Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Public Sector Gulags

Guided Group Interaction (GGI)

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Guided Group Interaction (GGI) is the direct predecessor to Positive Peer Culture (PPC), a TC-like modality used, in one form or another, in many if not most programs found on fornits.

To my knowledge, GGI was first formulated in the early 1940s, primarily by Lloyd W. McCorkle, as a behavior modification tool in "rehabilitating" military prisoners at the Fort Knox Barracks in Kentucky.

The intent was not rehabilitation which addressed the needs of the individuals in question, although I'm sure some such gains were made. Rather, the form of group therapy then known as GGI was expressly for the purpose of returning these soldiers to the arena of war.

Would make sense that upon quacks hearing this that they would try it out by themselves.


--- Quote from: "Xelebes" ---Would make sense that upon quacks hearing this that they would try it out by themselves.
--- End quote ---
Well, yes. And this is in fact what ultimately happened. But not without the government's help and encouragement, at least initially!

There was a time when the juvenile justice system in certain states was actively recruiting participation from the private sector, trying to get them to employ this "new" methodology. Oliver Keller's actions in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as Director of Florida's Division of Youth Services, and later as head of Florida's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, certainly come to mind here.

Keller was recruited from Illinois to help close down large abusive institutions like Marianna. GGI was among Keller's favored and recommended methodologies, when attempting to court private investment in what he referred to as "smaller community-based programs."

Back then, psychological coercion was seen as a kinder gentler form of behavior modification, when compared to the crude and more brutally obvious physical coercion then practiced in juvenile corrections.

Looks very much like GGI represents, at the very least, a cornerstone of many troubled teen programs.  Certain early experimental troubled teen program models who’s methodology is documented, such as Provo Experiment in Delinqency Rehabilitation, and The Silverlake Experiment, refer to GGI as being the adopted model. The Highfields experimenal treatment project for youthful offenders was the first of this kind, by Lloyd McCorkle, using Guided Group Interaction, which was first used to treat delinquent soldiers.

I don’t know exactly how many worms are in this can, but so far this is what I see in there.

For starters I’ll give my impression of  Lloyd McCorkle’s book, “The Highfields Story: An Experimental Treatment Project for Youthful Offenders. 1958”  Generally, I am struck by the familiar feel it has with descriptions of thought reform and human relations training, it really walks and quacks just like those things. So far I’ve not seen evidence that GGI was developed as a merger of those things other than within the evolution of program history itself.

For a prospective troubled teen program owner this book would be rewarding I think, however as a research piece into programs the bouquet leaves something to be desired. The scope of the work done emphasizes it’s own limitations when it says

“There are two kinds of rules at Highfields: general or formal rules, of which there are only two; and informal rules, which are innumerable…..  It may be that one of the employees decides to put a rule into effect in order to make his own work more efficient. If he feels it is of sufficient importance to require the approval of  the director, he will discuss it with him. Ordinarilly, however, this is not necessary.” P.60

In reference, the only two “general, formal” rules at Highfields were not being able to leave he property without adult accompaniment, and not permitted to engage in conversation with female patients at the state hospital where they work, a regiment of Highfields.

So the scope of this work is limited to the general model of the program, and describes little of the creative possibilities  in the “informal” category, in which the Provo Experiment may show more diversity.

Like just about any program, Highfields centers around regular group therapy sessions, 3-7 days a week and 2-4 hours at a time, these are the Guided Group Interaction sessions. Unfortunately, this is the area which is lacking in detail, understandably so, though, those are left to the professors of psychology and sociology.  And so the book describes the basic, uncreative, process of reform in GGI.

“Guided Group Interaction is based on psychological and sociological conceptions. But psychological and sociological terms are not used in the sessions.

Only two concepts are voiced by the boys. The first is that of “problem”. What is my problem? How did I become a problem to myself and others? How can I go about to solve my problem?

The second concept is that of progress. Have I made progress in solving my problem?  Am I making progress in solving my problem?” P.vii

And it is obvious in cases that GGI at Highfields makes use of rules that pit one another in a therapeutic game. A competition to progress and graduate from Highfields. The limited transcripts of the sessions were quite indicative of that, and there are quite a few other notable points in this book.

But like I said, can o worms, general impression.



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