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Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance Paperback – December 21, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Loren Mosher, M.D., is Associate Director, Addiction, Victim, and Mental Health Services, Montgomery County, Rockville, Maryland, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris (December 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413465234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413465235
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jim Gottstein on March 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In "Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance," Loren Mosher and Voyce Hendrix, with Deborah Fort, paint a vivid picture of the day to day life at Soteria-House, the Northern California alternative to psychiatric hospitalization that proved it is possible to help people through madness with kindness, empathy and validating people's experiences, and most importantly, by "being with" people, rather than "doing to" them. Due to his prolific writings, Dr. Mosher has presented many scientific papers on Soteria, but in this book, the program comes to life. The failures as well as the successes are described.

Only with this book has it been possible to get a sense of what it was like to be at Soteria. Through the truly dedicated and caring staff, such as the incredible Voyce Hendrix (and even the residents), people were allowed their madness and, through being allowed their madness, able to get through it and on with their lives. This book is a must read for anyone interested in alternatives to the prevailing pessimistic paradigm of psychiatric treatment. It is truly a story of hope. A story of a better path -- a path not currently taken.

Dr. Mosher, loved "being with" people who were psychotic. He called them "my most interesting customers." Dr. Mosher, passed away in July of 2004, at the age of 70, five months before the book was published. He must have written this book knowing that his personal efforts on behalf of providing a humane form of care was going to cease. Thus, "Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance" must be seen as his final act of love to people experiencing disturbing psychosis by leaving a trail to follow for those who have the vision to see it.
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Format: Paperback
Why read the book?
1..Buying it supports vital work.
2..Less than 1% of the book can appear here.
3..Change, action and recovery can replace hand-wringing.
4.."Understanders" are therapeutic for the seriously disturbed.

Soteria (Greek for deliverance) was a community-based, experimental, residential treatment facility in San Jose CA during 1971-1983, offering refuge mostly to young "schizophrenics." Would Soteria be as effective...as a nearby psychiatric ward where antipsychotic drugs were highly valued?

Focus: Given...that people labeled as "schizophrenic" often cannot develop or maintain close interpersonal relationships and supportive (non-family) network systems, Soteria believed these should comprise its focus.

The Moos Social Scales, which were heeded by Soteria, tallied staff's judgments about treatment areas, as they measured involvement, support, spontaneity, autonomy, practical orientation, personal problem orientation, tolerance of anger and aggression, order and organization, program clarity, and staff control.

Causation of Psychosis: More than half of adult admissions...to psychiatric hospital wards have histories of sexual and/or physical abuse. Also there may be parents' inability to focus and be clear, and parents' hostility toward their children... When someone goes "crazy," it's often in response to numerous problems, usually triggered by a particularly distressing event like a romantic rejection, the death of a parent, or excessive involvement with recreational drugs - - or inability to form social networks apart from families of origin.
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Soteria means "Salvation" and is about an experiment that was done in the late seventies early eighties in California. The premise of the experiment was essentially to take first episode psychotics and schizophrenics and put them in a house in a community instead of a hospital. Instead of filling them with drugs, the author and his team used a technique of "Being With" the person experiencing psychosis and aiding them in a Non-Medical Model manner toward integration and recovery. In other words, "being with" a person experiencing extremes states of mind, instead of warehousing or chemically restraining them.

There were actually two houses, one called "Soteria" and the other called "Emmon" where recruits from college campuses would manage the day to day affairs of the house and interact with the residents. Mosher Et Al drew a fairly realistic picture of the environment and the people in it and how things were done. The claim of recovery without drugs is supported with some anecdotal evidence, but the book lacks any real case studies to support the claims. It is elsewhere that some of this evidence is available, for this reason I gave this book a 3 star rating.
The project came out of the ruins of the Kingdom Hall experiment in England which was conducted by the Laing, in which Mosher was an observer. Although "Kingdom Hall" was essentially a disaster, there were some quality ideas involved that Mosher added to his own ideas and created the Soteria project.

The writing is good and not only Mosher puts his ideas and thoughts about the project to pen and paper, but also other members of the project.
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