The Vermont Longitudinal Study & Correction of Seven Myths

Kermit Cole
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In a long-term study of schizophrenia patients released during the late 1950s and early 1960s from the back wards of Vermont State Hospital, Courtenay Harding reported that twenty years later 25% to 50% of the patients were completely off their medications, suffered no further signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, and were functioning well. She concluded that it was a “myth” that schizophrenia patients must be on the drugs all their lives, and the reality was that “it may be a small percentage who need medication indefinitely.”

a) The Vermont Longitudinal Study of Persons With Severe Mental Illness, II.    Harding, C. American Journal of Psychiatry 144 (1987):727-734.

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b) Empirical Correction of Seven Myths About Schizophrenia With Implications for Treatment.Harding, C. ACTA Psychiatrica Scandinavica 90, suppl. 384 (1990):140-146.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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