I don't know how to blog it. I don't know how to react to it. Disbelief.
CSS and ABA. They sound so innocuous. ABA is Applied Behaviour Analysis.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the science of applying experimentally derived principles of behaviorism to modify behavior. ABA takes what we know about behavior and uses it to bring about changes of the behavior (frequency, topography, latency, speed, fluency). The behavior is analyzed utilizing behavior assessment to determine the functional relationship of the behavior within the environment.CSS stands for Contingent Skin Shock, a tool used in ABA, especially on children. They use Cattle-prods on them.
The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.- Psych Watch
* Staff shock kids for "nagging, swearing, and failing to maintain a neat appearance" and once threatened to shock a girl who sneezed and then asked for a tissue.-- Mother Jones
* Some students must "earn" meals by not displaying certain behaviors. Otherwise they are "made to throw a predetermined caloric portion of their food into the garbage."
* When students enter and leave the school each day, "almost all" are wearing some type of restraints, such as handcuffs or leg shackles.
* "Students may be restrained"—on a four-point restraint board or chair—"for extensive periods of time (e.g. hours or intermittently for days)."
* Some students are shocked while strapped to the restraint board.
* A "majority" of employees "serving as classroom teachers" are "not certified teachers."
* Rotenberg's marketing reps bestow presents on prospective families—"e.g. a gift bag for the family, basketball for the student."
* Although the center has described its shock device as "approved" by the fda in its promotional materials, it "has not been approved."
* The facility collects "comprehensive data" on behaviors it seeks to eliminate, but "there was no evidence of the collection of data on replacement or positive behaviors."
* The facility makes no assessment of the "possible collateral effects of punishment such as depression, anxiety, and/or social withdrawal."
Israel denounced the investigators as "biased" and compiled a counter-report nearly three times the length of the original. He denied that residents go hungry, and clarified that only 20 percent of them are restrained on their way to and from school. And to the charge that shocks might hurt students' psychological well-being? "There are no negative side effects of the ged to consider," he wrote.
Of course some people can go too far with such techniques. Especially if they're sexual sadists.
Long before Oliver Braman admitted using a cattle prod to abuse two teen sons and then killed 9-year-old son Nicholas and his wife, a young woman and her brother tried to warn police the man was a monster.All in accordance with Biblical Principles until then.
Shelly Lewis, a former neighbor of Braman, sat down with a state police trooper for 90 minutes in June 2006 to tell how she had been raped by the man starting when she was 14, county records confirm. Shelly's brother Nick drove his 21-year-old sister to meet with police, concerned for her and for Braman's sons.
Both say they also informed police and state child protection workers that Braman used a cattle prod on his teen boys for discipline, though they believe those complaints were not acted on. Child welfare workers will not comment.
I uncovered the lid on this sewer by accident. I was looking to see of there was any lonh term follow-up of the children that Child Psychologist Dr George Rekers - he of the Rentboy Scandal - had "treated" in accordance with Biblical Principles. Welts, Bruises fine - only permanent disfigurement and serious injury is forbidden in his Biblical "Operant Conditioning".
That led me to this article - THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS Ethical Challenges to the Autism-ABA Industry - where ABA techniques used at UCLA in the 70's were described.
6. Dr Rekers and his principlesMore on the Fundamentalist Religious aspect later.
The UCLA project described above was the Feminine Boy Project. Its immediate goal was to replace feminine behaviours (e.g., "maternal nurturance" and playing with girls) with masculine behaviours (e.g., playing with a toy submachine gun and rough-housing with boys) in gender-role-deviant young boys. Its workhorse was Dr Lovaas' student, the young researcher George A. Rekers. And prominent among its long-term goals was preventing homosexuality.
The role of societal intolerance in choosing target behaviours was mentioned in one of the Rekers/Lovaas studies. The authors concluded that it is more realistic to change those hurt by intolerance than to change the intolerant behaviours of society. This position is known to be short-sighted and to extrapolate badly, as many dissenters noticed.
In fact, ethics-based dissent, including from the late ABA pioneer (and defender of Dr Lovaas' work in autism) Donald M. Baer, dominated the considerable criticism generated by this project. Everyone noticed that a project presuming to transform the nature of unconsenting clients through behaviour interventions must be challenged as to its ethics. Criticisms of the FBP's choice of good-male/bad-female behaviours were plentiful. The participation of interested parties, such as transsexuals, homosexuals, transvestites, and feminists was argued to be essential in project decision-making. The impoverishment of society through the eradication of a variety of behaviours and what those possessing them may contribute was mentioned. The assumption that non-heterosexuals are dysfunctional and miserable as adolescents and adults was severely questioned.
Critics barely touched on the issue of aversives, and did not split hairs over data points; instead they highlighted the problem of to whom therapists are responsible. Who do they serve: the client, or the client's parents, or society and its values, or themselves and their own values?
Dr Rekers, Dr Lovaas, and some others responded with their own ethics: "Once parents and professionals have concluded that a boy has a gender disturbance, a therapist cannot ethically refuse to treat the child." Dr Rekers, with two others, added in another defence: "If a parent brings a child to a psychologist and asks that the possibility of homosexual development be prevented, is this not an ethically and professionally proper goal for the psychologist?" Defending his work with Dr Lovaas, Dr Rekers also used the rationales that homosexual behaviour was (in California, at the time) illegal, and that he shared the same Christian values as the parents involved.
This and Dr Rekers' great volume of similar work revealed that his principles were fundamentalist, rather than scientific. He objected to homosexuality being removed from the DSM, and proposed it be returned there. He expressed incredulity and indignation that those having the pathology of homosexuality had any say in its classification and treatment.
The two FBP successes reported in Rekers/Lovaas case studies were found to be bisexual on follow-up. One of these successes had attempted suicide at age 18, after his first homosexual encounter.
Dr Rekers write-up of his systematised therapeutic torture is in Behavioral treatment of deviant sex-role behaviors in a male child George A. Rekers and O. Ivar Lovaas J Appl Behav Anal. 1974 Summer; 7(2): 173–190.
This study demonstrated reinforcement control over pronounced feminine behaviors in a male child who had been psychologically evaluated as manifesting “childhood cross-gender identity”. The clinical history of the subject paralleled the retrospective reports of adult transsexuals, including (a) cross-gender clothing preferences, (b) actual or imaginal use of cosmetic articles, (c) feminine behavior mannerisms, (d) aversion to masculine activities, coupled with preference for girl playmates and feminine activities, (e) preference for female role, (f) feminine voice inflection and predominantly feminine content in speech, and (g) verbal statements about the desire or preference to be a girl. The subject was treated sequentially in the clinic and home environments by his mother, trained to be his therapist. The mother was taught to reinforce masculine behaviors and to extinguish feminine behaviors, by using social reinforcement in the clinic and a token reinforcement procedure in the home. During this treatment, his feminine behaviors sharply decreased and masculine behavior increased. The treatment effects were found to be largely response-specific and stimulus-specific; consequently, it was necessary to strengthen more than one masculine behavior and weaken several feminine behaviors, in both clinic and home settings. A multiple-baseline intrasubject design was used to ensure both replication and identification of relevant treatment variables. Follow-up data three years after the treatment began suggests that the boy's sex-typed behaviors have become normalized. This study suggests a preliminary step toward correcting pathological sex-role development in boys, which may provide a basis for the primary prevention of adult transsexualism or similar adult sex-role deviation.Another view - that of the victim - sorry, case - is over at The Autism Crisis, under ABA Success Stories. Or rather, "Success" stories.
Gender disturbed children desperately need treatment.They were acting out of the purest motives - as is Dr Kenneth Zucker today. And being fair, they didn't use CSS on the children. Unlike the unfortunate Autistic kids in similar programs then - and, as I've found out, today.
This quote is from Rekers, Bentler, Rosen & Lovaas (1977). It concludes one of multiple peer-reviewed articles authored by prominent researchers, defending a highly successful early intensive ABA-based treatment (see also Rekers, 1977; Rosen, Rekers & Bentler, 1978; Rekers, Rosen, Lovaas & Bentler, 1978). This treatment was part of the UCLA Feminine Boy Project, which for some time ran concurrently with the UCLA Young Autism Project. Its unprecendented success in treating what was considered to be an intractable pathology was reported by NIH-funded UCLA researchers in peer-reviewed journals (Rekers & Lovaas, 1974; Rekers, Lovaas & Low, 1974). One of the stated purposes of this treatment was to "cure" or "prevent" homosexuality.
The UCLA researchers repeatedly wrote that the young boys targeted by their early intensive ABA-based treatment suffered terribly and were in pain. At all possible levels (physical, emotional, economic, social, etc.), their prognosis was described as "extremely poor" with a high risk of criminal, anti-social and self-destructive behaviour. Their future was one of "numerous crippling difficulties" and "pain, misery and despair" (all quotes from Rekers et al., 1977).
Then there were the parents of these reportedly severely disordered children, parents whose needs, values and goals were considered paramount. Therefore, according to the UCLA researchers, there was a "moral and ethical obligation" to intervene and provide a treatment which had been demonstrated to be effective. The fundamental purpose of this behavior analytic treatment was, they wrote,
to help children whose present and future is so filled with hardship that it would be clearly unethical not to render them professional help. (Rekers et al., 1977)
Yes, it still happens. Just not to Trans kids, at least, not outside the Rotenberg centre. Dr Zucker's ABA therapy at CAMH in Canada may lead to them having anxiety attacks when they see the colour pink, but he'd be as horrified as I was at the thought of using cattle-prods - sorry, CSS - on children. He's not a monster. In light of Dr Rekers recent escapades though... he's a very different case.
Dr Rekers was the editor for the Coalition on Revival's pamphlet, The Christian World View Of The Family. The one that stated that leaving bruises and welts on kids was just jim-dandy. The one that assigned the females a role somewhere between cattle and slave. As a Psychologist, it would be incredible if he didn't have considerable input to another pamphlet of theirs, The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling. The one that states the only textbook is the inerrant Bible.
1. AuthorityPost-Modernist Fundies, no less. You don't use Science to investigate an objective reality: you only use Science to bolster your prejudices. That's the Scientific Method.
We affirm that the Bible is the authoritative source of knowledge for psychology and counseling as in all other areas of life. We deny that any other source of knowledge is equally authoritative with the Bible for psychology and counseling.
We affirm that the subject matter of counseling is precisely the same as that of the Bible and, therefore, the Bible completely equips us with the theory and principles of counseling. We deny that the Bible is inadequate for the theory and practice of counseling.
6. Scientific Method
We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact; and that the faith nature of the results of scientific investigation is evidenced by the investigators' proselytizing intent, that is, their attempt to transform man into their idea of what man should be. We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.
14. Root Causes of Personal ProblemsThis goes so much against my own personal beliefs that I cannot leave this unremarked. I believe that people are basically good - albeit with varying degrees of imperfection. Few set out to be consciously evil. And that intent is vital in defining guilt, else we'd be paralysed into inactivity because whatever we do might accidentally be wrong. Moreover, it's bacteria that cause infections, not some past blood-guilt. I have no need for an invisible Sky-Policeman to punish me for infractions, because I wish to do good for its own sake. It's only the few who are truly evil, who cannot imagine anyone else not being truly evil, that require threats of eternal punishment.
We affirm that all personal problems have their roots in the sin of Adam and Eve; that non-organic (and even many organic) problems are immediately affected by personal selfishness and rebellion against God and His Law, and that man's restraint against worse sin is due primarily to God's common grace and secondarily to the governing structures of conscience, family, state, and society. We deny that these problems may be explained entirely on any other basis; that men are basically "good" (moral); and that any man has within his own knowledge and energy all that he needs to solve his problems.
We affirm that every person incurs true guilt whenever he violates a law of God (whether or not the act was intentional or the person was aware of the law that he violated), and even whenever he violates a standard that he wrongly believes to be required by God (Romans 14:23). We deny that true guilt is incurred only when a person consciously violates a law of God.
22. Mental IllnessSo when it suits them, Homosexuality is an illness in need of cure. And when not... it's a sin. One that by pretending it's a mental illness, they can punish, and punish, and punish, and punish, and torture with extreme cruelty, and all without guilt or shame. They have divine sanction for this "loving" torture, as did Torquemada.
We affirm that the term "mental illness" should be restricted to those problems that manifest a clear physical or physiologic origin or cause and that affect the thinking of man. We deny that the term "mental illness" should be applied to problems that clearly originate in the non-physical mind and have been clearly designated by the Bible as sins--e.g., homosexuality and "alcoholism," the latter Biblically defined as drunkenness.
23. Angels and Demons
We affirm that creatures who have only a spiritual dimension exist, that some serve God faithfully (angels) and others are in active rebellion against God (demons), and that the latter may possess unregenerate persons and oppress or influence regenerate persons. We deny that the Christian counselor may neglect the reality of demons, and that personal problems, organic or non-organic, are never the result of the influence of or possession by demons.
24. Love and Situational EthicsThey hate themselves, you see. The sin within them. They're not conscienceless. They just prefer to whip and scourge their sins from others, taking an unholy joy in it. And to do so, they must live in a world of darkness, inhabited by evil spirits and demons, unfettered by rationality or fact.
We affirm that love is the self-sacrifice of one person for another, best exemplified by the love of God through Jesus Christ, and that while love goes beyond the Law, it must always be consistent with and directed by Biblical Law and principle. We deny that love is the same as mercy and kindness, and that love is determined by situations without specific direction by Biblical Law and principle.
A world where they can hire rentboys to massage their genitals and anal regions without being at all gay. Enjoying the delicious thrill of control, over themselves and others. Breaking up families, torturing children with scarcely hidden delight, and all in God's Holy Name.
We've seen it all before, have we not?
It gets worse. For there's a political angle. From Wikipedia:
Rekers' views on family life were the focus of a major controversy in Florida in 2002 when then-governor Jeb Bush appointed Jerry Regier to the post of head of the Florida Department of Children and Families with responsibility for child welfare. Shortly after the announcement of Regier's appointment, it was disclosed that in 1989 the California-based Coalition on Revival had published a fundamentalist tract titled The Christian World View of the Family under the names of Regier and Rekers, which condemned working mothers as being in "bondage" and argued that the government should have no right to place children in protective custody except in cases of extreme abuse or neglect. The tract's authors also "affirm that Biblical spanking may cause temporary and superficial bruises or welts that do not constitute child abuse" and "deny that the Bible countenances any other definition of the family, such as the sharing of a household by homosexual partners, and that society's laws should be modified in any way to broaden the definition of family." The tract was condemned by Democrats; Bush told the media that Regier "doesn't share those extreme views." Regier survived the controversy and served as DCF head from 2002 to the end of Jeb Bush's term in 2007.From the Miami Herald:
 Jackson, Karla (2002-08-17). "Religious Tract Haunts DCF Nominee". The Tampa Tribune.
 Pinkham, Paul (2002-08-17). "Protest flares at new DCF secretary Regier denies ties to extreme views". The Florida Times-Union.
TALLAHASSEE - The man named Thursday by Gov. Jeb Bush to head Florida's notoriously inept child welfare agency is an evangelical Christian who views spanking that causes ''bruises or welts'' as acceptable punishment.It's not enough that they revel in their own private sewer. Their need for control makes them want to re-make society in their own image. And they have powerful friends. From the Miami Herald again:
The revelation did not come to Bush's attention until hours after the governor introduced Jerry Regier, a former Oklahoma Cabinet secretary and aide to Bush's father, as the new chief of the state's Department of Children and Families.
Regier, 57, was named less than 48 hours after the resignation of DCF Secretary Kathleen A. Kearney. He takes over an agency that has been embroiled in scandal since 5-year-old Rilya Wilson disappeared.
In a 1989 essay entitled The Christian World View of the Family, Regier and co-author George Rekers railed against abortion and gay couples forming families, and emphasized that husbands have ``final say in any family dispute.''
And the essay declares that ''biblical spanking'' that leads to ``temporary and superficial bruises or welts do not constitute child abuse.''
The essay also said Christians should not marry non-Christians, that divorce is acceptable only when there is adultery or desertion and that wives should view working outside the home as ''bondage.'' The ''radical feminist movement,'' the essay adds, ``has damaged the morale of many women and convinced men to relinquish their biblical authority in the home.''
But Regier's essay raises questions about the suggestion that he would keep beliefs and government duties separate.
He and Rekers at one point urge Christians to take ``whatever actions we can, within our biblical and constitutional limits, to realign county, state, and federal legislation regarding family issues in order to make it conform to the Bible's view of reality and morality.''
Anti-gay psychologist George Rekers charged Florida $300 an hour to testify as an expert witness in a trial defending Florida’s ban on gay people adopting. The state planned to cap Rekers' fee at $60,900 -- but paid him $120,693 after he exceeded his contracted hours.I can believe that. It would be difficult finding any Psychologist with Dr Rekers eccentric views. Views that were needed to bolster an inhuman law.
"It is not unusual for estimated costs to require adjustment during the course of trial preparation," said Sandi Copes, communications director for the Florida Attorney General's Office.
Copes said the extra hours were not agreed to in writing, but "merely by discussion."
"A total of 402.31 hours was submitted for payment by invoice attached. Of the 402.31 hours, 203 was paid by Direct Order," according to a 2009 state settlement agreement. ‘‘We accept responsibility for not obtaining a written document for the 199.31 remaining hours. However, the monies are legally due."
Attorney General Bill McCollum personally requested that the state’s Department of Children & Families hire Rekers, whose national reputation shattered last week after he vacationed for two weeks in Europe with a gay male escort from Miami he met through Rentboy.com.
In 2007, McCollum wrote to then-DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth, "Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case."
A 2008 Florida purchase requisition states that no payment to Rekers should exceed $60,900.Rekers testimony was to parrot the notes he'd used in Arkansas. There was no "new research" to critique. But such petty dishonesty pales into insignificance before his career of professional sadism.
Florida paid Rekers $60,900 in 2007 and $59,793 in 2009 for his testimony in the case of Frank Gill, a gay foster parent seeking to adopt two young brothers. Florida is the only state that bans all gay people from adopting.
Among Rekers' charges to the state of Florida:
• $27,000 (90 hours) to "evaluate and critique'' new research.
• $5,400 (18 hours) to meet with staff at the Attorney General's Office to prepare for deposition.
• $6,000 (20 hours) to standby at trial and deliver expert academic opinions.
McCollum said Tuesday he would not have recommended Rekers "if I knew what I know today."
"Would I ever recommend him again? No," McCollum said. "But he was the best available at the time."
Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, the state's leading gay-rights group, disagreed.
"There's a reason why he can't find credible sources," Smith said. "Because credible people don't believe this ban should exist."
McCollum should demand Rekers refund the fees, Smith said.
"Rekers is part of a small cadre of bogus pseudo scientists that charge these exorbitant fees to peddle information they know has been discredited time and time again. And people like McCollum will pay top dollar for it."
By now, I suspect many readers of this article will be thinking along the lines of some ABA applied to Dr Rekers. "Poetic Justice", with significant amounts of "Conditional Skin Shock" using multiple cattle-prods. Ostensibly yo prevent socially undesirable behaviour - that's the excuse - but really out of a sense of righteous anger and a bloody thirst for red revenge. The thought had certainly crossed my mind.
But... then how would I be different from him? It was his self-righteousness, his blindness to his own evil, that allowed him to do this. How is my self-righteousness any different? More Just perhaps. But compared with Mercy, "Justice" is over-rated.
I just want some light on this, to expose this filth and cleanse it through the harsh and baleful glare of publicity. I want some professional journalist, not a blogger on the other side of the planet, to connect the dots and put the story together. One who'll get a Pulitzer for it, whether or not he(or she) mentions this article in an obscure footnote. I want the torture of children to stop, and the influence of these self-loathing Fundies and Mengeleresque "Psychologists" with their fondness for CSS to vanish, yes, and the torture of Autistic Kids to stop too, that's another issue.
Once Dr Rekers is neutralised, and the harm he's done exposed and healed as much as it may be.... I have difficulty caring what happens to him. He can go to Hell, or he can spend his remaining days with firm-bodied young adult rentboys to give him erotic massages, I don't honestly give a damn. Just so long as the children are safe from him.