3 September 1933|
Monterey, California, US
|Died||10 July 2004
|Institutions||Yale University, National Institute of Mental Health, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, University of California, American Psychiatric Association, MindFreedom International, Mosher’s consulting company Soteria Associates|
|Alma mater||Stanford University, Harvard University|
|Known for||Creating Soteria, founding Schizophrenia Bulletin|
|Influences||R. D. Laing|
Loren Richard Mosher (September 3, 1933, Monterey – July 10, 2004, Berlin) was an American psychiatrist,:21 clinical professor of psychiatry, expert on schizophrenia and the chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia in the National Institute of Mental Health (1968–1980). Mosher spent his professional career advocating for humane and effective treatment for people diagnosed as having schizophrenia and was instrumental in developing an innovative, residential, home-like, non-hospital, non-drug treatment model for newly identified acutely psychotic persons.
In the 1970s, Mosher, then Chief of the newly formed Center for Schizophrenia Research, wrote a grant to obtain funding for a novel idea for treating people diagnosed with schizophrenia; an intensive psychosocial milieu-based residential treatment known as the Soteria Project. The results of the study were remarkable and showed that people with schizophrenia did in fact recover from the illness without the use of neuroleptics in a supportive home-like environment.
Progressively vocal in his opposition to the prevailing psychiatric practices of the time and the increasing reliance on pharmaceuticals for treatment, Mosher managed to anger and isolate himself from many of his colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health, and was finally dismissed from his position in 1980. Disillusioned with the field, he wrote a very public letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association in 1998, stating that "After nearly three decades as a member it is with a mixture of pleasure and disappointment that I submit this letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association. The major reason for this action is my belief that I am actually resigning from the American Psychopharmacological Association. Luckily, the organization’s true identity requires no change in the acronym."
Loren Mosher was born on the 3rd of September 1933 in Monterey, California, to the married couple of a teacher and boat builder. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his medical degree from Harvard University, starting work at NIMH in 1964. He undertook research training at the Tavistock Clinic in London from 1966 to 1967 and developed an interest in alternative treatments for schizophrenia.
Before conceiving Soteria, Mosher supervised a ward in a psychiatric hospital at Yale University as its assistant professor, prescribed neuroleptics and was not “against” them. But by 1968, the year Mosher received the position of director of the Center for Schizophrenia Studies at the NIMH, he got convinced that benefits of neuroleptics were overhyped.
The house, known as Soteria, was opened in an area of San Jose, California, in April 1971.:22 Mosher believed that the violent and controlling atmosphere of psychiatric hospitals and the over-use of drugs hindered recovery. Despite its success (it achieved superior results than the standard medical treatment with drugs), the Soteria Project closed in 1983 when, according to Loren Mosher and Robert Whitaker further funding was denied because of the politics of psychiatry that was increasingly controlled by the influence of pharmaceutical companies.
Mosher is said to have had a far more nuanced view of the use of drugs than has been generally thought, and did not reject drugs altogether but insisted they be used as a last resort and in far lower doses than usual in the United States.
After dismissal from NIMH, he taught psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda and became the head of the public mental health system in Montgomery County, Maryland. In Maryland, he started a crisis house in Rockville, McAuliffe House, based on Soteria principles.
Mosher edited or co-authored some books, including Community Mental Health: A Practical Guide, and published more than 100 reviews and articles. He held professorships and ran mental health programmes on both the US coasts. Mosher also headed his own consulting company, Soteria Associates, providing research, forensic and mental health consultation and cooperated for years with numerous advocacy groups, including the psychiatric survivor group MindFreedom International. He wrote a preface to Peter Lehmann’s book Coming off Psychiatric Drugs (2004).
He was married to, and later divorced, Irene Carleton Mosher.
At the time of his death, he was in Berlin for experimental cancer treatment.
Among survivors are his wife, Judy Schreiber, three children from the first marriage, a granddaughter, and two brothers.
His work is archived at Stanford University and can be accessed via their website. Anyone interested in further pursuing his work can arrange to have it brought to the Stanford Green Library.
- Adam Bernstein (2004) Contrarian Psychiatrist Loren Mosher, 70 Washington Post, Metro, Obituaries, Tuesday, July 20, Page B06
- Jeanne Lenzer (2004) Obituary: Loren Mosher BMJ 2004;329:463 (21 August)
- Bentall R. (2009). Doctoring the mind: is our current treatment of mental illness really any good?. NYU Press. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0-8147-9148-4.
- SLS · Colloquia
- Redler R. (28 July 2004). "Loren Mosher: US psychiatrist whose non-drug treatments helped his patients (Obituary)". The Guardian.
- Lenzer, Jeanne (21 August 2004). "Obituary: Loren Mosher". British Medical Journal 329 (7463): 463. doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7463.463. PMC 514223.
- Bentall, Richard (2009). Doctoring the mind: is our current treatment of mental illness really any good?. NYU Press. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0-8147-9148-4.
- Aderhold, Volkmar; Burti, Lorenzo; Ciompi, Luc; Estroff, Sue; Hendrix, Voyce; Oaks, David; Warner, Richard (2004). "Loren Mosher: In Memoriam" (PDF). Schizophrenia Bulletin 30 (4): vi–vii.
- Bernstein A. (20 July 2004). "Contrarian Psychiatrist Loren Mosher, 70". The Washington Post. pp. B06.
- Bola, John; Mosher, Loren (April 2003). "Treatment of acute psychosis without neuroleptics: Two year outcomes from the Soteria Project" (PDF). The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 191 (4): 219–229. doi:10.1097/01.nmd.0000061148.84257.f9. PMID 12695732.
- "Are psychiatrists betraying their patients?" (PDF). Psychology Today 32 (5): 219–229. September–October 1993.
- Mosher, Loren (4 December 1998). "Letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association". Soteria site. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Whitaker, Robert (2002). Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. Philadelphia: Basic Books. pp. 220–26. ISBN 9780465020140.
- Calton T, Ferriter M, Huband N, Spandler H (January 2008). "A systematic review of the Soteria paradigm for the treatment of people diagnosed with schizophrenia". Schizophrenia Bulletin 34 (1): 181–92. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbm047. PMC 2632384. PMID 17573357.
- Video of Robert Whitaker and Loren Mosher discussing the evidence for the Soteria model.
- List of works on Google Scholar Citations
- In Peter Lehmann (Ed.) (2004). ‘Coming off psychiatric drugs: Successful withdrawal from neuroleptics, antidepressants, lithium, carbamazepine and tranquilizers’ (pp. 15-17). Berlin / Eugene / Shrewsbury: Peter Lehmann Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9545428-0-1 (UK), ISBN 978-0-9788399-0-1 (USA)
- "Guide to the Loren R. Mosher Papers (in Stanford University Libraries)". The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
Some research papers
- Mosher, Loren (March 1999). "Soteria and other alternatives to acute psychiatric hospitalization: a personal and professional review" (PDF). Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 187 (3): 142–149. doi:10.1097/00005053-199903000-00003. PMID 10086470.
- Mosher, Loren; Menn, Alma (November 1978). "Community Residential Treatment for Schizophrenia: Two-Year Follow-up". Hospital and Community Psychiatry 29 (11): 715–723. doi:10.1176/ps.29.11.715. PMID 700610.
- Mosher, Loren; Menn, Alma; Matthews, Susan (April 1975). "Soteria: Evaluation of a home-based treatment for schizophrenia". American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 45 (3): 455–467. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.1975.tb02556.x. PMID 238399.
- Mosher, Loren; Keith, Samuel (1980). "Psychosocial treatment: Individual, group, family, and community support approaches". Schizophrenia Bulletin 6 (1): 10–41. PMID 6102787.
- Gunderson, John; Mosher, Loren (September 1975). "The cost of schizophrenia". The American Journal of Psychiatry 132 (9): 901–906.
- Bola, John; Mosher, Loren (April 2003). "Treatment of Acute Psychosis Without Neuroleptics: Two-Year Outcomes From the Soteria Project". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 191 (4): 219–229. PMID 12695732.
- Mosher, Loren; Pollin, William; Stabenau, James (1 May 1971). "Identical Twins Discordant for Schizophrenia: Neurologic Findings". Archives of General Psychiatry 24 (5): 422–430. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750110034006. PMID 5581266.
- Mosher, Loren (December 1983). "Alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization: Why has research failed to be translated into practice?". The New England Journal of Medicine 309 (25): 1579–1580. doi:10.1056/NEJM198312223092512. PMID 6419102.
- Mosher, Loren; Keith, Samuel (May 1979). "Research on the psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia: A summary report". The American Journal of Psychiatry 136 (5): 623–631. PMID 219718.
- Mosher, Loren (February 1982). "Italy's revolutionary mental health law: an assessment". American Journal of Psychiatry 139 (2): 199–203. PMID 7055290.
- Mosher, Loren (October 1983). "Recent developments in the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of the chronic mentally ill in Italy". Hospital and Community Psychiatry 34 (10): 947–950. PMID 6629349.
- Mosher, Loren (April 2004). "Lone voice: Loren Mosher is still standing out against the psychiatric establishment (Interview)" (PDF). Mental Health Today: 18. PMID 15131954.
- De Wyze, Jeanette (9 January 2003). "Still Crazy After All These Years". San Diego Weekly Reader 32 (2).
- Video of Robert Whitaker and Loren Mosher discussing the evidence for the Soteria model.
- "Loren Mosher M.D. talks about Soteria Project and non-drug treatments for schizophrenia (video)". youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
- Volkmar Aderhold, Peter Stastny & Peter Lehmann (2007). Soteria: An Alternative Mental Health Reform Movement (In honor of Loren R. Mosher). In Peter Stastny & Peter Lehmann (Eds.), Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry (pp. 146–160). Berlin / Eugene / Shrewsbury: Peter Lehmann Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9545428-1-8 (UK), ISBN 978-0-9788399-1-8 (USA).