The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 10, Article 5 (Feb. 10, 2020) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.
On January 29, 2020 I (Daniel) was asked to have a meeting with my primary therapist, her supervisor, and a psychologist.”
Before the meeting, I asked if I could have Russell with me in the meeting as a “support peer.” My therapist first said that they could not allow someone from a different unit to come onto our unit. When we pointed out that we know this is not true, she changed her reason to, “we are going to talk about more than just the newsletter.” So, I let it go, too a risk, and went into the meeting. The meeting was centered on whether or not the OCEAN Newsletters where “therapeutic.” At one point I was told, “we can stop you from writing these.” However, they knew the only way they could take away my 1st Amendment right to free press, was to use psychology to convince me to agree to stop, by claiming that it was somehow “counter-therapeutic.”
Towards the end of the conversation, and in a desperate attempt to get me to stop publishing the newsletter, one of the clinicians leaned in, looked me in the eye, and said, “Daniel, how can we help you get through this treatment?” I responded, “are you offering me treatment progression if I agree to keep my mouth shut?” She desperately recanted what she had just said, and I terminated the meeting.
Most of the individuals participating in “treatment” do so under duress. In his book, If you Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!, Sheldon Kopp, explains:
[In Coerced Psychotherapy] … the patient does not freely choose to seek out the therapist’s services.
He comes instead under the duress of threatened sanctions by the court … or because “therapy” may be his only hope of regaining his political and social freedom. The social power of the therapist is inherent in his role. The inequality of the participants comes closer to that of warden and prisoner than the one man being paid to help another. The real client seeking relief is the family or the community who sees to it that the patient is vulnerable to the expert, and who pays the latter’s fees. The goal is not the relief of the patient’s suffering, but rather the re-establishment of social control. Consequentially, as the community’s agent (rather than his own or the patient’s), the therapist does not value or protect his patient’s privacy and confidentiality. (pp. 112-113)
MSOP detainees are “encouraged” to participate in treatment with many incentives and discouraged from quitting with many negative consequences. To encourage MSOP clients to participate in treatment, including the new tier system, MSOP offers:
1. The privilege of more work hours and thus more money.
2. The privilege of lounging in certain rooms that are not allowed to the “other” clients.
3. The privilege to buy an X-Box
4. The privilege to buy fast food more than the “others.”
5. The privilege to go to the chow hall and eat meals before the “others.”
6. The privilege to lock down at night later than the “others.”
7. The privilege to sit anywhere in the chow hall that you want.
8. The privilege to wander around the facility more than the “others.”
9. The privilege to go to the music room and play guitar drums or keyboard.
10. The privilege to use the legal computer to exercise whatever rights you still have.
11. The privilege to plant in the garden.
12. The privilege to use certain vending machines.
13. The privilege to share food and media.
14. The privilege to exercise in the gym when you want.
15. The privilege to participate in extra social activities.
16. The privilege to go to extra therapeutic recreational events
17. The privilege to participate in therapeutic based unit-to-unit visiting.
This is text book coercion. Some may argue, “but you wouldn’t do treatment if you didn’t have an incentive.”
But we do have incentive: CHANGE. The only incentive should be a changed heart and mind. MSOP doesn’t offer that though. They don’t even suggest that it is possible that we can actually change and that it would be personally rewarding if we did. Instead they use coercion to create the illusion that guys are actually learning something. The irony of it all is that, by their own admission, most of the clients at MSOP are not even mentally ill, so many of them are pretending that they are “getting better” so that they can get the rewards. The reality is that there was never anything wrong with them to begin with.
The big problem with coercion is that it is inherently corrupt. There is no way to know who is participating genuinely, and who is not.
In addition, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, clinicians, social workers, and the like are not objective.
They are human beings and are subject to bias like anyone else. The indefinite preventive detention of the MSOP’s detainees and others nationwide solely relies upon “expert witnesses” and in the context of civil commitment, this is usually a psychologist or psychiatrist whom our clinicians work under.
Dr. Joel Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP immediate past President of the American Psychological Association, discloses what should be known by all:
… We come to each other and every case with pre-existing values, learning histories, experiences, and prejudices, some of which are beyond our awareness. Some of us-not me, thank goodness-are members of political parties. We have different beliefs about social justice, personal responsibility, and the exculpatory effects of poverty, youth, or mental illness . . . . we do this for a living. (Some of you may cling to the belief that money has no effect on you, but if l paid you enough, I could get you to say that you like Barry Manilow.) Most people are influenced by money. There is no reason to believe that we are exceptions . . . . . most of us want to be praised. There is a plethora of research to support the proposition that people will almost always do more of what brings them praise. To pretend that we are immune to this apparently core human characteristic is self-serving and indefensible . .. .. we are biased by the fact that the case gets initially “sold” to us by lawyers, many of whom are skillful and persuasive advocates of their client’s point of view . . . .. m any of us are competitive. Most people prefer to win rather than lose, and it is not by accident that our legal system is called adversarial.
I know that we are not supposed to talk about these things. With a wink and a nod, we all claim to be objective arbiters of wholly truthful opinions, and yet the plain folks who serve on juries are not fooled. They know that it is never even a challenge to find one of us on either side of each and every question. How is it, they wonder, that lawyers are seemingly never unable to find a psychologist or psychiatrist to have an opinion that helps this particular client?
… It is only by acknowledging our blind spots, biases, and prejudices that we can take sensible steps to correct for them.
This lack of objectivity on the part of clinicians and psychologists is not lost to most clients. MSOP detainees know that they must pacify and impress clinicians to gain their freedom. However, the wise are not convinced that it will ever pay off.
OCEAN continues to be baffled at what to call the “clients” at MSOP so if you have any ideas, let us know. We are not actually clients, because there is no service being provided to us. “Detainees” just sounds negative.
We are not sex offenders or ex-offenders or even the new label giving to break the stigma: “Registrants” (many of us do not have to register). Let’s try “Defender” for a while. However, not all offenders are Defenders, if they are not willing to change their ways. As Defenders, we have cultivated empathy and atonement and have become genuinely remorseful for past behaviors. As Defenders we have gained a portion of understanding of how we have affected others and now we defend the perspective of those we have harmed, and strive to bring light to the dark.