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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 41 (1999) 3, 133 - 142

New research

Assessment of the therapeutic climate in a psychiatric ward and a therapeutic community, using the Ward Atmosphere Scale

B. Sabbe, M. Cruyt, P. Bauwens, H. Windmolders, H. Vertommen

De Fase is a psychiatric ward of the Psychiatric Center Sint-Norbertus at Duffel (b). It consists of an admission clinic and five units for psychotherapeutic treatment: a motivational unit, a group analytical unit, a cognitive behavioural unit, a training and a supportive unit. In this setting a descriptive-explorative study was conducted, in order to measure differences in therapeutical environment between the admission ward and the psychotherapeutic clinic, and between the psychotherapeutic units themselves. Assessments were made by all patients who were capable (n = 152) and staff (n = 66), four times over a period of one year. The Ward Atmosphere Scale (Moos 1974) was used, in both real and ideal form.
The was allowed to describe accurately the differences between the admission ward and the therapeutic community, between its five different units, between the patients and the therapists and between the real level and the ideal level. The scores of the patients and therapists were higher in the psychotherapeutic units than in the admission ward. In the psychotherapeutic units the most striking differences were between the group analytical unit and the training unit. This study had the following consequences: more accurate indication and selection for a specific unit, more extensive information to the patients about these and adjustment of the therapists' expectations.

keywords psychiatric admission ward, therapeutic community, therapeutic milieu, Ward Atmosphere Scale