How Therapeutic Communities Work

Kermit Cole
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Research from England explores the unique capacities of therapeutic communities (TCs) in an article published online July 20, 2012 by the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. Drawing on research from social and experimental psychology, the article proposes that “a sense of belongingness is correlated with improved self-esteem and overall well-being. The capacity for responsible agency is central to behavioural change … We suggest that TCs are uniquely placed to demand such growth and change of their members because the sense of belongingness engendered by TC methods protects against the risks engendered by this demand.”

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Pearce, S., Pickard, H., “How Therapeutic Communities Work: Specific Factors Related to Positive Outcome.” International Journal of Social Psychiatry. Online July 20, 2012

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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