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SAMHSA News - May/June 2006, Volume 14, Number 3

Therapeutic Community Curriculum Available

cover of Therapeutic Community Curriculum Trainer's Manual and cover of Therapeutic Community Curriculum Participant's ManualSAMHSA recently released the Therapeutic Community Curriculum training package to meet the need for training entry-level staff in the basics of the therapeutic community model of treatment.

The long tradition of community as a method of treatment fosters personal growth by changing an individual's lifestyle through a community of concerned people working together to help themselves and each other.

Therapeutic communities have evolved to serve an ever-increasing range of special populations with substance use disorders, including women with children, older adults, adolescents, people with co-occurring mental disorders, people with HIV/AIDS, people who are homeless, and people involved with the criminal justice system.

The newly released training package was developed in response to a need for a document based on Therapeutic Community principles. SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and a panel of experts met in 2000 to provide guidance for the initial development of the curriculum. Only experienced trainers who are familiar with the therapeutic community treatment model should present the curriculum, which is geared primarily toward clinical and nonclinical staff working in a therapeutic community for the first time.

The curriculum provides an understanding of the essential components and methods of the therapeutic community model. Its primary goals are to provide a common knowledge base for all staff members working in these communities and to encourage training participants to work on their professional growth and development.

The package contains a trainer's manual, a participant's manual that can be photocopied for each training participant, and a CD-ROM with PowerPoint presentations for the modules. The PowerPoint slides also can be printed and copied onto overhead transparencies.

The trainer's manual includes general preparation instructions and two appendices ("Ice Breakers" and "Positive Visualizations") that are applicable to all modules. In addition, each module includes detailed, session-specific instructions for trainers; exercises for participants; a module overview, including goals and objectives and a content timeline; and the presentation. The participant's manual includes the participant orientation, resource sheets, module summaries, and a module review, which functions as a learning assessment.

The curriculum comprises 11 modules designed to allow for flexible delivery schedules. The complete in-service training can be delivered over several consecutive days or can be offered over the course of several weeks or months. Each module also can be used separately to target a specific training need. This learning approach includes:

  • A mixture of presentations, discussions, and exercises to simulate the self-help and mutual self-help learning processes used in therapeutic communities

  • Frequent use of a static small-group exercise format

  • Time for participants to reflect on and write their thoughts and feelings in personal journals

  • An assessment of learning to be completed by participants in their small groups at the end of each session.

Participants who complete the training will experience and understand the therapeutic community process through participation in simulations and role-plays and will experience an enhanced sense of belonging to a therapeutic community. Although the curriculum is designed as an entry-level training, it is not intended to take the place of immersion or other clinical skills training or ongoing clinical supervision.

The Therapeutic Community Curriculum training package is available free of charge from SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD for hearing impaired). Ask for NCADI Publication No. BKD533 (trainer's manual) or BKD534 (participant's manual). The curriculum also can be downloaded from SAMHSA's KAP Web site at www.kap.samhsa.govEnd of Article

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Inside This Issue

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Part 1
Part 2

From the Administrator: Employment Can Enhance Recovery

Special Report - The Road Home: National Conference on Returning Veterans & Their Families
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Part 2

Addressing Special Needs of Veterans

Preventing Suicide among Veterans

Recovery Month Includes Veterans

Resources for Veterans

Report to Congress Offers Plan To Reduce Underage Drinking

Substance Use State by State

Therapeutic Community Curriculum Available

Community-Based Care Helps Children

Updates on SAMHSA Grants

Summit To Discuss Disaster Preparedness

SAMHSA Hosts HBCU Conference

Older Adult Treatment Admissions

SAMHSA News Information

SAMHSA News - May/June 2006, Volume 14, Number 3