CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

The Shaman Who Transformed My Schizophrenic Son

After a Decade Cycling Through Hospitals and Drugs, a Trip to Africa and a Foray into Tribal Medicine Gave Our Family Hope

At the age of 17, after a wonderful summer of fishing and learning to surf, my son, then in his junior year at a Boston high school, told me one afternoon, “I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t find my old self again.” Shortly thereafter, Franklin had to be hospitalized. The evaluation described an “increase in psychotic symptoms, including paranoid thoughts, command hallucinations telling him to hurt himself.” These things were “associated with the onset of schizophrenia.”

That was the autumn of 1996. For many years afterward, my son was …

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