The idea of the therapeutic community (TC) recurs throughout history implemented in different incarnations. In its contemporary form, two major variants of the TC have emerged. One, in social psychiatry, consists of innovative units and wards designed for the psychological treatment and management of socially deviant psychiatric patients within mental hospital settings. In the other form, TCs have taken are as community-based residential treatment programs for addicts and alcoholics. This chapter explores the sources and evolution of these communities to illustrate how they contribute to the theoretical framework of the TC. It describes the direct and indirect influences shaping the essential elements of the modern TC. The early religious influences on the Oxford group and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) reappear as elements of the modern TC. The search for an “essential TC” reveals a universal idea recurring in various forms throughout history: that of healing, teaching, support, and guidance through community.
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This chapter describes the relevance of critical thinking and the related process and philosophy of evidence-based practice (EBP) to cognitive behavior therapy and suggests choices that lie ahead in integrating these areas. Critical thinking in the helping professions involves the careful appraisal of beliefs and actions to arrive at well-reasoned ones that maximize the likelihood of helping clients and avoiding harm. Critical-thinking values, skills and knowledge, and evidence-based practice are suggested as guides to making ethical, professional decisions. Sources such as the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations and other avenues for diffusion, together with helping practitioners and clients to acquire critical appraisal skills, will make it increasingly difficult to mislead people about “what we know”. Values, skills, and knowledge related to both critical thinking and EBP such as valuing honest brokering of knowledge, ignorance and uncertainty is and will be reflected in literature describing cognitive behavior methods to different degrees.
This chapter describes the Coping Skills Program, an innovative, school-based, universal curriculum for elementary-school aged children that is rooted in cognitive behavior theory. Rooted in cognitive behavior theory, the Coping Skills Program consists of carefully constructed metaphorical fables that are designed to teach children about their thinking; about the connections among their thoughts, feelings, and behavior; and about how to change what they are thinking, feeling, and doing when their behavior causes them problems. The chapter provides a thorough description of the Coping Skills Program and how it is implemented through a discussion of relevant research-based literature, and the theoretical underpinnings underlying this cognitive behavior approach with school-aged children. It also includes the results of preliminary testing of the Coping Skills Program. The research-based literature shows that cognitive behavior approaches are among the interventions commonly used by social workers to help young children in school settings.
The therapeutic community (TC) is a culture of change. All of the activities, social roles, interpersonal interactions, and community teachings focus upon the theme of individual change. The perceptions that are considered to be essential to recovery are interrelated, although they can be organized into classes to clarify their contribution to the process. Perceptions related to treatment reflect the individual’s motivation, readiness, and suitability to engage in the process of change in the TC. Self-control is indicated when individuals perceive the problem as internal rather than external, as one of regulating their impulses. Perceptions of self-management of patterns of behaviors, attitudes, and feelings depend upon previously learned control of specific behaviors in various situations. Assessing and affirming individual progress is a central activity in the TC. Staff evaluations formally assess the levels of self-change, while peers and staff assess them informally.
Clinical social workers have an opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of historic, philosophical change in 21st-century medicine. As is so often true for social work, the opportunity is associated with need. For social workers, in their role as advocates and clinicians, this unmet need would seem to create an obligation. This chapter argues that, if choosing to accept the obligation, social workers can become catalysts for vitally needed change within the medical field. While studies using the most advanced medical technology show the impact of emotional suffering on physical disease, other studies using the same technology are demonstrating Cognitive behavior therapy’s (CBT) effectiveness in relieving not just emotional suffering but physical suffering among medically ill patients. While this chapter discusses the clinical benefits and techniques of CBT, it also acknowledges the likelihood that social work will have to campaign for its implementation in many medical settings.
From a social and psychological perspective the therapeutic community (TC) can be distinguished from other institutional or treatment settings in that its social environment is the treatment model. The main elements of this model, its social organization, and social relationships are utilized for a single purpose the reintegration of the individual into the larger macrosociety. The social organization of the TC model may be described in terms of four major components: program structure, systems, communication, and the daily regimen of schedule activities. In the TC, however, each component is utilized to facilitate the socialization and psychological growth of the individual members. This chapter provides an overview of these components and how they contribute to the TC treatment approach. Each of these components of the social organization reflects an understanding of the TC perspective and each is used to convey community teachings and promote self-examination and self-change.
In the therapeutic community (TC), recovery is viewed as a change in lifestyle and identity. It is a view that can be contrasted with the conventional concept of recovery in medicine, mental health, and other substance abuse treatment approaches. In the public health experience of treating opioid addiction and alcoholism, drug abuse is viewed as a chronic disease, which focuses treatment strategies and goals on improvement rather than recovery or cure. The TC view of recovery extends much beyond achieving or maintaining abstinence to encompass lifestyle and identity change. This chapter outlines this expanded view of recovery and details the goals and assumptions of the recovery process. It presents the TC view of right living, which summarizes the community teachings guiding recovery during and after treatment. The terms “habilitation” and “rehabilitation” distinguish between building or rebuilding lifestyles for different groups of substance abusers in TCs.
School social workers provide direct treatment for a multitude of problems that affect child and adolescent development and learning; these problems include mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), disruptive behavior disorders, and learning disorders, as well as child abuse and neglect, foster care, poverty, school drop out, substance abuse, and truancy, to name but a few. This chapter examines four constructs that are important when working with students. These constructs include: assessment and cognitive case conceptualization, the working alliance, self-regulated learning, and social problem solving. The chapter discusses the development of attainable and realistic goals is a critical component both of self-regulated learning and social problem solving. The chapter examines the problem of academic underachievement and four constructs that are critically important when working with children and adolescents in school settings. Academic underachievement is a serious problem affecting the lives of many children.