In 1967, Mel Wasserman and his wife Brigitta founded CEDU Educational Services, Inc in California. Mel Wasserman had previously sponsored recovering addicts at nearby Synanon and highly regarded Charles E. Dederich. The name, CEDU, was thought to be an acronym for “Charles E. Dederich University.” Several Synanon acolytes worked at CEDU such as Bill Lane who was one of Synanon’s first and youngest members. In fact, Dr. Frank Seixas wrote an endorsement letter of CEDU in 1972 which acknowledged that Mel Wasserman had experience with Synanon and modeled CEDU’s “therapy” after it. When Synanon later fell out of favor in the public eye due to its criminal activities, Mel Wasserman would claim that the name CEDU had nothing to do with Synanon and instead stood for “See yourself as you are and do something about it.

The average time that children would attend CEDU was 2.5 years. The program did not believe in the use of medicine or most traditional therapy. Punishment such as hard labor, isolation, attack group sessions, etc was often used. At least three times a week, students were required to attend “rap”  sessions – which were attack pseudo-psychology sessions led by untrained staff. These were very similar to Synanon’s “Game.” Students also were required to attend multi-day workshops called “Propheets” – similar to Synanon’s “The Trip.”

CEDU would later branch out and open up multiple schools in California and Idaho until their closure in 2005. Multiple CEDU spinoff programs were created by former staff and students and some continue to operate to this day using the same structure and methods as the original CEDU.