As components of the therapeutic community (TC) treatment model, the stages define the program’s plan for moving individuals toward the goals of social and psychological change. This chapter describes the process of change in the TC in terms of participation and levels of involvement. It focuses on participation and community as method through the program stages. The chapter outlines some relations between the social and psychological dimensions of individual change and the community expectations for participation. It also describes the process of multidimensional change through treatment in terms of levels of involvement in the community. Participation and involvement link community as method to the individual in the change process. The terms engagement, immersion, and emergence label the individual’s level of involvement in the community. Perceptions related to self and identity are incremental through the levels of involvement.
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In the therapeutic community (TC), program stages are prescribed points of expected change. Individual status can be described in terms of typical profiles at various points in the plan of the program. This chapter provides a description of the program stages as the main structural component of the TC model, specifically designed to facilitate the change process. In traditional long-term residential TCs, there are three main program stages, induction, primary treatment, and re-entry, consisting of several phases or substages. These stages are described in terms of main goals, stage-specific activities, and typical outcomes. Individuals who complete all stages of the planned duration of treatment are candidates for program graduation. Aftercare plans are a special activity of the late re-entry phase of the program. Each stage-phase marks signify where individuals are in their socialization and psychological growth.