What is a Modified Therapeutic Community?

A modified therapeutic community is an intensive, long-term residential treatment program which has been modified to meet the special needs/issues of a correctional population.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the therapeutic community treatment model has been found to be very effective in reducing drug use and criminal recidivism. 

The concept behind a therapeutic community is to teach individuals how to live/function within the greater society and within their own families in a sober, pro-social manner.  As such, our clients are not labeled as “offenders”, “residents” or even “clients”; they are referred to as “Family Members”.  Furthermore, each individual who enters the program will be assigned to one of four units, which we refer to as “Families” and "Communities".  We believe that these terms help to reinforce the idea that we all belong to a family, of sorts, from our family of origin, to our extended family, to the “family” of the human race. 

We emphasize the integration of an individual within his or her family/community.  Progress is measured within the context of that family/community and against that family's expectations.  It is the family/community, working together toward their common recovery, which accomplishes the positive change in the individual members.  This is sometimes referred to as "Community as Method" and is a cornerstone to the TC model.

The actions of one person, within this framework, take on a new perspective from a traditional treatment model in that we stress how the action(s) of one person has a ripple effect on others and everyone will experience the consequences – whether those be positive or negative.  Many people ask us, why should others “pay” for the actions of another, but truly, this is how life and our society works.  We remind our Family Members that they are the ones who committed the crime, however, there are others who are also suffering consequences for their individual actions – their families who are now living without a father, son, mother, daughter, etc.; the employer who is having to fill a position, and the tax payers who are helping to pay for their treatment.  As Family Members we all have responsibilities and one’s actions affect other.


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