• anti-psychiatry;
  • destigmatization;
  • existential;
  • labelling;
  • recovery;
  • therapeutic community


This paper raises issues about the process and conduct of clinical relationships with people diagnosed as mentally ill who live in therapeutic communities. This clinical work is of particular importance in the late 1990s due to the changing socio-cultural climate of interaction with people living with mental illness. This climate has a focus of care on recovery in the community and not on long-term hospitalization. The paper takes the position of anti-psychiatry as a preferred model of intervention because it is person and not diagnosis oriented. The nature of the therapeutic community is explored in relation to its importance in the context of destigmatizing mental illness, its structure, and in its ability to empower the person from a philosophically driven and experiential perspective.