Turning Winds—HEAL Survivor Report  (also see: Staff and Background Info)

(Formerly in Idaho, Currently in Montana—a.k.a. Turning Winds Academic Institute, Turning Winds Academy, Turning Winds Educational Institute)

 

submitted by Patrick Liberg (HEAL-IL Coordinator and Turning Winds Survivor) and edited with commentary and introduction by Angela Smith (HEAL-HQ Coordinator)

 

Introduction

 

We’d like to give a special thanks to Patrick Liberg of HEAL-IL for submitting this information.  Mr. Liberg is a brave soul.  He was born in 1989 and has found a great courage to come forward and use his experience as part of a foundation to expose institutionalized abuse in behavior modification programs. 

 

Mr. Liberg submitted his journals with notes/letters (journals, notes, and letters have been temporarily removed from this page at the request of Mr. Liberg) from during and after his internment at Turning Winds for Ms. Smith to transcribe and post here to inform others of what life was like in Turning Winds in Idaho in 2003 and 2004.  Mr. Liberg also submitted the deceptive brochure (exhibits A and B below) Turning Winds used to lure parents into their system.  We have also received a number of program details and other promotional materials and will be quoting various sections through out this introduction in order to provide further evidence of false-advertising, deceptive marketing, and human/civil rights violations of the clients imprisoned by Turning Winds. 

 

In Patrick’s entry for August 23rd, 2004, he mentions going by Rocky Mountain Academy (RMA).  Rocky Mountain Academy is/was one of many programs using the Chuck E. Diederich University (CEDU) cult model.  RMA is also where John Baisden (owner/founder of Turning Winds)got involved in the "troubled teen" racket.  Patrick also mentions having a friend currently at that program in that entry.  Here is a video on the CEDU founder and their practices:

 

 

 We have provided this video with hope that you, the reader/viewer, will understand the legitimate basis for our use of the word "cult" to describe the practices of abusive behavior modification programs like CEDU, Turning Winds, and many others.

 

The Brochure

 

The brochure uses a lot of vague language to describe what exactly they do at the program.  Questions we have regarding the language of this brochure are written out below and listed by section.

 

About Us

 

They state a goal of giving youth the “necessary tools” to rise above life’s obstacles.  However, there is no description of how they try to meet this goal.  There is no description of what these “tools” are or how they are transferred to the young adult.

 

The brochure assumes that the child does not understand or value his/her potential.  This is a leading phrase meant to reinforce the parent’s idea that they have a “troubled teen”.  And, it is a sales ploy.  It is not based on a legitimate assessment of the young adult’s needs.  Here is a copy of the questions asked to parents to determine if placement in the program is necessary (taken from the turningwinds.com website on August 31, 2005): (We suggest parents try to answer the following questions about themselves honestly and see if the point scale states they are at “high risk” or in need of intervention.  We haven’t found many if any children or adults who do not “qualify” or are not “assessed”, through this “Cosmopolitan” magazine type questionnaire, as being in “need” of outside intervention by the marketing department of the program.)

  1. Does your child* fail to complete assigned tasks? (1 point) (Parenthetical comments following point value are HEAL authored.)
  2. Does your child fail to follow instructions? (1 point)
  3. Does your child have difficulty with organization and orderliness? (1 point)
  4. Does your child exhibit hyperactivity at inappropriate times? (1 point)  (These questions are extremely suggestive and subjective.)
  5. Does your child have difficulty focusing/concentrating during tasks? (1 point)  (If so, they could be intellectually gifted, not troubled.)
  6. Does your child fail to complete tasks that require effort regardless of importance of the task? (1 point)
  7. Does your child have difficulty being patient or waiting for his/her turn? (1 point)
  8. Does your child intrude on conversations or tasks that he/she is not directly involved in? (1 point)
  9. Does your child attempt to negotiate and/or manipulate in order to avoid consequences and problems? (1 point)
  10. Does your child justify negative behaviors by blaming others? (1 point)
  11. Does your child fail to follow through with promises and/or commitments? (1 point)
  12. Does your child engage in mental and/or emotional degradation of others? (1 point)
  13. Is your child unwilling to recognize the impact of his/her behavior on family and friends? (1 point)
  14. Is your child unable to accept and/or understand other points of view? (1 point)
  15. Does your child use manipulation and deception in order to change others’ points of view? (1 point)  (Well, the program does.)
  16. Is your child unable to engage in effective problem solving strategies? (1 point) (When you were his/her age, did you?)
  17. Does your child have weekly outbursts or mood swings? (1 point)  (Mood swings are natural and part of puberty.)
  18. Does your child often break curfew without good reason? (1 point)
  19. Does your child purposely annoy others? (1 point) (Maybe they will grow up to be a comedian.)
  20. Does your child become easily angered? (1 point)  (Maybe they are stressed out, aren’t you?)
  21. Does your child refuse to abide by the requests of adults? (1 point) (Questioning authority is necessary to protect self/others from exploitation.)
  22. Does your child avoid participating in family activities and social events? (1 point)
  23. Does your child blame others for inappropriate behaviors and/or mistakes? (1 point)
  24. Does your child neglect to follow house rules? (1 point)
  25. Does your child argue about insignificant events? (1 point)  (Do you think you argued with your parents about things they thought were insignificant at the time?)
  26. Does your child become impatient or easily agitated by others? (1 point) (Maybe they are stressed out…)
  27. Is your child failing one or more courses in school? (2 points) (Have you asked your child if there is a problem with the teacher?)
  28. Does your child use profanity? (2 points) 
  29. Does your child have difficulty confiding in others? (2 points)  (How do you know?  Have you talked to everyone they know?  Maybe it’s just between you.)
  30. Is your child openly defiant towards parents and/or teachers? (2 points)  (Questioning authority and a bit of testing boundaries is all part of adolescence and the transition to adulthood.   Question is way too subjective.)
  31. Has your child undergone therapy and/or counseling without results? (2 points)  (Have you participated and/or accepted any suggestions for improving your parenting/communication skills in regards to your child(ren)?)
  32. Does your child go out of the way to make others like him/her? (2 points)
  33. Does your child take things without asking? (2 points) (Most people think it is normal for a teen to feed themselves.  The program doesn’t allow teenagers to even pick up a fork without asking.  So, what is the measure of reason being used by the questioners?)
  34. Does your child seek revenge? (5 points) 
  35. Does your child engage in reckless behavior? (5 points)  (This question is extremely subjective.  What is “reckless behavior”?)
  36. Does your child run away from home? (5 points) (Children don’t run away without a reason.  This is indicative of a serious communications break down or abuse within the home/family.  This requires family therapy and every member being accountable for their contributions to any problems.)
  37. Is your child sexually active? (5 points)  (Check out www.heal-online.org/teenrights.htm and see if they are legally allowed to be.  If so, it is certainly not something for which they should be locked away.)
  38. Does your child destroy the property of others? (5 points)  (Have you ever destroyed someone else’s property?  Really?)
  39. Does your child engage in self-injurious behaviors and/or threaten to inflict self-harm? (5 points) (Many victims of programs like Turning Winds have committed suicide since the program.  They can’t live with the memories and nightmares that flood their lives.  These programs are not a solution to such problems.)
  40. Is your child absent from school without parental knowledge and/or consent? (5 points)  (Did you ever skip school?  Do you have any friends who did?)
  41. Does your child engage in cruelty to animals? (5 points)  (Many young adults are placed in programs for caring about animals or being vegetarian.  There is one young man transferring from Adirondack Leadership Expeditions to The Hyde School (both are bad news) and the reason he was placed in the program is his compassion for animals.)
  42. Is your child involved in physical fights? (5 points)  (Is this self-defense?  What is the school like?  Is your child a victim of bullying?  Ask questions.)
  43. Does your child frequently use illegal drugs and/or alcohol? (5 points) 
  44. Does your child associate with friends who are not positive influences? (5 points)  (Really?  Did your parents like your friends?)
  45. Does your child make decisions based on the decisions of friends? (5 points)  (Isn’t that what the program does?  It uses “positive peer culture” or peer pressure to force “clients” into making certain “choices”.  How is this different?  It’s known to be psychologically ineffective and harmful.)

 

 

*The questionnaire/unprofessional assessment tool that is solely used as a marketing ploy with no scientific basis of efficacy or accuracy used the words “troubled teen” instead of child in each question.  HEAL does not believe it is healthy to repetitively call a child unknown to the assessor a “troubled teen” and that this marketing practice is solely for the purpose of reinforcing a parent’s fears and suspicions that their child is in need of institutionalization.

 

Point Value “Scores” and “Meanings”

 

0-25 Points= “Low Risk” or “Normal”  But, if a 5 pointer got a “yes”, check “moderate risk”.

26-40 Points=”Moderate Risk” or “Cause for Concern” and some type of intervention “recommended”.

41-75 Points=”High Risk” or “Possible placement of child in a program is needed.”

76-100 Points=”Immediate Help” and advised to “immediately place” child in program. 

 

It is highly unlikely that anyone will come in below the “moderate risk” or “high risk” point categories.  At least, no one that is being honest about themselves.  This is nothing more than a marketing tool and has no evidentiary basis regarding its efficacy or accuracy.

The brochure also states that children are put in charge of other children in the program by being “given an opportunity to become a leader among their peers and provide a positive influence.”  This is describing Positive Peer Culture.  Which is known to be ineffective and harmful.   Use the HEAL website search tool to find information on programs that have followed that model.

 

It also states that the family will only be allowed monitored contact with their child during the program.  This is a serious warning sign.  Programs that deny, limit, or have total control of a young adult’s ability to contact the outside world are generally using cult-like thought reform practices.

 

The cover states that Turning Winds is a “Life Changing Experience”.  We invite parents to think about what that literally means.  And, to consider the fact that it does not state whether the change is for better or worse.  This is more vague language.

 

Counseling

 

It states that a young adult will meet with a licensed counselor weekly.  They do not specify what type of counselor or the credentials required to become a licensed counselor in their state.  In Washington, for instance, it was the law up until recently that someone would be qualified to be a licensed counselor if they took a 4-hour course on HIV/AIDS prevention.  That was the only requirement.  And, in states like Utah and Montana, the regulating bodies are invested in the troubled teen programs they regulate.  This is a blatant conflict of interest.  This section also mentions the keeping of journals and other “therapeutic” writing requirements.  We will be posting Mr. Liberg’s journals below.

 

Academics

 

The program states that the young adults are “given the opportunity” to earn their GED.  They state they have “qualified staff” to help tutor the “students”, but, they do not specify what these qualifications are or how they were obtained.

 

Activities

 

The program states that the young adults participate in “Activities such as”…  We hope you know that when someone uses “such as” and does not specify what exactly the activities are, that they are generally giving themselves an out so that if the activities listed aren’t included, they won’t get hit with “false advertising”.  But, it is still false advertising.  Concealing facts by innuendo is still dishonest.

 

Fee Info

 

At the time the brochure was active, the program cost $3,995 per month with a minimum enrollment of 4 months.  A family can live pretty comfortably on $4000 a month.  In fact, maybe a family stay-cation is what is needed to bond and deal with communication problems.  Just a thought…

 

This concludes the brochure review portion.

 

The following are excerpts (with HEAL commentary) from strugglingteens.com/archives/2004/5/turningwindsnp.htm and were gathered on August 31st, 2005:

 

“The orientation period at Turning Winds is approximately four-months, but the length is determined by the individual progress of each student.”

 

The above information under “Fee Info” states the minimum enrollment to be four months.  Orientation is the first level/phase of the program. 

 

“The entire program averages approximately 12-months, and the two facilities house a maximum of 16 students.”

 

This is an unreasonably long timeframe for a child to be abandoned by his family and community.  The separation alone can cause permanent psychological and family problems.

 

“Staff members email parents weekly with updates on their child.”

 

This is the only access parents will have to their child until the program authorizes other forms of communication.  Letters/faxes are often withheld for the “good of the family” or “progress of student”.  This is indicative of an abusive program.

 

Larry Bauer and John Baisden both directed Turning Winds.  And, Bauer also founded Glacier Mountain Academy (GMA).  GMA lost it’s license to operate in Idaho.  Perhaps the reason for the move to Montana…

 

The practices of Glacier Mountain Academy (a.k.a. Glacier Mountain Expeditions) mirror the practices of Turning Winds.  The following was taken from the aboutglaciermtn.com website on August 31, 2005:

 

“The Glacier Mountain programs involve behavioral and emotional modification.”  (follow link)

 

Mr. Liberg has submitted the following Glacier Mountain program schedule as it is similar or the same model used by Turning Winds:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most important things to note are the limited privileges, the vague “expectations”, and the lack of any personal time to reflect and decompress from the day.  All of these are indicative of an abusive behavior modification program model.

 

The following is taken from savemyteen.com/918.html:

 

“At Turning Winds academics can be accomplished through accredited correspondence courses, GED advancement, and/or early college entry.”

 

What does Turning Winds mean by “accredited correspondence courses”?  Many correspondence courses and even programs like Turning Winds belong to trade associations that claim to accredit their members’ programs.  However, this accreditation isn’t worth anything, including the membership fee. 

 

This site also stated:

 

“During late spring, summer, and early fall some activities might be: Hiking [etc.]”

 

Please understand that “might be” is a very vague term to use regarding your child’s activities.  They “might be” being tortured by people you paid to change their behavior.  Think about it.  They also included “motivational sessions” (cult-speak) and “survival activities” as “might be” activities. 

 

This site also stated:

 

“The three phases of the Turning Winds Program are: the Orientation Phase, the Transition Phase, and the Aftercare Phase.  The Orientation phase involves stabilization, counseling, group therapy, academics, and family reunification.  The Transition Phase of the program is designed to maintain change.  During this portion of the program, each adolescent continues in counseling, group therapy, and academics.  Also, he/she will be given privileges and responsibilities that are similar to those that he/she will experience upon returning home.  The Aftercare Phase allows the adolescent to keep in contact with Turning Winds staff and to work through issues or problems that may occur…”

 

These phases are broken up into smaller increments within the phases and typically involve 4 known systematic, coercive, and psychologically damaging thought reform techniques.

 

The following excerpts were taken from turningwinds.com on August 31st, 2005 and are followed by HEAL commentary:

 

“The Ten Character Virtues—[parenthetical definitions are those of Turning Winds and not HEAL commentary]

 

Industriousness (maintaining a positive work ethic aimed at setting and achieving realistic goals in service to self and others)

 

Humility (the ability to remain teachable)

 

Direction (the ability to lead through the process of correct decision making)

 

Environmental Awareness (realizing that healthy environments promote individual wellness)

 

Integrity (understanding and accepting one’s own strengths and weaknesses by being to one’s own self)

 

Responsibility (acquiring then using knowledge to make the best decisions possible and living with the outcome)

 

Respect (appreciating oneself and others as persons with great potential and creative possibilities)

 

Family Connection (developing a greater appreciation for the strengths and resources that one can draw upon within his/her own family)

 

Altruism (engaging in activities for the primary purpose of serving others)

 

Verbal Assertiveness (speaking up in a supportive and encouraging manner)

 

The proper/mainstream definitions of the above “Virtues” (taken from www.merriam-webster.com):

 

Industriousness: constantly, regularly, or habitually active or occupied.

 

The proper definition of industriousness also corresponds with the breaking down process used in psychologically harmful coercive thought reform programs.

 

Humility: The quality or state of being humble.  Humble: reflecting, expressing, or offered in the spirit of deference or submission.  It is also an antonym of assertive.

 

The proper definition of humility also corresponds with the forced servitude and required submission to authority that are standard protocol in programs like Turning Winds.

 

Direction: guidance or supervision of action or conduct.

 

The ten “Virtues” are the ten “steps” of the three larger phase process at Turning Winds.  Direction is the “step” in which higher phase or higher “privileged” clients are put in charge of lower level clients and encouraged to find fault with the lower level clients. [Below in Patrick’s journals, you will see Patrick’s “leadership” and finding of “fault” with lower level clients during the “Directions” portion of his “reform process.”]

 

Environmental: the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded.  Awareness: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge.

 

Environmental Awareness is then considered having knowledge of the conditions surrounding the individual.  This implies the use of animal-training/conditioning through “privilege” and “punishment”.  Always think about how something subjective can be interpreted and how young adults are being taught improper meanings for the language used in the program.  This misuse of language is indicative of a cult-like program.

 

Integrity: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.

 

This defines the next level beyond learning the ways of the cult/program during the Environmental Awareness step.  “Clients” are becoming “true-believers” in the cult and starting to repeat the same phrases in response to individualized questions.

 

Responsibility: moral, legal, or mental accountability.  Reliability or trustworthiness.

 

The reality is that young adults have not reached their maturity and will not until their early 20s.  This is a biological fact.  Young adults should not be held to standards that they are not yet ready to uphold.  The teen years are full of growing pains.  That’s the way it has always been.  And, responsibility must always come with privilege.  That is the spirit of the law.

 

Respect: to give high or special regard. Literally, the act of looking back.

 

Turning Winds definition is unrealistic and inaccurate.  Respect is earned and that is true regardless of the parties involved.  Respect is certainly not a euphemism for the cult-based “human potential movement” (Scientology, LifeSpring, foundations of the program industry…).   Using the legitimate definitions of respect, it would imply the next step is looking down on those on lower levels and feeling a new sense of “pride” associated with the program and with devotion and adherence to the program/cult.

 

Family: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head.  Connection: the state of being connected.

 

This step is relating to the start of the second phase of the program mentioned above.  This is part of the transition phase and continues into the third phase.  Each “step” requires constant adherence though some “privileges” and “punishments” become more advanced/severe.

 

This was stated on the turningwinds.com website on August 31st, 2005: “Within the transition portion of the Turning Winds program, many new privileges are introduced such as scheduled phone calls to parents/guardians, involvement in extracurricular activities, peer mentoring [staff positions], scheduled home and site visits.”  This means that for the first 4 to 6 months in the program, your child is completely cut off from even talking to you on the phone and you are barred from talking with him/her on the phone.  This is considered abandonment by legal definition and is actionable against the parent(s).

 

Altruism: behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.

 

This would be an honest description of what happens at Turning Winds.  The “clients” are required to do acts that are psychologically harmful and/or physically harmful to themselves to benefit the program.  This begins phase 3.  The “client” is now a strict adherent and will do whatever is commanded by the program.

 

Verbal: of, relating to, or consisting of words.  Assertiveness: disposed to or characterized by bold or confident assertion.

 

This is the final step of the process.  The “client”, and probably parents if they attended too many seminars, are now adherents to the cult and willing to sell the program, often for economic consideration (kickbacks—common industry practice—not verified regarding Turning Winds at this time). 

 

The following was taken from turningwinds.com on August 31st, 2005:

 

Turning Winds is A Division of Family Solutions Network, Inc.

 

The following was taken from turningwinds.com on August 31st, 2005

 

Here Turning Winds stated that the Orientation phase is “4 to 6 months”.  In other literature, they state the minimum stay is 4 months.  And, in later literature, they state that the Orientation phase is 4 months.  In this literature, they state that it is 4 to 6 months.  There is a lot of playing with language going on in this literature and that is indicative of deceptive marketing practices.

 

The following was taken from turningwinds.com on August 31st, 2005:

 

“We Believe:

 

…It is our aim and purpose to develop our students’ potential to the highest degree possible.”

 

This is another admission of being adherents to the “human potential movement” cult system.

 

 

The following was taken from turningwinds.com/faq on August 31st, 2005:

 

“If you think for a fleeting moment that your child would do any of the above [refuse to go, threaten to run away, tries to negotiate, etc.], why would you take the risk of confronting your son/daughter?”

 

Turning Winds advocates for parents to put their child through a paid kidnapping using coercive escorts that often bind and/or chemically restrain (drug) the child for transport.  This type of advice is meant to divide the parents from the child and instill an instant realization of shock, betrayal, and abandonment in the child.  This is psychologically damaging to the child.  This will be in initial preparation for the Stockholm Syndrome that follows this type of treatment.  Turning Winds also uses it’s own in-house kidnappers that parents can use for an extra fee.

 

“The length of stay for your child will depend upon his/her goals and success in the program.  For example, if your adolescent chooses to stay and attend a semester of college before returning home, the length of stay may be longer.” 

 

Actually, what is more likely is that Turning Winds will tell parents to reject the return home of any child who hasn’t “graduated” the program and will advise parents to tell their children they will be on the street if they leave before “graduating”.  Often, this is the only reason young adults “choose” to stay in a program.  Others stay because they are now adherents to the cult and want to “help” the cult “succeed”.

 

Turning Winds claims to provide the necessities for the program, but, charges additional fees for this “service”. 

 

Children at Turning Winds must earn the privilege of attending school.  Turning Winds claims that this privilege is typically earned “three weeks into the orientation phase”.  However, that all depends on the “student’s progress”.  Turning Winds only offers “academics” from September through May, even though they claim to be a year-round facility.  The education is through a correspondence course as mentioned above. 

 

During Orientation Phase, a young adult is only allowed to write a supervised 50-word message that staff e-mail’s to parents, thereby finding a “loophole” to federal laws regarding privacy.   However, there is no loophole to the violation of the child’s civil and human rights. 

 

“Parents must also support the program and its staff during the child’s stay at Turning Winds”.

 

This requires parents to support the program and ignore any pleas by the child to go home or get help.  This is indicative of an abusive behavior modification program that does not recognize the rights or responsibilities of the parents in regard to their own children.

 

Parents are generally not allowed to see their children for the first 2 to 3 months or longer depending on the child’s progress.  What right does a program have to tell a parent they can’t visit their own child in treatment?  This is an unheard of practice in ethical treatment circles.

 

The program doesn’t specify the type of food or food quality of the program.  Turning Winds just states that food is brought in weekly and prepared by the “participants” under staff direction. 

 

“These group sessions make use of the “Positive Peer Culture Model”.

 

The Positive Peer Culture Model has been scientifically proven to be ineffective and psychologically damaging.  Please click link above for more information.

 

“In most cases, the child’s success depends on the length of time the child is able to spend away from the home.”

 

This is a sales pitch and used to persuade parents that the longer their child is in the program, the better for the child.  This is an absolutely false statement and has been denounced by medical and mental health professionals as well as the National Institute of Health (See: Help At Any Cost by Maia Szalavitz)

 

Turning Winds describes the Transition Phase as being a time of re-patterning (phrase coined by Dr. Cameron of the CIA’s behavior modification/mind control experiments) of the child’s behavior and thoughts.  This is a practical admission of what is going on in the program to those who are informed on the subject.

 

The following was taken from turningwinds.com/signs on August 31st, 2005:

 

“If your child exhibits 3 or more of these behaviors behavior modification is needed immediately:

 

 

Well, we don’t know anyone who wouldn’t have at least at some point exhibited three of the above behaviors.  And, there are many reasons for these things.  This is a scare tactic and a way to sell the program to parents who have decided parenting is no longer something they feel like doing or who are just too naïve and gullible to make good choices for themselves and their family. 

 

Following is evidence that Patrick Liberg was indeed a “client” of Turning Winds.  His parents, Tom and Debbie, received the following e-mail from Turning Winds:

 

 

 

 

 

(Return to HEAL--Fraudulent and Abusive Programs Page)

Exhibit A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit B

 

 

 

 

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