A little bit of SZ irony

The guy who co-founded Soteria House was named “Voyce” Hendrix.
Kind of ironic isn’t it?
And incidentally, he was cousins with Jimi Hendrix.

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I mean if you’re named “Voyce”, what else are you going to do with your life?

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Well, he must have been in good voice if he commanded the ship.

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Nice guy, but he stood up my parents when they invited him to dinner at our apartment. Never forgave him for that.

Isn’t Soteria House far from California?

No, the one I lived in was in San Jose, California. They had some in certain countries, I think they still have a few somewhere in the world.

Did you find it to be a good place?

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It helped some people, it didn’t really help me at all. They didn’t believe in using medication so I was at the peak of my psychosis for a year without medication. I always regretted being there. I have some interesting memories of the place though.

No meds? How did they communicate with the psychotic? How long were you there? How old were you?

No meds. They make exceptions if someone is really going through a crisis. The idea behind Soteria is that it was an alternative to hospitals and medication. The staff had no mental health training whatsoever. The founders just staffed the placed with young people who were the “counselors”. They hired them for their open-mindness, tolerance, intelligence, and willingness to talk to and listen to someone going through psychosis and not judge them. They called it “normalizing” the schizophrenia experience. I was there in 1980-81 for a year when I was 19. Almost any behavior was tolerated except violence and drug and alcohol use.


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