Therapeutic communities for addicts developed since the Sixties without a clear theory on what made them therapeutic. There have also been some doubts on their long term outcome results. Part I of this book describes how therapeutic communities for addicts have roots in the self-help movement. such as Alcoholics Anonymous as well as in the development of alternatives for psychiatric hospitalization in such forms as the psychotherapeutic communities in Europe after World War II. The therapeutic communities based on self-help ptinciples were greatly influenced by Synanon. a community founded by former addicts advocating a drug-free lifestyle (Yablonsky, 1967). Addicts were regarded as irresponsible individuals, who used drugs or alcohol to escape from the frustrations and tensions of daily life. To be successfully treated a re-education was necessary to learn new values and attitudes. Group meetings to express emotions and thoughts on what happened were thought to be essential to maintain abstinence from drugs or alcohol. These meetings, later called 'encounter groups', became a main therapeutic element in most therapeutic conununities for addicts. Professionals added other therapeutic techniques with roots in psychoanalytic theories and the human potential movement based on the humanistic psychology (Maslow, 1968).

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W.J. Schudel (Willem) , Ch.D. Kaplan
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kooyman, M. (1992, September 2). The therapeutic community for addicts : intimacy, parent involvement and treatment outcome. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from