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Public Sector Gulags / Re: Guided Group Interaction (GGI)
« on: October 08, 2011, 12:12:25 AM »
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.

feelin a bit huxleyish out as of late.

Thought Reform / Re: Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« on: August 31, 2011, 07:55:30 PM »
Can you describe the work you had to do, Gandolflundgren?

Feed Your Head / Re: Synanon Song (This is the really the weirdest song)
« on: August 28, 2011, 01:22:57 AM »
Ok that is the best song ever, except for that it has been stuck in my head all day now.  Wish it didn’t cut out, awesome lyrics till that point.

Thought Reform / Paul Morantz: The Center for Feeling Therapy
« on: August 28, 2011, 12:07:58 AM »
I think someone who deserves an honorable mention here is none other than cult exterminator extraordinaire, vanquisher of Synanon, Paul Morantz. Paul Morantz is a lawyer who has handled some high profile cult cases, notably successfully suing Synanon.

Although on Paul’s website he helpfully suggest reading through the material in a certain chronological order, ... t-section/    I am skipping ahead to his great story about the Center for Feeling Therapy, “what the L.A. Times called “the longest, costliest, and most complex psychotherapy malpractice case in California history.” Great read, as relevant as his work on Synanon. Here it is



Thought Reform / Re: Carl Rogers and the CIA
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:57:03 PM »
I am going to quote some related material by Rogers. Before I do, I think mentioning that Carl Rogers’ legacy was to lay the foundations for the humanistic psychiatry, which came to being as a response to behaviorism. As well Rogers is famous for popularizing the encounter group, which was his humanistic application of sensitivity training developed by Kurt Lewin and the NTL.  So I am starting with this quote, which I believe embodies some of the underlying philosophy behind much of the pursuits of humanistic psychiatry and the human potential movement.

“I feel a deep concern that the developing behavioral sciences may be used to control the individual and to rob him of his personhood. I believe, however, that these sciences might be used to enhance the person.”    – (foreward to pt VII The Behavioral Sciences and the Person. ‘On Becoming a Person’ -Rogers  1961)

This entire section is, in hindsight of todays knowledge of his activities, a statement of what he knew and discovered from his involvement in the mind control network. Sorry, I won’t be typing out the entire section, very worth reading, but only this part which refers back to Woff and Hinkle from earlier in this thread.

P.375 “We know how to disintegrate a man’s personality structure, dissolving his self confidence, destroying the concept he has of himself, and making him dependent on another. A very careful study by Hinkle and Wolff of methods of communist interrogation of prisoners, particularly in Communist China, has given us a reasonably accurate picture of the process popularly known as “brainwashing.”…. In a sense it is misleading to describe these methods as a product of the behavioral sciences. They were developed by Russian and Chinese police, not by scientists. Yet I include them here since it is very clear that these crude methods could be made decidedly more effective by means of scientific knowledge which we now possess. In short our knowledge of how personality and behavior can be changed can be used constructively or destructively, to build or destroy persons.”

Thought Reform / Re: Carl Rogers and the CIA
« on: August 20, 2011, 06:36:59 PM »
Lets connect the dots. In 1953 Cia director Allen Dulles authorizes Mk ultra. He contacts Harold Wolff to conduct studies on brainwashing, which he does with Lawrence Hinkle. It wasn’t until 1955 until Wolff heads up the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, the cia front, operating until 1965, and with which many notable figures were affiliated with.

This is a paper from 1957 by Hinkle and Wolff called, “The Methods of Interrogation and Indoctrination Used by the Communist State Police”

It begins, “Scientific interest in the methods used by communist state police was stimulated by the experiences of the United Nations prisoners of war during the Korean campaign. Since then a considerable body of information has been assembled through the efforts of many investigators. Our knowledge of these methods was obtained during an investigation carried out from 1954 to 1956 with the collaboration of the United States Department of Defense.”

So anyways, Hinkle and Wolff’s paper speaks for itself I think, and it is clear then that Mk ultra was very interested in thought reform, and I think this matters when evaluating Carl Rogers’ work and influence.

Thought Reform / Huxley v Orwell:Infinite Distraction or Gov. Oppression
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:40:03 AM »
A comic strip depicting the differences between orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.

Huxley Vs. Orwell: Infinite Distraction Or Government Oppression? ... ppression/

Thought Reform / Carl Rogers and the CIA
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:15:56 AM »
I Found a link to the article, “Carl Rogers and the CIA”,  originally from the journal of humanistic psychiatry.  This is not only telling as it concerns Rogers, but also the others working with The Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (later called The Human Ecology Fund) which was one of the main CIA front groups along with the Josiah Macy Foundation used to funnel money through for mk-ultra research.  This is pretty interesting perspective on this history considering the source.

CARL ROGERS AND THE CIA ... s-cia.html


Carl Rogers was a pioneer and leader in the humanistic psychol- ogy movement. Although his many professional activities and accomplishments are well known, the story of his association with the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology—a front orga- nization for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—is barely known and has never been explored in any depth. This article attempts to tell that story in the context of America during the 1950s, Rogers’s academic career, and the mission of the CIA.

Thought Reform / Re: The Macy Conferences:The Minds behind Mind Control
« on: August 07, 2011, 09:16:51 PM »
For the most part I think the connection to synanon is the humanistic movement, but probably not the only one. There are a lot of theories and practices that developed within the humanistic movement that use cybernetics as a model for human behavior.  Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, game theory, NLP, brief therapy, family therapy, hypnosis, all take from cybernetics. This link might be interesting viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27862&p=351344&hilit=eupsychia#p351344  . It links this stuff up rather well, specifically that Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were the fathers of humanistic psychiatry. Rogers worked for mk-ultra, and Maslow was impressed with Synanon and likewise wanted to impress upon them his own humanistic values.

So, I think a very influential hand in Synanon was the humanistic movement, or the human potential movement. Humanistic psychology and encounter groups were really popular, this would’ve been bigger news of the day than synanon. Encounter groups were the main setting in which many of the humanistic techniques were meant to be used.  Synanon’s game is one form of encounter. Also the roots of the encounter group concept come from sensitivity training, or human relations training, which expressly can be used to mimick the thought reform model. This is also where the roots of group dynamics and organizational development come from. Lifespring is a good example the newer humanistic techniques for manipulating people. So basically I think this stuff just naturally found it’s way into Synanon, especially after the endorsement from Maslow. I can say with certainty that the Cedu program was very obviously experimenting with the humanistic ideas, and that had a close relationship with synanon, so anyways, that’s the best connection I’ve got.

Daytop Village / Re: Daytop almost killed me
« on: June 14, 2011, 11:01:14 PM »
got2bme, I relate very much to your story, and like you had a disturbing experience when I finally stumbled upon some information that triggered my memory of what happened.  My program, Cedu, had quite a bit in common with Daytop, one such thing was the marathon group.   They pressured you in different ways, and used trickery even, to get you to reveal early traumas, shameful acts or feelings of inadequacy.  It’s hard to explain because generally in the program confession was such a constant demand that you always had to be armed with something to say, but somehow in the marathons (we called them propheets) they very strategically got me to say some things I really didn’t want to, and there were lots of things I did not want to hear about others.  It was traumatic to me for different reasons, but it mostly left me with a lot of anxiety and destroyed my faith in myself and others.  There was no real ‘help’, the promise was a sham. But I had already handed them my soul, submitted my defective nature before theirs.  The argument would always be more right that …” it is not the program that doesn't work, it is that you are not working hard enough on confronting your issues.” And I actually believed that too.

Thanks for offering your story on here got2bme, it is tragic. to me it is sort of classic reason for why forcing therapy on someone, making them confront a trauma before they are ready, is dangerous and wrong, especially using such methods as marathons.  I think a lot of kids were harmed in a similar way.

Open Free for All / Re: So you were not taken in the rapture....
« on: May 22, 2011, 01:11:10 AM »
Smoke em if you got em.

Open Free for All / Re: I'm just a-swingin' through...
« on: May 22, 2011, 01:05:21 AM »
OMG! all the program CEO's disappeared!


Cognitive dissonance

Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance can account for the psychological consequences of disconfirmed expectations. One of the first published cases of dissonance was reported in the book, When Prophecy Fails (Festinger et al. 1956). Festinger and his associates read an interesting item in their local newspaper headlined "Prophecy from planet Clarion call to city: flee that flood." A housewife from Chicago (changed to "Michigan" in the book), given the name "Marian Keech" (real name: Dorothy Martin, later known as Sister Thedra[1]), had mysteriously been given messages in her house in the form of "automatic writing" from alien beings on the planet Clarion. These messages revealed that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. Mrs. Keech had previously been involved with L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics movement, and her cult incorporated ideas from what was to become Scientology.[2] The group of believers, headed by Keech, had taken strong behavioral steps to indicate their degree of commitment to the belief. They had left jobs, college, and spouses, and had given away money and possessions to prepare for their departure on the flying saucer, which was to rescue the group of true believers.

Premise of study

Festinger and his colleagues saw this as a case that would lead to the arousal of dissonance when the prophecy failed. Altering the belief would be difficult, as Keech and her group were committed at considerable expense to maintain it. Another option would be to enlist social support for their belief. As Festinger wrote, "If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must after all be correct." In this case, if Keech could add consonant elements by converting others to the basic premise, then the magnitude of her dissonance following disconfirmation would be reduced. Festinger and his colleagues predicted that the inevitable disconfirmation would be followed by an enthusiastic effort at proselytizing to seek social support and lessen the pain of disconfirmation.

... present day

Apocalypse believers await end, skeptics carry on

 New York's Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, of Staten Island, said he was surprised when the six o'clock hour simply came and went. He had spent his own money to put up advertising about the end of the world.

"I can't tell you what I feel right now," he said, surrounded by tourists. "Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here."
Many followers said the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith.

"It's still May 21 and God's going to bring it," said Family Radio's special projects coordinator Michael Garcia, who spent Saturday morning praying and drinking two last cups of coffee with his wife at home in Alameda. "When you say something and it doesn't happen, your pride is what's hurt. But who needs pride? God said he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble."  - ... FseXBzZWJl

… Some comments on the article.

“The T-group has always been considered by the NTL as a technique of education, not a technique of therapy; the executive head of NTL has, on many occasions, made his position clear on this issue.(2) Many T-group leaders, however, especially a California contingent, gradually altered their definition of education. Human relations education became not only the acquisition of interpersonal skills but the total enhancement of the individual. The shift in emphasis is most clearly signalled by an influential article(21) written in 1962, which introduced the paradigm of the T-group as "group therapy for normals." Juxtapose the concept of "group therapy for normals" with the blurred, often arbitrary definitions of normality and the subsequent course of events becomes evident. Some additional social factors which contribute to the present form and structure of encounter groups are the revolt against the establishment, the decrying of the need for training, the focus on the "now", the "doing of your own thing", and the emphasis on authenticity, meditation and total transparency.”

I wish this article had at least taken SOME issue with this being applied to the Thought Reform model (of which Lewin and the NTL were quite aware) in which the organization is ultimately in control of the definitions of ‘personal growth’ in a therapeutic sense, and as a result there can be no Education/Therapy dichotomy. They are the same thing in this context. When the choice to participate is coerced there can be no assumptions that change is taking place on an individual level, but because of the imposed standards for social interaction.

“The encounter group may be viewed as a social oasis in which societal norms are explicitly shed. No longer must facades of adequacy, competence, self-sufficiency be borne. In fact, the group norms encourage the opposite behavior; members are rewarded by expressing self-doubts and unfulfilled longings for intimacy and nurturance. The group offers intimacy, albeit some times a pseudo-intimacy — an instant and unreal form of closeness.”

This is one point that becomes a huge issue in a forced, totalitarian situation. If these are the enforced social norm this “pseudo intimacy” cannot be avoided. Being ‘genuine’ becomes the necessary game to play, and accurate individual perception of the social reality is not possible.

“Furthermore, many non-clinically trained leaders reject the medical or psychiatric definition of adverse effect; they may assert that the stressing of members to the point of experiencing such extreme discomfort that they require professional help is not a danger but an accomplishment of the encounter group and that these individuals, although they may temporarily appear worse, have in fact undergone a growth experience and will, in the long run, be more fully integrated individuals. The most extreme view holds, with Laing(9) that even a psychotic episode may be a growth experience which permits the individual to liberate himself and to realize his potential more fully. In some quarters, this comes close to the advocacy of psychotic experience as a desideratum of personal growth.”

Y’know, this is one extreme of R.D. Laing’s style of therapy, to actually feed into and exacerbate ones own psychotic tendencies and create full blown psychotic episodes as a healing experience. This may be something many would take issue with, HOWEVER, he also was deeply committed to the idea that therapy should always be a choice of the individual to engage in. He understood the double bind that arises without that freedom. His technique is truly a destructive force without that understanding. I have a good deal of respect for Laing for that, and he has written some interesting stuff.

“A recent letter by two Fellows at the Menninger School of Psychiatry,(11) which was distributed to several heads of psychiatric training programs, describes a T-group for psychiatric residents in which three (of eleven) members suffered psychotic breakdowns, two during the course of the meetings and one seven months after the meetings terminated. Jaffe and Scherl(6) report on two individuals who experienced psychotic decompensations following an intensive T-group experience. The Committee on Mental Health of the Michigan State Medical Society recently conducted a study on sensitivity training laboratories in Michigan because of reports of psychotic breakdowns, exacerbation of preexisting marital difficulties and an increase in life tensions. The committee concluded that the hazards were so considerable that all group leaders should be professional experts trained in the fields of mental illness and mental health.(7)

In a research project on a university campus(10) 209 students participated in 19 encounter groups; 40 students dropped out of the groups (despite the fact that three college credits were offered). The six-month followup of these students is not yet complete, but there were three clearly discernible casualties: one student committed suicide and two students arrived at the emergency room — one in a manic state and the other severely anxiously depressed. At least eight other students decided, after the onset of the group, to begin psychotherapy. The case history of the student who committed suicide reflects the general difficulties in assessing the dangerousness of the encounter group. Since the student killed himself four days after the second meeting of the encounter group, hasty and faulty reasoning would have impugned the encounter group as the responsible agent. However, the psychological post-mortem revealed that the student had been severely disturbed for many months, had reached out for help from a number of sources, had been in individual psychotherapy and in group therapy with trained clinicians and had, in fact, attended a group therapy session a few days prior to his suicide. Furthermore, a review of the tapes of the encounter group meetings revealed that the group had had two relatively dull, low affect, plodding sessions.”

I sort of feel like this comment on casualties is attempting to excuse the results. ‘It could have been the Encounter, or just the patients past history’ (a common argument of TTI proponents.) If we can’t determine if these things are mutually exclusive, should encounter groups in the TTI be allowed to take place? Unfortunately this article does not venture deeply enough to be able to identify the implications of encounter in the case if the troubled teen industry.

“Furthermore, the NTL executives and most trainers make a distinction between the T-group and therapy group; the task of the T-group is intended to be education — education about group dynamics as well as one's interpersonal behavior. However, many trainers and many of the new encounter group leaders make no distinction between encounter groups and psychotherapy; for them, encounter groups are therapy groups for normal individuals….. Encounter group leaders with no clinical training, with no ability to appreciate the seriousness of certain signs and symptoms and with no ongoing sense of responsibility to the participants have precipitated severe neurotic and psychotic reactions. The assumption that a psychotic experience is growth inducing is not a new one in the field of psychiatry, but it is an assumption lacking supporting evidence. It is challenged by the great majority of clinicians whose experience has shown them that the most common effect of a disorganizing psychotic episode on an individual is to leave him with his self confidence and sense of mastery badly shaken. A psychotic experience is a manifestation of illness, not a way toward health and maturity. Mental hospitals "are filled with patients who even after many years have failed to attain maximum benefit from their psychoses! (13)””

… An ignored problem.  

“Some individuals experience difficulty not during the encounter group but after its termination when they reenter their familiar social and professional environment. Many encounter groups make the error of offering an absolute and infallible standard of behavior (unflinchingly honest, spontaneous, and direct) without regard for the time, place or object. Members find the immediate intimacy and the open communication of the encounter group culture so exhilarating that they then attempt, often with disastrous results, to behave in the same fashion in their social and professional lives, only later, or never, to realize the inappropriateness of their expectations. They may jeopardize their relationships to others and experience dysphoria and dissatisfaction with their lives. Some have responded to this by using the group not as an agent to aid them in their lives but as a substitute for life. The encounter group culture thus becomes the "real" world and a new clinical entity, labeled by Carl Rogers as the "group addict," is created: these individuals spend an inordinate amount of time in groups and roam up and down the West Coast to spend every weekend in a group. Experienced group dynamicists are well aware of the re-entry problem and NTL labs, for example, devote time in the group to working on the application of learning to the back-home situation. "Bridgeburning" is another closely related unfortunate consequence. Some individuals, following a high impact group experience, experience an intense dissatisfaction with their hierarchy of values and their life style. To attain the degree of authenticity they seek, many make abrupt and irreversible decisions, forsaking major life commitments by leaving their wives, families and jobs.”

When does this become the paradoxical point of therapy in the TTI? The dissociation of the patient from their ‘old self’, and the creation of a new person that is expected to be stable when re-admitted to the old environment. If the goal is to ‘burn the bridges’ of the old life, and the new ‘group addict’ (by force) identity doesn’t translate, what is one left with?

“Implications for Psychiatry

… The intensive group experience is intrinsically neither good nor bad.”

… Well except in the case of force, in which it is intrinsically BAD, and the only role encounter can take is as a coercive force.

<SQUAWK!>   - Training, Therapy, or Thought Reform in the TTI?  viewtopic.php?f=81&t=31447   Double Bind: Mind Control in the TTI - viewtopic.php?f=81&t=30423

…that was a parrot.

Thought Reform / Re: the DISSOCIATION issue
« on: February 22, 2011, 02:12:55 AM »
I recognize a lot of what is said in the last few posts. The anxiety related to confrontation, the acts of self preservation taken in the face of those threats that are self destructive or destructive to others, the social distortion from ‘working’ or ‘gaming’ the program in a way that insinuates you are ‘fake’ or ‘out of touch with yourself’ and challenge you to continually express a more ‘genuine’ belief in the program philosophy, which becomes the interpersonal game.

I remember that much of the time people were more willing to attack themselves than defend themselves against others if you were anticipating being ‘blown away’ in raps.  Alot of direct attacks took place under the presupposition that someone’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions made it an ‘unsafe’ environment for the rest of the group to ‘open up’ and ‘work’ on themselves. If their was nothing to confront each other about, we would have to talk about our issues, I don’t know, I still can’t tell how much of any of that was really genuine or if the game of acting ‘genuine’ just got so out of control no one could guage interpersonal reality anymore.

I seem to remember it all beginning with arriving in the clutches of other students who were enforcing the (mostly trivial) rules with that attitude of ‘just do it, this is how you get by here, trust me just play along and you’ll be better off.’ And so I did, and I learned how to stay ‘under the radar’ by learning to ‘genuinely’ be in line with the program. Next thing I knew it was me guiding the new student through in the same way ‘trust me just play along, I’ll help you get by’.  Somewhere around here I think I lost my bearings on reality and started gaming myself, and distrusting my instincts.

…I had already heard several relatable stories before this thread, I just haven’t heard it equated with dissociation. One aspect of this that I don’t want to ignore is that evidence suggests many programs intended to create a dissociative effect.  Eruptions of ptsd symptoms are commonly associated with stimuli that were present during the dissociated event called triggers. Confrontation can be one of those triggers. Though I know little else about Gatekeeper other than he attended Cedu, I am sure the mere mention of a particular song or two (correct me if I am wrong) will have him recalling some very particular, maybe very private memories of the cedu experience.  It could possibly even re- cathect a personality that was adopted as a defensive response to the situation. And is it possible that that was the point? (What’s your little kid’s name Gatekeeper? Don’t answer that.) During the propheets they would play the same songs over and over for hours.  These songs were pretty much the only music we were allowed to hear the whole time at cedu. And it is pretty much impossible to hear any of that music without recollecting that place. I think it is quite purposely to install reactive triggers that work just like ptsd.  

…. One last thing I would note about Cedu ‘brainwashing’ so to speak, is that it began by infecting you with the notion that you had already been brainwashed. You were a fake or a ‘lie’ and you didn’t even know it, and if you didn’t believe it you would at least act like it. You were literally considered to be ‘in your shit’ if you imbibed any of your previous interests and attitudes.  There was another thread on fornits something like ‘why you can’t fake it’. That is true, you couldn’t fake it.

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