Therapeutic communities (TC) can be defined as professional treatment facilities (in-patient care), where through psychotherapy and socio-therapeutic support, aim to help drug addicts to reorganize and envisage a future. These therapeutic communities seek to promote biopsychosocial rehabilitation through a therapeutic program with several and different phases.
The therapeutic community has a multidisciplinary team together with psychiatric supervision that will guide the patient step-by-step in the withdrawal process. The goal here is to break the habit and break all sorts of connections the patient has with the drug environment. This will help them to learn how to live without drugs and to know their own skills. This will definitely ease their reintegration into society.
Therapeutic Community’s Goals:
- To create the need of a reflection about the drug addict’s personal life so that he can identify necessary elements of change:
- To change negative patterns of behavior, thoughts and feelings that can lead into drug consumption;
- To promote autonomy and responsibility as cornerstones of adult life in society.
- To develop the skills to establish (and maintain) healthy relations breaking old destructive patterns;
Address and put into perspective a social inclusion.These goals will promote self-control over drug consumption as well as aid in developing social and personal skills; with this, one expects the patient to become fully capable, achieving a perfect and solid social inclusion.
Treatment and Rehabilitation in Therapeutic Communities:
Each therapeutic community should acknowledge its responsiveness to each one of the problem areas. Such is indeed mandatory so that one can know in advance which areas the community can and will assist and aid. Moreover, in its own profile definition, there should be all the types of assistance/aid that the community will be able to supply.
It should list:
- The fully therapeutic program to be followed;
- Full description of the community’s facilities;
- Technical staff (staff workers, academic background, specialized training and so on);
- Geographical location (entrances and accessibilities);
- established inter-institutional agreements.
Therapeutic Community Admission:
There are a few criteria that must be met in order for the patient to be admitted in the Therapeutic community. Admission criteria include but limited to:
- Voluntary confinement or accommodation through a registered doctor that understands the procedure of taking the patient into the adequate community for treatment and rehabilitation.
- Patient signature (and/or family if it is necessary)
- Medical record, blood tests as well as any other recent exams.
- In case of chronic infection or disease, patients must come with the related report.
The necessary procedures related to admission in a therapeutic community follow a straight line of adjustment as well as dismantling bureaucracy so that the whole process can be accelerated. Thus, elements related to the required documentation as well as administrative procedures for admission must always be taken into consideration.
Patient’s Clinical Record:
For each patient there should be a clinical record (fully organized) that keeps all the relevant data for his treatment. This file should contain as many tabs as necessary for each area of intervention (administrative area, appointed therapist / Case manager — if necessary, — medical area and so on).
Basic Elements for Treatment and Rehabilitation in Therapeutic Communities:
Therapeutic communities should follow the following criteria:
- A therapeutic program should cover areas such as medical, psychoactive substances abuse, psychological, familiar, legal, and last but not the least, social inclusion.
- Having a program as well as an internal procedure (properly certified), which should be posted in a clear and readily accessible place, where all people can read it.
- To have a complete record of assisted patients, ensuring all the privacy within the medical files.
Accommodation in a therapeutic community usually stands from 6 to 12 months (numbers used in treatments for psychoactive substances abuse patients). Regarding alcohol consumption treatments, the average time is 3 months. Nevertheless, these timelines are prone to change because it will always depend on the patient’s evolution /or not; that alone can make the period of time be longer or shorter.