so much evidence.

I don't want to go to much into the situation with my son. I will say he was glad to be away from the program; but there was no great spilling out of information. The stories he told were mostly funny and mostly he talked about his friends. He had lost a good deal of weight off his already lean frame, adding credence to his constant complaint of always being hungry. Also, I noticed that he was wolfing down his food and declaring it great, when it was in fact not very good.

I was still on the BBS, even though this was against the rules. As long as I was "supportive," which in my case meant trying to remain neutral, I could stay on. I wanted to, simply because I had come to think of many of the other parents as friends — and I didn't want to be cut off from the group, as a parent usually is, when they exit the program. I promised not to talk about removing my son — so I was allowed to stay on. I have wondered why this was allowed. Perhaps they felt it was better not to have people question why I wasn't there, as long as I didn't go negative on them.

[I realize now, that this desire not to be cut off from a group one has bonded with, is a powerful influence keeping the group members well in line, and reluctant to break from the group thinking, by doubting or criticizing the program, or the cult leader.]

One day, a program graduate (at the time, program grads were also allowed on the general BBS board) posted a list of links to forums about the program, which had a lot of accounts written by ex-students. I did a quick copy & paste so I could look at them later. I knew the BBS would yank that post, which they did in a matter of minutes. I just happened to be on in that short space of time the post was up.

The accounts I began reading were hair-raising. I was shocked. These kids were out. They had no need to manipulate anyone with tall tales of abuse and neglect; and yet here were dozens and dozens of accounts, all remarkably similar in the treatment they described, telling very disturbing stories about their program experience, from many different facilities associated with the Program. This simply couldn't be dismissed.

I eventually ran across court transcripts containing sworn testimony in a case where a family member was trying to get a child removed from a program facility, and what these kids testified to was deeply disturbing. It supported much that the internet forum kids had related, with very similar accounts of filthy conditions, brutal abuse (physical and mental), forced and extreme exercise, very poor quality diet, and never enough food.

I felt that the shear number of these accounts, combined with their consistency, was a powerful indication of their truth. But I foolishly told myself that none of this seriously alarming stuff applied to my son's particular program. It wasn't mentioned. I still didn't realize they are all just exactly the same.

Shortly after this, I had a conversation with another ex-program parent. She was talking about the physical abuse that is so common. She asked me about beatings; had my son reported seeing anyone beaten up. No, he hadn't (and surely he would have told me), but it nagged at me. That night, I asked him if he had ever seen anyone beat up? The answer was yes, he had. He explained he didn't often actually witness it, but that he did often see his friends showing evidence afterwards, and that he also often heard the kids screaming in pain begging for the staff to stop. I should perhaps explain, that while there were kids who got beaten badly by staff, most of this screaming in pain was a result of restraint, program style; a very painful and very common event often described by ex-students. Why didn't you tell me? I asked. He replied: "I thought you knew."

[The point here being, if you don't ask you'll not be told; they will think you know and approve of it.]

When I asked why he thought there were no accounts about these conditions at his program, when there were for so many others, he pointed out that his program had been a new one; there hadn't been time enough for kids to get out and start talking in any numbers yet. I felt like such a fool. That had never occurred to me.

It was about this time that I got myself evicted from the BBS, and was hence cut off from all contact with the Program faithful.

Since then, I have been an outspoken critic of "the Program." Consequently, I have spoken to, or exchanged email with, countless program students and their parents. Some are pro, but others are like myself, outraged that this has ever taken place, and worse, has been allowed to continue.

I have learned a great deal over the past few years that has been shocking to me. This industry has a long history — going back directly to the now notorious Synanon. All these "behavior modification" programs are built on a Synanon model. The harm this does has been well documented. Yet, it continues. There are many reasons why. Money and influence in economically depressed regions is a major factor. Divorce, remarriage, and the fragmentation of the family is another. Zero tolerance policies are another. Drug war propaganda, keeping parents terrified beyond reason, is yet another.

I am not saying there is no reason to be concerned when a child is doing drugs, but I am saying, those who profit from these programs have a lot of political influence. They keep parental fears fanned to a fevered pitch that is far beyond the reality.

For you upper level parents:

    You say your kid likes it "now?" What about at first? The upper level kids have great advantages and power over the lower level kids. They often quite enjoy this, after so many months of being victimized by the upper levels that came before them. It
's on the lower levels, that they are not allowed to talk, or to look up at the sky, or out of a window. It's on the lower levels, that they are frequently put into torturous restraint for breaking any of the many inane rules. It's on the lower levels, that they are fed so little, and so often placed in the horrible discomfort of stress positions.
 
Once they make it to the upper levels, except for the dread of being dropped back into hell, they may find aspects of the experience gratifying. Often they are extremely reluctant to leave friends behind.

Also, of course, it is possible that they dread and fear the exit plan. If you are holding the exit plan over their head, you can't expect anything like the truth from them. If they are typical, they will tell you exactly what you want to hear and bide their time until they are out from under the threat of the exit plan, or, if they're home, the guarantee.

There is something I sometimes suggest to parents who doubt that it's possible their child has been treated in any abusive or negligent manner by their program. When you see your child, or if they are home, print out a few of the accounts available on the internet. You can find some in "The Tranquility Bay Report" ISAC has put together (http://www.isaccorp.org). Give them to your son or daughter. Give them a highlighter. Have them highlight anything that they witnessed or experienced. But first (and this is extremely important!) — promise them that they will not be penalized or given any consequences for doing this. This is an exercise in truth, and between you and them and no one else.

You see, if they have spent any amount of time in the program, they know that complaints are viewed as manipulation and result in very unpleasant "consequences." Even with heartfelt assurances of confidentiality, they may not trust you (they may never trust you again), but you can try.

If your son or daughter is on — or goes back to — the drugs and so on, please don't fall into too deep a despair. They inevitably grow up. It can take a painfully long time, but they do seem to nearly always eventually pull it together — program or not.

In fact, in all honesty, after talking with dozens of post-program kids, I can tell you a program experience only delays this process. They invariably go further into the depths of whatever they were into before, once they are free of the program or the threat thereof. They seem determined to prove that they belong to themselves and to make up for lost party time. Also, perhaps, they are self medicating. Believe me when I tell you, the ends do not justify the means, besides which, the ends in this case are by no means positive. If you place your kid in a "Specialty Boarding School" or "Boot Camp" you will not get yourself a drug free kid, you will get a drug-abusing kid with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What to do? Educate yourself. Knowledge is power. If drug and alcohol abuse is the main concern, get a copy of: Recovery Options, by Joseph Volpicelli and Maia Szalavitz. It is extremely helpful and full of hope.

And please read: Help at Any Cost, by Maia Szalavitz. It explains the Troubled Teen Industry, with clarity and compassion, and a great deal of well documented research. In the final chapter, the author explains how to evaluate the actual need for intervention, and how to obtain legitimate help if needed.

And you really should educate yourself with regard to cults and thought reform. I do hope you will read Cults in Our Midst. There are numerous other volumes on the subject, and probably many well worth reading, but Cults in Our Midst is a classic which covers the issue in an easy to read and understandable manner.

Finally, if you’re a believer — pray. I honestly do believe a parent's prayers do more good than all the drug therapies in the world combined.[/list]

I realize this is long and a bit rambling. I've tried to hit the points I think most important. If you think me some sort of "chattering pig" and want to dismiss it all as hogwash — well, I regret that — but this is my firmly held opinion, based on my personal experience. I hope that it is helpful.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 12:48:40 AM by Ursus »
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Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 12:46:05 AM »
it is a good letter, but damn.. that is one big assed wall of text. I'd be worried about people even being able to muster up the gumption to finish it all.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 12:52:30 AM »
Parent to Parent? My guess is that if you are a parent trying to figure things out, you will read it all. And more, if we can get them.
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Offline iamartsy

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 01:13:51 AM »
Really good info but way long. Reading on the web is different than reading print. Most of us only read what fits on the screen itself. It was one of the first rules that I learned for web deign.

I know I have to skip a great deal even for what fits on the web. Then again, I am dyslexic. Take that for what it is worth.
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Offline psy

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 01:18:47 AM »
Quote from: "iamartsy"
Really good info but way long. Reading on the web is different than reading print. Most of us only read what fits on the screen itself. It was one of the first rules that I learned for web deign

Very true, but exceptions do apply where a reader is desperate or emotionally invested.  The key, as I see it, is to spark their interest early and keep them reading.

Quote
I know I have to skip a great deal even for what fits on the web. Then again, I am dyslexic. Take that for what it is worth.

You have a very good point, but I think at this point there are other ways to solve it (like a simple link to print the page, or something like that)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 01:28:56 AM »
Quote from: "Ursus"
Parent to Parent? My guess is that if you are a parent trying to figure things out, you will read it all. And more, if we can get them.
Unless it isn't answering the questions you want. I'd load the front end of the letter a bit more and cut it down to a shorter version with the option to link to a longer version myself.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 01:35:46 AM »
I guess I envisioned this going onto a page of parent-to-parent or personal-student-story type links, where people can spend some time clicking each one and reading at their leisure. Some of them may be longer, some shorter, some more erudite, some more to the point, but all very personal. The length didn't faze me, it is perfect in its imperfections.

But, maybe I don't quite see how y'all intend to use this... Edumacate me, if you please...
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Offline psy

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 01:39:19 AM »
Quote from: "Ursus"
But, maybe I don't quite see how y'all intend to use this... Edumacate me, if you please...
It goes here and on other website pages where applicable.  There will probably be more than one letter so I might put excerpts with a [click here for more] tag.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Benchmark Young Adult School - bad place [archive.org link]
Sue Scheff Truth - Blog on Sue Scheff
"Our services are free; we do not make a profit. Parents of troubled teens ourselves, PURE strives to create a safe haven of truth and reality." - Sue Scheff - August 13th, 2007 (fukkin surreal)

Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 05:28:29 AM »
Quote from: "psy"
Quote from: "Ursus"
But, maybe I don't quite see how y'all intend to use this... Edumacate me, if you please...
It goes here and on other website pages where applicable.  There will probably be more than one letter so I might put excerpts with a [click here for more] tag.

Sort of what I was thinking. If you hit someone with a wall o' text I doubt it matters how emotionally pumped up they are. Wall o' text is wall o' text and most folks just won't be bothered.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline wdtony

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 02:55:10 PM »
My thoughts,

I would suggest introducing yourself (parent) and your primary concern to the reader first before going into the writing so the reader knows who you are and what you are attempting to convey. This should fulfill the first two steps taught in sales training: obtaining the attention and interest of the target.

Then I would keep everything as Ursus has laid it out because the personal aspect is important and the content is good. The questions about why certain treatment methods are used is good also.

Then I would include a few paragraphs (at most) on the primary parents page (like iamartsy suggested, keep it short), and then a link to another page as a "read more" kinda thing for the remainder of the writing. (like the gook was saying)

By then you should have the target's desire to read more. After that, it is up to the parent to take action by not placing their child in a program or pulling them out.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Pathway Family Center Truth = http://www.pfctruth.com

Offline iamartsy

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 04:14:16 PM »
Thanks WDTony. You summed up my point well. That is what I have done on my sites at times. When reading is a difficult task, it is easier. The content is great, and the excerpt to print idea is a good solution. I have sent Psy examples of where I have done this myself. The except opens into a new page with a print link. So you can either read the whole page or print it. It is up to the reader at that point.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Rusty Goat

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 08:42:24 PM »
Longwinded, filler filled and sounds like something you'd hear while talking on the phone for 4 or 5 hours with someone but you''re too polite to cut them off,  :) Maybe it's just that I've experienced that once too often or something, but whatever... it's a Great piece, just way long.

Ursus seems the likely editor though... and maybe pick out like 4 or 5 paragraphs, then "read entire text" link Some sites even charge for full text options. Parents with thousands of dollars to place kids might spend a couple bucks reading compelling parent testimonials... you never know.

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

Offline wdtony

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Re: Letter: From parents to Parents
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 09:24:14 PM »
Quote from: "Rusty Goat"
Longwinded, filler filled and sounds like something you'd hear while talking on the phone for 4 or 5 hours with someone but you''re too polite to cut them off,  :) Maybe it's just that I've experienced that once too often or something, but whatever... it's a Great piece, just way long.

Ursus seems the likely editor though... and maybe pick out like 4 or 5 paragraphs, then "read entire text" link Some sites even charge for full text options. Parents with thousands of dollars to place kids might spend a couple bucks reading compelling parent testimonials... you never know.

RG

You heard about the Community Group Sponsored Meeting PFC is having in Porter county this month? I don't know who is invited but it looks like it is on public property (libraries are sometimes weird about this). Hopefully it is a meeting about how much money they are losing.

I'm sure you know about it, but in case you don't, here it is:

Pathway Family Center

Event Type: Community Group Sponsored Meeting
Date: 12/15/2008
Start Time: 5:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
Description:Non profit organizational meeting.
Library: Hageman Library

Westchester Public Library - Hageman Library
100 Francis St
Porter, Indiana 46304
United States
 
Found at:

http://www.wpl.lib.in.us/evanced/lib/ev ... sp?ID=4949
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Pathway Family Center Truth = http://www.pfctruth.com