Hospital Wards Off Satanism CHICAGO (AP) - At his parents' home, Mike painted his room bla

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Hospital Wards Off Satanism CHICAGO (AP) - At his parents' home, Mike painted his room black, decorated it with black candles and an altar, and put up obituaries and Satanic symbols on the walls. He began driving recklessly, drinking heavily, experimenting with marijuana and threatening his parents. That's when Mike ended up in one of the nation's first treatment programs aimed at weaning away disturbed teen-agers from Satanism. ``At the time,'' said Michael Weiss, an adolescent psychologist, ``Satanism seemed to have, for Mike, a lot of answers that he couldn't find elsewhere. It gave him the sense that he could control all things. ``Now that he can find other ways to feel good and have some sense of purpose ... he seems increasingly willing to put aside any Satanic influence,'' said Weiss of Hartgrove Hospital on Chicago's North Side. Mike - not his real name - is among about a half dozen youths, ranging from 14 to 17, who've received treatment or are undergoing therapy at Hartgrove's Center for the Treatment of Ritualistic Deviance. The center, attached to the hospital's adolescent unit, began receiving patients in October, and referrals are trickling in as its reputation gets established, Weiss said. The in-patient treatment program lasts four to eight weeks, and involves individual as well as group therapy. Up to six patients can be treated at a time, but the capacity can be expanded should the need arise, Weiss said. Most patients are admitted voluntarily based on referrals from mental health workers, police and parents. Weiss said it's still too early to determine the success rate. ``We didn't know what to expect ... but I'm pleased with the way things are right now,'' he said. ``We're certainly finding that we can work with these kids and their families.'' A similar program exists at Denver's Bethesda PsychHealth. Hartgrove has received inquiries from hospitals in Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin interested in starting their own Satanism treatment programs, said social worker Dale Trahan. ``I definitely see the problem as growing,'' said Trahan, who's been researching satanic beliefs for three years and was contracted to set up Hartgrove's center. ``The factors that seem to be adding to a growth of the occult don't seem to be going away - a breakdown in family, an abandonment of traditional values, resistance towards traditional religious beliefs, and an increasing number of youths who feel both alienated and powerless over their lives and future.'' ``So many kids are feeling like they're ... not going to get their needs met using traditional means so they're looking for alternatives ... and there are many destructive alternatives'' such as street gangs, neo-Nazi groups, drugs and Satanism, Trahan said. Cynthia Kisser, executive director of the Chicago-based Cult Awareness Network, said there has been a marked increase in the number of young people involved in Satanism. AP-NY-03-22-90 2108EST (C) Copyright 1989, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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