Austin, DCSW (Vitae)
“WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE MASTER APPEARS.” Zen
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.
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
LINK IN THE CHAIN”, Bodley Head, London, England; 1962. (Heimler’s emotional reactions to Communist power
in Hungary and his professional work in London.)
ILLNESS AND SOCIAL WORK”, Penguin Books Ltd., London, England; 1967. (The documentation of the
Hendon Experiment and Hounslow
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
PRACTICE/RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT 1970 – 1973:
DBA FLO-SEARCH CONSULTANTS
Employer Tax ID # 91-8660520
Seattle, Washington 98105
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
– 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
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.
DEMONSTRATION PROJECT, OCCC
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
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.
EMPLOYMENT -- STATE OF HAWAII:
– 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.
– 01/31/91 Permanent Probationary Hire
SW III (SR-20), working with female misdemeanants at Women’s Community
P.O. Box F, Kailua, Hawaii 96734 as an adult offender
Case Manager for the Department of Corrections.
– 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.
– 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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