What is daily life like in a therapeutic community?

The TC day is varied but regimented. A typical TC day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. and includes morning and evening house meetings, job assignments, groups, seminars, scheduled personal time, recreation, and individual counseling. As employment is considered an important element of successful participation in society, work is a distinctive component of the TC model.

In the TC, all activities and interpersonal and social interactions are considered important opportunities to facilitate individual change. These methods can be organized by their primary purpose, as follows:

  • Clinical groups (e.g., encounter groups and retreats) use a variety of therapeutic approaches to address significant life problems.
  • Community meetings (e.g., morning, daily house, and general meetings and seminars) review the goals, procedures, and functioning of the TC.
  • Vocational and educational activities occur in group sessions and provide work, communication, and interpersonal skills training.
  • Community and clinical management activities (e.g., privileges, disciplinary sanctions, security, and surveillance) maintain the physical and psychological safety of the environment and ensure that resident life is orderly and productive.

This page was last updated August 2002