A.R.T. for my sake

April 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm (Uncategorized)

When the Child Study Center closed in 1980, they moved the entire diagnostic unit (social workers, psychologists, and typing pool) to Terrace Cottage at Scioto Village where we continued to perform, more or less, the same function.  After a few years, they decided to disperse us to the wind and a plot was hatched to hide me out at the school, hoping nobody would notice I was there. And it actually worked for awhile.

I was now doing school psychology and had to quickly bring myself up to speed on learning disabilities and the like. I found there wasn’t really much of a diagnostic protocol in place, so I developed one. Meanwhile, I started co-leading therapy groups after work with Duane Johnson, a former Peace Corps volunteer who had worked with Albert Schweitzer in the Congo.

Not long after that, I met Dr. John Gibbs, an Ohio State professor who was a disciple of Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg, who was renowned for his theories on moral development. Dr. Gibbs wanted to use our groups to test out some of his ideas for what would eventually be known as Aggression Replacement Training (ART).

Essentially, he had a number of stories involving moral dilemmas which we would use as the basis for discussion in our therapy groups. However, I found them unsatisfactory because 1) the youth couldn’t relate to them and 2) the discussions were too open-ended. Therefore, I rewrote them to incorporate moral dilemmas which I knew from experience our delinquent teens were encountering and I also added a few discussion questions to each one.

Dr. Gibbs eagerly embraced my “environmentally valid” moral dilemmas (as he called them) and we began keeping track of the results from each group session. Unfortunately, someone at Central Office realized I was still employed at Scioto Village and decided I should start traveling around the state to do school psychological evaluations. Basically, I spent two days a week at Cuyahoga Hills, one day at Maumee Youth Center, and the other two days at Scioto Village and Riverview. Consequently, I could no longer devote anytime to the group work.

Many years later, I was contacted by a publisher who asked permission to reprint a few of my moral dilemmas in a book by Dr. Gibbs et al entitled Aggression Replacement Training: A Comprehensive Intervention for Aggressive Youth. On one hand, I was amazed that so much research had been done using my little stories. On the other, I was a tad disappointed that I wasn’t given credit for the format they continued to use.  However, by then I was no longer working in psychology.

Footnote: James E. Rogers, director of the Ohio Department of Youth Services during this time, was later sent to prison on a number of corruption charges. One of the things he was notorious for was having “phantom” employees on the payroll. While I was spending two days a week in Cleveland doing psychological evaluations, I was told there were actually 15 psychologists on the institution’s payroll, but nobody ever saw them.

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1 Comment

  1. stephanie bass said,

    Is scioto village or gis still open. Can we have a scioto village get together I graduated jan69 senior class president miss mildred grey teacher. Miss bloomba phys ed teacher r who I remember my name is stephanie bass

    I lost my year book r there any to be found I will buy

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