INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSUASION AND THE TECHNOLOGY OF TOTALISTIC TREATMENT Presentation for VID Specialized University Oslo, Norway A Critical Look at Drug Treatment A National Conference 10 October, 2017 Marcus Chatfield
COME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF CAN RESTORE ME TO SANITY In a large room without windows. A web of forces Any one element taken by itself may be unremarkable.
WE WERE CHANGED BY CHANGING EACH OTHER 1 st Phase = Newcomer 2 nd 3 rd 4 th and 5 th Phase = Oldcomers No communication with the outside world Deprivations of sunlight, food, water, sleep, information, privacy, free movement, hygiene, & medicine Sensory deprivation & Sensory overload Dread, violence, intense affiliation Special language (new meanings & new words)
TO MAKE PROGRESS
THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE PROGRESS IS TO TALK IN GROUP Focus on your past Get in touch with your feelings Honesty = Sharing correctly
THE ONLY WAY TO TALK IN GROUP (NOT PUNISHED) IS TO GET CALLED ON THE ONLY WAY TO GET CALLED ON IS TO MOTIVATE.
RESISTANCE TO TREATMENT IS A SYMPTOM OF THE DISEASE Monday and Friday Night Review Bringing the bottom up to you Consequences The bomb squad
CONFIDENTIALITY What is said in group, and what happens in group, stays in group. A secret society Strange rituals Nursery rhymes, Straight songs No boundaries
DISILLUSIONMENT What is chemical dependency? What is brainwashing? Discovering my lack of integrity. Shutting down, alone and without words.
I HAD BEEN PLACED IN STRAIGHT and could not imagine. I had been in a program I could not describe.
ITS LIMITED VARIABILITY AND CROSS (SALTER, 1998, P.444) traditional initiation Physical coercion and restraint Milieu Control Isolation from information Severance of interpersonal bonds Intense peer pressure Threat Sleep deprivation Physical debilitation Repetition of message Rehearse petty compliance Argumentation/Statement of doctrine Prestige testimonials Compassion at point of collapse in pubescent initiation Routine obedience Interrogation Ritual attack on outgroup Accusation Mild degradation self revelation Intense degradation confession/apology Punishment and reward
KEY FEATURES OF TOTALISTIC PROGRAMS (CHATFIELD, 2014; DE LEON, 2000; GOFFMAN, 1961; LIFTON 1963) Controlled communication Police each other Change whole self Hierarchy of levels Group confession and confrontation Strict rules and punishments All aspects of life take place under a central authority. Institutionalized Persuasion : The systematic inculcation of information, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors, by agents formally charged with the responsibility of bringing about a transformation of social and self identity, cognition, and behaviors. This process involves efforts to weaken, convert, and reform fundamental psychological aspects of the initiate through multiple, simultaneous, and prolonged stresses that may, in some instances, result in impaired social, cognitive, emotional, or physical development (Chatfield, 2014, p 17).
QUESTIONS FOR TREATMENT PROVIDERS AND CURIOUS ANSWERS 1. What is the boundary between safe and unsafe degrees of persuasion? 2. What are the harmful side effects of group encounter methods? 3. For whom do the benefits outweigh the risks? 4. What is the acceptable casualty rate? 5. When is resocialization 1. (A) Not known. Or (B) It die without it 2. Psychiatric casualties. (After ten 3 hour encounter sessions, measured after 8 months, 16 out of 170 healthy young adult research volunteers experienced a range of negative side effects.) (Yalom & Lieberman, 1971) 3. Not known (U.S. Surgeon General, 1999) 4. Not known 5. (A) TC intent is benevolent (B) They need to be brainwashed Or (C) What else do we have ?
MCHATFIELD@UFL.EDU References Chatfield, M. (2014) Institutionalized persuasion: The technology of reformation in straight incorporated and the residential teen treatment industry. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; North Charleston, SC. De Leon, G. (2000). Therapeutic community : Theory, model, and method New York: Springer Publishing Company. Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums New York, NY: Anchor Books. Lifton R. J. (1963). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism : A study of "brainwashing in china New York: Norton. Salter, F. K. (1998). Indoctrination and institutionalized persuasion: Its limited variability and cross cultural evolution. In Eibl Eibsfeldt I. & Salter, F.K. (Ed.), Ethnic conflict and indoctrination: Altruism and identity in evolutionary perspective (pp. 421 452). New York: Berghahn Books. Yalom, I. D., & Lieberman, M. A. (1971). A study of encounter group casualties. Archives of General Psychiatry, 25 (1), 16 30. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750130018002
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