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Suggested as Model:
ANONYMOUS could serve as a pattern to make group therapy
in prisons more effective, Dr. Donald Cressy, University
of California at Los Angeles criminologist, has suggested.
so-called group therapy in prisons is largely individual
psychotherapy simultan-eously administered to a number of
persons, " he declared. "Criminality is 'treated'
clinically as if it were a disease, like syphilis.
time is spent in allowing the participant to ventilate suppressed
hostility. This supposedly enables him to get rid of individual
emotional disorders responsible for his criminality.
value gained from group participation is offset when fellow
inmates not in the group ridicule a participant's newly
acquired 'Square John' attitude and guards show distrust
of his reformed demeanour."
In Alcoholics Anonymous, the participant immediately acquires
an intimate membership in a network of group relations explicitly
utilized to reform him, Dr. Cressy pointed out. His belligerence
is reduced quite incidentally. If the program is initially
successful, he gains status in the group. His new attitudes
are reinforced as the "reformee" becomes the "reformer."
group therapy should develop and sustain anticriminal values
among inmates as Alcoholics Anonymous does with anti-alcoholism
among its participants," Dr. Cressy concluded.
Science News Letter, June 19, 1954)