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Opinion & Essays - April, 1994 Issue #27 


I was touched by your article about your own placement needs of your daughter last year. It really hits all the points straight on. -Ben Mason, IECA, Vermont 
Mr. Woodbury: I am writing this letter to thank you for recommending West Shield to us. They were very professional, kind, sensitive, to our problem.... I was amazed at their control of the situation. West Shield made a painful situation much easier.... The names of the agents that came to the house and transported our son are Ollie Perkins and Dennis Lockman.... They were polite, sensitive to us as parents, as well as to our child.     - AR, California. 
Lon: Thanks for your input on my 24 year old who needs a wilderness challenge. I've got 3 programs to offer the family - Anyone would be a good choice. Carol Luber IECA. Kudos for your well-written and soulful piece which appeared in the last Woodbury Reports, Lon. You did a wonderful job articulating the dilemma of a parent - and especially a parent who speaks from experience. It was a courageous, personal testament to the struggles all of us may face in parenting any child, as there are certainly no guarantees. As you know, a parent's commitment to any program of recovery is, most certainly, an essential ingredient for family wellness and the greatest gift a parent can give their child. 
- Penny James-Riddell, Explorations, Montana. 
(The following is a response by Thomas J. Croke to Jerry Dorsman's letter in the February 1994 issue of Woodbury Reports, #26)  

The references in his final paragraph, citing "success rates among programs that offer a whole person approach" do not in any way support programming which makes AA optional. For example, Parc Place Recovery Center in Phoenix, Arizona, to which he attributes a 76% success rate based upon whole person recovery is in fact a treatment center which makes (or at least did at the time of the study) AA the absolute non-negotiable core of the treatment approach. The study in question was prepared as part of Parc Place's promotional literature while I was on their marketing staff, and is more of a marketing piece than a true scientific outcome study. Parc Place at that time stood in the same relationship to 12 step work which fundamentalist Christians stand to Christianity. That study, to the extent it is valid, in fact demonstrates the OPPOSITE of what Mr. Dorsman asserts. I have not taken time and do not intend to take time to check on the other studies cited in this paragraph; I see no point in doing that when Mr. Dorsman has so clearly misused the one source with which I am intimately familiar. 

For methodological reasons, I am hesitant to rest my own credibility on the Parc Place study. But if we are to take the conclusions of that study at face value, what it says is that about a $45,000 investment in about four months of treatment REQUIRING AA and the other interventions Dorsman cites, will produce a 76% success rate, challenging the need for investing upwards of $100,000 in a special purpose school. For me to generalize on that conclusion from the Parc Place study would also be dishonest. But there is NOTHING in that study to support Dorsman's assertions. 

There is a real issue of credibility here. Mr. Dorsman is entitled to advertise his book. But let's not abuse WOODBURY REPORTS by misstating facts which Mr. Dorsman must be familiar with if he has in fact actually read the Parc Place study.
- Thomas J. Croke, Pennsylvania, 412-532-0490 

Linda: I just wanted to personally express my thanks for your caring assistance throughout the long journey in our efforts to seek some help for our daughter. The Aspen experience has done more for her than I ever hoped for, and I really have no question that her "new" approach to life is sincere. I hope you continue to urge parents to look at Aspen as an alternative; I can't say enough good things about their program and especially their people. We visited Warner Mountain over Easter weekend and all of us loved it too. Again, one cannot help but sense the warmness and love which exists there, and I appreciate your sensitivity in recommending it to us. You had an especially tough task with our daughter given her actions at the other school, and I am very happy with where we landed. The world is full of people doing their jobs; most of us are competent at what we do. It is a real pleasure to find someone who undertakes their profession with the kind of caring and personal attention that you offered us. 
- Thank you. A parent, Colorado. 
Dear Lon & Linda: Thanks for all you do to help keep us up-to-date in this fast-changing and often confusing world of EG/SPS! 
- Jeane Samuelsen, IECA, California 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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