What Do Therapeutic Communities Do?
The primary objective of a therapeutic community is to foster personal growth and change. TCs utilize four categories of activity to promote comprehensive change in the individuals who enter treatment: behaviour management; emotional/psychological; intellectual and spiritual; and vocational/survival skills. The healing force that accomplishes this change is the community, acting in a highly organised and structured fashion and imposing activities and responsibilities on the individual.
TCs utilize a combination of counseling, group therapy and peer pressure to rehabilitate hard core drug users and assist them to redirect their lives toward positive goals. These programs provide a family environment in which honesty, trust and self-help are stressed. At the same time, strict discipline and adherence to rules set a no-nonsense tone and make clear the seriousness of the work at hand.
From day one, clients are expected to take responsibility for themselves in terms of personal cleanliness, tidiness and appropriateness of behaviour. In addition, they are assigned to jobs within the communal structure (e.g., kitchen, maintenance, reception) as part of the daily regimen. Clients are given progressively more responsibility as they prove themselves through their behaviour to be ready to handle it.
TCs provide comprehensive drug treatment and support services - including primary health care, drug/disease prevention and education, vocational preparation and job placement, family services, housing and aftercare services. They work with clients to establish new goals and to develop new skills. Clients come to understand that reaching their initial goals while in treatment is only the first step. They are expected to continue to use the tools acquired in treatment for the rest of their lives. Hardworking, taxpaying TC alumni who have successfully turned around their lives as a result of treatment are numerous in all parts of the country and all walks of life.
What Are Therapeutic Community Values?
Therapeutic communities (TCs) are value-based drug treatment programs that focus on total, multi-dimensional change. Therapeutic community values can be summed up as a "view of right living." This view emphasises truth and honesty, the work ethic, learning to learn, personal accountability, economic self-reliance, responsible concern for peers, family responsibility, community involvement, and good citizenry.
The basic goal of a TC is to offer a lifestyle which includes drug abstinence, elimination of anti-social (criminal) behaviour, development of employable skills, and the acquisition of positive attitudes, values and behaviours which reflect honesty, responsibility, non-violence and self reliance.