Mitchell Ginsberg, Ph.D.
Loren Mosher


Loren Mosher

Loren Mosher, M.D. (1933-2004) was Chief of the Studies for Schizophrenia at NIMH (the National Institute of Mental Health) for some 16 years, from 1968-1980, as I recall. A study that he defined and organized during much of that time was called the Soteria Project.

His openness to the perspectives, understandings, and wisdom of those outside the world of Western medical training was a fresh and refreshing breeze. For more, with links to various articles on his life and work (including several giving more on the Soteria Study), see Loren Mosher. A book that described the Soteria Project that Loren co-authored but did not live to see in print is Soteria: Through Madness To Deliverance.

For one of the continuations of Soteria-related inspiration, see the work of Luc Ciompi, based in Lausanne-Bern (Switzerland), in the report The Soteria Concept and at Soteria Berne (note Loren Mosher at the far left in the group photo on that page). See also the IGS Project Berne.

For the scientific-minded, there is an extension of Loren’s work through Ciompi’s view that goes beyond the thought-affect dichotomy in understanding human distress (aka mental disease). For this in a discussion, see Ciompi’s Non-linear Fractal Affect-Logic, with links to various of the theoretical underpinnings of this Affect-Logic.

These theoretical underpinnings include discussions of fractals (from the work in mathematics of Benoit Mandelbrot) and of discontinuous bifurcations (from the work in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, of René Thom, of the Nobel Laureate (1977) Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, and of many others, related to the mathematical concept of discontinuous functions, from the calculus), known in this rather precise applied-mathematical sense as chaos theory or catastrophe theory.

On a personal note, I had the good fortune to be invited by Loren to an ongoing seminar on Language and Thought in Schizophrenia (given my work in philosophical psychology and philosophy of language, which I was teaching at the time at Yale University). A year later he became Chief of the NIMH Center for Studies for Schizophrenia.

I can express here appreciation for his good-willed influence on my own life, from the time when he first introduced me to the world of schizophrenia in 1967, and supported and encouraged my further training and experience, both in the Soteria Project (modeled on the Kingsley Hall project in London administered by R.D. Laing, M.D.) that we talked about in the late 1960s and in which I worked almost a decade later, and in my other interests in the world of psychotherapy.

In an article in which Loren was interviewed, Still Crazy After All These Years, he touches on the role of medications, mentioning the life of John Nash, Nobel Laureate in Economics (for work applying his mathematical theories, especially those in mathematical game theory, to various human endeavors), who took no psychotropic medications from 1970 on (contrary to the implication in A Beautiful Mind, a movie rendering of his life). See also John Nash: Recovery without Drugs and John Nash to Give 2007 Convocation Speech (at American Psychiatric Association), with its less romantic and more accurate history.

For more on questioning main-stream psychiatry, including the work of Laing (who was an inspiration to Laing in his developing the idea of the Soteria Project), see the pages dedicated to Ronnie Laing, to Hellmuth Kaiser, and to Louis B. Fierman.


© Mitchell D. Ginsberg, Ph.D.