The Executive Committee is a group of individuals elected from the members of the ATC at the Annual General Meeting each year. The 12 Members of the Committee serve for up to 3 years before they require re-election, and there is no limit on the number of periods an individual can serve.
The Officers of the Executive Committee are its Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, who are also elected at the AGM under the same conditions as the other members. The whole executive meet four times each year, and at the AGM which takes place during the Windsor Conference. Our meetings currently take place in central London.
The group tries to ensure the interests of the members of the ATC are understood and met. It organises sub-committees to look after particular issues as they arise – currently we have a Research and Development Group and a Communications and Public Relations Group. In addition, it appoints a small Group to plan the Windsor Conference, and it has established an Editorial Collective to manage the Journal of Therapeutic Communities.
The Executive also looks after the ATC’s relationship with the Community of Communities, which came into existence through the work of the Executive on behalf of the ATC. The Chair of the ATC is Chair of the Therapeutic Communities Accreditation Panel, and the Executive is represented in the various Committees of the CoC.
The Executive has an arrangement with its Management Team at PETT to look after the daily business of the ATC, including membership matters and financial accounting. The Executive works well when it is populated by lively people with an interest in the future of Therapeutic Communities. It seeks to attract a wide range of people, both in their professional and personal backgrounds, and in the TCs in which they work or have worked. It is constantly looking for opportunities to develop itself further, and to grasp new issues as they arise.
Chris Holman (Chair)
Chris Holman has been been chair of the ATC since Autumn 2007. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist and a Group Analyst, and Medical Director of The Retreat at York where he has worked for 15 years. He is responsible for the Acorn Programme, which was the first TC to achieve accreditation through the Community of Communities. He says he is preoccupied in his daily work by the management of systems, and helping the people in the systems to work together collaboratively and creatively.
During his training he worked at Dingleton Hospital in the Borders, and at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, which both have a place in the history of Therapeutic Communities. He has always seen Psychiatry as a social discipline, in which relationships are central to a person’s experience of psychological disturbance, and to their recovery journey.
Having worked in these particular places he is clear that that the Therapeutic Community is not just a treatment for personality disorder, but is an approach to offering help to people with all sorts of psychological difficulties.
Chris says that “TCs, and with them the Association of Therapeutic Communities, are in a time of change and re-evaluation. Our challenge is to keep the humane principles which drove the development of TCs in peoples’ minds, while accepting that the changing context of our work brings with it changing expectations from people using TCs, from their carers and from the professionals who are involved in helping them”. Chris is committed to trying to help the ATC keep its place in this evolving world, so that it speaks up for the values and standards that we believe allow someone to recover from psychological difficulties.