This system, utilized by Ivy Ridge and lots of different “faculties” for troubled teenagers, used tried and examined strategies to interrupt the inmates. And because the documentary factors out, the basis of many of those packages was one thing referred to as Synanon.

What’s Synanon?

This was a spiritual group, turned cult, based in 1958 by Charles Dederich Sr. Dederich was a member of Alcoholics Nameless which he thought was not powerful sufficient, so he arrange his personal facility which might absorb these with drug in addition to alcohol addictions. Synanon (the origins of the phrase aren’t clear – Syndication-Nameless? Symposium-Nameless?) was residential, and Dederich developed his personal program, which he insisted you possibly can by no means full. A lot of his method was based mostly on Assault Remedy, which primarily includes figuring out individuals’s weaknesses and screaming of their faces throughout group periods (we paraphrase). The concept is to interrupt the affected person down a lot that they begin to imagine they will rebuild themselves and alter their very own lives. It’s a follow which inspires sufferers to assault and humiliate one another in group periods which might final for days at a time. Later Synanon added additional controlling insurance policies together with requiring feminine members to shave their heads, male members to get vasectomies, and married {couples} in this system to separate up.

Ultimately Synanon bought concerned in a education program which had a view to coach youngsters in such a means as to enhance society as an entire. After all, the group turned more and more violent and abusive, dedicated monetary crimes, and members had been convicted of tried homicide (two members put a rattlesnake within the mailbox of a lawyer who introduced a case in opposition to Synanon!). Although it was disbanded within the ‘90s Synanon influenced ‘powerful love’ therapies ever after.


Whereas The Program focuses initially on Academy Ivy Ridge, this system fell below the umbrella of WWASP – the World Broad Affiliation of Specialty Applications and Colleges, based in 1998. It was based mostly in Utah and based by Robert Lichfield, whose brother Narvin Lichfield is seen within the doc doing karaoke. Pupils are sometimes forcibly faraway from their properties or former faculties and offered with a dizzying array of guidelines which it’s nigh on inconceivable to recollect. Breaking these guidelines resulted in a lack of “factors”. 


The obvious affect of Synanon on WWASP is the seminars. The Ivy Ridge college students needed to full a sequence of those to have the ability to transfer between ranges – The Program is a “factors and ranges system” which means you’ll be able to transfer up a degree by incomes factors, however any perceived infraction means dropping factors. The upper degree you might be, the extra privileges you might be allowed. 

These seminars had been group “remedy” periods that had been obligatory. Katherine and the previous college students bear in mind having to crawl round on the ground like infants, being given towels wrapped in duct tape that they needed to bash to launch their feelings. They had been meals disadvantaged, sleep disadvantaged, and time disadvantaged because the contributors had no concept how a lot time had handed. Like in Synanon the concept was to place contributors in a extremely stimulated however exhausted state, breaking down their sense of self and leaving them open to alter. And by change we imply brainwashing. 

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