Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Robert D. Wilton
This thesis explores the character of women-only substance abuse treatment programs as 'therapeutic landscapes' using qualitative interview and observation methods at two women-only treatment programs. The thesis explores the character of these programs from the perspective of both staff and clients. Not surprisingly, treatment clients had both positive and negative views about various elements of their treatment experience. As such, identifying these sites as 'therapeutic landscapes' requires us to consider how they maintain a structured environment (their core objective) on an ongoing basis, while also being influenced by a wide range of factors. The individual characteristics of staff and clients, staff/client and peer social relations, the surrounding neighbourhood, and the internal and external program environment are factors that shape the ongoing operation of treatment facilities. Further, through them, key tensions arise in the facilitation of the treatment program, which staff needs to consistently try to balance. These tensions arise as programs try to strike a balance between (1) structure and dependence, (2) retreat and reality, (3) individual and collective needs, and (4) homogeneity and diversity. Maintaining a healthy atmosphere and a positive group dynamic therefore requires a wide range of considerations. By studying the core objective of addiction treatment and the factors that influence whether programs achieve this objective we can better understand the ways that environment matters when exploring women-only substance abuse treatment programs as 'therapeutic landscapes'.
Love, Michelle C., "Environment Matters: Exploring Women-Only Substance Abuse Treatment Programs as "Therapeutic Landscapes"" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5639.
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