Academic journal article Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry

Rejection of Psychotropic Medicine and DSM-IV Nomenclature Produce Positive Outcomes for Gifted, Alienated, and Dually Diagnosed John Dewey Academy Students Who Were Self-Destructive: Part I

Academic journal article Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry

Rejection of Psychotropic Medicine and DSM-IV Nomenclature Produce Positive Outcomes for Gifted, Alienated, and Dually Diagnosed John Dewey Academy Students Who Were Self-Destructive: Part I

Article excerpt

This is the first installment of a two-part article that describes the rejection of psychotropic medication and DSM-IV nomenclature at The John Dewey Academy (JDA), which has proven to be extremely effective for gifted, dually diagnosed, and unmotivated adolescents. One of the least studied phenomena that impact outcome are positive and negative expectations. These two psychotherapeutic principles maximize. Outcome results, when viewed from this perspective, certainly challenge the validity of the assumption that attributes pathology to a chemical imbalance, and in so doing ignores the roles of personal responsibility and choice (as opposed to compulsion). The second article will explicate the treatment guiding principles and effectiveness of compassionate confrontation. Critics challenge the philosophical and psychotherapeutic orientations that the JDA utilizes because they believe these constructs are simplistic and harsh, but cannot explain how superior success rates have been attained for a quarter of a century with a population of adolescents who rejected traditional therapeutic and teaching techniques.

Keywords: unconvinced and gifted adolescents; rejection of psychotropic medicine; confrontation psychotherapy

The John Dewey Academy is a voluntary, college preparatory and therapeutic high school for gifted, alienated, angry adolescents who engaged in destructive behavior. Consequently, these teens need placement in a safe, secure, and structured treatment milieu to prevent them from harming others and themselves. This residential school provides individual, group, and family therapy for students who are at risk and have negative self-concepts and attitudes described by Bratter (1989, 2003, 2006) and Bratter, Bratter, Coiner, Kaufman, and Steiner (2006).

The John Dewey Academy has a credentialed and experienced faculty. Two-thirds possess doctorates. A third have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The faculty is led by a Rhodes Scholar who has taught at Middlebury College, Stanford University, Mount Holyoke, and Smith College. Before coming to The John Dewey Academy, the Spanish teacher was a special ambassador to the United Nations. Five members of his family have been president of Nicaragua. The math-science teacher was a professor at the University of Alaska. More than half have taught in colleges and graduate schools. When students have scintillating teachers who are passionate, they will work diligently. Students study outside class for a minimum of 3 hours per day, 7 days a week. There are no management problems. Class size averages six. The average age of the faculty is 60. I do not believe inexperienced and young teachers can be effective teaching bright students who were reticent and unconvinced.

Faculty turnover is rare. All faculty have been at The John Dewey Academy for more than 5 years. Retirement is the general reason for teachers leaving. Job satisfaction and morale are high. There is continual communication between the faculty and clinical staff. When students succeed their success is attributed to the team.

There is no other special purpose school or residential treatment center that works with gifted dually diagnosed adolescents, who by objective criteria require residential treatment, can assert that 100% of graduates attend colleges of quality, and more than 75% graduate from college. The dropout rate is approximately one-third. The John Dewey Academy refuses to be apologetic because the program is voluntary. Early dropouts are prevented when the parents have commitment to keep their child in the Academy. They inform their son or daughter that they will go to another residential program should John Dewey not work out. If students were required to convince the Academy to admit, this, too, would decrease premature departures. Prospective applicants could be required to write a 10 page essay about why they should be admitted or yell for help. Yelling for help is an activity that shatters the impenetrable images many project. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.