Group Therapy Can Be a Solution for Over-Crowded Prisons Rather Than a Technique of Shame at California Corrections

Governor Brown and his Attorney General, Kamala Harris, have the opportunity to make some changes in California Corrections, including eliminating a costly and unethical practice. A well planned and managed program of group therapy for prisoners placed on probation can be part of the solution for overcrowded prisons in California instead of its current use as a technique of shame.

Continue reading

ACTS OF COURAGE AT LIVE OAK THEATRE, SUNDAY, MAY 19TH AT 2 PM

Armand Volkas’ excellent improvisational troupe of players and musicians will present  a special fundraising performance for our film project, “Group Dynamics and the New Heroism”  on Sunday, May 19th at 2 PM, Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley. Call me directly for directions at (510) 525-9215.

Our film will insprire a new generation of ordinary people to act heroically and nonviolently.

The improvisational performance will take personal stories of courage from the audience and transform them into improvised theatrical pieces. Come and be a part of this exceptional program.

http://www.livingartscenter.org/Playback-Ensemble-Theatre/Event/ACTS-of-COURAGE:-ordinary-people-taking-extraordinary-action_196.htm

 

Bill Roller

Berkeley

PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR NEWLY EDITED VIDEO ON INDIEGOGO

Please check out our newly edited video on Indiegogo.  It’s more concise and I hope conveys our message more clearly.

Phil Zimbardo and I will co-lead a workshop where we shall mentor participants to form groups of like minded people who will take nonviolent courageous action in defense of ethical principles even at personal risk to themselves. We shall make a state of the art video of this unscripted, spontaneous group process and make the video available for sale and distribution to high school and college classes in the United States and abroad.

WWW.INDIEGOGO.COM/GROUPDYNAMICSANDTHENEWHEROISM

My First Experience with Sociocentric Heroism

Inspired by the anti-Vietnam War activism of  Dave Dellinger and David Harris, a group of my fellow college students and I started a draft counseling service for young men in Putnam County, southern Indiana, in 1968.  We prepared ourselves by learning the essentials of the 1967 Selective Service Act supplied to us by Ann Fagan Ginger of the National Lawyers Guild, based in Berkeley, California.

Armed with some legal knowledge and with the moral support of the American Friends Service Committee, we began operations.  Our organizing principle as a group was the shared belief that the war must end and that we had a joint responsibility to stop it by helping young men to refuse service in the armed forces.

Continue reading

I Just Spent the Day with Hector Aristizibal, the Colombian Psychotherapist and Performance Artist

I  just spent the day with Hector Aristizibal, the Colombian psychotherapist and performance artist now living in Los Angeles but traveling the world with his special kind of magic. Hector  is the creator of the powerful video, “Night Wind” or “Viento Nocturno,” the story of his courageous resistance and resilience in the face of torture. He works with people who have heroically survived torture and have become extraordinary persons with a deep sense of who they are and where they are going. Hector embodies the New Heroism that Phil Zimbardo and I speak of. He enlists the help of others to courageously challenge those authorities who dismiss the legal and binding significance of Article I of the United Nations Declaration and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment. I admire and respect Hector for his personal commitment to this cause.

Bill Roller

 

Our New Video “Psychology and the New Heroism” Was Chosen as a Premium by Project Censored

Our new video, “Psychology and the New Heroism” was honored to be chosen as a premium by Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips for their Project Censored show on KPFA RADIO 94.1 as part of the station’s winter fund drive.  We will also have an opportunity to share information about our video and our INDIEGOGO  campaign at the Project Censored event, Thursday, February 21st at 7 PM, Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, California, featuring Dan Ellsberg in conversation with film maker, Oliver Stone regarding his new book with Peter Kuznick and his ten part television documentary film, The Untold History of the United States.

Click here for information about our campaign

Click here for information about our campaign

http://www.indiegogo.com/groupdynamicsandthenewheroism

Bill Roller

The First Meeting of our Group on May 4, 2013 Has Already Begun

In terms of systems theory, the group dynamics for our first meeting with young people on May 4, 2013, has already begun.  Isomorphy, often called parallel process, means that in a complex system there are similar organizing structures that operate beneath the diverse contents of any system. We are not just creating a video called “Group Dynamics and the New Heroism” but creating a movement–and that movement begins with the formation of many subgroups.

As the co-leader subgroup, Phil and I are working through our anxiety  about leading a group that no one has ever led before and finding the funds to make the video. Our process anticipates the anxiety that our group members will surely experience as they form their subgroups of network support and face the uncertainty of how they can act nonviolently and courageously in the world and how much risk they are willing to take. As the production subgroup, my film director and I are working through the anxiety of taking on the difficult task of how best to capture images of our group members’ interaction on camera with limited resources.  Our camera people and crew must form their own subgroup as well to meet the challenge of filming a spontaneous, unscripted group that is moving and shifting at will.

At each level, our subgroups face the essential work of the new heroism: Being willing to take calculated risks and spontaneously act in concert with others in situations they have never faced before. In this sense, our research is measuring the capacity of our subgroups to mitigate our fear of failure. It will be a test of our sophistication and humility as leaders and participants that we can persevere in the face of high uncertainty and low predictability.

In this sense, our group has already begun.

Why Should Psychologists and Group Therapists Be Interested in the Group Processes that Lead to Torture?

It is not immediately obvious why psychologists and group therapists should be interested in the group processes that lead to torture. It is an historical truth, as Alfred McCoy states in his book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, “–torture research had involved three of the ‘100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century’ –Hebb, Milgram, and Janis–as well as several presidents of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association ” (p.33)

Continue reading

Distortion of Philip Zimbardo’s Prison Study to say that torture is inevitable

Amrit Singh, the senior legal officer at the National Security and Counterterrorism program at the Open Society Justice Initiative, has just authored a disturbing report entitled, “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.” The report identifies 54 countries in the international community that aided the CIA with its torture operations. The implication here is stark and will be used by those to justify the use of torture and excuse those who practice it. Those who support the use of torture will
say that it is an international phenomenon, unavoidable and inevitable, due to the inclination of  human beings to commit such abuses. They will point to Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment and other obedience studies to justify such behavior on the grounds that it is some how in the human nature to torture.

However, it is a distortion of Philip Zimbardo’s prison study to say that torture is an inevitable part of human behavior. Those of us who have spent our lives studying group behavior know that torture and abuse depend on the kind of leadership a group is provided and the group norms that emerge as a consequence of that leadership. In the case of the United States government, it is the political leadership at the highest level that sets the norms for subordinates in the military, the FBI and the CIA to follow.

United States citizens must hold their leaders accountable when they fail to comply with United States law and International treaties which condemn and forbid the planning and practice of torture by U.S. operatives or anyone acting on our behest.

Bill Roller

Note: Amrit Singh is co-author with Jameel Jaffer of the book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond. 

Psychiatrist wants to replicate the results of our video study

A friend and colleague is very enthusiastic about the video we shall produce with the help of our many donors. He is a psychiatrist and he wants to form and lead a group like the group we shall conduct and capture on the video, “Group Dynamics and the New Heroism.”  He is excited to think he can replicate the results of our process research, looking specifically at our method of teaching group members to act nonviolently and heroically even at personal risk to themselves.  It will be an opportunity for him to follow what will be a pioneering study.

Many studies have been made researching how to get people to obey authority–but next to nothing until now has been spent researching conditions which allow people to obey their conscience.

May this be the beginning of a new worldwide trend.

Bill Roller

Ready for Therapy? Or Still Unsure?

Hopefully you've checked out the site and now trust in my qualifications and expertise as a therapist. But maybe you're undecided. Which is best for you? Group, individual, couple's or family therapy? Give me a call and we'll discuss your options.

Mind made up, and ready to go? Great. Contact me and we'll schedule our first session together. We meet online until we're back meeting in Berkeley.

Contact

Berkeley Group & Family Therapy Institute
1104 SHATTUCK AVENUE
BERKELEY, CA 94707
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
LMFT #14245

(510) 525-9215
VIVBILL@AOL.COM

The Berkeley Group and Family Therapy Institute 
Copyright 2020| Website and SEO by Kat & Mouse