What is a Therapeutic Community (TC)

WHOS follows the Therapeutic Community (TC) model of treatment as documented on our peak TC association web page www.atca.com.au which means that the community itself, through self-help and mutual support, is the principal means for promoting personal change.


The client community work together with staff to overcome the problem of substance dependence and promote personal change. At WHOS, clients (referred to as residents) and staff participate in the management and day to day operation of the TC community, providing a cohesive and safe environment. Residents are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and build their awareness of the effect their behaviour has on themselves and on the community around them.





A holistic program


Throughout the TC program, residents are encouraged to take on increasing levels of responsibility in the running of the community. As a resident moves through the various stages of the program they receive increased levels of responsibility matched with increased personal time and self determined choices.


Throughout the program, there is a strong focus on social, psychological and behavioural dimensions of substance use, with the use of the community to heal individuals emotionally, and support the development of behaviours, attitudes and values of healthy living.


The therapeutic environment provides a unique opportunity for a holistic program. The program includes formal structured group sessions on topics such as relapse prevention, recovery orientated and harm reduction topics. In addition, residents have the opportunity of active learning and practicing social skills such as working together, relaxing together, decision-making opportunities, problem-solving, empathising, reaching out and helping others, which all play a vital role in their recovery process.


Value of peer support


Peer role modelling is an important component of the TC process. Residents still in the TC phase of the program are able to witness former residents of the TC move through the TC stages to transition stage and eventually leave the service. It is important that TC clients are able to see the program process and that recovery and successful transition back into the wider community is possible.


Whilst not a criteria for employment, WHOS has historically attracted individuals that are themselves in recovery. Whilst not a substitution for qualifications, former users are also able to demonstrate the benefits and success of treatment and that there is life after drug and alcohol dependence. Many ex-clients of WHOS are involved through the volunteer program as mentors to current TC residents. Examples of this are alumni get together with current residents, mentoring residents after they leave the program by way of helping them get settled in the self help movement, and in some cases assistance in the hidden job market.


Three key elements of the TC model are:

  • TC Community as Method
  • Staged approach
  • Holistic and integrated




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