Soteria House - My experience

Anyone hear of Soteria House? What did you hear about it? I was in it for a year in 1981.

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I’ve heard of it. The way it was explained to me, it sounded like a total disaster.

It was supposed to be an experiment I think - It failed

It depends on who you ask. The people who ran it will show you data that they think shows that living in the house with no medication for anyone and no trained therapists was as effective as hospitals and medication. It’s detractors will say the opposite. It was a weird experience that didn’t help me at all. Looking back I wish I had never lived there and instead they should have put me on medication sooner. It was literally the worst year of my life living there.

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Sorry you had a crappy experience, Nick. I have a hard time seeing how no meds/no therapy would be beneficial to a schizophrenic.

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Here’s their idea.You rent or buy a house in the middle of a residential neighborhood. You staff it with mostly young men and women. The “counselors” had no psychiatric training or experience in the mental health field. They were supposed to be friendly, intelligent, and good with people. They mingled with us, like peers. The idea is not for us schizophrenics to be in a clinical situation but the idea behind Soteria was to “normalize” the experience of having schizophrenia. Sounds good on paper. Anyway, part of the setup was that their were almost no rules, we had minimal responsibilities. Violence was not permitted, and no drugs or alcohol, but they didn’t always strictly enforce the no-alcohol rule. We could come and go as we pleased. See this was their idea of a therapeutic setting.They accepted all crazy behaviour and treated it like it was no big deal. The main gathering place was the kitchen. Most days the counselors sat around at the kitchen table playing backgammon and talking with whoever wandered in. I’m writing very little about it. A book was written about it. I am just using a paragraph.

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That sort of jumps out at me. They did want people to leave and go back out into the world right? If I was trying to heal and I was in a situation with no rules or responsibilities, then I was put back into a situation WITH rules and responsibilities like the rest of the world… I feel, that would be setting me up for failure.

My group home was trying to teach me rules and responsibilities. Because that is what would be waiting for me out side those doors. If I didn’t know how to cope with them, I’d never make it.

That never would have helped me. I remember getting inappropriate and a nurse was getting tired of my unhelpful actions and bad attitude. She got fed up and a bit firm with me… and that really turned my head around and got me to open my eyes.

@77nick77…sounds like a great place to me. Id love to go to a place like that but I don’t know if any exist in Ireland or the UK. Sounds great to me, because I don’t believe in medication. And I don’t take meds so a group home wont take me.

Tell us more about this Soteria House, Im interested. Were the volunteers people who used to have mental illness?

Sounds criminal to me

Some interesting links on the topic:

Commentary on the Soteria Project: Misguided Therapeutics

After Soteria House Shooting Victim Dies, Questions Remain

Some Observations of Soteria-Alaska

It sounds like people have set some houses up like this around the world: