Therapeutic communities utilize the social environment (sometimes referred to as the therapeutic milieu) as the basis for personal change. Derived from a group-based approach to treatment aimed at rehabilitating traumatized service men, therapeutic communities emerged in Europe after World War II. Within Western Europe and particularly the United Kingdom, therapeutic communities have been active in rehabilitating people who have committed offences for over half a century.

Therapeutic communities provide group therapy within a social environment, which emphasizes a distinctive set of values, clinical practices, and organizational relationships. Resident involvement, shared decision-making, and member accountability to peers are central to understanding the work of therapeutic communities. The defining aspect of these services is the nature of the social relationships within the institution, which enable participation; personal empowerment; ...

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