This paper aims to describe the origins of the concept of a psychologically informed environment (PIE), as now adopted and applied in homelessness resettlement, placing this in the context of work recently carried out under the aegis of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Centre for Quality Improvement to recognise and promote “enabling environments” in all areas of social practice.
This paper gives an historical account of the contemporary development of new thinking and practical applications for enhancing community mental health and well‐being.
The concept of an enabling environment (EE) arose out of efforts to up‐date for the twenty‐first century the post‐war concept of a therapeutic community, for all services working with the same basic core values and psycho‐social awareness. The EE approach now applies this framework more flexibly, yet with a clear operational focus in each sector, to a wider range of organisational contexts, social practice and agencies outside the therapy and care services world. From the outset, homelessness resettlement and social housing practice was seen as a key part of the overall ambition.
Understanding the values base behind social‐psychological approaches in social practice environments helps to translate these ideas into service‐led improvements in actual frontline services practice. In particular, the enabling environments approach offers a handy tool for self‐assessment and service improvement, which is fully compatible with the PIE's philosophy.
The concept of a PIE is currently acquiring momentum within homelessness resettlement work in the UK. In helping to establish the underlying values framework for psychologically‐informed services; and also provide tools for such services to use, this paper makes a contribution to help inform developing practice.
Haigh, R., Harrison, T., Johnson, R., Paget, S. and Williams, S. (2012), "Psychologically informed environments and the “Enabling Environments” initiative", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 34-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/14608791211238412Download as .RIS
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