About Us – What Makes Us Therapeutic?

The Amicus Community has been awarded full accredited Therapeutic Community status by The Royal College of Psychiatrists which assures our children, clients, commissioners, government departments, regulators, parents/carers and the public that our Therapeutic Community is of an excellent quality.

As a children’s therapeutic community, Amicus is committed to offering a meaningful care and education provision to children and young people through a therapeutic provision informed by psychodynamic and group process models, in a structured and psychologically informed environments. To this end, in addition to the regulatory minimum standards required by many settings, The Amicus Community participate in the Community of Communities accreditation process, regulated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

As a result, the QMS utilised in the provision is designed to provide evidence of meeting both the National Minimum Standards and the core and peer review standards for the Community of Communities. (Please see the link on our website for more information regarding the Community of Communities Core Values and Core Standards to which we base our practice from.)

The therapeutic day

The therapy and therapeutic practice is ingrained in the culture, where staff use the everyday experiences with the child and think with them at an appropriate level about the impediments that stop them or impact on them from normal social and emotional experiences which are often linked to their previous traumas and histories. Emphatic primary care and compensatory play opportunities help to build the children’s self esteem and offer the chance to make good early deprivation and consequent developmental delay, but it is the community itself which provides the key therapeutic impact.

therapeutic-girlAmicus have what we call the ‘therapeutic day’ which is tailored to each child’s individual needs where the routines and structures of the day are carefully thought about and hold therapeutic value through informal and formal spaces both as a group and individually- such as the daily Children’s Meeting, Morning Meeting, ‘Get Togethers’ and Life Story Work, where the children are encouraged to speak openly about their feelings both in and out of the group and are listened to and supported with this, as well as the informal spaces such as the just being together for meal times, activities, relaxing etc.

For many of our children they manage well with this input but sometimes it is felt that the child may benefit from individual therapy sessions either with a child psychotherapist or with an experienced worker for play sessions.

This is monitored and reviewed as part of their Therapeutic Placement Plan.

Therapy ‘on tap’

Many of the children placed at Amicus can be described has having some kind of ‘Attachment Disorder’, The children’s possible early experiences of chaotic and abusive attachments can make it hard for them to trust others and form meaningful and appropriate relationships. They are children who often find it hard and lack the capacity to describe, manage or talk about their distress and feelings and therefore ‘act out’, usually in a self-destructive and challenging manner, in an attempt to get rid of these difficult feelings.

The routines, structures and boundaries of the environments at Amicus, with the various meeting spaces, and a supportive (and supported) peer group and staff members and 24 hour support, provides the children with a strong sense of belonging and care and nurture. This means that gradually, secure meaningful therapeutic attachments can be forged, that can withstand high levels of aggression and challenging behaviour.

If you like it is ‘therapy on tap’ our staff are experienced, supported and well trained in this way of working. Many of our staff attend their own analysis and all of our staff receive training and both clinical and line management supervision and also have various other meeting spaces to bring their work with the children and how this impacts on them and the group, such as Group Dynamics meetings and also group work discussions.