Definitions of commonly used terms.
Social Therapy
A range of activities carried out in informal groups, with the intention of producing social relationships which are supportive and may lead to beneficial change. It does not include therapeutic tasks such as self-examination, exploration, challenge, analysis or reflection.
Milieu Therapy Provision of a psychologically safe environment in which every-day events, relationships and interactions are used with therapeutic intent. Can be based on different approaches and models of therapy.
Planned Environment
A bounded setting designed for a particular purpose in which events, interactions and relationships are subject to discussion and scrutiny.
Psychologically Informed Planned Environment (‘PIPE’) As ‘planned environment’, but with consideration given to psychological theories in the planning and general day-to-day functioning of the environment. More specific forms include “Psychoanalytically Informed...” and “Psychodynamically Informed...”
Intentional Community Residential group living arrangements, where activities are shared and communal arrangements facilitate a supportive network of close relationships. Most commonly associated with residential care for those with learning difficulties.
Therapeutic Community (‘TC’) A treatment programme where a range of activities, including specific psychotherapies and social interaction, form the treatment programme. The group relations and the community itself, rather than any single element, form the primary therapeutic agent. Membership is clearly defined, and staff have a facilitative role. To be recognised and commissioned, they should meet quality standards from the Royal College of Psychiatrists Centre for Quality Improvement (‘Community of Communities’), and also meets NHS commissioning standards if accredited.
Democratic Therapeutic Community (‘DTC’) Those TCs which require voting procedures for all decisions, including admission and discharge of members. These TCs may form one part of larger services which do not have voting procedures for admission and discharge. May be accredited, as above.
Modified Therapeutic Community
“Modified” from one of the original form of therapeutic community formats: the “Democratic TC” usually modelled on the Henderson Hospital, and “Concept TC” for addictions usually modelled on the USA communities of Syananon and Day Top. Many different forms of modified TC now exist. They may be accredited, as above.
Residential Therapeutic Community A TC which includes beds and their management as part of the programme. Some residential TCs also have non-residential members undertaking the same programme of therapy groups. The reasons for residence may be clinical (harm is likely to result without 24 hour care); for geographical reasons (residents live too far away to travel daily); or as a planned phase of the programme (usually an initial period of residence, followed by day care). May be accredited, as above.
Day and Mini Therapeutic Communities TCs which meets for several hours per day for 3-5 days per week (Day TC) or 1-2 days per week (Mini TC), and have arrangements for it members to cover out-of-hours support needs and crisis requirements. May be accredited, as above.
Complex treatment A programme that provides therapy in more than one modality, has a well-structured programme and a coherent theory of practice, is conducted with clinical supervision of the therapists and lasts for at least three months.
Partial Hospitalisation Treatments which have distinct psychotherapies as elements of the programme, but are not TCs. In addition to facilitation, staff usually take on a more directive or ‘expert’ role than in TCs – and significant decisions are not made by the group.
Residential (or Inpatient) Psychotherapy A service where formal psychotherapy is provided in while clients/patients are admitted to hospital beds. This is either on a weekday basis (Monday – Friday), or seven days per week.
Intensive Treatment Programme (‘ITP’) Any treatment that comprises more than 1-2 sessions of therapy per week, planned for a period of more than six months. This can include TCs, partial hospitalisation or other programmes. It may or may not be residential.

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