The democratic therapeutic community: soft or tough on violence?

The therapeutic environment needs to aim both to set limits on pathological behaviour (such as, violence) and also promote psychosocial skills. To achieve this, ‘a stable, coherent social organisation which provides an integrated, extensive treatment context’ is required (Abroms, 1969), and the Democratic Therapeutic Community (DTC) is one such organisation.

Following Tom Main, however, it is the ‘culture’ of the DTC, rather than its ‘structure’, which characterises the distinctive therapeutic nature of the setting (Main, 1983). Therefore, in this paper, using examples from a secure setting, the author will illustrate how some of the DTC ideology translates into clinical practice.

The DTC’s cultural ‘DNA’ needs to be capable of replicating itself accurately on a daily basis, so as to avoid reverting to a place where ‘automatic, unthinking retaliation’ prevails- the meeting of like with like- hatred with hatred, anger with anger or lust with lust (Lambert, 1981). Thereby, it can embody, and present to its patients, a sustained, ‘culture of enquiry’ (Main, 1983), Read more


Field Theory and the Internal Group as a Model of the Psyche

A distinction is drawn between psychoanalysis of the link and the link perspective of psychoanalysis. Pichon Riviere´s notion of the internal group – a notion which is lesser known and infrequently used – would appear to be the theory which is most compatible with the latter of these perspectives. This approach requires a reformulation of the conception of the individual in relation to society and culture and, as a consequence, suggests a change of emphasis from classic theories. Ultimately, the psyche is considered, from a psychoanalytical perspective, as the product of the meeting of dispositional biology and the imprint that society and culture leave on the individual. The socio-cultural influence on the individual is mediated by means of the immediately surrounding human groups. Rather than seeing ‘conflict’ in Read more


Music, context and culture: the contribution of the ethnomusicological research in the field of music therapic research


This article looks into the relationship between musictherapy and ethnomusicology because, if the use of music for therapeutic aims is an antique, varied and diversified practice, then the actual practice of musictherapy is also incredibly varied and even if it has been established a more science-based autonomous discipline in the last 50 years (thanks for the contribution of the neuroscience, medicine and psychology…) not for this has it remained immune from its ancestral heritage. In fact, the therapy of music is based on the ’humanity of music’, that is on all that is universally human in music concerning the body, the mind, the soul and the emotions in a global point of view.

After a short overview and comparison of the two disciplines, a window is opened to F. Giannattasio’s splendid ethnomusicological research, which is of grand influence and richness of particulars, followed by things to ponder in the field of musictherapy and in particular on the role and value of context as cultural container to identify and deal with the forms of discomfort, disorders. Music in fact acquires therapeutic value only if it is put in a frame of references, that Read more

Unitas Multiplex The therapeutic function of a rite in group psychoanalysis and traditional treatment. Convergence and diversity


The author is inspired by metaphor “Unitex Multiplex”, he thought that taking inspiration from this metaphor would be a good beginning in order to  produce a piece of work on groups from the psychoanalytical and anthropological points of view, using multiple approaches, and, at the same time be an attempt to come up with unitary parameters.So, will be further explained to the complexity of ideas that are relative to the therapeutic function in groups. One has also to pay particular attention to the mythical-ritual aspects and also take the contingent factors of the meeting that a small analytical group has into account. These factors possess elements of similarity but are also different from those that are specific to a social group that puts rite into play. The author  would now likes to enlarge upon the classical idea of Tarantismo by addressing Ernesto de Martino’s well known study and enlarge upon it with an experience of child group analysis. A common aspect regards a musical ritual that is a structuring element in the Puglia therapeutic rite, whilst in a group of children, it seems to establish a fluid, passionate element that opens up to a different group formation. In the last part the author  would now likes to try and express the idea around which the reflection on the “Gods’ Read more