Creating positive social climates and home-like environments in therapeutic care – Practice guide

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Mar 2019

Written by Janise Mitchell

This guide has been developed to support the implementation of Essential Element: Physical Environments from the Ten Essential Elements of Therapeutic Care. It explores how to create therapeutic care contexts based on considerations about the notion of ‘home’, key features of the physical environment and the core aspects of the social climate which are critical to establishing a home-like environment and a sense of normality for young people in care.

Key Messages

  • The meaning of home as applied by individual young people needs to be considered in developing a therapeutic care environment that aims to create a sense of normality
  • The sensory dimensions of the physical environment promote connection, regulation and belonging when they are developed with intentionality
  • The culture of care, or social climate is of equal importance to the physical environment, each profoundly influencing the other
  • When young people contribute to the way in which the care environment is configured and structured, its potential to exert a positive impact is optimised
  • Research highlights the central role of a positive social climate in contributing to improved behaviour and adjustment among young people and the creation of an atmosphere that allows higher levels of safety, improved relational dynamics and lower levels of aggression and violence between young people in the home

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