Teen Help, WWASP, ISA, Resource Realizations
Date: July 21, 2004 12:05AM
I have a friend who's 15 year old has been in a downward spiral for two years. When I spoke with her last week, she told me she had taken her daughter to a residential treatment facility in S.C. called Carolina Springs Academy. While on the phone with her I googled the place, and started seeing warning signs (use of LGAT language in the site, attendance of "seminars") Shortly I had substantiated that the "seminars" that both the children and the parents (and the staff of the academy) are required to attend are contracted through Resource Realizations, a Lifespring based LGAT.
My friend is fully aware of my experience with an LGAT and was aware that some do target teen programs, but did not see the warning signs and didn't know how to do the research before she sent her daughter.
I sent her pages of information, and she did research on her own over the weekend.
I spoke with her yesterday, and she has decided to leave her daughter at Carolina Springs, allow her to attend her "seminar" in August, and attend her own seminar in Oct. She spent a long time telling me how she had asked questions and they had been answered (with the same pat LGAT speak that we have all heard). And making excuses for the bad stories. Even using the line that there were so many positive outcomes for every bad. Buying their answer for why the seminars run into the early morning hours, justifying her daughter staying by saying that it seems that the "really bad ones" are off shore in Jamaca and Samoa, and since S.C. has very stringent guidelines, she felt her daughter was safe, even though all of these schools are owned by the same company. Oh and they don't keep licensed therapists on staff, because the kids just tell the therapists what they want to hear anyway.
The bottom line as she states it is this: She said she has no problem pulling her daughter out, if she had anywhere else to take her. Her daughter has been out of control the past few months, and has run away more than she's been home. Any reputable schools she can find are 2-3k more expensive per month than the WWASP schools, (for which she took out a 35k loan to send her child) and have up to a year waitiing list to boot. There are no local programs that she feels can truely help her daughter. Therapy didn't work, alternative school didn't work. She has tried everything.
She is a parent desperate to help her daughter. I listened to this woman, who I consider to be one of the brightest people I know, fool herself into believing that this option is ok because it's the only one she's got. Nothing I said got through to her. She didn't want to have this last chance fall through. She is willing to sell her soul to save her kid.
From what I can see the setup works like this:
Teen help has several domain names registered such as TeenChanges.org, TeenPaths.org, Parentresources.net, and familyfirstaid.org among several others, so that parents doing online searches encounter these same schools mentioned again and again supposedly by unaffiliated assistance organizations.
These various sites bill themselves as adolescent resource centers, but serve as a marketing/recruiting arm for the WWASP family of schools. They even have a loan application you can download from their sites to pay for it.
The entire structure of the schools is built around the LGAT training. The kids have "feedback sessions" three times a day even before they attend their first seminar. The schools are highly structured, you have to earn permission to do the smallest things such as shaving your legs. There is no phone contact with parents until after the children reach a certain level, which they cannot reach until after they attend the seminars.
The seminars are conducted by Resource Realizations, Inc. A Lifespring based LGAT started (of course) by former Lifespring trainers. The same trainers conduct seminars at the schools and at various sites throughout the U.S. for the parents and other family members. Then of course after the parents "and extended family" go through, they start recruiting in their community.
Parents are told that only the first course is a requirement, but the others are pitched the same way as any other LGAT and parents are charged accordingly. The kids are required to attend all courses as part of their treatment.
These people have found perhaps the most desperate element of our society; parents trying to help keep their kids alive and out of jail and they are preying on them. They have flooded the internet with sites to steer parents to them, then price themselves significantly lower than other schools, and offer financial assistance. To a desperate parent, it's like an answer to a prayer. And the people seem so nice......
In talking to my friend yesterday, I found myself feeling the same as when I was trying to unprogram Marcos, and realized that I just don't have the strength to do it again. I don't know what else I can do, except stand aside while she throws her life at the feet of these charlitans.