Therapeutic Community

The primary goal of a Therapeutic Community is to foster individual change and positive growth. This is accomplished by changing an individual’s lifestyle through a community of concerned people working together to help themselves and each other.
~ Therapeutic Communities of America, Inc.

Through peer involvement and support, members become more aware of their self-destructive behaviours and learn to readapt as they begin to conform to community norms.

In a Therapeutic Community, social interaction between individuals is the main factor that brings about change. Change itself becomes an experiential journey – not merely a conceptual talk.

In a Therapeutic Community, members can “walk the talk” while sharing their experiences and support one another. Likened to a micro-society, with the critical deletion of antisocial behaviour and drug and alcohol use, the “Therapeutic Community” contains the elements of the larger macro-society, including a daily regimen of work and education, social relationships and an occupational structure.

Individual progression up the hierarchy of job functions is much like the movement up the occupational ladder in “society”.

One of the significant differences is the “trial-and-error” learning that is fostered in the “therapeutic community” environment in which one can fail safely. This in contrast to “the outside world” builds an individual’s confidence to be able to deal and process the reality of loss, humiliation, or punishment from a performance failure.

The Therapeutic Community has proven to be a powerful approach for both substance abuse and mental issues in dealing with “real-life” problems. While fundamentally providing a self-help approach, it evolved outside of mainstream psychiatry, psychology, and medicine.

Today, the Therapeutic Community is a sophisticated human services modality as evident in its range of its services, as in the diversity of its population; greatly serving in developing the body of Therapeutic Community related research.

  1. As a member of Therapeutic Communities of America, we adhere to the following TC Standards and goals set out by the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities:Therapeutic Communities represent a design of treatment which is directed primarily towards recovery from substance abuse and concurrent disorders through personal growth and which requires abstinence from mood-altering substances, including prescription drugs used illegally.
  2. The members of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities are required to:
    1. Recognize the human and civil rights of all persons associated with their therapeutic community and clearly state the rights, privileges and responsibilities of clients and staff.
    2. Vest in each individual within the Therapeutic Community the right to be free from the threat of the negative use of power by any individual or group.
    3. Develop a statement on the philosophy and goals of the program
    4. Adopt regulations for their Therapeutic Community which afford protection from apparent or actual abrogation of local and national laws.
    5. Function within environments which provide maximum opportunity for physical, spiritual, emotional and aesthetic development and which will ensure the safety of everyone.
    6. Facilitate the structure of a society/community based on the optimal use of the integrity, good will and humanity of all its members in which the dignity of persons is a priority value.
    7. Train and provide adequate supervision for staff.
    8. Be accountable to an external Executive or Community Board with meetings pre-determined and at regular intervals during the year for the purpose of maintaining supervision and responsibility for the activities of the program and each facility.
    9. Produce an annual audited financial report, authorized by the member’s Executive or Community Board.
  3. The Board of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities will require adherence to the Standards and Goals when considering applications and renewals of membership and will also require active compliance with the criteria established by the World Federation’s By-Laws under the “Definition” Article lll and the “Membership” Article Vl (with particular reference to paragraphs A1, A2, B1, B2 and C3).