voyce hendrix

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intro’d to Voyce while reading Will Hall‘s outside mental health..(Steven Morgan et al)

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Voyce Hendrix () inside soteria house


(on injecting meds even though patient said was allergic).. i had learned nursing and this didnt’ make sense. he wasn’t doing anything or hurting anybody. the fact was that the nurse was upset. but we deal w him instead of dealing with her..

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what really stands out about soteria is that we tolerated what we call psychosis. as long as people were not hurting anyone we tolerated it. and a lot of people went all the way thru a psychotic process w/o meds

wh: to tolerate psychosis often means stretching taboos and ideas of what’s acceptable. getting naked, being idle for days and days, anger, vulgarity, weird communication styles, obsessive ranting, solitude.. as a society we assume it’s degrading for someone to go thru such things, so we prefer to medicate them into looking more acceptable..t

be you house. .ness.. spaces of permission with nothing to prove.. nclb ness

never nothing going on

if someone was in a psychotic state and left the house, for ie, se didn’t stop them. soteria was never locked. if they walked out the door we just walked w them..

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we had that commitment to people, even people we think are so delusional they’re not in touch. it wasn’t about technique, it was about relationships..

i saw interventions and approaches as making no sense. we have an idea that people are broken and we fix them w out interpretations and techniques. it’s not about that. it is about relating to people..so working there affected me as it affected others. i am a very diff person because of soteria..


i don’t believe the brain is broken to begin with.. i don’t know what schizophrenia is and i don’t think anyone else knows. these are labels we have put together. a diagnosis just means a normal brain has the capacity to do all kinds of things and function in all kinds of ways.. we adapt to the social system, we adapt our values and behaviors. humans can’t survive in systems where they don’t understand the rules. so we create some kind of other reality and then work w/in that reality. that gets called psychosis. i think that’s what’s going on..

if you create a healthy social system, people will pick out that social system what they need to balance themselves.. i can be who i am and i can be there, and then the other person maybe can use something from me or maybe not use something from me and thereby change who they are.. but there is no way for me to do that to the person..

deep enough.. a nother way

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the best and most powerful thing we can do in a therapeutic setting is to be there. the brain has a capacity to change. .. one of the problems w the mental health system today is we are not there. we give meds and then people are just so isolated.. that’s why other countries around the less developed world, w/o modern treatment systems, often have better recovery.. people are not institutionalized, they stay w their families, their behaviors are more or less tolerated.. they can go out in the community, because the community itself is more flexible in allowing for strange behavior.. and so people get thru it..

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soteria was a kind of a flop house.. and a lot of the new residents would wind up making friends w an ex resident who was hanging around.. and so they had someone to share a room with as a way out to leave soteria..

soteria happened thirty years ago. people say we can’t do studies like this today because we have become so pro med that a project like soteria is considered unethical.. but the human impact of meds the dismal recovery rates, the wasteful cost of traditional hospital care.. it all says we have to look at history and at soteria for a new way forward..

short – next experiment


from susannah cahalan‘s the great pretender:


even though mainstream psychiatry ignored it, a series of ‘med free sanctuaries’ spurted up around california.. the most prominent person to take on the mantel of ward 11 was loren mosher, head of nimh’s center for studies of schizo who saw an opp to take ward 11 to next level… he recruited ward 11’s cast of characters – including alma menn and voyce hendrix (related to jimi) to start soteria house.. an experiment in communal living located in a 12 room victorian house in downtown san hose.. here a group of 6 people who would have ended up in an asylum lived together outside of it.. the avg stat was 42 days..


one of the board members who helped mod soteria house – and here it all comes full circle – was david rosenhan.. in the midst of the success of his groundbreaking study whose theories questioned the powers of traditional psychiatry and its hospitals

soteria house

easy to dismiss soteria house, as man do (and as i did at first) but its mission captured something essential missing from the institutional model: focusing on the patient,  not the illness

the soteria model continues in places like alaska , sweden, finland, and germany.. belgium..



find/follow Voyce:


Inside Soteria House with Voyce Hendrix, original clinical director who worked closely with Loren Mosher. Soteria House was a non-medication, non-diagnostic label and voluntary residence treating severe psychotic breakdown. Recovery rates were much higher in this humane and egalitarian atmosphere — but the project was shut down because it challenged the pharmaceutical company pro-medication interests.

Voyce discusses how Soteria was different than mainstream facilities and describes the healing results it had.


voyce hendrix to speak (nov 2020) .. who worked at first soteria house..

Fascinating discussion about Soteria House, a place that sought to offer an alternative to institutionalization for people with schizophrenia. In my #DocuMI20 class, we’re trying to think broadly about practices of care & treatment for mental illness. https://t.co/mzBAxeMsYt
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/lldiedrich/status/1319598359053828098