Experiences of at-homeness in therapeutic communities: A theoretical exploration.

Phenomenologically, the experience of home provides an orienting context in the world. Feeling at home is to live and be in the world in a secure way where one feels a sense of belonging and fit. This paper seeks to illustrate the phenomenological importance of home by drawing upon the phenomenological scholarship of at-homeness. The importance of at-homeness as explored in the phenomenological literature is then applied to the work of therapeutic and residential communities. As a place of dwelling, therapeutic communities may create a sense of home for individuals whom lack a sense of place or belonging. The work of R. D. Laing and the Philadelphia Association in creating therapeutic communities is considered in light of their potential provision of home for residents. Portions of interviews with former residents of the Philadelphia Association are reviewed (from the text Testimony of Experience) to shed light on how such communities appear to embody the phenomenological understanding of home and its importance in healing relational and existential wounds. Therapeutic communities are argued as a potential innovative treatment milieu for individuals suffering from existential homelessness and a lack of relational bonds. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)