The aim of the conference is to introduce health professionals to the history, practice, range and clinical effectiveness of therapeutic communities. These are environments in which people of all ages are helped to work through emotional, and sometimes physical, trauma that has affected their ability to live productive and creative lives. Many repeatedly engage in self-defeating and damaging behaviour, and this approach enables them to find new and more successful ways of engaging in social relationships with others. It has application in a wide variety of problem areas, from emotional and behavioural disturbance in children and young people, to addiction and adult mental illness.
The Darzi Report, advocating high quality services for people requiring care in the National Health Service, argues that patients should have “a greater degree of control and influence” over their care, “making services fit for everyone’s needs”, and “care that is personal to them”. Therapeutic Communities do exactly this, in a variety of settings.