Sharing is a vital part of the therapeutic process. Therapeutic Community meetings are the elective context for this: at least once a week, staff and clients sit around a table, or in a circle, and talk. Clients are encouraged to talk about their recent experiences. In this way, they can reflect on themselves and receive feedback. Through the topic of sharing the group can build a relational history and engage in a participatory learning process. However, TC clients may be reluctant to talk about themselves, thus making the process of sharing difficult; they can refuse to talk, provide only minimal responses, or they can limit themselves to very ‘factual’ or dry descriptions. The report, which you can download at the following link, describes different strategies that Therapeutic Community staff can use to encourage clients to share their experiences.
This study by Muntigl and Zabala describes how psychotherapists encourage their clients to talk about themselves. Although the study is not about therapeutic communities, it constitutes a valuable reading for all involved in therapeutic communication.
Muntig and Zabala – Expandable responses (published on Research on Language and Social Interaction)