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"Lap Dance Therapy" Neither Fun Nor Effective

Maia Szalavitz: Really Special Education: State Investigation Confirms "Lap Dance Therapy" Allegations

Are lap dances an effective therapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or drug addiction? It doesn't seem like a question that should require a serious answer -- but a state investigation of Oregon's Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA) has substantiated allegations made by students and staff that such "therapy" was part of the school's "emotional growth" curriculum and forced an emergency shutdown of the campus.

That quote makes this sound like a kind of whacky-zany-funny story, but it's actually more bizarre and upsetting journalism than Late-Night-Cable-T&A:

Students who spoke with me for a Time Magazine online story in April -- which helped spur the investigation -- were stunned by the announcement. "I'm so happy now I can't even explain," said Jane* (a pseudonym).

Before being sent to MBA, Jane had been raped. At one of the Lifesteps seminars, the 18-year-old was forced to dress as a "French maid" and perform lap dances while Kelis' sexually suggestive song "Milkshake" and similar music was played. "I was freaked out and traumatized and I couldn't do anything about it," she says.

Her friend Adam -- who asked that only his first name be used -- said he witnessed at least four girls and one boy who had identified himself as bisexual being made to do this "exercise." He said that when the girls performed the lap dance on him, "They were just crying." The bisexual boy had to give lap dances to both males and females.

(Don't worry, it gets worse.)

Just finished reading Szalavitz's book Help at Any Cost; turns out that the most bizarre thing about this story is how common "schools" like this are (I used to work at an alternative school, and we had several students who'd been through "tough love" programs like these; it's almost like those programs are *calculated* to be so nutty weird that no one would ever believe it when the kids complained later).

Just in case you mistake the Huffington Post for all fluff like the above--and don't be ashamed, 'cause I've been guilty of selling the HhuffPo short--check it out:

Hey, NYT; that's REPORTING, dweebs; take note!