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Article
April 1962

Human Elements of the Therapeutic CommunityA Study of the Attitudes of People Upon Whom Patients Must be Dependent

Author Affiliations

BALTIMORE
Assistant Clinical Professor and Professor and Director, The Psychiatric Institute, University of Maryland, Baltimore (Dr. Brody).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(4):307-314. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710220049006
Abstract

The importance of the context in which psychotherapy takes place has been amply documented in recent years, most explicitly in the work of Caudill and associates1,2 and Stanton and Schwartz.3 It has become clear that the behavior of a hospitalized patient cannot be understood solely in terms of his past personal history, since it also reflects the nature of his participation in the social system of the hospital. Further, there is general agreement that the hospital social system can be so structured as to have a therapeutic impact upon the patient. While there is less agreement, and little systematic investigation, regarding the mechanisms which produce the therapeutic effect, the literature and personal experience suggest the following possible factors: (1) the availability of staff personnel and other patients as objects for identification, (2) the social reinforcement of newly learned defensive or need gratifying techniques, (3) the psychological desensitization

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