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Messages - psy

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Let It Bleed / Re: Stuff you've been listening to
« on: June 04, 2013, 03:18:33 PM »
Quote from: "none-ya"
Quote from: "psy"
Opeth - Still Life (5.1 surround version)

Very good progressive rock album and even better in 5.1.

Somehow I never figured you for a prog metalhead.
I just downloaded discographys by  Dragonforce, Nightwatch, Porcupine Tree and Strativarius.
I've been trying to explore as much as I can of everything as there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of good music that's being produced nowadays.  Or maybe i'm just getting old.  Nah...  Music today is really is shit although I've never much liked the 80s either (with exceptions).  I do very much enjoy progressive rock/metal, however, and always have.

I wouldn't dispute that.  Lots of people think the LGAT experience is a positive one long after it's over.  It doesn't make it a positive experience objectively.  Lots of victims of childhood sexual abuse feel the same way, and carry on to abuse others.  I was elated after I went through my LGAT, and it took me a while to realize just how fucked up, for example, the disclosure circles, actually were.  Same with a lot of the exercises.  It's like an "aha" moment when you realize "Oh dear.  That was just plain wrong and manipulative".  I realized it in program, long before most people, and long before I ever found Fornits.  I don't think any "outsider" can read an honest description of an LGAT and not think "there is something wrong here".  A lot of social pressure is needed to keep adults in such seminars.  Kids, as you point out, don't have the option of leaving.

Let It Bleed / Re: Stuff you've been listening to
« on: June 04, 2013, 06:32:04 AM »
Opeth - Still Life (5.1 surround version)

Very good progressive rock album and even better in 5.1.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Re: Amistad
« on: June 04, 2013, 02:54:56 AM »
Quote from: "none-ya"
Does anybody have any knowledge of this place? I know somebody on their way there as an adult.
It's NATSAP, but apart from that I can't tell you much.

Softer? Let's let the reader be the judge.
Quote from: "Goodtobefree"
Perhaps as a former student/client/survivor/inmate/whatever you want to call it, I can shed some light on the subject. I was in peer group 17, I was at ASR from October of 2000 to December of 2001. During my stay I was under the impression that the lifesteps were essentially unchanged from the start of the program up until then. I can't say anything about 2002 and onward. As was said before, they were about anger, insecurities, reconnecting with core self, (aka inner child) and forgiveness. They were held in the library in the academic building, and generally started around mid evening on a friday or saturday night, and lasted between 12 and 24 hours. Hard to tell exactly because they made a policy of taking our watches beforehand. All I know was that at the latest, we were asleep in our beds by the normal lights out the next night, except for the 4th lifestep, where we slept in tents overnight outside the library. That was about 36 hours altogether.

They definitely fed us, slightly less than usual, but more than adequate for a day's nutrition. As for sleep deprivation, we were up way past our bedtimes, which were tightly regulated, so any alterations to the routine were quite noticeable. While we were up late, full of anxiety and stress, we were subjected to a lot of yelling, a lot of exercises and workshops designed to illustrate how our behaviors were hurting us. There was a lot of crying, screaming, cursing, quiet time for writing, (read: kids can't talk, counselors walk around reading what's being written and pontificating about the topics being written about. My point is that it was very intense and quite overwhelming. I don't remember every single detail of the experiences, but I will try to include what I can.

The most memorable thing about the first lifestep was an exercise called dyads. This involved pairing up with a buddy and holding them while screaming at the top of our lungs all the things we hated our parents and ourselves for, for minutes at a time. I distinctly remember spitting up blood and being encouraged to continue screaming. There were also short group therapy sessions, there were exercises involving listing all the things our parents had ever done to hurt us, focusing on all the pain and suffering that we'd ever felt and how angry it made us. After all of us were exhausted we read letters our parents sent us about how much they loved us and why they chose to send us away. Needless to say there was a lot of crying.

The second lifestep had exercises where we had to sit in a circle, while one of us would walk around from person to person to hear whether that one or this one considered them a "giver" or a "taker". After we'd all judged each other we had to say to people why we felt this way about them. Some of this took the form of harsh criticism masked as praise. There were exercises involving how we judge ourselves and how we present ourselves to others. We had to wear cards around our necks that labeled us as one thing or another to supposedly demonstrate how restrictive the images we present to people can be. I remember carving images into cubes of sandstone to symbolize all the good qualities we had and who we really were. I also remember listening to Enya and other new age music, and doing a warped guided meditation which, rather than enhancing relaxation heightens emotions like guilt, sadness and fear. It was either in this lifestep or the third that we did an exercise involving manic, happy music, and all of us being instructed to smile until it started to hurt, and walk around laughing and smiling and looking at each other for about 5-10 minutes with the song on repeat. By the end many were crying, some were on the verge of hysteria.

The third lifestep was probably the most traumatic and damaging. It involved internalizing immense guilt. We had to write down anything and everything that we'd ever done to hurt ourselves, told how horrible it was, then forced to look at childhood pictures of ourselves that our parents had mailed to the school. Sitting there for what seemed like hours being yelled at because all the mistakes, impulses, and self destruction we'd gone through were "horrible things that we, as horrible people had done to the innocent children that we were" We were told to imagine all these wrongdoings being visited upon these children, as if we'd done them to some helpless little kid ourselves. Hurting yourself because you're horribly depressed is suddenly akin to torturing preschoolers. Talk about cognitive dissonance! We had to draw a symbolic portrait of ourselves involving all our interests, loves, etc., then tack the childhood picture to it. The other focus of this lifestep was the emotional manipulations or games that we use in an attempt to fill holes in our lives. We acted out all the games we each typically used, and had our peer group guess which one. Games such as playing the victim, using intimidation, attention games, the "everything is fine" game, etc.

The fourth lifestep involved a modified Native American sweat ritual. One of these took place before the first lifestep, almost a pre lifestep. This ritual was kind of like group therapy in a sauna, with some new age religious undertones. We were smudged with sage before entering the sweat lodge, there was a little discussion about purification. We talked about grudges we held, and how they weighed us down. To illustrate this concept physically, we took a long walk in the woods late at night, each of us carrying a rock about the size of a large melon and being lectured to about how we weigh ourselves down by not letting things go. We weren't allowed to put down the rocks, and the walk lasted somewhere between 1 and 2 hours. Being able to set down the rock was supposed to symbolize how good it feels to let go of anger and resentment. Perfect timing, the program's almost over, let's assuage some of the anger that comes from having a year of your life stolen.

As I understand, you've admitted in the past that this description is more or less an accurate description of what your daughter went through.  I should note that most of what he wrote is more or less a copy of Propheets from CEDU (also very similar to what I went through myself which was also a Propheet based workshop).  Similarly, the "dyads" and the giver-taker exercise among others are also part of LifeSpring.  Here is a more complete description of a giver-taken exercise taken from a pro-LifeSpring website (I recommend reading the entire thing with the fact in mind that this survivor of sexual abuse views what she went through as a positive experience, and no doubt wasted untold thousands on further workshops).   My question to you is whether, like the parent seminar, you feel these things are over the line, and whether you would be willing to tolerate and participate in such activities as a participant?

So when your daughter was in ASR, she didn't go through LifeSteps?  When was she in ASR?

The Troubled Teen Industry / Re: Programs and Politics: a connection?
« on: June 03, 2013, 08:34:52 AM »
Quote from: "blombrowski"
I'm not trying to indicate that capitalism is bad.  It's capitalism that respects the parent as an individual customer, that I was referring to.  One of the differences between the TTI and publicly funded residential treatment, are the lengths to which facilities compete over individual parents, by catering to those individuals selling points.

Facilities in the TTI are more exposed to the whims of the private marketplace than publicly funded residential treatment.  Truth campaigns against UHS have had no impact on their market share, yet truth campaigns against WWASP, Élan, FFS, and Aspen has.

I think you have a very valid point, but at the same time I don't think that public programs are any better.  Parent choice versus Government choice.  I'd almost tend to err with Parent Choice on this one being an absence of kid's choice.  I mean aren't they still digging up bodies at that government funded place in Florida.  China's "treatment" programs for video game "addiction" hardly sound very nice and I'd tend to think most of the abuse at these public facilities goes unnoticed a lot more than at private facilities.  It's not like i'm trying to argue one is better than the other. I'm just saying they're both bad but often in different ways.

Quote from: "Whooter"
I would not tolerate that.  I don't think it is necessary to bully or belittle people.

So you agree that these seminars, as they are used in today's programs, are wrong?  For both parents and kids?  You consider this bullying -- belittling...  abusive?

I had a family member who attended a seminar called EST in the early 80's, it was a 2 weekend 60 hour course and just listening to what the people had to go through, no bathroom breaks etc. it wouldn't be for me.

I've had it verified from CEDU staff (Penelope Valentine, for one), that est and lifeSpring were primary influences in CEDU's Propheets, which form the basis for Aspen's LifeSteps.  Would you say that this entire experiment with LGATs was a mistake?

It wore off in a couple of weeks and all was forgotten. Probably a good exercise in human behavior.

Indeed the intended effects do wear off, but not always the unintended effects.  Margaret T. Singer (not Sanger) and others called these "casualties".  Just to quote "the Lieberman and Yalom studies (19xx) of encounter groups indicated that "the people who experienced negative results in combination with the psychological casualties constituted about 19% ... or for close to one out of five people who participated in these group experiences, the results were harmful""  Given that evidence and the fact both est's successor, Landmark Education and LifeSpring both to my knowledge recommend adults with psychological trauma or difficulty not go through their seminars, do you really think it's a good idea to be putting vulnerable kids who very likely may have psychological issues, through the very same thing (often far worse)?

If I seem to understand you correctly you're arguing:

1, Reviews cannot be trusted when the reviewer has a financial stake in the outcome (not true, see final point) and:
2. You can't tell if people on the Amazon are real or not (you can), or whether they actually bought the product (you can, as you can't review products otherwise).

In the case of Amazon, i'd dispute these two points, as they've mostly fixed any issues they one had, but i'm more interested in the fact you won't concede these two, very related points:

1. Studies cannot be trusted when the people doing the study have a vested financial interest in the outcome and:
2. You can't tell whether the data supplied by a program is accurate or whether it was just made up of whole cloth.

Quote from: "Whooter"
Quote from: "psy"
I am interested to know from somebody like Whooter that if he (or she) were asked to wear a French maid outfit and perform a lap dance in the name of therapy, would he(or she) do it.  Any other examples people can think of?  Let's try and keep this thread clean and free of personal attacks, but I am interested in these hypotheticals.

It would be bad for business.  If they forced me to do that and I walked out wearing it most of the people would leave.  Even staff would resign.
Actually.  I chose that example for a reason. Crossdressing is just one exercise out of many from WWASP's parent seminars.  Yet parents put up with it.  Voluntarily even.  Why?


Somehow the situation had overcome my usual objections to this type of process. I was in a vulnerable position emotionally because of the long-term crises that we had experienced with our daughter. In the past several hours, I had felt myself carried along by a powerful and charismatic speaker; I was experiencing an overload from the amount of information given and speed of delivery. I didn’t have time to emotionally and rationally process what was happening. The confrontation by Don had put me into a state of emotional shock and made feel personally threatened and afraid.

My defenses were down because I was already trusting of Teen Help and expected something different. I felt an urgency to stay and participate in the seminar, because I had been persuaded to believe that my daughter’s life depended upon it. I had been told if I didn’t attend, our family could not participate in the Parent/Child Seminars that were vital to our daughter’s reintegration into our family. I wanted my daughter to come home and I wanted help with the reintegration processes from the program that best understood what she had been through. That was one of the main reasons I was at the Seminar.

Besides, I had already made a significant investment of money, time and energy in this program and my reputation was on the line. If I objected and walked out now, I would have to explain to the newspaper reporter who had interviewed me a few days before why I had done it.

I had referred three people to Teen Help and wanted to believe I had done the right thing. No one likes to feel they have made a mistake and endorsed a company they will later wish they hadn’t. I had trusted Teen Help and the results I was seeing with my daughter’s progress in the program. I would not have referred families to this program if I had had any doubts.

Besides, I owed R & D Billing, the billing company for Tranquility Bay and Teen Help, a sizeable amount of money and I was paying them off for my daughters care with referrals to the Teen Help was in a financially vulnerable situation and felt an obligation to protect the program’s best interests.

All of these reasons contributed to my decision to stay and take the Silent Vow. These were certainly not normal circumstances and I was not behaving in a manner consistent with my normal behavior. I did not, however think all of this through at the time. Rather, I was swept along in an experience that seemed to be accelerating in pace and unusualness. I also assumed that things would eventually explain themselves and that I was through the worst part of the seminar.

Read the full thing here.

Many program parents do, in fact, go through LGAT seminars similar to LifeSteps, Propheets, WWASP's discovery seminars, and others.  They're usually not quite so severe, but i'm interested to know, Whooter, if after reading that, you would tolerate what those parents did?

Quote from: "Whooter"
Psy, if you look closely at the reviewers of the blender, you selected at random, you will notice that they have written hundreds of reviews on various products.  The 5th one down “Joanna Daneman” has written reviews on 8 sewing machines over the past few weeks (for a total of $2,300) along with over 100 reviews on several other products, over 500 in the past year and 2,500 total. Her history can be seen here (Joanne Daneman).

And if you look at her ratings, you can see she doesn't give everything 5 stars so that would seem to conflict with what you're saying.  Also, she seems to be the only "professional reviewer" out of the first page.  The rest have reviewed anywhere from 1-4 products to several pages of reviews.  My guess is Amazon tries to actively discourage the kind of astroturfing you're suggesting happens as it's in their interest to provide customers with accurate ratings.  If it gets known that their rating systems are bad, customers will go elsewhere.  It is indeed always going to be a back and forth fight, but additions like the "real name" system, and verification that you have indeed bought the product do help things.  Such shenanigans don't go unnoticed and eventually the clever algorithms balance things out.  Sadly, unlike amazon, we have no way here of, for example, verifying whether a poster is indeed a program parent as claimed or is instead a paid representative of say -- Aspen Education.  Like you said, "buyer beware".

The ones who had problems with their product have no history except the negative review.

Now that's just no true at all.  What about this one (2 reviews, mixed ratings)?  Or this one (4 pages of reviews, mixed ratings)?  Out of the three negative ratings on the first page, those two seemed to both rate products from time to time.  The one with two reviews reviewed the other product very positively.  So two out of three people who rated the product negatively both had rated other products and both had a history of rating things they liked positively.

If you're trying to argue that anybody who ever reviews a product positively is paid to do so -- well.  That's just silly.  You can try and tell me that all those people who liked the blender were paid zombies, but that doesn't jibe with the facts that most of the posters are verified real names (based on their credit cards), and most did not make a job out of rating stuff.  Even if what you were saying was true. Wouldn't that mean that there should be more positive program reviews here, and not less?  If so many people are helped by programs as you claim, as your "study" claims, where are the positive reviews?  Where are the hordes of new graduates out to share their thanks with the world for how their lives were saved?  Why is it that the vast majority of program reviews are bad?

You argue that if they show up, they're driven off, but more often what I've observed is a more of a Q&A sort of thing where questions are asked that lead the students to think about whether, for example, that French Maid's outfit and lapdance were really appropriate as therapy at Aspen Education's Mount Batchelor Academy.  Here's even an interview with a Carlbrook program parent.  Other times it's with students (and i'm having a difficult time finding a good example as positive reviews of programs are hard to come by).  And more often than not, their opinions change.  To explain why, I'll quote Richard Ofshe on thought reform / coercive persuasion.

The surprising aspect of the situationally adaptive response is that the attitudes that develop are unstable. They tend to change dramatically once the person is removed from an environment that has totalistic properties and is organized to support the adaptive attitudes. Once removed from such an environment, the person is able to interact with others who permit and encourage the expression of criticisms and doubts, which were previously stifled because of the normative rules of the reform environment (Schein 1961, p. 163; Lifton 1961, pp. 87-116, 399-415; Ofshe and Singer 1986).

In other words. It's not like it's impossible to find positive reviews. It's just that if you ask the same person who wrote a positive reviews to rewrite it in a few years, the content and attitude would likely be wildly different.  That's why you won't find positive reviews here.  As soon as somebody is exposed to "heretical" information that contradicts the group dogma, they either shut off completely and leave the site in terror, or they find themselves absorbed in new and different ideas.  Very often coming to the conclusion that their once positive views of their experiences in, for example, wearing a french maid outfits, were not so positive or healthy after all.  That's why I think there aren't very many positive "reviews".

I too am interested in what would happen if parents, not specifically whooter, spent time in program and underwent many of the same things the kids did.  I'd wager they'd withdrawal themselves pretty quickly, but at what point would the treatment become unacceptable.  We know parents will subject themselves to seminars fairly similar to what the kids will, but what about raps?  What about the crazier aspects of the kids's  seminars?

I am interested to know from somebody like Whooter that if he (or she) were asked to wear a French maid outfit and perform a lap dance in the name of therapy, would he(or she) do it.  Any other examples people can think of?  Let's try and keep this thread clean and free of personal attacks, but I am interested in these hypotheticals.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Programs and Politics: a connection?
« on: June 01, 2013, 09:40:47 AM »
Quote from: "blombrowski"
The industry takes a strictly capitalist, individualist, parents' rights model of treatment.
Sorry, what there?  Parents' rights I grant you but capitalism is irrelevant and it seems to me a viewpoint that respects the individual would very much be in opposition to the industry.  I'm not trying to jump on you but do keep in mind that bringing politics into an argument unnecessarily alienates half your audience (and likely more than half of those who count in this case).

Quote from: "Whooter"
Quote from: "blombrowski"
"Designed to be abusive" might not be the right terminology - the intent in most programs is not to abuse.  However, my hypothesis is that the CEDU influenced programs are designed in such a way that it should be expected to cause harm.

Lifesteps, raps, etc. were designed to be stressful.  If I take a group of a hundred random people and prepare them for a marathon exactly the same way, some people are going to be successful and be in the best shape of their life.  Some people are going to finish the marathon, but have permanent knee damage.  And probably at least one person will suffer a fatal heart attack, either before, during, or after the marathon.

I like that analogy better myself

Of course you do.  Marathons are healthy, or at least neutral activities for 99.9% of people (unless, perhaps, the Tsarnaev family is around).  That's where the analogy falls apart.  The goal of these activities is to affect rapid change without much consideration as to it's permanence, or it's safety.  90% of the time they affect the temporary change desired with lasting effects that can in and of themselves be considered to be negative.  Perhaps 1% "freak out" during the process and require serious psychological treatment to deal with it.  Marathons aren't designed to gain psychological compliance manipulatively.  Somebody running a marathon does so with informed consent.

Quote from: "Whooter"
Lets take Walmart, since you brought it up.  Imagine 100 people buying new televisions from Walmart and 2 of them failed to work after installing them on the wall.  How many phone calls would Walmart receive?  Who would be most likely to post their experience the guy who was happy or the one that got stiffed?
And yet somehow people who are satisfied do post, say, amazon ratings, and not just the unsatisfied ones.  Here.  That's a customer review page for a blender I selected at random.  As you can see, satisfied customers will not just tick a star, but also write walls of text on what they thought of the product.  Most of the reviews are very good while one in particular is very bad, due to the unit failing early, customer support being bad, and it taking a long time to get a replacement.  According to your theory, none of those positive ratings should be there.  Yet they are.   The vast majority of them are.  What I take from this is that the blender is very good, but in the off chance it breaks, i'm SOL.  Even I write reviews, and the vast majority are positive.  I can't even remember the last negative review I wrote.

Why is it that the vast majority of "reviews" here by former participants in programs are negative?  Is there something about programs that make them unique when it comes to "customer" reviews.  I grant you that it's not a valid scientific study (and neither is Behrens), but at the same time I think most who shop online will tell you that customer ratings, averaged, are generally a pretty good indicator of the quality of the product.  Is there something unique to programs that exempts them from this principle that applies to pretty much everything I can think of?  Or is the more plausible explanation that the quality of the product really isn't that great in reality.  Can you explain this?  I mean it's not like i'm removing positive reviews.  After all.  You're still around, despite almost universal insistence I get rid of you.

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