Background for Curing Children

This milieu therapy project' s motto is "The right to choose, the right to heal".

The right to choose : the right for a deeply troubled child to choose the place and the people where ce wants to try cure.

The right to heal : the right for a deeply troubled child to get rid of all the symptoms that afflict ce and make ce suffer, even if the healing has the consequences of loss of profit for the professionals who expected to "follow"
ce for life-long impairments, and even if that brings evidence that the parents or other people caused the child disturbances.
  
We chose the herein described concepts for creating this therapeutic milieu because in our opinion they provide the best chances for recovery for
children who survived heavy traumas and pathogenic relationships.

The main inspiration for this project comes from Bruno Bettelheim' s works (please see the page Books). While he was the head of the Orthogenic
School in the University of Chicago from 1944 to 1973, many children who
came to this institution were cured in the course of some years, as documented by the files and lives of these children afterward when grown up.
Unfortunately this humanistic trend is considered by many as too difficult to implement, therefore most often such children are only treated by
medications and behavior conditioning.

The story of A. S. Neill with his Summerhill School in England is also a good source of information.

We believe that emotional disturbances are caused by abuse and consequently are curable thru psychotherapy as proven by Bruno Bettelheim and other therapists.
The most extreme cases are when children were repeatedly submitted to terrifying situations where their life was continually threatened, demanding of
them a very special adaptation to try to survive, i. e. when they were suffering from entrapment in everyday living with their tormentors. Becoming insane or ill happened when pain and anguish were too frequent and too
acute for the victims to be able to stand it.

This explains the great care which is afterward necessary to approach these children after they were mercilessly submitted to extreme forms of deliberate
sufferings. Being survivors, they permanently believe that their life is still in danger and they need a long time before being able to realize that not everybody is a potential threat.

In other words, such children born sane were driven crazy or sick by terror, physical pain and sorrow, and they felt that their situation was hopeless because helpless. It has been possible to observe such degradation of mentally sane human beings when submitted during the Second World War to
extreme life endangering situations in Nazi concentration camps (B.
Bettelheim).

"In the beginning children have a freshness and trustfulness. They express their love naturally and unreservedly without artificial barriers. Then things happen and love cannot be expressed anymore, children close themselves
off" (R. Burns & S. Kaufman).
Official statistics show the number of children killed by their parents or guardians : the danger of torture or death is all too real. The most damaged
young survivors are the ones who were close to the end.


What is done to children is usually well hidden so it is not easy to know exactly what happened. Some cases are known of fathers who regularly
raped their daughter for years, later the victims can realize all the damage done to them and dare to accuse the abuser. Such men can be well considered in their community because they are reliable at work and of good company. They sometimes occupy high positions which allow them to go unsuspected all the years of their criminal oppression.
A high percentage of incest victims is found among mental patients of both genders. Some professionals when confronted to such realities prefer to think
that the condition of such patients is due to "brain damage at birth" or "chemical imbalance", and as such not curable.

This project is an implementation on a family-size model of the ideas that were successfully practiced during 30 years by Bruno Bettelheim and the Orthogenic School team. It is intended to be a therapeutic foster family way
of life, i. e. provide suffering children with a substitute family for recovering.
Thus there is no hierarchy and assistants are in plain clothes so that
members of the household can be close to each other.
To help the children feel secure, the home is designed to achieve
permanency for them : they can stay and live there as long as they want
and should not be removed unless they want it.
In order to not interfere with the spontaneous recovery process happening in
each child, non-directivity is the main principle that guides us and keep the program child-led for the best efficiency.

Generally, our frame of mind is to stand on the children' s side, as they are the weakest persons and powerless with the relevant adults : relatives, officials and professionals.



rev. 2013


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