What is Soteria?

We believe the best way out is always through.

In July 2012 Pathways Vermont received funding from the Department of Mental Health to launch a residence based on Dr. Loren Mosher's Soteria Project. The original Soteria operated in the Bay Area throught the 1970s and 80s. Soteria demonstrated the power and importance of compassionate interpersonal relationships in navigating the form of human distress commonly referred to as "psychosis".

Pathways Vermont's Soteria program intends to honor the legacy of Dr. Mosher' project by offering an alternative living environment for Vermonters experiencing an early crisis. Soteria will offer nonjudgmental, person-centered support and utilize a holistic approach to navigating distress and crisis. At Soteria, we believe that psychosis can be a temporary experience that one works through rather than a chronic mental illness that needs to be managed. We support clients to develop skills to navigate their experiences using a broad range of methods, encouraging them to find what makes sense for them. These may include: creative expression, breathwork, spiritual practice, nutrition, psychoactive medication, herbalism and more. Pathways Vermont is honored by this opportunity to be part of such an important moment in the history of community mental health in Vermont.

Why do we need Soteria?

At Soteria we believe that individuals can move through psychosis/extreme states and go on to pursue and lead full, meaningful lives. However, the reality is that many individuals do not. One study found that only 45% of individuals going through psychosis experienced any period of recovery, compared to 80% of individuals with other mental health concerns1

The Good News

While these poor outcomes were previously thought to be linked to the nature of the experience, there is emerging evidence that these poor outcomes are in fact linked to the massive lack of availability of compassionate, specialized support. Soteria is one of many programs across the world that is attempting to improve the availability and quality of such support. Preliminary results from these programs suggest that focusing on psychosocial support methods might be more effective in facilitating long-term recovery than more traditional approaches.

 

Pathways' Soteria program is funded by the VT Department of Mental Health.

1(Jobe & Harrow, 2010)