This testimony was found on Merchant Circle. All rights goes to the author known as Mshiloh.
Self-Esteem Loss and Emotional Trauma
I was been through many trials and painful events (varying from sexual abuse to physical torture), however, the darkest and most hopeless time of my life was the 11 months I spent in Eagle Ranch Academy.
When I left the facility, I was reduced to a raw, traumatized, pathetic creature. I say creature because that's the way I was trained to view myself while there. I have never felt so worthless. They practice degrading and humiliating disciplines that still haunt me from time to time. I've been able to heal from the emotional turmoil and abuse I experienced at ERA through years of therapy and self-esteem development. I now love myself and am functioning normally, but Eagle Ranch took what little self-worth I had at the time and dissolved it with sick treatment and twisted methods of "behavior modification".
Eagle Ranch restricts communication content with family members with a term called "manipulation". Any communication outside of the facility involving negative comments about the program and their treatment is immediately intervened. Once a week, 10 minute phone calls are monitored and terminated if the we mentioned the abuse. We were allowed to write a limited amount postcards to our families. They chose postcards as stationary so they could review the letter and ensure there was no "manipulative" content.
From an outside perspective, some of the rules and practices of the facility seem normal, but much more is revealed from the inside that only former ERA residents are able to describe. The people in my "pod" and I had to play a role in order to be released from the facility. We had to, as we called it, "fake it 'til we make it". Many of the staff who were sincere quit their jobs there because of the abusive environment.They would tell us that they cared about us, but just couldn't support this facility and its tactics. I have kept in touch with my former ERA residents, and EVERY SINGLE ONE has testified of the abuse and pain from the program. Most have relapsed on drugs, alcohol, and/or other risky behaviors. Those of us who are emotionally stable today, accredit NONE of it to Eagle Ranch Academy.
The program is a waste of your hard-earned money and a damage to your child's self-worth. Please, please don't send your child to Eagle Ranch Academy. This is a genuine plead. I am an intelligent, insightful person, and I can honestly say that this program has caused me a degree of permanent damage. I thank my family and loved ones for listening and helping me to recover as much as I have. If you love your child, which I know you do- otherwise you wouldn't be considering treatment programs, seek other options.
I pray that ERA will be brought to justice, but until then, I pray that my testimonial will help parents look into other programs/treatments and other former Eagle Ranch residents to speak out. Thank you.