Odyssey House provides its services within the context of an intensive and service-enhanced Therapeutic Community (TC), which is proven to foster citizenship, responsibility, recovery from drugs and alcohol, emotional healing, and cognitive reparation. Therapeutic Communities harness the power and effectiveness of constructive peer influence to evoke positive change in clients, creating a depth of nurturing and support that many clients have never previously experienced. In many ways, the ‘therapist’ is the community itself, consisting of peers and staff who model and expect successful personal change. Within the TC, the primary treatment focus is substance abuse addictions, but goes beyond these problems. This approach views substance abuse and other problems as reflections of chronic deficits in social, educational, vocational, familial, economic, and personality development. Thus, the principal aim of the TC is global life-style change, including abstinence from alcohol and other drugs, elimination of antisocial behavior, enhanced education, constructive employment, and development of prosocial attitudes.
Through this comprehensive treatment program clients receive education and practice in life skills. Clients hold each other accountable, which facilitates each individual making the changes that will assist them in becoming productive citizens with positive social and psychological skills.
The TC incorporates comprehensive services into a single setting. The TC, as a milieu, becomes a springboard with which evidence-based practices and modalities can be employed. TC’s are heralded throughout substance abuse research literature as a treatment of choice, which has made them very popular in most parts of the country. Research demonstrates that TC’s are particularly effective in reducing criminal behavior. Further,the TC model aids in reducing substance abuse, crime and violence and increasing employment and family stability.
Using the TC, Odyssey House effectively tackles self-destructive lifestyles, emotional problems, and antisocial behaviors through treatment, education and prevention services. The participation of TC members in the community places them closer to the real-life situations than do the artificial communities of traditional staff-driven institutions, so they are better prepared to embrace a more productive future. The environment is such that clients have an opportunity to practice skills, learn to have positive relationships with other people, and to become contributing members of society with a hopeful future.
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