Core features of a therapeutic community

An informal and communal atmosphere This is often the first thing to strike a visitor or newcomer to a therapeutic community. The atmosphere is homelike rather than institutional, staff dress informally, there are no uniforms. This may unsettle visitors expecting visible evidence of who is in charge.

A mutual therapeutic role for residents In a therapeutic community deliberate use is made of the influence residents can have on each other's behaviour and attitudes—by supporting new members and giving feedback on the impact of an individual's behaviour on his or her peers.

Sharing decision-making Linked to this is the more general sharing of decision-making by staff and residents. The decision-making process may be democratic or hierarchical, but in both cases residents are involved to a greater or lesser degree in the various decisions made in the day-to-day running of the community.

Residents contribute to the work of maintaining and running the community All therapeutic communities offer residents roles which contribute to meeting the needs of the community—real jobs with real consequences. These vary according to the level of functioning, from simple domestic tasks through to responsibility for most of the administration and 'hotel' services.

Regular community meetings There will be regular times, usually daily except at weekends, when the whole community meets together to share information about events since the last meeting, make decisions on matters affecting the community, and discuss problems including how to deal with disturbed behaviour or rule-breaking by a member of the community.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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