The Soteria Project: A forerunner of “a third way” in psychiatry?
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Psychologii
Radosław Stupak   

Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Psychologii, Ingardena 6, 30-001 Kraków, Polska
Submission date: 2017-09-12
Final revision date: 2018-02-07
Acceptance date: 2018-05-27
Online publication date: 2019-12-31
Publication date: 2019-12-31
Psychiatr Pol 2019;53(6):1351–1364
The article presents a somehow forgotten, yet largely controversial, experiment and therapeutic phenomenon known as Soteria Research Project. History, circumstances and main methodological assumptions of the experiment are briefly presented. Theoretical inspirations behind therapeutic model of Soteria are discussed and analyzed, and the results of the experiment are shortly described. The Soteria Research Project is placed in historical and contemporary context and compared to other theoretical propositions and practical solutions. A summary of critical arguments against Soteria is presented. Results of the Soteria Research Project suggest that therapeutic methods employed there were at least as effective as hospital treatment as usual, despite a radical reduction in, or even a complete lack of, pharmacotherapy. These results are still very important in the context of the debate concerning effective and ethical treatment of psychiatric disorders. It is claimed that Soteria was an attempt of restoring the importance of subjective experiences and subjectivity of a psychiatric patient in organized mental health care and a forerunner of contemporary postpsychiatric approaches, which postulate larger autonomy of patients, criticize sole reliance on pharmacotherapy and contemporary diagnostic systems, and underline the importance of psychotherapeutic interventions.