- I was confined against my will in treatment (wilderness programs/therapeutic boarding schools) for 16 months, beginning right after my 15th birthday. I have seen more than 25 therapists as of my 17th birthday and was medicated from age 7-14. My mother is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction; she is also bipolar, and mental disease/addiction runs in my family. Simply put, I didn't stand much of a chance. My mom has been paying others to parent me for most of my life, residential treatment was the culmination of many years of chaos and dysfunction within my family.
- That said, I have no love for treatment. I was kept in clinical isolation for 19 weeks, forced to sit up straight at a desk for 15 hours a day. I wasn't allowed to talk, write, read, draw, or put my head down. Whenever I moved I was escorted by staff, and I was only allowed to leave my desk for bathroom breaks and work. I was made to work 4 hours+ each day doing petty labor, cleaning the dining hall for 160+ people alone every morning while a staff member watched. During this time my therapist refused to see me and I was kept out of school. Because of this I am currently repeating my junior year in highschool. I was depressed, alone, and powerless. For the 19 weeks that I was denied treatment and forced to work without pay, my mother paid $40,000.
- I was put in isolation after I confessed (took accountability) for the rules I had broken during my stay. In my therapeutic boarding school, if you had broken a rule and did not own up to it, you were put into isolation. If you knew that a rule had been broken by someone and did not tell staff, you and that person were both put in isolation. These rules were accompanied by therapeutic propaganda, "If you do not tell on yourself you are not honest and have no integrity. If you do not tell on your friends you are a bad friend and an immoral person."
- Breaking school rules was equated with immorality; in a controlled and isolated environment, the school was able to brainwash the students. I have many friends who have experienced symptoms of PTSD associated with my school, panic attacks and night terrors and crippling guilt for the way they were forced to sell their friends to advance within the program. If you broke a rule and owned up to it, you were still put in isolation, though usually for less time. Because I had never honestly taken accountability for all the rules I had broken, my honesty did little to mitigate my consequence. My "reward" was that I got to stay in the school rather than go back to wilderness program (which would have cost my mother an additional $40,000) to be reevaluated. My stay was extended by 5 months and I was restarted within the program, basically "back to square 1". The main rule I had broken:
- -My two best friends (boy and girl, aged 17) were secretly engaging in an "out of standard relationship". They had sex once, in a supply closet. I knew, I didn't say anything to staff. After they were caught and expelled (to more restrictive programs), I was a mess, I broke down and confided in my therapist. It was extremely emotional, and I began to confess everything I had done, from ripping pictures of girls from magazines during doctors visits to stealing instant coffee from the kitchens. That was the last time I talked to her for 3 consecutive months.
- My friends are both legal adults in college now, she moved to Texas to be with him and they have been together for 6 months.
- I left treatment 5/27/12, I did not finish within a program, I convinced my family to take me back during a visit. This was not typical, in the treatment center I was then confined, it was basically unheard of. Every place I've been to made a huge effort to dissuade parents from taking their children home before they had finished their program, as well as monitoring any communication the child had with their parents while in the school and completely altering the state of the campus during visits (serving decent food, being less openly oppressive to students etc.) If I had stayed in treatment, I would not have had an opportunity to leave until this coming January at the earliest.
- I was one of the children you treat. I was a violent and hyperactive child, diagnosed bipolar, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, possibly paranoid schizophrenic and overall too much for most adults in my life to handle. I live medication free, sober, finally able to take back my life after the last of my childhood was stolen from me. My question for you:
- How do you live with yourself? Do you rationalize the methods employed on the children you are paid to care for? They deserve it, they're "different", there's no other way etc. How do you interact with teenage boys in the "real world" one day, as a person interacts with someone who is afforded the same basic liberties as themselves, and come to work the next? Can you comprehend what it must be like for a person to be abandoned by their family like that, forced into a place that can be more damaging than home ever was.
- I'm biased. Obviously. The shit that I saw and was forced to live 24/7 has marked me, probably forever. You might be a good therapist, and I'm sure you have the best intentions. Regardless, you are contributing to a system that currently holds and abuses thousands of teenagers within the "Land of Freedom and Justice for All". I don't mean to attack you, if I sound accusatory I'm sorry. I'm trying to be sincere, maybe to get a little bit of catharsis. I don't understand how someone can have an intimate knowledge of the behavioral modification industry and continue to support it.
a guest Nov 14th, 2013 135 Never
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