Selection procedures

Selection procedures are an integral part of therapeutic community practice, involving both the prospective member and existing residents as active participants in the process. Exact procedures vary; the following is one example.

1. The referred individual is sent some literature about the therapeutic community explaining how it works.

2. A preliminary visit or series of visits is arranged to give the individual first-hand experience of the programme and an opportunity to meet other residents.

3. A formal meeting takes place with the prospective member, involving a number of current residents as well as staff. The prospective member is invited to say why he or she wants to join the community and current members can ask questions.

4. A vote is taken by all those present on whether to accept the individual. It may be worth adding that if someone has come this far they are seldom rejected.

Some communities use preparation programmes as an integral part of the selection process, giving potential members the opportunity to drop out or maintain commitment up to the time when the decision is made.

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