The Amicus Community therapeutic model
Our children’s therapeutic community would not be the unique and nurturing place it is without the use of the psychoanalytic and group process/ relations models which inform and are ingrained in our therapeutic practice, culture, and environment. This therapeutic practice is used every day by the staff members in the way we think, work, and build relationships with one another and so is integrated into our interactions with the children in a holistic way.
The therapeutic input is applied to help our children recover from the trauma they have experienced and address the barriers that stop them from engaging in normal social and emotional experiences and daily life. We aim to build a child’s self-esteem by providing positive primary care, nurture, and play opportunities, these can also shift and/or improve any developmental delay difficulties which are associated with early deprivation.
Every day is a ‘therapeutic day’
At Amicus, every day is a ‘therapeutic day’ for a child as we work to understand the children’s behaviours and see this as communication and we know the importance of routines, boundaries and structures, and the pivotal significance of relationships with others. We provide informal and formal spaces to use daily, as an individual, and in a group. In the homes, this includes a Children’s Meeting, ‘Get Togethers’ and sharing mealtimes and activities. Each day is planned for the individual child to give them the opportunities they need to build trust, share feelings, form relationships, communicate appropriately and feel cared for. Over time all children are supported to develop a sense of belonging and are helped to develop their creativity and sense of hope which has often been diminished through their difficult experiences.
How the therapeutic model supports attachments
All the children in placement in our therapeutic community have intensive specialist support available from experienced and trained therapeutic staff, and a supportive peer group. Forming healthy attachments is a challenge for many of our children so our staff provides the therapeutic support and environment to work on these attachments, which over time can help to build new pathways to re-learn what healthy relationships are like. This work gradually enables many of our children to move on to a more ordinary family environment, with parents (where appropriate), relatives, or in foster families, and into mainstream schools with support.