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My friend went there for about a month from August-September 2000 (so this info may be out of date) BUT when her parents visited for the first time, they immediately pulled her from the program because the staff was abusive towards the kids. They'd say really fucked up shit like, "sooo, what's it like to be the product of a rape? i'll bet your mom agreed to it, that fucking whore," etc. I did not witness this, I'm just going off of what she told me but judging by the fact that her parents pulled her from the program upon their first visit (and I assume if parents were there, staff was on their best behavior), I believe it.
At the time, it was a level 4 facility (1 step below lockdown) and very strict.
thank you so much for replying. what is a level 4 facility?
My daughter was there for about a year recently. It did a lot of good for her - an observation with which she agrees. Kids are closely supervised, of course. It's not for kids who don't need supervision. I know of nothing - from personal observation or my daughter - that I'd remotely term "abusive."
I've sent two of my kids, both with addiction issues to Vista RTC; its a VERY intense therapeutic environment and probably the best adolescent inpatient available in the country. I've seen absolutely no abuse whatsoever, and both my kids that went through it said that as well, no abuse. It's very structured, which is necessary for the kids that go there. It did wonders with my kids.
HEAL has received numerous complaints regarding Vista RTC. And, in our own initial investigation we have found the many of the staff claim to be "counselors", but, hold no professional licenses in UT. See: www.heal-online.org/vista.htm. In addition, parents are reluctant to acknowledge having made a serious mistake after spending thousands on failed or fraudulent treatment services. And, unless the children are free to speak of their experiences without threat of being sent back to the program, the truth about what goes on at Vista or any similar program when provided by the parent who did not live at the facility and see firsthand what goes on day to day is less than credible. I would advise Jim to wait until his children are adults and revisit the discussion when fear of returning to Vista or any other civil rights violating program is quashed by time and reaching age of majority. By subjecting children to institutionalization, parents break the trust relationship with their children and cannot assume that a child toting the program line is doing anything other than guarding their own survival from all threats, including parents who make bad decisions regarding their welfare.
Thank you very much for your entirely uninformed viewpoint.
"Counselors" aren't therapists.
"Parents are reluctant to acknowledge having made a serious mistake after spending thousands on failed or fraudulent treatment services." By this logic, nothing expensive would ever by criticized by anyone. No one would, for example, sue a law school they had attended, or complain to a car manufacturer about a lemon. Oh wait ... they do?
If you say the people who are most familiar with a subject can't be counted upon to describe it accurately, then there's no way to discuss that subject.
As for the logic that fear of being sent back would make a kid lie and say good things about the program - I don't understand that at all. So: when a kid comes home from an ordinary summer camp and says, "It was pretty good; the food was decent; I learned a lot about sailing," that's a series of lies motivated by the fear of returning, and an obvious sign there was something desperately wrong with the program, right?
You don't know me. You don't know my kid. You THINK you do. Your confidence that you do does not argue for your credibility or judgment.
Vista's staff that are not licensed ARE NOT LICENSED THERAPISTS NOR COUNSELORS. Clearly, you didn't even visit the website at www.heal-online.org/vista.htm before posting your ignorant response.
Oh, wait? Do people and organizations sue abusive and fraudulent programs similar to Vista? Oh, yes they do! Do they file complaints? Oh, yes they do! Are the previous two attorney generals in Utah currently indicted for corruption and taking bribes from scamming businesses such as fraudulent residential programs operating in Utah? Oh, yes they are! And, are you showing how ignorant you are with your response! Oh, yes you are!
Vista is not a summer camp! You are comparing apples to oranges here. And, you are being unreasonable and stupid. If your family sent you to a remote location where you were tortured and told daily that your family supported the abuse you were suffering and told daily that if you ever said a bad word about the program that you would be punished for it and that you witnessed other children lose levels and experience harsh punishments as a result of telling the truth about the abuse, you would likely upon freedom not talk about the abuses out of fear of being returned to the program. You are an idiot who knows nothing of PTSD or what life is like for survivors of institutional abuse. You are an idiot and your trust between your child and you has been destroyed. Your child is welcome to come to HEAL for help suing you and the program you stupidly subjected them to, but, your ignorance and ridiculous claims make no sense. Is there unlicensed staff claiming to be therapists at Vista? Yes! Are there lawsuits against fraudulent and abusive programs? Yes! Is there corruption in Utah? Yes! So, all of your arguments have been debunked and your delusions of doing the right thing will blow up in your face sooner or later. The best thing you can do is admit your mistake now and truly try to heal your relationship with your child. But, you are probably too stupid to do that given your responses here.
"Message containing verbal attacks ... will be deleted immediately."
"You are being unreasonable and stupid ... You are an idiot ... You are an idiot ... your ignorance ... you are probably too stupid..."
Not even bothering to respond
Your reply is a reply, so you did bother to respond. The information you shared and your attacks on my credibility as well as the information I provided in my other posts were not deleted. Nor will my responses to you be deleted. Idiot and stupid are light insults at best and certainly not "attacks". Ridiculous? HEAL is not ridiculous nor is our mission to stop institutional child abuse. Just because something "offends" you doesn't make it an attack. Your use of words such as ridiculous and baseless statements about HEAL's credibility were much more "attacks" than what I said in my last reply. Yes, you are delusional. Yes, if you continue to remain blind and fail to make peace and begin building real trust with your child, I think you are an idiot, stupid, or criminal. You pick which of those three you would rather be thought of as and we'll go with that.
Yes, when a parent's ignorance places their child in a remote location (removed from home and community), he/she believes everything they are told, he/she doesn't question their contracts or even have them looked over by an attorney before signing indemnity clauses, he/she assumes that their child (like any normal and sane person) would not act to preserve his/her own freedom by following the directives to never say a bad word about their captors/former captors, he/she assumes that their child (like any normal and sane person) would not fear being returned to a remote location where deprivation of contact with the outside world is the least of the violations suffered, then that parent is stupid and worthy of being called an idiot.
I will be posting links to the complaints against Vista shortly. The complaints I will share are public information. In the meantime, I can confidently say that HEAL has received multiple reports of abuse at Vista. Including, one parent report that reads in part: " It was a nightmare at Vista. Both programs are working together to rotate kids in and out of each program more than once. In order to do that they destroy the clients relationship with parents. There was also staff having sex with clients, staff "fining" clients for whatever and pocketing money, months without a therapy session, etc. I have reported this to the licensing agent but of course there is but so much she can do about it ."
So, yeah, you've been taken for a ride based on the information we have and your child is so scared to talk to you about what Vista was really like because you are too stupid to trust with that information if your decision-making history is any indication. Children are told that the program will be monitoring their progress when they get home and that if they complain (say one bad word) about the program the program will recommend they be returned to the program. And, that is why I am writing this to you in an "angry tone". Your child may not be free to share their pain and anger, but, someone should give them a voice. And, that's what HEAL is about. I in no way threatened you. I tried to give you a serious wake up call. And, I spoke harshly, but, not in any way I would consider a verbal attack. If you can't handle that, you should have never become a parent. Teens have raging hormones that cause mood swings (so do middle-aged women by the way). And, sometimes tempers flare when intelligent individuals run into arrogant fools online. We respect free speech here. And, I made my point.
I went there. I'm 34 years old, so maybe age gives me credibility at this point. It's been 17 years since I was there, so while rounds are not fresh, its probably changed tremendously. I have 2 children of my own now and I wouldnt put them into that program unless there was no other option. I feel that they truly robbed my family in SO many ways. Not just money or time I was there, but they told me to cut ties with them and then kicked me out. I was close to 18 and 7mobths in, I wasnt progressing. I was diagnosed ADHD years later and realized they were punishing me and claiming I was acting out by forgetting small things- leaving a shampoo bottle in the shower, a hair brush, a hospital corner on the bed ruffled, leaving out a pencil at my desk- small things that truly weren't something I was in control of. I wasn't allowed to sit in furniture and had to sit on the floor, I couldnt wear shoes- even in the winter outside, and no one was allowed to speak to me. I was taken "off the team" and sat at a table alone for literally months by myself. There was no actual education when I was allowed to attend "school". I think it may have started as a place of truly wanting to help kids but when it became lucrative, things changed. That was 17 years ago so I'd imagine it just got worse in that aspect. I'd imagine the human rights of the residents probably improved, the dynamic is less brainwash-driven I mean "peer supportive" of whatever term used. Only people who converted to being mormon "progressed" while I was there, so it HAD to get better in that aspect. Frankly the place changed my life in a very negative way. I was kicked out immediately after coming home because I never trusted my parents after that place. It took over a decade for any of that to heal. Literally any boarding school would have been a better option for me. At least I would have learned calculus and not how to clean under the bottom of chairs in a meaningless fashion.
I attended this program for 3 months and was pulled. I still have nightmares and think about it every day and it's been almost a year. It's the most abusive program I've experienced, and it's not California certified because of how the staff and therapists treat the clients. The therapists are straight up mean to you, insulting you, and everyone shuns you until you give in to the brainwashing. There are punishments for doing things like cussing or not talking in group, the first line of which is being on RO for a week. RO is when you can't speak for a week and if you do it starts over. Taking over 7 minutes in the bathroom or not reporting other clients for breaking rules or saying bad things about the program results in ROOM or worse. Maybe you you drank caffeine on a visit or went out of the Line of Sight of a staff? The punishment is called "scrubs", where the staff watch you change into a pair of bright green scrubs, with matching flip flops, and you get RO punishment while having to drag your mattress to the commons area every night so staff can watch you sleep. Scrubs also means staff have to watch you shower and use the restroom. Fun. Well that program is hell and those are only a couple things. Help your friend.
Thank you for your review. We are on the brink of sending our 15 yr old son (currently at Second nature}to Vista. After reading your review we cannot do that. You have mentioned in the last line of your review that there are other ways to handle the problem. I'm wondering if you are willing to talk to me on the phone? My son can't come home at the moment and I can elaborate upon it if and when we talk.
Our child is at Blue Fire and is having a great experience. We are now considering the next step. The therapist at Blue Fire says he needs more work in a controlled environment. Your last sentence stated that there are many options to help these kids. Could you elaborate on this please? Call me on my cell please. 817-715-1131. Christopher
Thank you so much.
I received a phone call and an email this evening from a person currently working at Vista, as a therapist. She directed my attention to this post from a former teacher, and intimated that the company was going to pursue litigation with me as a result of the post from the former employee. I have chosen to address this post now as a result. The truth is that I agree with the post content, and saw a number of things similar to this behavior pattern from the administration and many of the therapists. There is nothing illegal about full discloser of these issues. I want it to be known that the material in the post, while cutting to the company, is in fact true from my own personal experience. I would be happy to expound upon anything that would be needed to clear any confusion on the issue. I do agree with the post, in suggesting that anyone considering treatment at Vista, would find better options elsewhere. if you have any questions I can be reached at email@example.com.
Professor Swede Larsom, BFA, MHA, Phd.
Everything you said is completely untrue. I went there. I experienced it. You were just the creepy weirdass yoga instructor. They are in no way abusive or unfair. When you witness the situations that cause students to have to wear all green and have a staff member with them at all times, it is because they threaten to hurt or kill themselves or others, or actually physically attack somebody or try to hurt themselves. It only lasts a couple days until their personal therapist is confident that they will no longer want to do whatever the original action was. If our parents want to communicate with us, they are always allowed to do so if it is important, we just can't spend all our time on the phone, and there are a lot of people trying to use the phone. Overall, Vista changed my life, I don't know where the fuck I would be without it, but any asshole like this guy shitting on it is just salty because HE fucked up and got fired. Obviously kids will hate it while there and maybe even exaggerate or even lie about how horrible it is, but if they actually work on themselves and use the program instead of just acting like a little bitch and trying to be tough all the time, they will get NOWHERE. But it is a good place that has really helped a lot of people get their lives on track.
Dear "Past Vista Attendant",
Thank you for posting on our forum. Here is what you wrote:
"Everything you said is completely untrue. I went there. I experienced it. You were just the creepy weirdass yoga instructor. They are in no way abusive or unfair. When you witness the situations that cause students to have to wear all green and have a staff member with them at all times, it is because they threaten to hurt or kill themselves or others, or actually physically attack somebody or try to hurt themselves. It only lasts a couple days until their personal therapist is confident that they will no longer want to do whatever the original action was. If our parents want to communicate with us, they are always allowed to do so if it is important, we just can't spend all our time on the phone, and there are a lot of people trying to use the phone. Overall, Vista changed my life, I don't know where the fuck I would be without it, but any asshole like this guy shitting on it is just salty because HE fucked up and got fired. Obviously kids will hate it while there and maybe even exaggerate or even lie about how horrible it is, but if they actually work on themselves and use the program instead of just acting like a little bitch and trying to be tough all the time, they will get NOWHERE. But it is a good place that has really helped a lot of people get their lives on track."
The first issue is that you do not identify who the "you" is in the first sentence. One might assume you are speaking about Swede Larson, but many people responded to Larson and it is unclear whether you are disclaiming all reports posted by Swede and other posters or solely disclaiming statements made by Swede. If Vista offered a proper education, your argument and writing style would reflect that and it does not.
Secondly, assuming you are speaking about Swede Larson, he identified himself as Swede Larson. If you are speaking about Swede Larson specifically in regards to his former employment by Vista, then you acknowledge that his statement of his name and identity are not "untrue" thereby negating your initial statement that "everything you [assuming you means Larson]said is completely untrue. You acknowledge that Larson both worked for the program while you were there and that his name is Swede Larson. Therefore, your entire opening premise regarding everything said by Larson being completely untrue is itself untrue and injures your credibility. This is something you should consider when writing similar responses or online comments.
Thirdly, HEAL has 122 pages of police calls and complaints involving Vista. Source: http://www.heal-online.org/vistapolicecalls.pdf HEAL has also received multiple complaints about this facility from parents and former attendees. Degrading and humiliating behavior modification is ineffective and harmful. In addition, here are the top 5 reasons no child or youth, including you should ever be subjected to segregated congregate care:
a. Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation. It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment. For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at https://youtu.be/C4NzhZc4P0A. Or, see: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/ which includes in part: "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."
b. Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive. Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights. Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at http://changingminds.org/disciplines/sociology/articles/institutionalization.htm. "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)." (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)
c. Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children. Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family. Source: http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html
d. Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful. Best source on this currently is: https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/EndoftheReformSchoolbyVinny.doc
e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments. Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11662001/The-truth-about-boarding-school-syndrome.html
So, while I personally appreciate that you feel Vista helped you, I do not respect your criticism as written here for many reasons. People who have reported abuse and questionable therapeutic practices employed by Vista are being honest and making statements that are reasonably based on the facts. It is fine if you want to tell the world Vista helped you. HEAL has no problem with that and I have no problem with that. The issue here is that you really have no business calling other people liars because you disagree with them, especially when there is ample evidence supporting their claims and concerns about Vista.
Since you did not identify yourself, one may assume you are an industry troll or staffer of Vista trying to defend your employer from justified criticism. At least Swede Larson and myself have the courage of our convictions to identify ourselves when posting and permit for reasonable investigation of our claims and positions. You do not offer readers the same level of credibility and therefore have fatally injured your own statements as a result.
I encourage you to write Vista a letter or testimonial for them to post on their site. You could then post the link here so we can see your testimony in support of the program. I would suggest you at least identify yourself by first name or first and last initials and give Vista permission to post that along with info about when you attended so that visitors to Vista's website can verify whether or not it is even possible that you ever were enrolled in the program or if anything you have to say checks out. Credible firsthand accounts, positive or negative, require individuals identify themselves and provide facts that are verifiable through independent inquiry. For example, your initials and the dates you attended would provide Swede Larson, myself, and others information from which they could cross reference and/or question others who were enrolled at Vista at the same time to see if there was anyone with the initials you provide in attendance at the time you claimed to attend. And, even if it does match someone enrolled, if we then track the only person with those initials down to verify your statements (positive or negative, here or on the Vista site)and ask if they are the person posting here and they deny it, the statement will lose any remaining vestige of legitimacy and credibility. But, if it did check out, then it would strengthen your comment and help validate your statements.
Based on my knowledge and experience, Vista is a segregated congregate care facility and holding anyone in such a facility without a court order is a violation of their due process rights regardless of whether or not they have reached the age of majority. Therefore, unless you were court ordered, I believe on the basis of false imprisonment and due process violations alone, that you were abused and your rights were violated. And, that is true for anyone enrolled in any such program without proper due process of law.
In conclusion, I find your statement to lack credibility and to be based on ignorance of the law and ignorance of proper therapeutic procedures. I find your language unnecessarily vulgar and antagonistic. And, you truly sound like a troll or someone who is suffering Stockholm Syndrome.
I wish you the best,
You said, "GCU doesn't even offer a PhD in "Cognitive Psychology" -- Here is link for you to do just that......https://www.gcu.edu/college-of-doctoral-studies/online-phd-programs.php
Notice that there are four PhD degrees listed in Psychology, the second of which is a degree in cognitive psychology.
You have been given ample opportunity to identify yourself, but you choose not to, I am an open book and my claims are clear. I am happy to offer anyone any information they wish regarding anything I have said my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Allow those here to "VET" the source that is so very critical of me, who are you and why should we listen to your negative rhetoric?
I cannot comment on Brain Works, I don't work there and am not involved with that program in any way. I never claimed to have a license to practice mental health, and am in fact not even remotely interested. The PhD program is in Psychology and if you'll notice from your own post that it is focused on cognition and instruction, that is cognitive psychology.
Again my book is an attempt to help parents avoid spending egregious amounts of money on programs that don't work. As many emails show, no one has to read my book to get my consultation...... I talk with may freely about what I know of the programs.
You keep talking about being a fraud and scamming people, what am I gaining from this other than helping. Or is it the $13 charge for a book I worked on that a couple of people didn't like on Amazon.com?
As for the PhD, I have the transcripts that show I have finished the program and achieved nearly perfect scores. That is why we (a large group of students) are fighting the school, they didn't confer the degree that we earned.
You also said, "I am on the side of the vulnerable people you attempt to dupe. Most people on this forum have anonymous user names anyway"-What anonymous user names did I use and where?
You continue to inject straw men to dodge the facts. While the irony of your claims to protect vulnerable people from fraud and unethical behavior – all while using fraud and unethical means yourself – is clearly lost on you, I hope this situation highlights the importance of vetting the claims of people, vendors -- and even facilities -- who offer consultation, products, or other services.
Address the facts. You defend the value of your coursework in your posts here, but elsewhere, you tell quite a different story:
Dear past Vista attendant,
I was you. I was a headstrong teenager who post-Vista thoroughly believed and constantly affirmed that Vista saved my life. Like you, I experienced extreme Stockholm like effects. You are conditioned (through tactics that research correlates to overall harm across a multitude of areas rather than any type of positive outcomes) to believe that if you ever have any negative thoughts or feelings about Vista, it is somehow your fault. The seeds of self-blame are sewn so deep that they become ingrained into who you are, or who you think you are. One day you will realize what happened to you and the effect it has had on your life, and the effects it will continue to have on your future. One day you will know that it wasn't your fault.
For years I managed to run from it mentally, I believed it helped, because I had to. I mean it would be gut-wrenching to allow yourself to understand that two years of your life (extremely precious years in regards to the span of human development, but I digress) were stolen by people who claim to be helping, yet they do the very opposite. I internalized everything, because I was made to believe that my problems and my struggles must somehow be the result of some mistake that I had made at some completely unidentifiable, yet clearly significant point. You can only run for so long before it comes crashing down on you. I am not the only one of my fellow survivors with a diagnosis of PTSD. I am not the only one who self destructed completely after Vista. I am one of the very, very few who made it out and was able to piece together my life and make something from it. Although I am successful, I still struggle, the severity of the PTSD is okay sometimes and sometimes its bad and daily life becomes very difficult.
What needs to be understood is that at its very core, Vista is a business, and that's the bottom line. To ensure the $12k monthly checks (that's per child) they need to produce results. And how do you produce results to please the wallets (I mean the parents)? You grossly misuse your education in the psychology field to devise and implement behavioral modification techniques that quickly produce the desired effect. Checketts is a con-artitst, and a genuine disgrace to the profession as a whole.
Give it some time, you will be back. And there will be people to support you.
I mean I was there a long time ago and that was not the case. They dressed up girls as prostitute and made then wear "how much" signs, made a girl push a shipping cart around to be a metaphor that she would be a homeless lady one day..etc...
So I have read a number of reviews
My experience with my daughter was outstanding
My wife and I travelled 500 miles interviewing RTC’s over the course of a week. We hired consultants who made suggestions. However we felt it necessary to see all facilities available to us. To be honest it wasn’t really close. Vista was the first place we visited and the other 5 were a far 2nd. We knew our daughter was ready since she just completed 100 days in the wilderness program which by the way was the best decision we made. She completed Jr and Sr year at Vista with a little less than a 4.0. She currently attends University of Utah and doing extremely well
The staff at Vista have much to do with this
Feel free to reach out to me if you need to find out more of our experience with the very painful process we went through in getting help for our daughter
For the protection of those who Swede Larson has asked to contact him personally regarding his "research," please be aware:
Swede Larson (aka DrSwede / Professor Swede Larson PhD / Dr. Harland Larson PhD / Dr. Swede Larson / Da Swede Larson / Harland Larson / Professor Swede Larson of Fortis College / Harland Larson PHD (ABT)) does not have a psychology degree of any kind and has been posing as a psychologist with a PhD, as having expertise in psychology, and as head of a research team, among other fraudulent claims, in order to sell a book on Amazon
He has been scrubbing the internet of these claims since his fraud was exposed in other internet locations, like this disability support forum where he attempts to sell his "research" (details and links):
As always, vulnerable groups should exercise caution and vet the credentials and claims of those they interact with on the internet.
HEAL received what we believe are Harland/Swede Larson's transcripts from Grand Canyon University. You will find them posted on our site at www.heal-online.org/slarsondoc.pdf. We hope this helps clear up any confusion.
Unfortunately this transcript only shows that Mr. Larson took courses in Grand Canyon University's online PhD program, not that he earned a PhD. GCU does not offer a PhD that leads to licensure as a psychologist.
This does show that Mr. Larson has been falsely claiming to have a PhD for quite some time. Check the dates on the coursework. On this forum alone -- as far back as November 2015 -- he was representing himself as a PhD with "a team of Psychologists and neural scientists:"
Mr. Larson does not appear confused about his degree elsewhere on the internet, now that he is organizing litigation against GCU for the lack of one:
(see comments posted by Da Swede Larson -- 4 months ago:)
"Fraud and Deception are occurring, the staff and faculty I worked with hugely mismanaged my dissertation journey, leaving me with huge debt, no degree, and even if I had finished the degree, it was not what they outlined at the beginning in my paperwork... meaning the degree would not have been useful in securing employment as a psychologist...[...]"
***Please use caution when interacting with people requesting information on the internet and vet sources. This is especially important in groups and forums that serve vulnerable populations.
Currently you recognize we have the most effective hack roblox rips off website around, and also you recognize that this roblox hack functions.
I have thought a lot about concerned's response and ad hominem attack on my character and credentials. I have made no secret about my fight with the University I attended. I did indeed complete the substantial school work as outlined in the admissions paper work at that school to gain a PhD. Not only did I complete the work, all of it, I also did so with nearly perfect scores.I am happy to share those credentials with anyone interested.
Now, "Concerned" calls for us to vet our sources but offers no clear indication of who this person is. To be honest, he sounds like one of the two owners of Vista, the CEO.... Matt Checketts.
None the less the truth of the matter is in fact that my credentials are not in question or even relevant here. The abusive ad hominem attack disregards my argument altogether and simple attacks my person.
Let us get to the crux of the matter, Vista and many other RTC's in Utah are breaking with human right, and what is ethically permissible. They are doing this on the ground as outlined by Angela, and sanctioned by the government in Utah. One doesn't need any degree to see what that the behavior of these social workers is uninformed and abusive. The number of comments that I have from past clients who have undergone this treatment, is telling. I have decided to move forward with the publication of those stories. This will bring to light that since Maia Szalavitz wrote "Hep at Any Cost" little to nothing has changed in the RTC's in Utah.
To the person who had the negative experience & said that the teachers weren't licensed in CA, are you speaking to the Vista rtc in Magna, Utah or the Vista program in California?
I attended Vista in the late 90's. The place was horrific. They practice "shock therapy" ,as well as, isolation. They would put kids on "RO" in which we weren't allowed to speak, embarrass us, scream in our faces for hours, and generally belittle and bully us into compliance. Please do not send your child there to be verbally abused and mentally tortured!! My mind has literally blocked out so much of what happened to me there and in the wilderness program I went too. All I remember is small flashes of what went on, which leads me to believe it was REALLY BAD there!! Like this website says, be sure you can have steady contact with your child, and be able to see th3m very frequently!!
It was more arounderstanding 12 years ago, so 2004 ish...
Thank you for your post, these are precisely the types of posts that will help protect potential future clients from garnering negative life experiences from those claiming to offer treatment for psychological hardship/infirmity.
When I was there bathroom breaks were limited to two to four minutes, this place was hell. It was literally the worst experience of my life. I finished my nine month stay there ten years ago. I am a successful well adjusted adult now and have a great relationship with my parents. So no lasting damage for me but I would definitely recommend anyone considering this as an option to make a better choice
Is this in any way related to the old "Vista" program that pre-dated the "AmeriCorps" program? Those are government youth activities that seem also to include a lot of schools, houses, etc.
They were foisted on the public as some kind of domestic "Peace Corps" but they are very shadowy programs, especially Vista. I've met some strange characters who came out of those programs.
I don't want to go off-topic, but I am curious about the name "Vista" in this context.
HEAL has received the police complaint record regarding Vista RTC in Utah. Reported calls include rape, assault, domestic violence, child neglect, and life-threatening environmental conditions. You can download the police calls now at http://www.heal-online.org/vistapolicecalls.pdf.
Can't download the police calls..
The police calls file is over 280MB in size. Are you using a phone or a computer to download? If a phone, you likely don't have enough memory to download that large of a document. You will need to download it from a computer. I'm currently downloading it from http://www.heal-online.org/vistapolicecalls.pdf right now and it is taking some time due to the size of the file. But, it does download when using a system with enough memory.
Says its no longer available or the link isn't valid.
I pulled it up just fine..... make sure you are using a computer: I bet it won't come up on a phone.
I realize this is late to the discussion, however this is the only place on the internet that I have found which deals specifically with this treatment center. To preface, I think it's important to note that I'm currently actively avoiding divulging any personal information for the fear of backlash or being sent back. I think that speaks volumes about the environment.
I have concluded through my experiences that this, like many treatment centers, is a scam. Most of the people who leave relapse, as I've observed by checking up on dozens of people through social media and finding few, few people who seemed to be doing well.
Those who were doing well seem to be motivated by the fear of going back or the fear of being sent elsewhere. I believe that "success" through threats is inappropriate and ineffective.
Please don't misunderstand - Vista is not hell. I have met people (staff and clients) I admire and care about there, and I have felt joy/felt connected in that environment. Still, I believe that the program is fundamentally ineffective.
I would like to hear people's thoughts on this (if anyone is still around this forum) who have shared/witnessed this experience and to see if my observations hold any validity. I can also go further into the hierarchy of the milieu, the imbalance of control, and examples of my own experiences. I can also share positives about the facility as well. \
Thank you for reading.
This program helped saved my son's life. He has been clean and sober for 2+ years. They are not abusive and CBT works if people embrace it. Statistics and our experince prove that!
Unfortunately this post was not written by me, but it does indeed tell a clear story; that story coincides with many that attended Vista, as well as other RTC's in Utah.
Again, we get no chance to "VET" the source of this anonymous post. Do us the favor of researching who you are please, and allow us to make a decision regarding your arguments, which incidentally regard themselves toward the individual rather than the argument being made.
I will state it again for everyone to hear, Vista Treatment center does indeed Visit many terrible and inhuman practice upon the students there. While few find help, many find disappointment, fear, demoralization, inconsistency, and even direct abuse. Those that survive these places do so despite the practices there, not because of them.
Again, as I have said several times here and else where, I offer no services to anyone online or in person as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker..... what I do offer is my knowledge of the program in question. I am interested in giving folks more knowledge to protect them from scams like Vista, or other types of programs that are not. My work is an attempt to arm parents with knowledge that will protect them, and their poor children, from these places and their abusive programs. I am not the first or the only person to make claim against this practice of "help at any cost" and I surely won't be the past.
It seems that the only thing you can focus on is my problems associated with the PhD program I completed.... and the abusive ad hominem attacks on my person, and the claim that I am preying on vulnerable people, though I don't know how.... I offer my claims against these programs freely to anyone that has emailed me. I have protected hundreds of poor teens that might be duped by the people at Vista!
Also that you will not allow anyone to get a sense of you, who you are, and where you come from..... you are merely a critic of my attempt to help! I do apologize that you have taken offense, I only want to protect our poor kids from experiencing the emotional hardship of encountering programs that put abuse in the guise of treatment. This was the reason I attended Grand Canyon University in the first place.
jesus ******* christ i would absolutely never put my name on here just because of the kind of verbal attacks taking place right now... “concerned” ... more like concerning. honestly it doesn’t matter to me who “concerned” is or what they are claiming. it could be will smith trolling this forum and it doesn’t even matter because regardless of who it is it’s a good example of how the therapists and directors acted just overtly taking consequences or accusations way too far and being far too brashly stubborn to consider where to draw the line. as for me i sincerely don’t give a **** about swedes credentials or anything he’s “claiming” i just know that i trusted him more than 95% of the staff there most of whom just go through their shift ignoring the verbal abuse as if that’s just how people normally treat each other. there was a stark superiority complex existing among most staff members and i only care that i feel like i just found someone who i can reach out to about my experience even if this post is several years old.
i would disprove of any program that uses shock and break therapy. consequently the abuse of power running this place is honestly sickening. i swear to god i would discourage any parent from sending their kid here. i do not think that under any circumstance, that these troubled children—most of whom are struggling with things like trauma and abuse and depression and shattered self-esteem— deserve the level and incessant nature of this programs blatant disrespect towards clients. i ******* cringe at the thought of these people actually making money off of this and it’s good amount— especially adjusted for how cheap it is to live in utah.
so did this place get me to control my behavior? yes. was it conditioned into me by a tyrannical authority using fear tactics and cruel punishments? yes. would i ever endorse or recommend this program to someone based on my experience? hell to the ******* no. y’all got me ****ed up it’s been four years since i graduating and i still have nightmares about being stuck there. i can’t stop picking apart every single action i make and how i deserve the trauma i endure and if i dig deep enough why i’m responsible for my suffering. this program completely broke down my dignity and self-respect and discouraged us from speaking up about unjust practices. if you criticize the program you are punished. if you say anything negative about the programs practices on a phone call the staff will cut the line and you’d probably get dropped a level or some bs. i saw a client defend two others who he felt were being punished for prejudiced reasons and he was shamed by all the therapists in group and put on idk. you get dropped to RO if you accidentally stub your toe and a curse slips out, meanwhile the staff and therapists can cuss at you and say whatever cruel and degrading thing they want to us and everyone witnessing is scared to say anything because they’ll get torn apart even harder. and strange how it seems like the staff members who question or oppose the tyranny end up mysteriously without employment.
still i think the power hunger pulsing through this place is disturbingly predictable. take the idea of the stanford prison experiment, turn the prison guards into psychologists and replace the prisoners with misbehavioral teenagers. i don’t know what else people would expect in all honestly they are making thousands of dollars per day by simply treating clients like they are a case file with endless psychoanalytic possibility while constantly disregarding their feelings as irrational, what would stop them? they did not treat us like people and i would genuinely question the ones who say they would treat their own kids like this. it scares me that places like this exist and can have such disregard for an individuals needs. not sure how you can get a psychology degree and then just ignore things like the basic humanistic principles of maslows heirarchy. i did not feel safe physically and DEFINITELY not safe emotionally as the majority of these experiences were simply dehumanizing and lots of practices made me feel worse about myself than i could have even imagined before this kind of environment. there was no sense of trust with therapists who possessed a very offensive tact. how would this elicit any form of healing? i don’t want to think about this place anymore but the memories and associated feelings are frequent and intrusive and the actual cognitive and affective changes that resulted in me from this environment stem from fear and feeling perpetually powerless and defenseless and stripped of my right to think my own thoughts. i strongly disagree with vistas practices and i believe it’s not a healthy place for anyone to be. i’m not sure how to have any impact on regulations regarding programs like this. i just want their nasty ass facility shut down. not that this post needs anything more just thought i’d sp