Psychiatry With Soul - Alternative Treatments for Mental and Emotional Distress

Vision Statement

Vision Statement
Soul-centred Psychiatry & Temenos Therapeutic Network

Dr Maureen Roberts has pioneered a radically new approach to the ‘care of soul’ that takes place within the broad context of a new field, which she has named ‘soul-centred psychiatry’, the art of ‘healing the soul’ - the literal meaning of ‘psych-iatry’. 

Soul-centred psychiatry is the de-institutionalized, de-professionalized, non-authoritarian approach to care, therapy and support at the heart of a new paradigm and ‘practical vision’ for genuine reform, which Maureen has named 'Temenos', a community based therapeutic network for people in crisis.

Since we have redefined ‘psychiatry’ as (in soul-centred psychiatrist C. G. Jung’s words) the ‘art of healing the soul’, by ‘soul-centred psychiatry’ we mean all the conditions for and contributors to the healing of soul - environmental, social, psychospiritual, relational, physical, creative, natural, residential, educational, therapeutic, communal, supportive, cultural and legal. 

Soul-centred psychiatry, in other words, is not an alternative 'treatment', but rather an alternative to 'treatment', since it honours and facilitates the soul/psyche's ability to heal itself and find its own path in life. It makes no attempt to medicalize normal life problems; the guiding perspective is, rather, based on ‘crisis resolution’ instead of on the ‘treatment’ of ‘mental illness’, the latter being a culturally entrenched construct and subjective opinion, not an objectively verifiable medical fact.

‘Temenos’ is a Greek word which refers to a universal instinct to create an inner and/or outer safe space - symbolically akin to a garden, piece of sacred land, guarded castle, or womb - in which to heal, reorganize and regenerate the fragmented, depressed, or traumatized personality.

Inspired by the former successful US Soteria and Diabasis programs, Temenos is the nurturing environment in which the new soul-centred approach to care is implemented. It is the compassionate community and safe space in which, through soul-centred psychiatry, persons in crisis can resolve their crises in a home-like environment and in a natural, creative, supported and wholistic way. 

Further reading:

'How Temenos Differs from the Mental Health Industry: A Practical Vision for Genuine "Mental Health" Reform'
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD

The beauty of Temenos is that it is simple, practical, flexible, creative, organic, community based, personally empowering, natural, cost-effective and grounded in equal, mutually respectful and mutually supportive relationships. As a caring, empathic community network, Temenos validates and helps midwife potentially helpful psychospiritual crises, experiences and beliefs as expressions of the dynamic and self-transforming life of the psyche (instead of diagnosing and ‘treating’ them as ‘schizophrenia’, or ‘mental illness’).

Temenos involves no authoritarian structures, coercion, harmful ‘treatments’, or dogma (masquerading as ‘medicine’), nor does it force fragile, or distraught individuals to conform to a socially, or psychiatrically concocted spectrum of ‘normality’.

Further reading [original draft of proposed practical guidelines] :

"Temenos: A Soul-centred Therapeutic Community for Persons Undergoing an Acute Schizophrenic or Psychospiritual Crisis"
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD

"A Conversation with Dr John Weir Perry" [Jungian Psychiatrist]

Richard Gosden, PhD, Punishing the Patient: How Psychiatrists Misunderstand  and Mistreat Schizophrenia, Melbourne: Scribe Publications, 2001.

‘Soteria: Schizophrenia without Antipsychotic Drugs & the Legacy of Loren Mosher’

It needs to be stressed at the outset that mainstream training and education in the fields of general practice medicine, psychiatry and psychology do not equip practitioners to practice 'soul-centred psychiatry' and in some regards are antagonistic to a soul-centred approach, for three broad reasons: a) training in these three fields does not include an in-depth understanding of the psychospiritual structure, life and dynamics of the psyche (the Greek word for ‘soul’), b) all three fields subscribe to the culturally entrenched belief in the existence of ‘mental illness’ as an objective medical fact, and c) consultations in these three fields involve an authoritarian, or ‘expert’ practitioner and a (relatively) passive/disempowered ‘client’ or ‘consumer’, whereas soul-centred psychiatry includes (but is not limited to) therapy as a non-authoritarian, equal dialogue and shared soul journey that is mutually educational and transformative.

Further reading:

"The Therapeutic Trialogue: Depth Psychotherapy as a Shared Soul Journey"
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD

More specifically, training, education and practice in general practice medicine focuses almost exclusively on physical/biologic medicine, not on the psychospiritual ‘anatomy’ and needs of the psyche in crisis. The duty of medical practitioners is, accordingly, to help alleviate genuine (i.e. objectively verifiable) medical problems, not attend to the life and needs of the psyche.

Training, education and practice in (Government funded) mainstream psychiatry is based on a biologic approach/dogma, which believes in the existence of ‘mental illness’ as an objective medical fact, assumes that such illnesses, or ‘disorders’ are caused by ‘chemical imbalances’ in the brain, and ‘treats’ these hypothetical imbalances with toxic drugs that can have serious side-effects - including permanent brain damage - or (in some cases) cause death. 

Mainstream psychologists respond to cognitive and behavioural problems with a range of theoretical and practical approaches aimed at modifying behaviour, or cognition. They do not provide drug-free care and psychotherapy for people in psychosis, nor do they have an in-depth understanding of the structure and dynamics of the psyche, or a focus on caring for the psychospiritual life of soul. 

In contrast, soul-centred psychiatry does not medicalize distressed states of consciousness, nor aim to modify behaviour and cognition, but is instead a perspective and approach based on ‘crisis resolution’ as a naturally occurring, spontaneous ability of soul/psyche to find its own ‘path to wholeness’ , through  a process of transformation which C. G. Jung described as ‘individuation’.

Further reading:

"Soul Down Under: Schizophrenia, Temenos & Cultural Healing"
[opening address at 2002 international Soul Down Under conference, run by Temenos Therapeutic Network]:
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD [conference convener]

Guest speaker was US Professor of Psychiatry Loren Mosher, MD, who spoke at length about the successful ‘Soteria’ residential community care project (for people in psychosis), which he ran for 12 years in California.

Temenos can be imaged as a set of 7 concentric, dynamic spheres, radiating outward from the innermost sphere, as follows:

The ‘medical’ logo of Psychiatry with Soul, the Caduceus of Hermes, or Staff of Asclepius - an ancient Greek god of medicine - symbolizes the dynamic balance and synthesis of opposites at the heart of the healing process. The radiating circles are the concentric Temenos spheres, with the innermost sphere - the invisible, secret inner life of soul - concealed/guarded by the twin serpents, which symbolize the universal wounding/healing journey. 

In relation to its guiding ethic, practical application and principles, Temenos recognises that:

Further reading:

For people who wish to withdraw safely from psychiatric drugs:

Dr Peter Breggin, MD :

“Nothing in the field of mental health will do more good and reduce more harm than encouraging withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. The time is past when the focus in mental health was on what drugs to take for what disorders. Now we need to focus on how to stop taking psychiatric drugs and to replace them with more person-centered, empathic approaches. The goal is no longer drug maintenance and stagnation; the goal is recovery and achieving well-being.”

~ Dr Peter Breggin, MD [psychiatrist/founder of ‘Empathic Therapy’ approach]

"Soul in Crisis: Why Cultural Healing Must Replace the 'Mental Illness' Fiction"
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD

"I believe that significant harm is being done to patients under the guise of modern psychiatric treatment."   

~ Dr David Kaiser, MD {Psychiatrist] 

"What psychiatrists do is to inflict a closed head injury on people in spiritual crises." 

~ Dr Peter Breggin, MD [Psychiatrist] 

"All biopsychiatric treatments share a common mode of action  - the disruption of normal brain function. They never improve the brain. They "work" by impairing the brain and dampening feelings in various ways."      

 ~ Dr Douglas Smith, MD [Psychiatrist] 

This ‘vision statement’ is the basis of a book-in-progress: 

Creating Temenos: Soul-centred Psychiatry for People in Crisis

[a practical vision for genuine ‘mental health’ reform . . .]

‘Vision Statement’ Text: Definition of and terms ‘soul-centred psychiatry’ and ‘Temenos’ 

© copyright Maureen B. Roberts, PhD

Email Psychiatry with Soul [] if you are interested in supporting, or being involved in the work of Temenos Therapeutic Network and/or in training and education in the new field of soul-centred psychiatry