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Therapeutic Communities for the Treatment of Drug Users

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Concept-based therapeutic communities emerged out of the informal group meetings of Charles Dederich and a number of former Alcoholics Anonymous members in California in the late 1950s. The model was exported worldwide and has not only become the most widely used approach to residential treatment but has proved enormously influential in the development of many other treatment approaches; both residential and ambulatory. Concept-based therapeutic communities are hierarchical, and the staff and residents form a chain of command. Staff are often qualified for their work by virtue of having been residents in such a community themselves. Like other types of therapeutic community, a central tenet of the approach is the emphasis on self help and the belief in the influence of the group dynamic in facilitating therapeutic interventions.

Written by academics and practitioners from around the world, this is a comprehensive overview of the development of therapeutic communities and their benefits in the treatment of drug users. Contributors describe how the model operates in the community, and how it has been modified over time to fit different settings, different types of client and different referral requirements. Illustrated by descriptions of staff and client experiences, this book also provides an inside view of how this sort of therapeutic community actually operates.

This authoritative study concludes by examining the research evidence for treatment effectiveness.

It will be of interest to policy makers, managers and researchers in the field of drug abuse treatment.
  • Published: Jun 15 2001
  • Pages: 272
  • 232 x 154mm
  • ISBN: 9781853028175
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Press Reviews

  • Psychiatric Bulletin

    Therapeutic Communities 4 'Authoritative, prescriptive and inflexible chapters are balanced by more personal portraits of therapeutic communities.'
  • Forensic Update

    In our opinion, the strength of this book is that it is written in language that is accessible to a diverse audience. The authors is clearly defines different therapeutic community models. Some of the authors use case study examples, which are useful and give a real flavour to the material. Many of the authors provide references and directions for further reading, which may be useful for some readers. The accounts given by clients and staff are noticeably balanced and highlight both the problems and rewards of being involved in a therapeutic community.
  • Addiction Today

    The purpose, origins, development and potential future of therapeutic communities are all covered in this book. It offers a view of the infamous US Synanon therapeutic community, how it emerged via contact with Alcoholics Anonymous members, its worldwide export and its influence on treatment for alcohol and other drug addictions. I recommend this book, if only as a reference volume. But to use it solely as such might deny the reader the experience of some excellent qualitative chapters, particularly by Burnett and a former resident staff member of the Ley community in Oxford.