By Ken Austin, DCSW (Vitae)

 

“WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE MASTER APPEARS.”  Zen Proverb

 

 

 

BACKGROUND 1966 – 1967:

            After graduating from the University of Washington School of Social Work in June of 1966, I was promoted later that year to the position of Supervisor of the Children’s Protective Services Unit in Seattle/King County.  This was the largest metropolitan area in the State of Washington with a population at the time of over one million. The CPS Unit serving this area consisted of myself, five MSW’s, a Unit Clerk/Typist and one Homemaker III. I reported monthly to a special Blue Ribbon advisory committee, appointed by the Governor to oversee this initial implementation of the first CPS operation established by State law under the administration of the department of Social and Health Services. During 1967 I was in close contact with Dr. Manzer J. Griswold, Ph.D., Sociology, and Dr. Robert Macdonald, Ph.D., Social Work, faculty members of the School of Social Work who were very supportive of my efforts to construct a model child protection service delivery system. Doctors Griswold and Macdonald were instrumental in arranging for me to attend a lecture by Professor Eugene Heimler. He was teaching his method of HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING at the University of Calgary and by invitation from Dr. Macdonald was introducing his treatment method  to interested helping professionals in the Seattle area.

EUGENE HEIMLER, PROFESSOR OF HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING:

            John Heimler was born in Szombathely, Hungary, March 27, 1922, the son of a Jewish lawyer and politician. At the outbreak of World War II, when he was 17 years old, he published his first book of poetry, ETERNAL DAWN. In 1944, during the Hungarian and German Nazi persecution of the Jews, he was deported to German concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where his family and first wife were killed.  After his release at the end of the war, he returned to Hungary, taking a degree in Social Sciences at the University of Budapest in 1946. He married his second wife, Livia (Lily), in 1947 and they migrated to Great Britain where he became a British citizen. John and Lily had two children, Susan and George. He was still married to Lily when I met him, but she later died of cancer and he married Miriam, an avid student of his teachings. I never met Miriam, but I’m sure she was a lovely lady.  She was his wife when he died in London on December 4, 1990. She was the driving force behind the second publication of  “NIGHT OF THE MIST’” in 1997.

            He received a postgraduate diploma in Psychiatric Social Work from the University of Manchester School of Medicine in 1953.  From 1953 until 1964 he directed the Hendon Experiment, researching the problem of the chronic unemployed and emotionally disturbed. During this period, in 1962, he began  developing his HEIMLER SCALE OF SOCIAL FUNCTIONING, which he finished and copyrighted in its present form in 1967 while directing the Hounslow Project (1965—1970), a research center for social functioning. During 1964 he was consultant to the United Nations WHO and the U.S. NIMH. From his experiences in the German concentration camps and work done in the Hendon Experiment and the Hounslow Project he developed the theory, methodology and scale of HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING. He taught his method for twenty years at the University of London and for seventeen years at the School of Social Welfare, University of Calgary, Canada, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1985.

            Heimler was a journalist, poet and philosopher as well as a social worker of the first order.  He was consummate teacher and a prolific writer. The following works are publications of writings directly related to the development of his method of treatment, which he chose to call HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING.

1.  “NIGHT OF THE MIST”, The Vanguard Press, Inc., New York; 1959. Republished by Gefen Publishing House, Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel; 1997. (An account of concentration camp experiences.)

 

2.  “A LINK IN THE CHAIN”, Bodley Head, London, England; 1962. (Heimler’s emotional reactions to Communist power in Hungary and his professional work in London.)

 

3.  “MENTAL ILLNESS AND SOCIAL WORK”, Penguin Books Ltd., London, England; 1967. (The documentation of the Hendon Experiment and Hounslow Project.)

 

4.  “SURVIVAL IN SOCIETY”, Halsted Press, New York; 1975. (A description of the Human Social Functioning treatment approach and the use of the Heimler Scale in treatment.)

 

            This man made a powerful impression upon me at our first meeting. He was of medium build, about five feet eight inches tall, cordial, relaxed, unassuming, enigmatic; he walked erectly with an air of dignified grace. He spoke softly and smoked a pipe. He emanated a charismatic high-energy aura of authenticity. He was caring and compassionate, intensely dedicated to his work with a fierce conviction that people could change themselves for the better, no matter what their circumstances might be.   He had a kind, innocent, oval face capable of infinite, quicksilver reflections of emotional expression and the quirky, engaging smile of a Leprechaun. Witty and charming, he spoke with a curious Hungarian Yiddish/British accent in mixed colloquialisms and metaphors derived from four cultures and languages. Occasionally, he would spontaneously utter an amazing statement so intricately constructed as to leave his listeners breathless, laughing heartily. We became very close friends as I studied under him. I often jokingly observed to him that he was the only Jewish Leprechaun I had ever met. His response was a shrug, smirk and chuckle. Our first meeting resulted in my enrollment that year for my first 60 hours of seminar instruction in HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING from him. At the close of this seminar, I was totally committed to eventual certification as a Lecturer in this method. In 1968, I again participated in another 60 hours of seminar training in the method. This relationship with Eugene Heimler permanently altered my life.
            Finally, in 1969, while I was working as the Director of Training of the Northwest District office (King/Snohomish counties) for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, I completed the third 60-hour training seminar and was certified as a Practitioner, Consultant and Lecturer in HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING. In September of 1969 I resigned from my position with the Department of Social and Health Services and obtained employment with the King County Juvenile Court as a Juvenile Probation Officer IV, in order to get back to providing direct service to clients.  For a year I used the Heimler Scale and treatment method with selected Juvenile Offenders and then resigned my job at the Court and went into private practice in Seattle, DBA FLO-SEARCH CONSULTANTS.

PRIVATE PRACTICE/RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT 1970 – 1973:

 

DBA FLO-SEARCH CONSULTANTS

Employer Tax ID # 91-8660520

5220 Roosevelt Way N.E.

Seattle, Washington 98105

 

STAFF:
3 MSW’S: 1 Caucasian female, 1 Caucasian male,
            1 Afro-American male; all aged in their thirties.
1 Secretary/Receptionist/Clerk/Typist: 26 y.o.
            Caucasian female.
1 Commercial Artist: 28 y.o. Caucasian female.
1 Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper: 25 y.o. Caucasian male.
1 CPA (part time): 28 y.o.Caucasian male.
3 Video Technicians: 2 Caucasian males, 1 American
            Indian male; all in their late twenties.
1 Office Errand Boy/Janitor: a 19 y.o. Caucasian hippie
            with a juvenile offender record.

 

OVERVIEW:
            As sole owner and operator of this enterprise, I was able to allocate the time and efforts of myself and this staff of 11 into job functions that met the ever-changing requirements of the moment. I often utilized Heimler Method trainees as group monitors, proctors and facilitators when Flo-Search made a large group public presentation of Human Social Functioning, which was done on a monthly basis. Whenever he was available, Dr. Heimler participated in these conferences. He also appeared in training sessions on an as available basis and was present for formal training certification awards ceremonies.

 

TRAINING:
            We developed a state-of-the-art sixty-hour training program, including a syllabus, visual aids and a videotape library documenting the use of two cassette audiotape recorders in actual client interviews. The video training library consisted of overview documentation of: 1) administering, scoring, and using the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning with clients in treatment; 2) using the four model interview processes with individual clients; 3) using the Heimler interview processes with couples in conflict; 4) using the Heimler technique for small group therapy.

We made a video documentary on using the Heimler Scale with large groups. This application involved administering the scale to individuals in groups, scoring the scales, combining them into a composite group score and presenting the composite profile on a screen with an overhead projector in order to interpret this to the group. The individual scales were returned to the group members prior to interpreting the composite scale, enabling individuals to compare themselves to the group. This proved to be a very powerful large group process. One presentation was made to a group of over 100 people, requiring the combined efforts of the entire staff of Flo-Search Consultants, a cadre of trainees and four community volunteers.
            During this period of time I conducted the basic experimental research that led me to the transition from the use of the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning and the Social Functioning method of client treatment using two audiotape cassette recorders to the concept of developing a video feedback method of therapy. I accidentally discovered the powerful therapeutic impact of video feedback in client treatment due to the necessity of reviewing the videotapes with clients to obtain legal signature releases by them, so the tapes could be used as training aids.  In every case, clients who reviewed their videos for release purposes were markedly surprised by how much more therapeutic gain they experienced with the video feedback review.
            I recall one client in particular, who stated, “This is it! You’ve discovered the ultimate therapy. I can’t believe what I’ve seen and learned. Damn! You’ve really done it, Austin.” This man was an aeronautic engineer at Boeing Company who was experiencing severe difficulties in his personal relationships with fellow workers. After seeing himself on the video screen, he was amazed and elated. He exclaimed, “No wonder no one likes me, I come across as a passive/aggressive wimp.  And, by God, I can change that, now that I’ve seen it!”
            During the three-year Flo-Search operation, forty-five people were trained to the Associate practitioner level in Human Social Functioning. They were qualified to administer, score and interpret the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning and to use the four interview process models, using two audiotape cassette recorders. Thirty of the trainees so certified were MSW’s.
            As a result of my effort to achieve true excellence in a Human Social Functioning training program, I had developed a conceptual level of understanding that was past the cutting edge of current video technology and realized that I had projected an application for video in client therapy that was far beyond the practical technical capabilities of the consumer video equipment on the market at the time.  I had done all the necessary experimentation to irrefutably demonstrate that video feedback was an extremely powerful therapeutic process when combined with the interview techniques I had learned from Professor Heimler. The peak experiences I had on a daily basis while conducting the Flo-Search operations, ultimately led me to construct the new word VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ to reference this profoundly intense heuristic method of mental health therapy.

 

THERAPY:
          During this period the Heimler method was discovered to be effective in successfully treating individuals from a broad cross section of the socioeconomic spectrum, suffering from nearly every known mental/emotional dysfunction and psychosomatic conversion. It was found to be very beneficial in resolving conflicts in couple relationships. It proved to be highly effective as a small group (10 or fewer) method of therapy with:  1) delinquent/acting   out  adolescents,  2)  adult  offenders, 3) alcoholics and substance abusers, 4) divorced singles, 5) Viet Nam veterans suffering from PTSD, 6) child abusing parents, 7) battering husbands and, 8) persons suffering from explosive anger problems.
            I personally provided 2200 hours of individual and couple treatments to 125 clients in this three-year period. I conducted a weekly Viet Nam Vet Group, attended by eight to ten vets each session and a weekly Juvenile Offender Group, attended by eight to ten kids each session. All the students who were trained to be Associates were required to perform ten client interviews as a part of their training. This amounts to 450 hours of therapy. The three MSW’s on staff kept their own records, but using this method exclusively, they interviewed from three to five clients daily and conducted therapy with groups fitting the above descriptions during this three-year period. In all of this therapy work, I did not hear of one instance where a client complained that they had not perceived improved social functioning as a result of using this method.

 

RESEARCH:
            Two research projects were completed, using the Heimler Scale to derive Social Functioning profiles of: 1) seizure patients at the U of W Hospital Seizure Clinic and, 2) dialysis patients and their spouses at the Northwest Kidney Center in Seattle.

PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS/LECTURES/CONSULTATIONS:
            I appeared on several public interest TV programs, introducing and discussing the Human Social Functioning method of treatment.  I gave hundreds of public lectures introducing, presenting and promoting this method; using a variety of approaches which always involved  audience  participation in the presentations.  I consulted with numerous agency administrators regarding the ways they could benefit their client population by getting some of their staff trained in the use of this method. I lectured on the method to eight groups enrolled in an intensive 60-hour training program designed to qualify them for certification as Associates in Human Social Functioning by the International Center of Social Functioning, London.

 

CONSULTATION WITH PROFESSOR HEIMLER AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WELFARE, CANADA, 1972:
            In October of 1972, just prior to closing down the FLO-SEARCH operation, I made a road trip with my administrative assistant in the company van from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C.  and across Canada to the University of Calgary. Professor Heimler was there, teaching his method to graduate students at the School of Social Welfare.  The purpose of the trip was to show training videotapes to Heimler and his students and to negotiate a sale of training videos with the School. During this visit, I met with Professor Heimler and a group of his students and shared the Flo-Search experiences with them.  The group viewed the tapes, which were later ordered by the school for the media library.  I was successful in selling three videotapes of interviews using the Heimler Method with two audiotape cassette recorders to the University of Calgary.
            This was to be the last personal face-to-face contact I would have with Dr. Heimler, though I did not know this at the time. In a private conversation with him during this contact, I expressed my disappointment with the fact that the Heimler Scale was still not acceptably validated.  He assured me that this was being done and would soon be documented in a scholarly publication. I expressed clearly that I was very concerned about this matter, as it was becoming increasingly difficult to discuss the Scale in meetings with professionals because the question of validity was constantly being posed. I further stated that I did not feel comfortable using the Scale with clients, with claims of its validity being called into question because this raised some thorny ethical and legal liability issues. He recognized that this was especially difficult for me, as I was in private practice using The Heimler Scale and Human Social Functioning interview methods exclusively. I also mentioned my concern regarding his choice of terminology in calling his treatment methodology HUMAN SOCIAL FUNCTIONING. I had considerable difficulty in conveying to him the confusion created in using a fairly well known global conceptual term referring to the way people function in society, i.e., “social functioning” to refer to a specific method of treatment. I sincerely thought that it would be far better to simply call his treatment approach and techniques the Heimler Method. I did not see a problem with the scale being called The Heimler Scale of Social Functioning, as I sincerely believed, as I do to this day, that it concisely and accurately measures an individual’s perception of their level of functioning in society. In my opinion, these are the only two legitimate major objections blocking wide spread professional acceptance of Eugene Heimler’s work.

SUMMARY – FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:
            When I returned to Seattle after the consultation with Dr. Heimler and the University of Calgary School of Social Welfare Faculty, I was more acutely aware of the problems I faced, attempting to promote this new method.  I was confronted with ever increasing resistance from the professional community, ostensibly based on the lack of validation for the Heimler Scale. People I had already taught to use the scale and the treatment method found that there was a lack of support for them to use this method in the various agencies where they were employed. They did not feel they had the necessary core group support required to use the method in private practice. The Seattle Center for Studies in Human Social Functioning was in direct competition with Flo-Search in providing training in this method. This body was an ineffectual entity, incapable of fulfilling the organizational and professional support functions needed by the large group of people who had been certified as Associates in Human Social Functioning. The Board of Directors of the Seattle Center appeared to be paralyzed by the situation and did not clarify their role in setting goals and objectives that would generate client referrals and offer professional consultation and support to those trained in the method. The method was not well known and there was not an informed client population large enough to supply the number of people trained in the method with a sustaining private practice base.
            As a result of the above, I discovered that I could not solicit enough interest in The Heimler Scale and the Human Social Functioning treatment method to organize another class of trainees.  I could not generate enough income from direct client treatment to cover the operating expenses for Flo-Search because the size of the facility we occupied was meant to accommodate training classes as well as research and development functions. I had already gone deeply into debt and could not borrow any money and was falling behind in the rent and payments to creditors. I had spent approximately $50,000.00 on video equipment, constructing a small video studio and developing the videotape training library. In early December of 1972, I called a meeting of my staff and certain other vitally interested persons and announced that, unless we could produce a cash infusion of about $100,000.00, Flo-Search was history. At this meeting, I estimated that the concept of video feedback therapy that I envisioned was twenty-five years ahead of technology.   We all tried frantically to find a funding source, but to no avail. On 12/31/1972 I closed the Flo-Search Consultants operation in Seattle.  I was over $75,000.00 in debt and had just terminated a ten-year marriage by divorce decree.
            I wish to clearly state here that I think Eugene Heimler’s scale and method are valid and reliable. His scale measures the level of an individual’s perception of their functioning in society and his applied treatment method enables them to alter and change their functioning to a higher level. I am convinced the scale can be and should be validated, but this has not been done. I have no question regarding the effectiveness of his method, as I have seen remarkable results using it with clients. I have witnessed the gratitude of a large number of people who have testified spontaneously during treatment sessions to the positive effects this method has produced in their lives.  The present nomenclature is simply confusing.
            In his book, SURVIVAL IN SOCIETY, published in 1975, Heimler states, on page 23, “…the scale was sent for various validations which subsequently have been, and are being, undertaken in this country and abroad.”  To my knowledge, as of this writing, the scale has not been validated. He also states in the same work on page 14, “An analysis of the Social Functioning research has been undertaken by Dr. Margaret Rodway, of the School of Social Welfare, University of Calgary, Alberta, and will be published shortly.” I am not aware of any such publication having occurred. I have purposely refrained from making any detailed or definitive descriptive statements about Dr. Heimler’s theoretical considerations and methodological approach. For those interested in this matter, I suggest they read the books he wrote on this subject, cited earlier. Be assured, VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ is the Heimler treatment methodology refined and adapted to the video media environment.
            In January of 1973 I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, intending to establish Flo-Search in that city.  I soon encountered unexpected resistance from the Arizona Chapter of the AMA, stemming from a video presentation I made of a Human Social Functioning client interview to a group of fifteen psychiatrists in the Phoenix metropolitan area. In a letter received shortly after this presentation, the AMA declared that I was practicing medicine without a license and demanded that I cease and desist the practice of Human Social Functioning, or face formal court action.  I consulted a highly qualified Phoenix attorney who counseled me that I could probably win this case in court, but that my defense would cost in the neighborhood of $75,000.00 to $100,000.00. I did not have the resources to defend myself in such an action, so I continued to use the method, keeping a very low profile.  That is, I did not attempt to demonstrate, promote, or advertise my practice. I stopped using The Heimler Scale altogether and have not used it since.  I simply used the Heimler Method of treatment with clients who found me by word of mouth. I continued to practice the Heimler Treatment Method, using two audiotape cassette recorders, wherever I went and whatever other employment I had to obtain to support myself. I always had a few paying clients coming to me for treatment. I waited for video technology to catch up with my conception of VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ.

 

THE VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ DEMONSTRATION PROJECT, OCCC

09/13/91 - 07/15/93

 

BACKGROUND:
           
In September of 1980 I was in New Orleans, Louisiana, working as Night Manager of the Viuex Carre’ Motor Lodge in the French Quarter. I was having a great time and getting nowhere.  In October of 1980, after a return visit to Seattle, I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to get a life, still waiting for video technology to catch up. I continued using the Heimler Method with two audiotape cassette recorders in private practice in Honolulu where I have lived since that time. For a brief period in 1987 I was in Portland remodeling/redecorating the home of a dear friend who was once my supervisor in Child Protective Services in Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon.  One day I noted with great interest a classified ad run by Camera World in The Oregonian, introducing the Canon E-708. This was a fully automatic, completely remote controlled, 8mm, VHS color video camcorder. Eureka!  Technology had finally caught up! I bought the equipment and assembled the first VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ video feedback system. I worked six months on my friend’s house while I developed, refined and perfected the formatted interview process for the VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ heuristic methodology. I abandoned the use of two audiotape cassette recorders as soon as I had assembled this first VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ video feedback system. I returned to Honolulu in late 1987 and began using the method and newly assembled system in private practice with paying clients, DBA VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ STUDIO II. In 1989, I registered VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ as a trade name with the Hawaii State Department of Commerce.

 

LAST EMPLOYMENT -- STATE OF HAWAII:

                              

06/04/90 – 08/15/90            Emergency Hire SW III (SR-20), working in the Community Based Early Release Program at Oahu Community Correctional Center, 2199 Kam highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 as an adult offender Case Manager for the Department of Corrections.

 

08/16/90 – 01/31/91            Permanent Probationary Hire SW III (SR-20), working with female misdemeanants at Women’s Community Correctional Center,

P.O. Box F, Kailua, Hawaii 96734 as an adult offender Case Manager for the Department of Corrections.

 

02/01/91 – 06/31/94            Permanent Hire SW IV (SR-22), working as a Psychiatric SW with male and female pretrial felons in the main facility at OCCC, 2199 Kam Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819, as a member of the Forensic Mental Health Team for the department of Health, Adult Mental Health Division, Courts and Corrections Branch.

 

07/01/94 – 12/31/98            As a result of reorganization and Hawaii State Legislative Act 153, SLH 1994, transferring all forensic mental health staff and equipment in correctional facilities from the Department of Health to the Department of Public Safety, Health Care Division, I became an employee of the Department of Public Safety.  My duties remained the same; I retained the same position title and number.

 
            I could not generate enough income with VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ to support myself in private practice and, finally, in desperation, applied for and acquired the social worker III position at OCCC described above under “LAST EMPLOYMENT”. When I changed to the Psychiatric Social Worker IV position with the Forensic Mental Health Team at OCCC, at the suggestion of Libby Trautman, the Team Coordinator, I approached Joe Blaylock, Ph.D. Psychologist, Chief of the Courts and Corrections Branch of The Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health, regarding initiating a Demonstration Project, using VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ with pretrial felons and selected sentenced inmates housed at OCCC. I continued to dialogue with him on this subject until he agreed to authorize the purchase of $3,000.00 worth of video equipment for the sole purpose of assembling a video feedback system to provide VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ sessions to selected inmates.

 

IMPLEMENTATION:
            Inmates were selected on the basis of staffs’ perception of their need for treatment and their willingness to sign a written contract to voluntarily participate in a program using a video feedback session process. This contract contained a clause releasing the videotapes generated thereby to the Department of Health. The first interview was conducted on Friday, September 13, 1991. The program was offered to male and female inmates housed at OCCC and operated continuously until the last interview was conducted on Thursday, July 15, 1993.
           
Treatment was provided to a total of 49 individuals who participated in 358 client interview hours. Individual, couple (inmate and spouse) and group sessions were provided.  Two separate groups comprised of ten male felons convicted of violent crimes against persons were provided with ten group sessions. In the opinion of all staff personnel who were in direct contact daily with inmates involved in this program, there was significant improvement in their attitude and conduct.  Adult Corrections Officers observing the effects of the program were favorably impressed by and very supportive of it. There were no incentives of any kind offered to inmates to elicit their participation.  Their only reward was their perceived benefit derived from therapy. A waiting list soon developed for inmates requesting to be included in the program, but who could not be served due to time constraints.  I was the only qualified practitioner.
            There was a verbal agreement between Dr. Blaylock and myself at the inception of this program to convene a review and evaluation panel comprised of involved staff and inmates to assess the program’s impact at the end of two years.  Unfortunately, the winds of bureaucratic change were blowing hard. A new Director, Sherry Harrison, was appointed to the Adult Mental Health Division. She sought to disband the Courts and Corrections Branch. A plan was devised to transfer the Forensic Mental Health Teams in the correctional facilities to the newly formed Department of Public Safety.  Dr. Blaylock was vociferously opposed to this plan. He had personally fought some long, difficult battles to bring mental health services to the prison population and he was aware of the dangers of having the mental health service delivery function under the administrative control of corrections. Nevertheless, pressure increased to make this transfer and Dr. Blaylock retired from public employment.

 

TERMINATION:
            After Dr. Blaylock retired it was obvious that the Forensic Mental Health Teams would be transferred to the Department of Public Safety. Sherry Harrison had a meeting with Tom Cunningham, Ph.D. Psychologist (Dr. Blaylock’s replacement), and myself on Friday July 16, 1993.  She issued a verbal order to me, stating that the Department of Health did not sanction nor authorize the use of VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ and ordering me to cease and desist providing these sessions to inmates. She also stated that a review committee would be formed to assess the impact, effectiveness and feasibility of continuing the VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ program.  This was never done. The last interview was done on Thursday, July 15, 1993 – the day before this meeting.
            Instead of honoring her commitment to appoint a review committee, Ms. Harrison directed Dr. Cunningham to inform me verbally in a meeting he scheduled with me at OCCC on Thursday, September 9, 1993 that, “VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ is dead, Ken.” She then ordered one of her lackeys to take the video equipment, specifically purchased to provide VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ sessions to inmates, away from the Forensic Mental Health Team at OCCC and move it to the offices of the Adult Mental Health Division. This was done on September 24, 1993. This was prior to the enactment of Act 153, SLH, effective 07/01/1994. This act specified in SECTION 4. “All appropriations, records, equipment, [my emphasis], files, supplies, contracts, books, papers, documents, computer software and data, authorizations, and other property, both real and personal, heretofore made, used, acquired, or held by the Department of Health in the exercise of the functions and programs transferred by this Act shall be transferred to the Department of Public Safety along with the functions of the program.” Sherry Harrison subverted the law and inappropriately confiscated this equipment. She did so via a memo to me dated February 10, 1994 stating “VIDEOSYNTHESISÔ is not an officially recognized treatment modality by the State of Hawaii Department of Health.” Such are the vicissitudes of innovating in a bureaucracy.

THE ASILOMAR CONFERENCE 1994:
            Sometime in May of 1993 the Forensic Mental Health Association of California announced a Call For Papers for their three-day Nineteenth Annual Conference to be held at the Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California, from Wednesday, 3/16 through Friday, 3/18, 1994. I submitted a proposal for a workshop presentation entitled, "VIDEOSYNTHESIS™ -- VIDEO FEEDBACK THERAPY IN THE CORRECTIONAL SETTING." The deadline for proposals was September 30, 1993. I mailed my application on Wednesday, September 8, 1993. This action was taken in good faith that Sherry Harrison would honor her statement made on July 16, 1993 that a committee would be formed to review VIDEOSYNTHESIS™. It must be noted that Dr. Cunningham told me, "Videosynthesis is dead, Ken," the day after I mailed my application. On December 7, 1993 I received a letter dated November 30, 1993, confirming acceptance for my presentation. On December 17, 1993 I wrote a letter to Ms. Harrison, requesting administrative leave and reimbursement of travel to make this presentation. She denied my request in her memo response (quoted above under TERMINATION) of February 10, 1994. I paid $750.00 out of my own funds to attend the conference and present this workshop.
            The FMHAC is widely recognized nationally as a very prestigious professional forensic mental health organization. There were 70 proposals submitted for consideration, only thirty were accepted and mine was among them. Ironically, Dr. Cunningham also submitted a proposal, which was rejected. There were 585 registrants in attendance at this conference. There was a faculty of 70 presenters. The VIDEOSYNTHESIS™ workshop was presented on Friday, March 18, 1994 @ 9:00 - 10:15 am. There were twenty registrants in attendance. The response was highly favorable and I was asked to submit a proposal for another VIDEOSYNTHESIS™ workshop the following year. In my opinion, if Sherry Harrison had honored her commitment to me, the State of Hawaii could have pursued and succeeded in receiving a Federal grant to fully research and document the validity and reliability of this method in the treatment of institutionalized adult offenders. As Dr. Cunningham so succinctly stated, for the State of Hawaii, "VIDEOSYNTHESIS is dead." And Sherry Harrison killed it! I gave up on trying to resuscitate the program and did not submit another proposal to FMHAC. I retired from Public Employment with the State of Hawaii on December 31, 1998, receiving a small monthly retirement payment and free medical coverage for the rest of my days.


METHODOLOGY NAME CHANGE – SEPTEMBER 17, 2000:
            I decided to establish a domain name and web page on the Internet for VIDEOSYNTHESIS™ and was rudely confronted with yet another unexpected dilemma. The name was already registered by a web site for a 3D video technology company located in Cleveland, Ohio. After a thorough conceptual rethinking and a lengthy in-depth definitional search for another appropriate name, I formed the word VIDEOSYNERGY and registered it as a domain name and web page under construction with Network Solutions on September 17, 2000. On September 18, 2000 this new name was registered with the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. I created the VIDEOSYNERGY ICON on Monday, October 16, 2000. Finally, on April 23, 2002, after a sixteen month wait, the USPTO certified VIDEOSYNERGY as a Tradename (Registration Number: 2563832).


THE LIFE MATRIX GRAPHIC PROFILE & REPORT:
            I completed an exhaustive critical five-year study and content analysis of the Heimler Scale in January of 2001. I then created THE LIFE MATRIX, using the HSSF as a conceptual model, transforming it into a self-assessment affirmation format and abandoning the diagnostic interrogation approach, avoiding any claims of clinical validity, or behavior predictive attributes. THE LIFE MATRIX was truly a self-administered, self-help instrument, reflecting an individual's own subjective impressions of their current situation. I also created the Graphic Profile to visually display the item scores and facilitate a pattern analysis of the respondent's selections. This pattern is then recapitulated in the Life Matrix Report, which was specifically designed for use as an interview session protocol in conducting a Videosynergy Life Matrix Video Feedback Psychotherapy session, or an Audio-Autosynthesis Self-help session. These three forms could also have been employed as stand alone tools for self-assessment and self-understanding by focusing the respondent's attention on an organized, manageable representation of their personal, subjective perception of their current social functioning, thereby enabling them to pin point problem areas and formulate plans for change in their lives.

            Unfortunately, I was unaware of the fact that John Heimler died December 4, 1990, while I was busy at work on THE LIFE MATRIX. Some time after I retired in December of 1998. I accidentally learned of his death by purchasing and reading his NIGHT OF THE MIST, republished in 1997. His death was mentioned in a brief biographical statement in the front of this book. I was shocked by this revelation, but continued my work on THE LIFE MATRIX while attempting to find and communicate with those who were in control of the HSSF copyright, seeking to solicit their approval to use THE LIFE MATRIX as a derivative of the HSSF. In October of 2001, I finally succeeded in locating the people at HEIMLER INTERNATIONAL, The International Society of Human Social Functioning in London, England.

            I was subjected to a lengthy ordeal of unnecessary delays which continued until I received the final letter from D R Conway of the Literary Trust of Eugene Heimler on Friday, February 22, 2002. They refused to grant me permission to use THE LIFE MATRIX as a derivative work based on the Heimler Scale. Their reasons for refusing my request were spurious and contrived. Their insincere dissembling was apparently based on the fear that THE LIFE MATRIX and the way I intended to use it threatened the operations of HEIMLER INTERNATIONAL. It is obvious that those with whom I was dealing conspired amongst themselves to invent reasons why I should not be granted permission to use THE LIFE MATRIX, which I had created in good faith, expecting that it would be reviewed and approved by Dr. Heimler. Since they are in charge of copyright permission through the Eugene Heimler Literary Trust, they do have the right to refuse requests to use derivative materials based on the Scale.

            In my opinion this is a perfect example of the misuse of copyright protection. HEIMLER INTERNATIONAL is so obsessed with their control of the HSSF that they are keeping its existence a secret by not allowing anyone to popularize it, to the detriment of all mankind. To enlighten those concerned with the truth hidden in the details of the seething machinations of those who arrogantly and complacently manifest support for ignorance and resistance to progress, all the correspondences exchanged in this request for permission to use are now available for review by anyone interested. They are posted in this web site's appendix.


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© Ken Austin, 2002