Changing Behaviour for Healthier Lives

Addiction can make life unmanageable, not just for the addict, but for their family and friends too.  Finding help to overcome life-controlling issues and beginning to lead a new life is a journey that often needs to be taken with others for support.

Since 2013 the British Medical Association have recognised addiction as a medical condition which should be treated like any other illness. Our Therapeutic Community meets the directive provided by NICE to health care providers and supports the journey from substance dependence to health and abstinence for addicts.

Freedom Communities Therapeutic Community (FCTC) is a supportive residential nine month programme designed for people wishing to address their substance misuse issues. Residents are encouraged to understand themselves better and explore the reasons why they misuse mood altering/addictive substances. By addressing their issues, through challenge of negative behavioural traits, and peer support, residents are able to learn new ways of coping and living in society.LonelyMan

The model of treatment used is based on the work of De Leon.  The effectiveness of this treatment model has been widely researched and evidence also suggests that this model is substantial in both symptom reduction and goal attainment with regard to PTSD. A mutual support recovery programme (e.g. 12 Step) is encouraged when residents leave residential treatment.

The residential community at Crosscombe Barton on Exmoor is distinguished from other institutional or treatment settings in that its social environment is the treatment model. The main elements of this model are its social organisation and social relationships which are used for a single purpose—the reintegration of the individual into the wider society.

The community approach encourages a change in social and personal identity. Its focus is on social participation, mutual responsibility, and relationships based on trust and the values of the right way of living. Residents endeavour to be role models and are the main source of direction and support for each other. Residents observe and monitor each other’s behaviour, attitudes and reactions and provide continual feedback; this is the shared responsibility of all participants. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is expressed with responsible concern. Relationships and pro-social roles are used to encourage recovery and personal growth. Relationships developed in treatment often become the basis for the social network needed to sustain recovery beyond treatment, e.g. in a 12 step fellowship.

Through group work, pro-social roles and creating a friendly environment which encourages self reliance and independence, residents are able to progress from their previous behaviour and grow their potential over a 6 –9 month period. We recommend and facilitate a further 6 month resettlement into our supported move-on houses in Barnstaple.

Making the steps towards independence

The last 3 – 6 months of the treatment programme is residential in transitional accommodation in Barnstaple: please note that in these last 3 months residents are still on the treatment programme. Residents then graduate and on-going involvement in the therapeutic community as a graduate programme facilitator is available. These residents are expected to take a lead role in the community, while engaging in employment or pursuing further training off site: they will generally remain in this transitional stage for up to six months. Graduates who do not wish to pursue this route also have the option of transitional housing and are supported, as are the programme facilitators, to pursue education, employment and independent accommodation.


The transition houses all have a community/share house atmosphere and residents have private rooms with shared living spaces. Each resident has a support worker who helps tailor a plan specifically in response to their needs. These plans can include training and further education, how to maintain recovery, health and fitness, budgeting, finance and computer skills, hobbies, recreation and social clubs; dependent on what the resident requires and requests support with.

Many of the support services are provided through our Day Centre and other initiatives.