What Are Therapeutic Communities?

Without question, drug treatment is a necessary step for addicts to break free from chronic addiction. The benefits of drug rehab lie in the fact that treatment programming encompasses a wide spectrum of services that address an individual’s substance abuse in mind, body and soul. While addicts greatly benefits from the tools, encouragement and support that drug treatment centers provide, treatment isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition. Every addicts has special and unique needs, and there are those who may struggle in traditional drug treatment settings or had numerous failed attempts at completing treatment.

For those clients who struggle with drug treatment and have serious issues which can’t be addressed in those traditional treatment settings, a therapeutic community (TC) may be their best option at overcoming their substance abuse. If a therapeutic community treatment program seems like the perfect option for you or a loved one, call Recovery Hub toll-free today and talk to one of our experienced staff members about this effective treatment option.

What Are Therapeutic Communities?

therapeutic community

Therapeutic communities are drug-free residential settings where a hierarchical model is used in regards to the treatment stages and with each stage increases the level of personal and social responsibilities and freedoms. These residential settings allow for peer interaction and influence which will hopefully help individuals in recovery learn and assimilate the social norms present within the household and ultimately learn to develop effective social skills.  Therapeutic communities feature treatment staff and those who are in active recovery. Those admitted to these therapeutic communities have a history of substance abuse and behaviors that have eroded family ties as well as communities.

The people that receive treatment is these communities are people with substantial substance abuse problems that may also have other co-existing issues such as addiction to multiple drugs, criminal activity, and mental health issues among others.  Traditionally, the average length of stays in a therapeutic community ranged from 18 to 24 months. However, due to restrictions in funding for these programs, stays have been reduced and the creation of other alternatives to the resident treatment model are created to fill the void. A solid predictor of treatment success is the duration of stay, and even with a stay of ninety days treatment outcomes are significantly better than patients who have shorter stay periods.

What are the Stages of Treatment in a Therapeutic Community?

Treatment in a therapeutic community can be thought of comprising three stages. The first stage is the introduction to the community and early treatment. In this stage, residents learn the rules and expectations and a personal assessment of self, circumstances and needs takes place.  This occurs within the first thirty days and from this initial period the primary treatment phase begins and there is a structured model of progression in place. With that progression there are increasing responsibilities placed on the individual with expectations of better attitudes and perceptions.  From there a re-entry strategy and plan can be developed for the person’s re-entry back into society.

For the person who is part of the therapeutic community, they are expected to follow and adhere to the behaviors and structural norms that comprise the community itself.  The norms are reinforced with rewards and punishments with the purpose of developing self-control and responsibility. As the person progresses through the therapeutic community, they are given increasingly important roles and responsibilities. People in these residential programs are expected to become active role models in the process, guiding new entrants by example. This is accomplished in-house through individual and group therapy, role-playing and peer sessions.

How is the Client’s Day Structured in a Therapeutic Community?

Daily life in a therapeutic community consists of many activities that are designed to keep clients engaged and working towards new ways of thinking and living. These can include house meetings, groups, twelve step meetings, recreation, scheduled personal time and counseling sessions.  The activities within these types of communities can be grouped into four main categories:

  • Clinical Groups—encounter groups and retreats which use a variety of therapeutic approaches.
  • Community Meetings—daily house meetings and groups which are used to reinforce house rules and functioning of the therapeutic community.
  • Vocational/Educational Activities—provide work, communication, and interpersonal skills training.
  • Community/Clinical Management—used to maintain physical and psychological safety. This is done through the use of privileges, punishments and surveillance.

Therapeutic communities are versatile treatment models and can  be modified to accommodate other populations such as women, those who are incarcerated, adolescents, those who have co-existing mental disorders, and those with HIV/AIDS.  Other modifications can include length of stay and “day treatment” therapeutic community models which are less intensive.

Would You Like to Know More About Therapeutic Communities?

Therapeutic programs are another effective tool that addiction specialists have at their disposal to help those populations who need treatment the most get the help they need. If you are not familiar with this treatment option and would love more information, call Recovery Hub toll-free today at 1-888-220-4352.

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