The Meaning Underlining PPTG

PPTG cofounder: Michael Rhynes

PPTG cofounder: Michael Rhynes


Michael Rhynes is the co-founder of PPTG.  He writes here why he founded the group:  

“One of the reasons I created PPTG is because we’re not allowed to have any input into our own transformation. I, for one, do not subscribe to what I call “THE HEART OF DARKNESS” approach. This is a theory I extrapolated from reading Joseph Conrad’s book The Heart of Harkness. My theory simply means I don’t believe people from outside of any situation should come in to solve problems without conferring with the people who are affected by what’s going on in that particular situation. PPTG is rooted in the authenticity of our lives. The thing that sets us apart is that we generate the vast majority of our material from our life experiences. We have complete autonomy over our scripts.

If one digs deep one will discover the underlying reason for most youth crime is some form of pain. In order for PPTG members to transcend past mistakes they have to confront their pain.   My transformation came by way of dealing with the real reasons I was in the streets–through the drama of remembering my deeply buried joy and pain. Once my joy and pain was uncovered by PPTG’s techniques I began to write about the missing parts of my life. Then I began to perform what had been hidden.

The involvement of community members, as ‘Observer’, ‘Participant’, ‘Guide’ and most importantly, ‘Fellow Human Being’, provides the critical perspective and engagement essential to our group’s healthy balance. Our desire and commitment to touch the suffering and joy of others, to learn the way of empathy, compassion, forgiveness and self‐love, defines who we are as a group.”

Michael’s co-founder, Clifton Williamson describes the creation of PPTG, his collaboration with Michael and the reasons for founding the group:

Michael and I collaborated to envision, structure and create PPTG. Michael is a “think outside the box” type of guy who loves many forms of art, including theatre. I am a very logistical type—content and structure and formalization of ideas from theory to tangible practice/experience.
The collaborative tension: Free artistic spirit vs analytical probing for all the empirical pieces that can become the foundation of structure and practice.
The collaborative grace: We are both very philosophical, non-conforming and very wounded human beings who want most to HEAL!!! . . .and LOVE!!!
. . .What I carry , in general, is a deep respect for Michael, Shane, Dee Ken, Jason, David and Stephen and Paula. Specifically I carry gratitude in my heart for each member’s willingness to be a part of, and sincerely contribute to, the communion of vulnerable and suffering human beings. We looked each other in the eyes each session and each time chose, again, to proceed with the very deep emotional work that we had, consciously and unconsciously envisioned and assembled ourselves to partake in.
Yes, we tapped into our trauma, indirectly, from a safe enough distance to recognize the source of the emotions we were each experiencing personally. Consequently, the theatrical work we were doing, as Michael and I had hoped, was also cathartic.
For me, this is what PPTG was/is about—getting in touch with our inner life and it’s kindling sources, so that we—incarcerated people—can gain an absolute awareness and management of our individual lives for the present and future!!
PPTG became the avenue of actual PRACTICE by which I and other people seeking healing and greater understanding of themselves could explore and leant about ourselves and human nature— again without directly opening old wounds which require professional intervention to address.