Drawings by Joline Whiteneck

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of



San Francisco
June, 1977

Copyright 1977,
Revised 2007
PAIDEIA is now an affiliate of
Global Network:
School of  Journeys;             

School on Borders


To Joline—my love, my muse and inspiration.

To Wallace and Edna McAfee
and all the members of Group,
past, present, and future.

To Joline my love, my muse and inspiriation.


A Group is composed of a number of individuals who meet and share themselves with one another. This project is, in many ways, a Group project. A variety of other people have helped form my views. Their insights, perspectives, and comments have been immeasurably valuable to my project and my own Group experience. I have vicariously shared the joy and surprise that comes as we see a person expand and actualize their potentials beyond anything that they dreamed possible. I have also witnessed, hopefully with compassion, the pain felt by some who we, our society, have not been able to help. They, too, have contributed to my understanding. If it were possible I would like to communicate my appreciation to them also.
            My friends at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center: staff, physicians, and patients, gave me a great deal of personal encouragement as well as experiential knowledge in transformation. Thanks particularly to Betty Armacost, Unit Manager, and Pat Jimenez, Senior Clinical Nurse, both Senior Psychiatric Nurses—true masters (mistresses?) of therapeutic communication as it can be developed—who introduced me to understanding and conversation with people with extreme emotional and mental disorder: psychosis (schizophrenia, bi-polar; manic-depression as well as depression, OBS, dementia, substance induced psychosis) as well as adolescent behavioral dilemmas, and a vast array of out-of-the-ordinary states of consciousness that gained people admission to a Neuropsychiatric Unit. Also thanks to Joy Phillips, later Unit Manager, who encouraged the development and presentation of the Crisis Intervention Workshop.

            I cannot say too much about the influence of the McAfees and the members of Group on my ideas. I will let the chapters that relate to them speak for themselves.

            My parents, Kingery and Margueritte Whiteneck, have given me a great amount of support during the writing.

            Barbara Davidson accomplished the task of typing the original project while providing much interesting conversation.

            Finally, my wife Joline encouraged me throughout the project with stimulation, support, feedback, and introduced me to the whole field in the first place.


to 2007 revision

I have attempted to revise my original Ph. D. dissertation with a minimal number of changes. That said, a great deal of experience has transpired in the last 30 years. Consequently, I have added a few comments, explanations, and illustrative examples as well as a few additional references, and many end notes sometimes clarifying and sometimes speculative and free associative quality. These have not really changed any of the basic premises of the original paper. I have led and participated in several additional types of Groups with different procedures and goals. I have also had a great deal of Crisis Intervention experience while employed by Santa Cruz County Department of Mental Health as a Senior Clinician/Crisis Intervention Specialist. While Crisis Intervention is now a regular service of hospitals and mental health departments, it has too often become an intake, evaluation, and referral service, rather than a clinical treatment approach in the manner that it was originally envisioned in the writings of Caplan and Aguilera and Messick. I would also like to extend thanks to my collegues at Santa Cruz County Mental Health for stimulating and challenging my ideas about both Crisis Intervention and Group development.

            In my own practice I have continued to approach family, couple, adolescent, individual adult, and Group issues within a crisis counseling-psychotherapy and role-play framework similar to those that I describe in this study. I have also extended the field of Crisis Intervention into other areas of political analysis, radical education, and public administration. The content of my approach has remained the same while experience has honed certain features. Communication principles have become more important and vital for promoting interpersonal development. Humor and play, which emerged as vital therapeutic activities in my original research, seem to be not only desirable but also indispensable (such a heavy word for such a light subject!). It seems that play’s quality of surprise is manifested existentially the way it almost pops-up at unexpected times and places and leads to new and imaginative directions! Of course, teachers and child therapists—and particularly all our parenting influences, have known this since probably before we became human.

            Many thanks to G.T. Toriz for shepherding the text from a half dozen disks (I thought “floppy” referred to the mechanical process by which information was recorded and stored. I now see that it refers to the way the text flops around during the reading and transfer process.), entered on a half dozen computers that I used during the transcription and revising, over half a dozen years, to a flash drive, and finally to this website. Any mistakes in the text are my responsibility. (For instance, some of these half dozen computers seem to have different styles of lettering for the same named font. Go figure!)

         Malcolm McAfee has been a continual source of support and inspiration. Many coffeehouse napkins have been consumed in our discussion notes, plans, and diagrams. Malcolm is one of the founders of PAIDEIA. He has maintained this vision throughout a multitude of changes over the years. PAIDEIA itself has developed into a network of research institutes that also include SCHOOL OF JOURNEYS, SCHOOL ON BOARDERS: a GLOBAL NETWORK:

             Joline Whiteneck has continued to be my inspiration and advisor as well as my two sons, James and Ben.  They all keep me both grounded and slightly ahead of myself, hopefully developing and evolving.