Old Strategy

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Challenge Statement

Therapeutic Communities

A Therapeutic Community (TC) is:

Therapeutic communities have in common a shared view that the most effective kind of help for people who are severely distressed or disabled in their relationships with others, is a setting in which all the members - clients, residents, staff and co-workers - are involved in creating and mantaining the therapeutic environment. They believe that change occurs through participation as a full member of a community: through shared work and decision-making, through taking on responsible roles and forming personal relationships, through helping fellow residents and being helped by them; and in having regular times for examining and discussing the thoughts, feelings, problems and pleasures that this involvement gives rise to. Association of Therapeutic Communities

In the UK Therapeutic communities are in the main isolated from mainstream services, often under funded, undervalued and hence often marginalised. In other parts of the world for example in Italy there appears to be more government support for this type of treatment.

Some staff or professionals within TCs are under-trained with a variable level of expertise. Others are gifted visionaries and/or highly professional with much to offer. Few however are prepared for the political context in which they must survive.

Treatment within a Therapeutic Community is seen by funders to be an expensive resource and TCs need and are pressed to prove their effectiveness in producing enduring change for their residents/ clients and their affected families and social community.

Different philosophies underline the history of TCs with major differences emerging, including some punitive or cult models adding to the general undervaluation. However in recent years, with the concentration on standards, some TCs are becoming more viable and accepted in mainstream.

The majority of research of worth underlines the effectiveness of TCs but these are not readily available to referral agencies who fund placements within TCs or to core funders of TCs.

Despite the presence of the Association of Therapeutic Communities the quality of networking and communication in the field is at a low level. There are only a few ways of communicating concerns, best practice and experience.

Therapeutic Community Open Forum TC-OF

TC-OF has only 110 members many inherited from the old list and for a few including ex-residents and carers it has been a real and intellectual lifeline. As an email group it has quite a few international members outside of the UK. Some of these have been pioneers who have retained an interest into retirement and others are current pioneers, practitioners, ex-residents and students.

Very few of the TCs in the UK are members.

The technical support of TC-OF is handled by volunteers and is reliant on their skills. The current technology is Yahoo Groups and this has been augmented by a web site with extensions www.tc-of.net but there are current developments to open a Media-wiki site, a bulletin board and an email list with an integrated database.

Apart from the Joint Newsletter, word of mouth, email and personal contacts there has been little attempt to formally promote the existence or development of TC-OF This lack of promotion is underlined by the lack of a clear statement as to the remit, purpose and development potential of TC-OF.

Recent developments within the Moderators Group have surfaced the need to promote and develop TC-OF side by side with the concurrent development of an ATC Communication Strategy

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