A Promising Approach to Schizophrenia

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An alternative approach to Schizophrenia: shepherd the young adult through developmental crisis rather than treating the symptoms as the onset of a lifelong brain disease to be forever managed with medication. “Soteria” as it is called, was first introduced in the 1970s in northern California by Loren Mosher, the first Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health. Despite his success, documented in dozens of random assignment research studies, Mosher’s ideas were rejected by mainstream psychiatry.

The approach is being revived anew only recently, especially in Israel. The former Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Amercian-Israeli Dr. Pesach Lichtenberg was the director of a closed psychiatric hospital ward for 25 years before being fired for implementing ideas that violated mainstream psychiatric principles. He went on to become the founder and professional director of Soteria- Israel, a non-profit organization that provides a home-like alternative to psychiatric hospitalization for recovery from acute psychosis. Unlike in the U.S., Soteria-Israel, and similar community-based approaches to psychosis, have garnered support from government funders and the Israeli Psychiatric establishment.

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