Joseph Berke was bron in the US in the mid-twentieth century. He attended Columbia College of Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. In 1965 he moved to London, UK to work with the eminent psychiatrist RD Laing. He stayed at Kingsley Hall in Bow where he treated Mary Barnes for schizophrenia and later co-authored the publication 'Mary Barnes: two accounts of a journey through madness' with Barnes. Working with Laing, Berke was the principle organizer of the Dialectics of Liberation, and international conference held in London 15-30 July 1967. In 1970 he co-founded The Arbours Association with Morton Schatzman which established a therapeutic community for adults with emotional, psychological and social difficulties in Muswell Hill. In 1973 he founded the Arbours Crisis Centre, operating as it's Director until it's closure in 2010.