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Gaslighting Laura

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 -dr.bomb

NOTE: This is the article that I promised to write to a SCAAAM E-mail based discussion list that equated A.A. with being a cult yet couldn't see the irony of it embracing the psychological version of the disease mythology of addiction (much less any other stupid Buchmanite nonsense). Anyhow, I dedicate this article to a user (and now current leader of that list) named Laura. Maybe someday she'll wake up and break free from all of that SCAAAMy nonsense.

"Tell us more, Dr. Bomb. I don't know that it's all that far off the topic. Even if it isn't AA and isn't a cult, I still see some sort of similarity between cult abuse and mental health abuses - and I see "special education" as having something to do with mental health. These issues are in the ballpark."
--Laura, sometime in 2006 on some SCAAAM mailing list.

Actually, considering the method used concerning the abuse I endured within the context of a "mental health treatment", it was indeed spawned from a cult. It was only around last year (2005) while I was doing research on cults where the description of what I went through really hit home. And I read further and found that it was the Synanon game. I wrote about this upon my website and described some details of the place, that practice and its personnel.

According to Michael Lemanski's "A History Of Addiction And Recovery In The United States" (pp. 78-80), Synanon was a direct descendant of A.A. started by Charles E. Dederich to focus upon other drug users. The centerpiece of Synanon's "therapy" was a procedure known as "The Game" where participants were singled out and verbally abused on end until the person, thoroughly traumatized, relented and shared.

In Craig House-Technoma (now sickeningly known now as "Craig Academy") in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, this was the centerpiece of its "Step" program. While Synanon focused upon adults who were drug dependent, in Craig House this was done by and to CHILDREN! And adults OVERSAW this! And I'm not just talking about mere teenagers here. Since Craig House was and is still billed as a partial "hospital" and partial "school" the range was K-12-aged kids. According to Craig Academy's website the place is also billed to train therapists who "treat" emotionally disturbed children.

Now I won't say that mental problems don't exist. Again, I know that it's over-diagnosed within the failed system for the sake of capitalistic gain. I know probably at least three kids there at the time who were clearly diagnosable (one as autistic and the other two as being retarded). Outside of that I believe it to be simply a dumping ground for those kids who didn't fit in at all with public schools (Bill S., a kid who was there, definitely would fit the profile of Randle P. McMurphy). Unfortunately, due to the Synanon game, it had the side effect of actually creating and furthering an atmosphere which encouraged violence (both physically and mentally).

The Synanon game was simply brutal within Craig House. The kids, while supervised by an actual licensed shrink, would take a seat among the ring of chairs within his big Lysol-stinkin' office and each person would have to share. If someone didn't want to then that person would be accused of "hiding something". Then the group would start attacking, hurling all types of verbal epithets (sometimes getting up in one's face). Of course the longer one resisted the more the group would become agitated since that would mean that the "group therapy" would be extended into other activities (recess, gym, etc.). Likewise, you had to confess to at least one "problem" or one would also be accused of hiding.

The kids would hold a grudge, of course. Thus a natural pecking order, from the aggressive to the meek, would sort itself out. Naturally, if the meek attempted to resist then they'd wind up getting picked on and beaten up by those who didn't like such resistance to begin with. Fights were a very routine occurrence at Craig House to the point that one would become quickly desensitized to the CD-Level calls over the facility's PA system.

So you literally have adult-supervised torture with the kids torturing each other. With the threat of beatings or other forms of humiliation hanging over one's choice to "share" or not, obviously you'd wind up with kids who would give false confessions just for the sake of a tiny piece of sympathy. The dark side of that is what was confessed became a part of one's own shrink-supervised record. Every month or so this record (along with one's own activities within Craig House) would be shared by a social worker with the parents. And, since the parents don't know the truth of the place, they take the record as proof of their child's "true" behavior.

Which, of course, is total bullshit. The parents are led to believe that the "group therapy" is wonderful and being that these so-called experts are supervising the kids that their word is better than the child's. Besides, the child has now been "proven" to be "emotionally disturbed" by so-called "doctors" and social workers! And, being that they "treat" these children, Craig House's existence is seen as beneficial to society. Thus more referrals for "fresh meat" while receiving filthy lucre in the form of government subsidies in the form of welfare right on down to the parents' insurance funds. And, of course, that money goes a long way in financing P.R. campaigns.

I wonder about how the administrator of that facility at the time in the mid-80s, Richard Kirchner, could possibly sleep at night.

There's more about that place which just simply wrong. From the outright apathy of the adults who simply accepted all of that as "just another day at work" and doing nothing as the altercations between the kids would begin and develop into full-blown fights right on down to substandard teachers (this was technically a private school, meaning no Department Of Education oversight at all, which meant any hack can claim to be a teacher at the lowest price...including so-called "science" teachers who thought that an electron microscope was simply a mirrored microscope which used a light bulb for illumination right on down to fundie Catholics teaching sexual education, stating that sex was "bad" in so many ways and why the kids should remain abstinent).

And all of the above is considered good for one's own mental health? All of this stemming from a cult which targeted adult drug abusers? And the children, some of whom may have suffered REAL child abuse prior to their arrival, maybe even from the very system itself in the form of foster parent socialism? Or even the tiny few who are truly in need of help? That's not good at all. I consider it a national disgrace and the hidden tragedy of the social services system, a system incapable of being reformed. It's with that and my own current experiences where I base the need for its complete abolition. No more and no less. I harbor zero tolerance for any of those idiots and the various apologists who cover for them claiming that they're actually helping "some people". They possess no shred of a conscience, much less any respect for human dignity in general from what I personally witnessed.

As for "recovery" schools, the bureaucracy has existed for some time to aid within its facilitation to steer "troubled" kids into it: "special" education. All it takes for the process to begin is one annoyed teacher who simply doesn't like the kid in question. That's all. In my case I simply defended myself against a school bully all too well and paid the price for my own self-defense. Prior to that I was in "special" education classes while high on Ritalin. I just wonder if it was that doctor-prescribed speed at the time which made me feel so paranoid.

And my interests? I never really liked recess. I enjoyed computers and used that time to program and explore some TRS-80's. I was a math whiz who always got top marks above all other kids (I guess they'd label me now as autistic at best or someone with "minimal" brain damage at the worst). And no one cared much about my interests, short of my parents and the computer teacher in Craig House. Suzanne Juffe was "da bomb" in that hellhole and even hooked me up with my own copy of LogoWriter (including a full manual, which I still have to this day). I would say that also declaring my atheism at the tender age of seven in front of the pastor of the Presbyterian church my parents used to attend, may have led to me being considered "differently abled".

Y'know? I was hoping I'd only give a one or two paragraph rundown. But looking back with a keyboard in hand it all just pours out of me now (I may have to update the Craig House webpage of mine with this information). And I just wonder: What if I didn't choose to drink? What if I didn't choose to anesthetize myself all of that time in blissful pleasure, believing that such a high was life itself? Compared to the abuse I fear that those bastards would rather have someone drunk as a skunk. It kept someone like me from exposing some details that they would rather keep hidden.

And, what if in my time of desperation between me and my no good lawyer at the time, did retrieve my records from there? What good would it be to have evidence of my own "mental handicaps"? In light of my knowledge right now it would've gained me a bit of freedom at the cost of a deep slandering of my own moral character and credibility. All of that would be used to "gaslight" people like me into silence for a "mentally ill" person would make it all up. Pretty neat trick.

Oh well. I never drink now and I will never keep quiet. Never again. Never will I repeat those past mistakes. Likewise, while I was responsible for my irresponsible drunken debauchery, I certainly didn't deserve any of that shit. I feel that no human being, young or old, needs to suffer that fate within the therapeutic state. I'm just lucky to have survived it. But now it's as though I'm completely starting over.

And I know that I'll succeed. I'm not afraid at all of the potential for failure for that's the risk of any effort. Oh, but the satisfaction of throwing some more pieces out there of the grand puzzle for others to discover. I get a buzz from that better than the best booze.

I hope this "little" piece does shed some light as to one of the cult ties to mental health "therapy". And, likewise, the truth being that the system can't reform itself. Litigation won't work. Legislation won't work. What it will take are for courageous people of conscience to invade the system and pull off an "inside job" who can directly benefit the people who are suffering within RIGHT NOW!

What's needed is liberation.

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Last updated 2006/11/01

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