The TC has gained wide acceptance in Asia over the last four decades. This is not surprising as it is based on family and community and imbued with a spiritual dimension that speaks to the core of the Asian identity.
Unfortunately, there has been a lack of training on the TC approach in the Asian region in recent years. Still, many rehabs are continuing to adopt the approach without a proper understanding of its methods and practices.
Over the last 15 years, research and development has led to the reinvention of the TC into a viable and accountable approach fitted for the modern world. The following are FIVE areas that define the essentials of this Contemporary TC Model for Asia:
- PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CORE VALUES
- WELL-DEFINED PROGRAM STRUCTURE
- TRANSPARENT MANUAL OF OPERATIONS
- ENHANCED SYSTEM OF TC SANCTIONS
- FAMILY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
In 2007, SELF, Philippines and Kasih Mulia Foundation (KMF), Indonesia have collaborated to provide formal training on this model. Since then, it has come out with a TC Management Course that has served around 50 Asian practitioners and over 200 frontline personnel of the Philippine Department of Health and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
Formal Training is needed to help practitioners develop the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes to run the Contemporary Model. This need is one of the primary drivers for the establishment of the Federation of Therapeutic Communities in Asia (FTCA), which has been officially recognized by the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities (WFTC).
The FTCA is set to provide a comprehensive training program on this TC Model through its training arm, the International Institute of Therapeutic Communities (IITC), that will operate a newly constructed Learning Center named “Msgr. William O’Brien and Fr. Lambertus Somar Building” in honor of the Father of the TC (the former) and the outstanding advocate of the TC in Asia (the latter). The building will house up to 22 practitioners in twin private rooms with 4 rooms for trainers. There will be a large plenary hall, several break-away rooms, a lab-room for teaching, and an ample-sized dining area.
Unlike the old days when training was done through immersive experience only, the Training Center will now allow us to run a TC program composed of the trainees themselves, with a few seasoned TC graduates and staff facilitating the process.
Under the theme “Learning and Innovation”, the IITC will also conduct research to support the continuing effort of promoting evidence-based practices. A curriculum is being developed that will be responsive to the needs of practitioners in Asia. It will include a checklist of the Core Principles of the TC; its essential STRUCTURAL and CULTURAL components; METHODS and PRACTICES with emphasis on its roots; addressing CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS; and how the TC involves the families in the treatment process.
The TC is very much alive in the Philippines and Asia. However, formal training is essential to keep the spirit of this great program vibrant.