concern would have a strong influence on his future contributions
to the field.
Dr. Eugene Peniston is known as a somewhat shy, soft-spoken man who is an extraordinary clinician with great talent for working with patients. He began his career as an educational psychologist, hired to assist during the integration of public schools in upstate New York.
While working for the public health service in Utah, the incidence of suicide decreased 90% on the Ute reservation as a result of his work, but he was disturbed by the high failure rates associated with the alcohol treatment programs then available (national statistics typically show that no better than 20% of patients succeed in staying sober following traditional treatments). He wondered how it might be possible to end the chronic relapse cycle suffered by those who want to stop drinking.
As an African-American with a Cherokee grandmother, Peniston was deeply touched by the devastating impact of alcoholism on the health of the Native Americans he worked with. That concern would have a strong influence on his future contributions to the field.
Before being able to turn to that issue he was transferred to the the V.A. hospital in Ft. Lyon, Colorado, where he discovered schizophrenic patients could be taught to anticipate and manage onset of psychotic symptoms much in the way that Epileptics are taught to anticipate and prepare for oncoming seizures by recognizing "aura" signs. Peniston was able to safely mainstream patients back into communities, with a one-week inpatient refresher course annually. Peniston's work is characterized by respect for patients' ability to take responsibility for their own health.
Perhaps his interest in education, respect for the individual, and a faith in what he calls "the healer within" prepared him for what was to come next.
UPDATE: Dr. Eugene Peniston is currently seeking funding for a large scale multi-sitenational replication study of the Peniston-Kulkosky Protocol.