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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 26 (1984) 6, 377 - 401

Short report

The Follow-up Project of Psychotherapeutic Communities.

J.E.A. Wagenborg, G.W. Tremonti, A.J. Hesselink, R.F. Koning

The rapidly increasing number of psychotherapeutic communities in the Netherlands raises the question whether this phenomenon is due to remarkable treatment results.
In this article the preliminary results of a longitudinal follow-up study are presented which is taking place in order to assess the effects of residential treatment in a cohort of 1344 patients who were treated in eight Dutch psychotherapeutic communities. This report offers a frame for future papers on a more detailed analysis of the findings as well as on the results of later follow-up data.
Considerations concerning the choice of an adequate design, the development of the 'Nieuwkoopse Questionnaire' as well as the wellknown criterionproblem are discussed. The pre- and posttreatment results indicate positive effects in terms of general well-being, diminished complaints and positive opinions on the suitability of the treatment-program in more than 70% of the cases. Nevertheless the respondents reported far more inconveniences than a non-patient group.
In spite of their different target-groups (neurotic versus psychotic patients, adults versus adolescents) the eight psychotherapeutic communities do not show remarkable differences as far as their operationalization of the principles formulated by Maxwell Jones and Rapoport is concerned.
The relevance and implications of the results are discussed as well as strategies to cope with self-defense mechanisms in staff and policy-makers.