What is a therapeutic
Our houses are places in which
people who find themselves subject to disabling mental and
emotional stress live together, attending to the ways in which
their difficulties become manifest in everyday living. Group
living can be difficult, but it is our experience hat it can
be explored in such a way that leads to increased insight and
freedom through therapeutic work and ordinary conversation.
What do we offer?
We offer a unique environment,
in which you can live honestly with people who have
experienced difficulties themselves and can therefore accept
you for who you are. Each community has from three to five
group meetings a week with the house therapists, and some
financial support for individual therapy. The therapists do no
live on site.
Individuals have their own
room, in a family house, with an open invitation to make
themselves at home.
Who comes to our houses?
Our houses are open to adults
of all ages, though most residents are between 20 and 45.
People come to us with a variety of "diagnosis" Ú-
but a personís history is much less important than their
desire to change their lives and to try to make sense of what
has led to their troubles. In particular, we are interested in
an individualís capacity to work towards acknowledging and
taking responsibility for the way they contribute to the
difficulties they experience with others.
Our houses are not easy places
to live Ė residents have described them as
"intense", "full on," and "hot houses
for conflict" Ė and usually people do no decide to take
the step of living in them lightly. They are, according to one
resident, "challenging places in which you begin to see a
different reality than you are used to."
Individuals with a current
addiction to drugs or alcohol, or a history of violence, are
not usually suitable.
Length of stay
There is no fixed length of
stay in the communities. Most people stay for several years.
In practice, it is not usually worth applying for a stay of
At present, we have three
houses, each with its own ethos and therapeutic team.
Individuals eligible for
housing benefit can afford all our houses. The Philadelphia
Association can sometimes subsidise the cost of a residentís
stay if the resident is working or on a student grant.
How to I get in?
Prospective residents are
invited to phone (or write) the individual communities
directly to ask to attend a meeting.
Each house has one meeting a
week open to visitors. Through attending these meetings over a
period of time, the applicant will get to know the ways of the
individual house and the people in it. Similarly, the members
of the community will get to know the applicant. This process
usually lasts a number of weeks before a decision can be made.
There are no application forms,
professional reports, or individual interviews required.
Applicants are expected to call on their own behalf.
The decision about who will be
accepted into the community is made by the members - residents
and therapists Ė at a meeting not attended by the visitor.
About the PA
The Philadelphia Association
was founded in 1965 by R. D. Laing and colleagues. Its
members, who included psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and
artists, were critical of the way the "mentally ill"
were treated in institutional settings. They favoured the
setting up of therapeutic community households. The first was
started when the association was founded.
To apply, contact:
Maida Vale house:
161 Shirland Road, London W9 2EP
Finsbury Park hous:
1 the Grove, London N4 4HJ
020 7272 0749
46 Freegrove Road, London N7 9RQ
020 7609 7192
Itís recommended you apply to
just one house at a time.