Mel Wasserman and CEDU
FamilyLightsm: Successor to Bridge to Understandingsm
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We have been unable to locate an adequate biography of Mel Wasserman on the web. He was the founder of the Cedu Schools.  The best sources we are currently aware of are on the websites associated with the Synanon organization.  We believe the information that shows as of October 8, 2008 on the "I Speak of Dreams" website includes a substantially accurate timeline of events in his life associated with the Cedu organization.  We do not endorse or criticize the linked website apart from what is stated in the previous sentence. We note that websites not in our control, as this  one is not, can change and may add information would lead us to withdraw the link once we know about it.

We also call attention to Dan Earle's tribute to Mel on the Struggling Teens website. 

The Cedu organization introduced to the private school market the concepts of "Emotional Growth" education.  Cedu High School in Running Springs California, was the first of the Cedu Schools, followed by Rocky Mountain Academy, Boulder Creek Academy, Northwest Academy, and Ascent Wilderness program, all in the Bonners Ferry, Idaho area, and  Hilltop (for Young Adults) Cedu Middle School, in Running Springs. 

These programs shared a philosophy that was largely based upon the Synanon program.  There are widespread reports that the name "Cedu" was an acronym for "Charles E. Dederich University,"  where Dederich was the founder of Synanon.  While we do not suggest physical abuse, groups included raucous name calling, sleep deprived seminars, punishments by group shaming and other interventions that have been discredited by current standards.  They renounced psychiatry and all forms of standard mental health intervention and any use of 12 step work with addictions, consistent with Synanon's teachings. 

We further note that FamilyLightsm was never entirely comfortable with the original Cedu model although we did make a few referrals when there were modifications in the Cedu schools, adding a broader and more standard range of intervention methods.  We referred to the King George School during the short time it was called a Cedu School, although it never truly embraced the original Cedu tradition. The original Cedu model was the antithesis of what  we now call Positive Interventionsm

Having said that, the Cedu/Synanon tradition emerged into a vacuum of effective mental health interventions following the 1960s when drugs and youth rebellion against traditional values became a major concern.  Some of what this tradition introduced has been instrumental in improving the ability of traditional mental health services to impact populations that were otherwise unreachable. 

We may add other information about Mel when we find it.

Last updated March 9, 2010; Link added to "Emotional Growth" Septermber 1, 2013

 
 

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