Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Facility Question and Answers

Carlbrook School


Brainwashing, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, etc. can mess you up for life.  On 'Carlbrook Students for Accountability and Oversight' FB page , people are posting abuses, their challenges with PTSD, etc. but is anything happening to change things for future kids?   Any accountability/refunds for those who were abused?


From Marcus Chatfield  -  a survivor of Straight Inc, which was a privately operated franchise of federally-developed behavior modification facilies which were endorsed by the White House.
Brainwashing Is Real and It's Really Not Therapy
I was a 16 year old pot head.   I needed help and my parents decided I should be put in a program.   When I mentioned this to a friend he said, "Don't go Marcus, they'll brainwash you in there!"   I knew better though, there was no such thing as brainwashing.   It only happened in cartoons, the cat would brainwash the mice, their eyes became turning spiral pinwheels and they held their little arms out in front of them like zombies.   This was brainwashing, it was cartoon fiction and I wasn't scared. I knew   what would happen in there, I'd get help.   I was going for therapy.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), all ethical therapy consists of proven, safe and effective practices that a client or client guardian has consented to.    This is one reason that the practice of coercive persuasion and thought reform is officially non-therapeutic.   The methods used have not been proven to be safe or effective, so why are they legal?    

Verbal attack, isolation and forced exercise;   food, water and sleep deprivations; communication and toilet restrictions;   humiliation rituals, emotional abuse and manipulation are all practices currently employed on a daily basis, as   "therapy" for troubled teens.   The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has acknowledged thousands of reported claims of abuse in today's behavior modification programs, but no one has yet addressed the technology at work in these facilities.   This technology is based on several forms of   manipulation.   These efforts to manipulate behavior through intentionally inducing stress, are inherently abusive, often violent and many teens have died while subjected to this type of "therapy."      

The APA   does not officially acknowledge the existence of brainwashing.   There are legal questions and implications that would be very difficult to address.   There are also   many crimes that could   potentially be defended with a plea of   "I'm innocent, I was brainwashed!"   It's a can of legal worms. But while focusing on brainwashing's potential effects on the judicial system,   the damaging effects of the process itself have been ignored.   There is an overwhelming amount of personal testimony about the negative long-term side-effects that brainwashing can inflict. I personally believe there are also long-lasting physiological changes in the brain that occur when adolescents are subjected to thought reform and behavior modification in an institutional setting.  

I believe that the underlying reason for the perpetual abuses in the troubled-teen industry is that the "theory of   brainwashing" has not yet been officially "proven."   The technology cannot be banned until it is proven to exist.   There is a   system at work within the systematic abuses.   Until the system itself is identified and dismantled, the tell-tale "symptoms" will persist.

Physical and psychological abuse is built into many of these programs by design.   According to several different experts on the subject, the exhaustion and pressure that is induced by sleep deprivation, hunger, fatigue and emotional manipulation, "unfreezes" the psychological framework.   Through this orchestrated crisis,   a new identity is instilled by manipulating the environment and the emotions of the subject to an extreme degree until the "changed" mind of the subject has undergone "re-freezing."   This process requires varied amounts of time according to the individual character of each client, which is why there is no fixed length of time to "complete" this type of treatment.

Much of the power of this process relies on the secretiveness surrounding it.   The methods work best if the intention behind them is not revealed to the subject.   Understanding the principles and dynamics involved in this behavioral technology, reduces their effectiveness.   Could you give an informed consent to treatment if it were described like this?... " The process then is the abrupt dissolution of the structure of intentionality by an electrochemical discharge in the brain, leaving the brain in a state of malleability for the construction of a new belief structure by which to guide behavior." (Walter J. Freeman, Chaotic State Transitions in Brains As a Basis For the Formation of Social Groups, 1995)   While these underlying principles and dynamics are not revealed to the client or the legal guardian, a consent to treatment is impossible.  

The effectiveness of coercive thought reform upon teens has not been proven and the ethical questions have been quietly ignored.   The debate within the APA has centered around various legal implications but questions about the potential for harm have been avoided.   By ignoring the unproven "theory of brainwashing," the APA has been ignoring the damage done by the practice of brainwashing.  

These practices have never been proven safe and as an unproven treatment, are technically experimental. Also, according to several prominent experts that I've spoken with, there has not been any research on the long-term side-effects of this type of treatment upon adolescents. Perhaps the most relevant research is a European study that was recently conducted, which showed that 80% of adult survivors of institutional child abuse in Ireland, still suffer from psychological damage.

Adolescents who have been subjected to "brainwashing" were often witness to a   heartbreaking cruelty.   These stories combined tell the larger story of an invisible monster, sold to parents and the public as therapeutic growth.    "Brainwashing" is not therapy, it's refined torture.    Merely addressing the symptoms of the process has enabled the abuses to continue.

(please write and call the APA if you have any questions or if you would like to share your brainwashing experiences with them.)

APA Main Telephone (800) 374-2721 or (202) 336-5500

APA Ethics (800) 374-2721 or (202) 336-5930 GAO Report on Deaths and Abuses in Troubled Youth Programs General information on "brainwashing" ... V1/95.html Walter J Freeman, Chaotic State Transitions of the Brain, 1995 ... 018-13.pdf Walter J Freeman, the physiology of thought reform Lifton's conditions for thought reform ... singer.htm Margaret Singer's Conditions for thought reform information about coercive persuasion Joost Meerloo, Rape of the Mind ... 3A+Preface Michael Langone, Preface to Academic Disputes and Dialogues Collection   1959 UN Declaration of Rights of the Child ... ildren&Cr1 =   Request From UN to the US and Somalia to Ratify the Rights of the Child ... hing3.html APA Memorandum on Brainwashing 1983 ... ist23.html   APA Task Force Report ... hing4.html APA Memorandum on Brainwashing 1986 ... stice.aspx APA Statement on reforming the Juvenile Justice System 2010 more info on "brainwashing" ... OL5-03.pdf 2010 Report on Irish adult survivors of institutional child abuse Congressman George Miller's proposed legislation to establish federal regulations

Good article. Thanks.  Praying that something is being done to make Carlbrook a real therapeutic school where the kids are truly the priority instead of the almighty dollar.

Parents... do your homework, google, search, etc. before sending your precious child to a 'therapeutic' boarding school.  PLEASE.

Now taking requests for targeted facilities
People are not really sure exactly how many abusive treatment facilities there are. So if anyone knows about some places that are not on the "Targeted Facilities" list at the bottom of the page, put them in the comment section of this update. You can however cite some proof on weather or not their abuse is top notch or from your own experience if your a survivor.

This list really counts to let the general public know about these abusive for-profits. The bigger the list, the better!
at 12:23 AM  

ECaldwell7777September 6, 2012 12:54 PM
Carlbrook School in Halifax, VA:
I personally know the following from an on site visit and interviews with staff members:
1. Students are not allowed to speak to other students (this is called "bans") and are put on "bans" when they arrive.
2. If a student breaks "bans," another rule or has a "bad attitude," they are placed in a classroom called the "reflection room" by three staff members and the "suspension room" by some of the students. They are made to stay there from approx. 7:30 am until 10:30 pm with two 45 minute breaks. They are not to speak or talk and are allowed to ask four questions. A sign on the wall made it clear that the room attendant had the discretion of deciding whether or not a question could be asked in the first place. We were told that the students could be in the room anywhere from one day to 6 weeks.
All phone calls are monitored.
All mail is monitored.
Students must "earn" the right to speak with their parents.
All parent - teacher conferences are held off site at a resort in North Carolina.
There is one RN on staff who is present two days per week.
There is no real infirmary - just a small room in a trailer that has a larger room that serves as the music room/"activities" room, and two small adjoining rooms with bunkbeads. The whole building was very, very dark inside with minimal lighting.
Most of the buildings (not shown in the fancy brochure we received) were modular trailer units, small and dark.
The grounds were very unkempt and the boys dorm was filthy. Four bunk beds were crammed in each room, with clothes hanging visible (no closets), the bathroom was filthy (they are building a new very nice dorm, however).
We asked the school what "therapist" they would pair our child with and we were told they would not provide that information unless our child was enrolled. When we asked for a list of credentials of their staff therapists, we got the same answer.
We were not allowed to see the building "up in the woods" (as it was described) where they conduct the large group workshops they refer to as therapy.
They charge $7,100 per month to attend - double that of most all Ivy League Schools.
They have approximately 100 plus students.
Students are not allowed to come home for holidays.
Students are at no time allowed access to internet or cell phones.
Visit and any communication with family is "earned." We were told that we should expect not to have our child come home for any visit for nine months to a year.
When we visited, we hardly saw any students, which we thought was very strange. We were told that most of them were up in the workshop building have a workshop and it would not be over till late.
The few students we did see told us they were not allowed to talk about the workshops.


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