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Perceptions of therapeutic principles in a therapeutic community

Georgina Capone (Lincoln University, Lincoln, UK)
Louise Braham (Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, Nottingham University, Nottingham, UK)
Thomas Schroder (Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Nima Moghaddam (Department of Clinical Psychology, College of Social Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

ISSN: 0964-1866

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore staff and service users’ perceptions of therapeutic principles within a unique male high secure learning disability therapeutic community (LDTC).

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted using deductive content analysis and inductive thematic analysis. In total, 12 participants took part in a semi-structured interview to explore their perceptions of Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles and any further additional therapeutic features in the environment not captured by the theory.

Findings

All five quintessence principles were identified in the LDTC environment. Some limits to the principle of “agency” were highlighted, with specific reference to difficulties implementing a flattened hierarchy in a forensic setting. Additional therapeutic features were identified including; security and risk, responsivity, and more physical freedom which appear to aid implementation of the quintessence principles.

Research limitations/implications

The study was performed within a single case study design. Therefore, results remain specific to this LDTC. However, the finding of these principles in such a unique setting may indicate Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles are evident in other TC environments.

Originality/value

This is the first research paper that has attempted to test whether Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles are evident within a given therapeutic community. The research provides empirical evidence for the quintessence principles in a novel TC setting and suggests recommendations for future research.

Keywords

Citation

Capone, G., Braham, L., Schroder, T. and Moghaddam, N. (2017), "Perceptions of therapeutic principles in a therapeutic community", Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 60-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/TC-02-2017-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited