Pathway Family Center Truth









            I, Anonymous, declare and state as follows:


1. Pathway Family Center


2. Indianapolis, Indiana


3.   May 2004- May 2005


4.  The following statements are to help inform any family contemplating enrolling their child into Pathway, former clients, and any families currently participating in this highly controversial facility.






I was sent to Pathway Family Center shortly after my first and only minor physical altercation with another girl from my school. During my first few days at the facility I was told that I needed to admit I was an addict in order to move up from 1st level. This troubled me because I knew I was not an addict, I just made a very poor choice at the young age of 16. I thought forcing me to discuss why I acted inappropriately would have been a better approach than to make me confess an untrue addiction.

There are 5 levels in the program and the 1st level is typically the longest and where the breaking down of an individual begins. On first level new comers are to follow strict rules and are stripped of many basic rights. To name only a few, the basic rules from my program are as follows: new comers do not have contact with family except for 5 minutes time to apologize for behaving badly. New comers do not get up without asking nor go anywhere alone including to the bathroom. New comers do not talk unless spoken to. Old comers police new comers to make sure they do not break a single rule and must report it to staff if occurs. Newcomers stand up in front of groups to state their faults while the group and staff give feed back as to why they think the newcomer is or isn’t being open and honest. New comers do not go outside, read newspapers, have contact with anyone outside the program or outside world, watch tv, listen to the radio, or stray anywhere out of sight from their old comer. There are far too many rules to list them all but a closer look can be found under news and links and by clicking on the Pathway Family Center Handbook link.

Not only was it bad enough that I felt I had to lie and admit an untrue addiction to get off 1st level, but my old comers statements to staff concerning my behavior determined much of how long my stay would be on 1st level. This is a controversial rule because staff is putting full trust in a 2nd phaser to tell the truth about how the newcomer is following rules at the host home. If you have a trustworthy 2nd phaser it should be fine, but a common tactic 2nd phasers discover is that pointing out bad behaviors of your newcomers whether true or not takes the focus off of the 2nd phaser allowing him or her to move up to 3rd level. I soon became very confused as to why staff continuously suggested I was lying when telling the truth. I soon pretended to agree with everything they preached (even though it went against many of my ethics and morals) in order to lessen the pressure and stress. Journals were read regularly so writing down my thoughts and feelings suddenly went out the window. There were strict rules as to what wasn’t allowed to be written in journals as well as said in group. This made it very difficult for me to feel like I could talk about deep issues. Since the addiction was the focus of groups it was not a good idea to stray off into any other issues. Still knowing I was not an addict this made it very difficult to make this my focus, but knew it was necessary if I was ever going to get out of there! Being suddenly thrown into this place where I felt that discussing my issues besides addiction were forbidden and staff now told me what my issues were whether I agreed or not…I soon went inside myself to a dangerous depression. I knew if I escaped I would be court ordered and then no longer be able to leave at 18. I soon made the decision to stick it out and do whatever they said and pretend to think the way they taught. There were many times when I contemplated suicide during the program but I never did. I did however develop habits I never had before like cutting in order to release emotional built up pain due to my limitations on discussing issues other than addiction. I also developed an eating disorder out of the blue in order to gain a since of control.

I luckily never became court ordered, even though staff had highly recommended it to my parents and I left shortly after turning 18. Since one of staff’s rules for parents was to kick the child out of their house if graduation was not completed, I was soon on my own in a more fragile state than ever. I am lucky I got through it because many children have committed suicide during these trying times. Since staff called any existence outside of Pathway “the real world” I soon felt swirled into a world of utter chaos, after experiencing a highly strict format I followed mentally and physically for over a year at the facility. I consider myself lucky to have gotten out before being court ordered but face many of difficulties now that I never experienced before the program.

            I am no longer the socialite I once was and now find myself unable to be in group settings without feeling extremely uncomfortable. After speaking with many other graduates and past clients I have found this to be a common side effect as well as post traumatic stress disorder. My mother is recently working with me almost 4 years after my program to get me into counseling to deal with the side effects that have surfaced since pathway and I feel that once and for all I might be able to put Pathway behind me. I still suffer re occurring nightmares and flashbacks as well as my social issues and PTSD, but I am free now…and soon with counseling my mind will be deprogrammed and free as well. Unfortunately most graduates and past clients are not nearly as lucky as me and either commit suicide or deal with their confusing mental side effects of Pathway for the rest of their lives!

            Please protect your children and do not send them to this facility… research your options and pick a method that suits your family’s specific needs.





I give PathwayFamilyCenterTruth  permission to use this statement.  I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.  Executed on December 6th, 2008.






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