Sunday, December 4, 2022

Comments by Grrace

Showing 15 of 15 comments.

  • Holy cannoli! That presentation was FANTASTIC!

    And, there were participants from the former Soteria Alaska, the Soteria Network UK, Soteria Israel, and special guest Voyce Hendrix of the original Soteria House!

    If you didn’t get to be on Zoom live, you can watch the recording. It’s at Rethinking Psychiatry’s YouTube channel, at:

    While there, you might also want to watch Voyce Hendrix’s most excellent talk he gave for Rethinking Psychiatry in November (2020), and many other talks critiquing the mental health system and sharing alternatives!

    Stay tuned for a talk by Susan Musante of Soteria Alaska in May 2021 and one about Soteria Israel in June. (They have TEN Soteria Houses now and plan to have 130 within 2 years!!!!)

    Then, in August, join Rethinking Psychiatry for a Peer Respite / Soteria House Summer Summit! We will have breakout sessions that include how to bring Peer Respite or Soteria House to YOUR community!

    To get notice of these upcoming events, sign up for Rethinking Psychiatry’s newsletter at

  • Hi AmityGreen,
    That phrase comes from:
    “In longer term assessments (six months and beyond), the Soteria group demonstrated higher ‘recovery’ outcomes in work, social roles and long term use of medication.”
    I read it as the higher recovery outcome in terms of long term use of meds was that there were fewer Soteria graduates using meds long term than folks through the dominant system. That higher recovery meant lower long term use of meds.
    Susan, might you want to clarify?

  • Dear Daiphanous Weeping,

    Your post took my breath away.

    I have had the experience of being in the gas chambers, but for me it was Auschwitz and only once (this lifetime), and it ended with dying and death all around me. No, actually, it didn’t end there. That part was almost serene, an acceptance and still a connection to G-d. Instead, it ended with my body scooped up and fed into the furnace, at which time my soul started screaming and screaming and screaming.

    I cannot imaging having to go through that hourly.

    What I’m getting is that it’s not the name you mind. It’s the torture. And if the name can help quiet the torment even for a few minutes, you have a right to it and demand (hope? request? expect?) not to be name shamed. That, at least, is free choice. And you want a counselor–and a community?–that authentically accepts this.

    Also, that the word trauma stands for something so universal it becomes like repeating a word over and over until the meaning dissolves. The texture, range and depth and soaring height of your experiences deserve to be named their many forms in a way that is true and alive for them and you, from moment to moment. All of those shimmering, terrifying, magical names.

    Thank you for sharing so astonishingly closely. I don’t know who you are or where you live, but I feel like you have reached out your hand, open, palm out, and I am moved to reach mine out to meet it.

    With a full heart,

  • Hi Javier,

    Are you familiar with the UK’s Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF)? It makes so much more sense to me than this HiTOP framework, which feels somewhat like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

    But the PTMF, developed with core involvement from some heavy hitting survivors, seems to ask the right questions:
    What happened? (Imagine that! I have yet to find a person who had been diagnosed in a hospital–or anywhere?–be asked this!);
    How did it affect you?;
    What sense do you make of it?;
    What did you have to do to survive?;
    What are your strengths: and
    What is your story?

    Seems kind of brilliant to me. Read a summary here

    With respect,

  • Thank you, Dr Dhar and Professor Spandler. I appreciate the radical authenticity, compassion, and courage.

    Rethinking Psychiatry, out of Portland, Oregon, tribal lands of the Multnomah, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Cowlitz, Clatskanie, Molalla, and Clackamas Peoples, is in the middle of a series about Soteria! Voyce Hendrix, of the original Soteria House, spoke in November. Soteria VT will be presenting in April. We will also have presentations from the former Soteria Alaska, and hopefully from Soteria Israel.

    Our hope is to culminate with a Soteria and Peer Respite Summer Summit! We’re imagining breakout sessions of rolling up your sleeves workshops on how to do various aspects of creating Soteria-like projects in your area.

    Thanks to Covid, it will be an internationally accessible conference on-line. We’d love to collaborate with the Soteria network in the UK–please do be in touch!–and any other groups wanting to create this kind of alternative, or that has one already that we aren’t in touch with. Email us at [email protected]

    ***If you’re interested in finding out about any of the upcoming events, PLEASE sign up for our sometimes newsletter at***

  • Hi Neesa, I’m so excited you are joining the radical tradition of social work!

    Well, there’s a radical tradition in SW, and a gatekeeper tradition. I hope Hunter is teaching you about social workers like Bertha Capen Reynolds, who believed that when her clients marched in the streets, it’s social workers’ responsibility to get out of the office and march with them, but ALSO to bring it back to the office and start organizing about the terrible working conditions of our own profession!

    Yeah, I’m a sister social worker (SW) and a therapist. And I have also struggled with the Code around dual relationships, making services financially accessible, and other issues. I actually have a lot of respect for the document **in the hands of seasoned SWs**, because it is the collected evolving wisdom of so many who took up the work. I agree with Ron Unger who draws attention to the importance of the qualified language of a lot of the points.

    It is a frustrating aspect that there are so many seeming ambiguities and conflicts in the Code—but that is also what makes it a nuanced document, able to be wrestled with for the incredibly complex issues of being human and trying to be ethical around issues of power imbalance, etc. Beware of it in the hands of black and white thinkers, though, who will try to use it as a weapon.

    But I have been so lucky to find a supervisor who brings all of her decades of experience to wrestle with it with me to support me in my very outside-the-box work as a SW who is out about my lived experience of madness and radical mental health perspective.

    I definitely share my stories when it seems in service to clients, and this supervisor is completely supportive. And I continue to navigate the complex challenges of dual relationships of the very small radical mental health community. But I actually agree with carefully considering the potential impacts, often unintended, that these can have. I don’t think it’s about figuring out what is 100% safe to do, but what is reasonable, considered risk. And sometimes we make mistakes. And then we try to be accountable, if we are brave and ethical enough.

    I hope you have supportive supervisors, too! It makes all the difference (I’ve had supervisors from hell–don’t confuse them as representing the profession).

    And then I hope you help the Code become an even better document/guide!

    Yes, being a peer worker is different from being a peer-clinician/clinician with lived experience. I think it would be a fascinating discussion to explore that. Please let me know if you’d be interested in creating a presentation (panel discussion, maybe?) for Rethinking Psychiatry. That would be amazing and I’d be really interested and would help, if you wanted. You can reach me through [email protected].

  • oldhead, there are coopted peer systems and kick ass beautifully powerful radical peer systems.

    Do you know about Intentional Peer Support (IPS), for example, developed by peers for peers…as well as to teach non-peer clinicians? Have you heard the countless stories of people locked up in psych units, not having one clinician ask them what happened…except the one peer that visited them? I hear some version of that over and over, and hear so many people credit peers with showing them how to make meaning of their experiences and reclaim their lives and humanity.

    And absolutely, the “system” wants to co-opt it. But I don’t feel it’s black and white. And I cannot discount all the stories of mad folks I know who have shared how others who have walked the path and found a way through, and come back to offer their stories and companionship, have saved their lives.

  • Hi Caroline and Steve,
    Another way is what dfk (above) wrote. Beautiful description of deep healing work.

    But, Caroline, I don’t think it can be done from a paid friend model. (I should say I’m invested here, as a social worker therapist who tries to work like dfk writes). It’s not about being better than or objective. It’s about taking a bunch of the complication out of the relationship so that helping the one person heal is more possible.

    I think that healing in the context of a mutual friendship/partnership can be even more healing, but is also more complicated and more rare. They are different.

    As a therapist, if I see myself as a friend, then I WILL want reciprocity, and when my feelings get hurt, I’ll become less able to focus on the client’s needs and helping the client understand their patterns. But, like you both mention, it’s really bad if the therapist is working their stuff out on the client. That’s why my main teacher said that therapists should always be in supervision, even after it’s is required. My feelings do get hurt, and I need to get clarity about my own stuff so it can stay about the client.