Author Topic: who's in charge here?  (Read 3456 times)

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Offline Anonymous

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« on: May 22, 2006, 11:36:00 PM »
can someone please tell me when dv started using professional staff members in addition to those 'groomed' in the concept?

i attended Mt Vernon Outreach between 1978-80. there were no non-concept staff at that time--except for the seccretary and the teacher. my peer was the first group of teen soft-core users that dv encountered, so we were treated by former "dope-fiends" in the old-school techniques regardless of our history. it was rough.

i have not kept in touch with the program or any TC info since i graduated and i am somewhat shocked by the rapid update i received by reading these posts this evening.

please inform, as i have definite opinions i'd like to share here.
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Offline odie

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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 12:27:00 PM »
Professional staff have been affiliated with DVI since its inception in 1963. Although clinical staff has mostly come from its own ranks, there has been a rise in the mixture of professional staff since the mid eighties.

Ardent advocates of prohibition were obsessed by a zeal that bordered on fanaticism. They supported politicians who voted to outlaw liquor, no matter how much of it they privately consumed, and spurned politicians who voted against prohibition, no matter how sober they were personally.
http://www.ncpoliticalreview.com/1101/Ervin/cohen.htm' target='_new'>Sen. Sam Ervin, Preserving The Constitution

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 12:38:00 PM »
thanks odie.

i always felt the use of para-professionals had its benefits and drawbacks...

the benefits were obvious at the onset of the program: most residents had been sent to some sort of psychiatrist or psychologist before DV, without significant results. it was generally thought that we could "get over" on these bookish sorts because they had no background in being drug abusers. being in DV with former addicts as staff and your peer meant that we all had a reference point, the so-called "common ground" of the DV philosophy. we would be caught out in our "manipulations" by those with similar dope-fiend mentalities.

i recall being somewhat impressed with this idea at the beginning. we were compelled to "relate" to our peer and "identify" our problems with those of others--that we were not alone. i remember finding some solace in this process because i had been a rather alienated youth.

the drawbacks to the method, imo, came later in ones stay in the program when this template (cookie cutter?) didn't always apply as well. i feel this process occurred mainly because the staff were merely individuals who could follow their own history and the concept dogma. since there was no specialized therapy or nuanced understanding of each resident, this lead to problems as one progressed in the program.

1. staff had their favorites. they usually focused in on a resident that reminded them of their own struggle OR paid attention to one or more kids out of a blatant attraction to them. i was witness to certain people just coasting thru the program because of this nepotism. it was preferential and unfair.

2. staff was limited in their knowledge of mental health issues beyond being "theiving, lying junkies who felt bad about themselves". while a "low self image" based on prior conduct was common to all, specific issues could not be handled properly by the staff. three examples: true disorders (ADD, bipolar, etc.); true criminality; and homosexuality. i was witness to these short-comings repeatedly while in the program...

the staff were in over their heads with the residents who displayed an otherwise diagnosable mental illness. instead of referring them to a proper facility, they kept them on or shuffled them upstate. this was so wrong, never mind unethical.

the staff was ill-prepared to deal with the more serious sociopathic residents. people that "copped" to felonious activities or fantasies were not treated for these specific symptoms nor reported to the authorities. this was criminal in and of itself!

staff was uninterested in grasping the up-to-date psychiatric assessment of homosexuality (removed from the APA books as a mental disorder in '74). staff dealt with the gay residents based on their own values. they practiced their own distorted reparative therapy. this was biased and harmful.


the up-shot? well, i really feel that it would have been a good idea to have some sort of professional involved in our "therapy"--someone to counteract the incompetence and bias. i did graduate, but it took longer because i was not a "favorite" and i was gay. i've always felt that i completed the program in spite of the concept and its staff (if that makes any sense).
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Offline Troll Control

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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 12:50:00 PM »
I think your post is very insightful and well said.

I was one of the professional staff at DVI-ADU and I can certainly identify with your views of how the clients were treated.  I have always believed that those kids made it in spite of DVI, not because of it.

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2006, 08:19:00 PM »
thanks for responding DJ--I like your id.

i've read thru the boards and your posts are good. i can imagine how it was difficult for you upstate being in ADU. i don't think they even had that process for adolescents "back in the day". teens were usually sent to Millbrook, if i remember correctly.

i remember having a major GM after splitting with two residents and getting high. i got a really severe LE: stocking cap, sign (Don't Touch. Poison. with a skull and cross bone image) and a ban with the family. The other 2 kids were favorites and just got put on a ban! The House was closed too.

They wanted to send me upstate. i asked if i could bring my stereo and posters for my room--they had a good laugh about that! so i begged to be given another chance because i knew it would be all downhill from there. i would never have made it out of there to Re-Entry, i just knew it.

my point is this: we were definitely drug abusers of a sort, but when it was all said and done we were really just brats.

i'm not sure what the best therapy is for alienated youth that consistently use drugs. i know that the Closed-Door Policy and the threat of going upstate and being dislodged from mainstream society--never mind the threat of more Haircuts and LEs--was enough to make me shape up eventually.

well, i HAD too. No?

but is that the best reason? i'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
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Offline Troll Control

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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2006, 01:42:00 PM »
Well, being "forced" to change because of environmental factors certainly doesn't lead to meaningful, lasting, internalized change.  In other words, it's environment specific and the behavior change doesn't follow the subject into new environments.

I'll tell you the single biggest indicator that Daytop could not have cared less if you actually made meaningful change:  "Act As If."  This means, don't rock the boat, shut your mouth and keep your head down and you'll get out.

In reality, Daytop uses an ineffective behavioral technique called "negative reinforcement."  This is widely misunderstood as the application of unpleasant consequences following an undesired behavior.  That isn't what it is.

"Negative reinforcement" is actually the cessation of an unpleasant stimulus following a desired behavior.  

For example, you arrive at Daytop and people are in your face yelling, screaming, having "group on you," etc.  This is the "unpleasant stimulus," if you will.  Upon complete submission and acquiescence to the "program," they esentially leave you alone - the cessation of the unpleasant stimulus.

This is analagous to the classical negative reinforcement experiments involving lab animals.  

An example: A rat is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses a bar and the shock stops. The rat receives another shock, presses the bar again, and again the shock stops. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping of the shock.

This technique was shown to be ineffective by the very founders of behavior modification who developed this concept (you can research B.F. Skinner, J.B. Watson, et al).

In short, the concept of Daytop and other coercive BM facilities is flawed to its very core and the new programs we see springing up are simply a rehashing and repackaging of the same discredited approach.

Thanks for the compliment, by the way.  I find an honest, fact-based approach makes the "true believers" of programs extremely angry, as they would have us all respond to scientific, intellectual problems with feelings-based, unscientific, emotionally evocative approaches.  

The problem is that they don't work and have been proven without doubt not to work...

Thanks for your insight from a resident's perspective.  I'd recommend you talk to Odie for another perspective - that of a program grad staff member who has had quite a bit of continuing classical education.

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2006, 03:57:00 PM »
interesting thoughts. in many ways I knew i was being brain-washed to a degree and definitely rat-shocked, but the end goal was getting out of dv and on with my life--so i permitted the concept to take hold, to "trust", to "act as if", etc.

your comment about bm therapy not leading "to meaningful, lasting, internalized change" is one that i've struggled with for years because i did remain drug-free, became a happier and healthier person, and went on to see much professional and academic success. i did not rely on the program or my peer afterwards and did not become an anti-drug fanatic either.

in the mid-80s I was contacted by my best friend in the program. she was in a bad way, being one of the kids who had had more severe mental issues that were sidelined by dv staff. she had since been institutionalized, diagnosed and medicated. she told me that most of our peer was using drugs again (one particular "favorite" had been doing coke 2 months up to her graduation date and went thru under the radar!), one was dead and one was in jail.

i was devastated. instead of feeling some much deserved schadenfreude, due to staff's prediction that i would "never make it", i felt as if a cruel joke had been played on me--that i was the only fool had that had internalized dv's concept. it was a huge wtf moment!

i mulled on it for quite some time and the only idea i could ever come up with is that i must have been the only one that actually graduated without "guilt". that i really had opened myself up to change and worked on my problems (cause and thus symptom). and that in the end i just didn't need drugs anymore.

but did that mean that dv works? i have never been sure because of that staggering attrition rate of my peer.
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Offline odie

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 10:34:00 AM »
One of the biggest problems with Daytop throughout it's history has been the one size fits all theory of treatment. While some of the bm techniques used with adults do work, I am a perfect example of it, it must never be applied to some populations, especially adolescents. Also the unwillingness of some of the old timers to own up to the fact that they hurt more people than they helped will continue until they either retire or join the ranks of some of their peers looking for new livers because they have stuck to the belief that they can drink responsibly. These are the people from a time when in order to graduate Daytop you had to go out and have a drink with the director that are in the upper management of Daytop. Unfortunately there are some that blindly followed them and continue to work there in some Director roles. I'd say there has been much growth in many of the staff that truely want to make a difference but they are fighting seemingly unsurmountable odds when dealing with those with tunnel vision. I left Daytop six years ago but keep a watchful eye on the organization. I know their secrets and they know who I am and I don't fear them whatsoever. I know they are a very powerful and influential butI also know that I have become a better person in spite of putting up with some of their antics. :wave:

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2006, 12:20:00 PM »
Quote
On 2006-06-29 07:34:00, odie wrote:
"because they have stuck to the belief that they can drink responsibly"

hey odie. i thought they got rid of drinking privileges in the late 80s. are you opposed to that process? i always thought it was the distinguishing aspect of the DV Re-entry phase--it set it apart from 12-step programs. mind you, we never drank with staff. your "drinkers" was meant to be used at a wedding to toast or to have a beer with a restaurant meal--not to sit at home with a case or at a bar with your peer knocking back shots.
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Offline odie

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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2006, 12:52:00 PM »
My personal belief is there is no such thing as responsible drinking for a person that has been diagnosed with a dependence to alcohol.However since Daytop is licensed by the State of NY as an Alcohol and Substance Abuse treatment program, it should be educating its clients on physiological and psychological effects of continued use of alcohol and also teaching them some decisional balancing skills, neither of which were being taught when I left there in 2000. It is ultimately the choice of the individual whether or not to continue using any substance. My statement regarding many of the upper management in Daytop is true and that is why it will be a long time for anything meaningful to change. :wave:

"When did I realize it? Well, one day I was praying and suddenly realized I was talking to myself."
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