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therapeutic community


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An approach to community-based management of psychiatric and related disorders, including emotionally disturbed adolescence, substance abuse, and mental retardation. In Scotland, the therapeutic community was pioneered by a psychiatrist, Maxwell Jones (1907–1990), who dismantled a long-stay custodial mental hospital and integrated patients into local towns in miscellaneous occupations. Many similar therapeutic communities have been established elsewhere in the United Kingdom and Europe and subsequently in the United States and Canada. The same term describes establishments such as Boys Towns, for emotionally disturbed and delinquent youths, and facilities for rehabilitation of substance abusers; evaluations often reveal lower rates of recidivism of disturbed youths than in reform schools, but therapeutic communities have been less successful in treating and rehabilitating substance abusers. Sheltered workshops for mentally retarded young people and adults may be another form of therapeutic community. There is a tradition of caring for the mentally ill in some European villages dating from medieval times.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.


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