Lifesteps are a trademark of the Aspen Education Group. They were developed by Linda Houghton in association with Alex Bitz and a group of former CEDU staff at the founding of Mount Bachelor Academy, a first generation CEDU clone. Lifesteps incorporate the propheet system of CEDU into a slightly modified model built around basically the same ideas. "Peer groups" of eight to fifteen children go through all of the Lifesteps together. Each Lifestep has both staff and student "facilitators," a term that is used because they refuse to call the process "therapy" because there are usually no licensed therapists or psychologists present. If a Lifestep participant fails to live up to the facilitator's expectations of them during the Lifestep, then it is likely that he or she will be "dropped" into a lower peer group. They are all numbered according to the "graduation date" of the children, or the day that they are allowed to go home. Thus, being "dropped" into a higher numbered peer group meant that a child would usually be forced to spend a longer amount of time at the facility. There are six life-steps used at Mount Bachelor Academy.
A very light session lasting a few hours where participants get partners and reveal personal secrets about their life to other members of their peer group.
Starts in the afternoon and gets out the next afternoon. Introduces the first aggresive confrontational marathon group therapy sessions so far, although this is certainly not the first attack therapy experienced by the inmates. This therapy is usually conducted by people with no clinical training, and is typically seriously abusive. Sleep deprivation is used. Participants are made to write down all of their sins and put them on a poster on the wall for all to see. Emphasis is put on the idea that a good friend is "his brother's keeper." Participants are pressed multiple times for more confessions, and are encouraged to prompt their friends to confess anything that they might have done. Anything done against the rules is referred to as "clean-up." Only after approximately five hours of playing the song "tell it all brothers" and conducting this "clean-up" ritual will the process move on.
The Forever Young
Starts in the late afternoon and continues through the following day and into the next, usually getting out in the evening. More "clean-up" is demanded. More intense attack therapy is utilized. Participants are lectured extensively on the idea of a "magical child inside of you," a perfectly preserved juvenile psyche that is somehow trapped inside the teenage minds that the participants possess. Pictures of the participants as children are used in elaborate visualization exercises. Bio-energetic exercises are also engaged in. All of the other participants stand around one participant who is laying down on a pile of pillows. Things are then said to a participant that are meant to induce an intense emotional state. For example, if a girl was doing the exercise who had been raped, a facilitator might very commonly say things like "Are you going to let yourself get raped again?" The girl would then know from watching the people before her that at this point she will be expected to yell "NO!" and beat her hands and feat against the pillows in what is referred to at Mount Bachelor Academy as a "tantrum," or a ritualistic purging of supposedly negative emotional energy. Every participant is systematically emotionally abused in this way until they are brought into a state of artificially created emotional arousal in which they are easily controlled.
The longest of the life-steps, participants in the Promise go into the life-step early in the morning and get out four to seven days later. It begins with a day of intense physical activity. Often the participants will be required to run for twelve to fourteen hours straight or until collapse, in a stated effort to "break them down before we can build them back up." After the day of physical activity the participants are given a very small dinner and then enter a room where party music is playing loudly. The room has been soiled to the fullest of the facilitator's ability. The participants are passed fake drugs and fake alcoholic drinks and are encouraged to dance. Then a facilitator comes in and pretends to be a parent busting up an out of control party. The staff facilitator then demands that the participants "Clean it up. Clean it all up, now!" Cleaning the room usually takes hours, and after that the participants go into the most intense attack therapy session of the whole program, lasting usually over twelve hours, well into the next day. At that point they are given a couple of hours of sleep and then are awoken to participate in the second day of activities. The second day is all about bio-energetics like those featured in Forever Young. On the third day participants are taken into Portland, Oregon for a day of community service that usually includes a visit to a rehab clinic and a soup kitchen. The next day is spend doing manual labor around campus in order to "give back" to the community. Then the participants are released.
This is the most unstructured Lifestep, and in many ways the most abusive as a result of that. It starts with some physical activity, although not as intense as that featured in The Promise. Then participants are given a "role" to play in a costume party, and then gather their costumes together from anything they can find. Each person's "role" is supposedly somehow tied to their own character flaws, or tied to something that the facilitators of the Lifestep are trying to get across. This point is different for each child, and is usually pursuant upon the facilitator's personal opinions of the participant. It essentially consists of each person "going," or standing up and performing some action in character that they think acknowledges the point that the facilitators were trying to make, and then an extended attack therapy session. Following all of this is a native-american prayer hut, where some words are stumbled over about "father sky," and such.
This is essentially just a lecture or two delivered by the staff to the students with their parents at the graduation, or the end of the program. It isn't really conducted like any of the other lifesteps, it is simply part of the exit procedure.
- Info: Linkstep, Urban Dictionary