The third generation of therapeutic communities: the early development of the TC for addictions in Europe



Broekaert E, Vandevelde S, Soyez V, Yates R & Slater A (2005) The third generation of therapeutic communities: the early development of the TC for addictions in Europe. European Addiction Research, 12 (1), pp. 1-11.;

Aims: It is the goal of this study to investigate the first development of the drug-free therapeutic community (TC) in Central, Northern and Southern Europe. The paper aims at systemizing information, scattered all over Europe and is the first stage in an ongoing study to record the development of the European TC movement and its influences. Design: After a study of grey (hidden) literature, TC pioneers and experts per country were contacted to further elaborate our first findings. Subsequently, a preliminary summary of our findings was published in the Newsletter of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC), inviting additional information and corrections. This led to a simple questionnaire, which was sent back to the original pioneers, experts and made electronically public to the larger TC forum. A series of interviews was scheduled with missing key figures and protagonists. Findings: This led to a systematic overview of facts concerning the foundation, networks, professional standards, ideological background and further dispersion of the TC in European countries and regions. Knowledge, up until now only orally communicated within the closed TC circles, and the – primarily in grey literature – sparsely distributed information was made public. As the pioneers grow older, it may be assumed that the findings of this article saved otherwise lost information for the future. Conclusions: The European TCs adapted the model of their American predecessors to their own culture, influenced more by milieu-therapy and social learning. Instead of harsh behaviourism, more emphasis was placed on dialogue and understanding. Professionals occupied a more pivotal role and took over the dominant position of ex-addicts. Research, executed by TC professionals gradually entered the TC. A generic network of TC connections, through which the development evolved, was uncovered, and clear regional trends can be observed.

therapeutic communities; Europe; addictions; Therapeutic communities; Drug addicts Rehabilitation

European Addiction Research: Volume 12, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2005
Publisher URL