Environmental Therapy, Milieu Therapy & Therapeutic Communities

Environmental therapy, milieu therapy or therapeutic communities all involve therapies that address the client’s interaction with his or her physical or social surrounding (or both) in an effort to promote greater cognitive, affective and behavioral health.  This psychotherapeutic treatment is based on modification or manipulation of a client’s life circumstances or immediate environment.  Milieu therapy attempts to organize the social and physical setting in which the client lives or is being treated in such a way as to promote healthier, more adaptative cognitions, emotions, and behavior.   Therapeutic community is a setting for individuals requiring therapy for a range of psychosocial problems and disorders that is based on an interpersonal, socially interactive approach to treatment, both among residents and among residents and staff (i.e., community as method or therapy).  The term covers a variety of short and long-term residential programs as well as day treatment and ambulatory programs.  The staff is typically multidisciplinary and may consist of human services professionals and clinicians providing mental health, medical, psychiatric approaches, therapeutic communities have become a significant form of psychosocial treatment.