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Why is a TC a TC?

Monday 21 August 2017

Please put your comments on the discussion page to the right of the article tab at the top or email them to Sarah at [1] by Monday 20th March, 2006.


The next phase of the “Community of Communities” project involves some careful thinking about just what it is that makes a place a TC. This is because the latest grant we have from the National Lottery is to incorporate children’s TCs, addiction TCs and “therapeutic living TCs” (as in villages for learning disability, for example). Although they are run in different ways from the NHS, prison and voluntary sector TCs that have been part of our network so far, we do believe that we all share common values and features of practice.


The “mind shift” we might need to make to accommodate them could be considerable. For example, we will probably need to drop any ideas of one psychological theory being “more fundamental” than any other; we may need to accept that some thoroughly good TCs make no use whatsoever of principles that we hold dear, and even consider that the distinction between “staff” and “members” is not essential to being a member TC.


It is worth emphasising that we are not going to discard the standards that we have worked with so far, but that they will not be included in the small subset of what we are calling our core values, or “TC defining standards”. The “optional standards” will be dependent on context, TCs’ own wishes, and on regulatory frameworks for TCs that seek accreditation.


The work started at our standards working party in December 2004, when we distilled the “TC defining standards” from the 3rd edition of the annual standards. We published them as appendix 2 of the 4th edition. Since then, we have refined them to sixteen standards – which we believe reflect core TC values, are exclusive to TCs, and cover all the “must dos” for organisations to call themselves TCs. These are included below and we would like you to help us to get them ready for next year’s cycle. So here is the task:


Firstly, Work your way through our 16 standards and rate how important you think they are – always bearing in mind that they should cover all communities, not just yours. And if you can think of better wording, please inform us.


Secondly, identify anything you think has been missed out.


Finally, send your scores and comments to cofc@cru.rcpsych.ac.uk by Monday 20th March or use the appropriate email and web based facilities available.


Many thanks for your help. We’ll put a note of thanks in the next edition of standards to all who have participated in this exercise.


Yours sincerely


Rex Haigh, Community of Communities Project Lead

Standards that define a TC

The following 16 standards are intended to reflect core TC values, to be exclusive to TCs, and to cover all the “must dos” for organisations to call themselves TCs.

We ask that you:

• Consider each item and whether it should apply to all therapeutic communities

• Rate each item according to the scale:

1= completely unimportant for defining therapeutic communities

2= somewhat unimportant for defining therapeutic communities

3= not sure if this important for defining therapeutic communities

4= somewhat important, but a service can be a TC without it

5= very important, a service cannot be called a TC without it

• Add any criteria that you believe are essential and not included


The Standards

1. The whole community meets regularly


2. All community members work alongside each other on day to day tasks


3. All community members share social time together


4. All community members share meals together


5. Community members take a variety of roles and levels of responsibility


6. Informal aspects of everyday living are integral to the work of the community


7. All community members can discuss any aspects of life within the community


8. All community members regularly examine their attitudes and feelings towards each other


9. All community members share responsibility for each other


10. All community members create an emotionally safe environment for the work of the community


11. All community members participate in the process of appointment of potential new staff members


12. All community members participate in the process of deciding whether a new client member joins the community


13. The whole community is involved in the decisions about the plans for a client member when he or she leaves the community


14. There is a greater tolerance of disturbed behaviour and emotional expression than in other settings


15. Positive risk taking is seen as an essential part of the process of change


16. The therapeutic community has a clear set of boundaries, limits or rules which are understood by all members



Thank you for your time.


Please feel free to open up discussion here, there and everywhere.


--Sarahpaget 18:57, 22 February 2006 (GMT)

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