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Alternative Therapeutic Programme for Dependent Individuals ARGO: Outpatient Treatment Community

Quality level: 2


An outpatient drug-free programme by behavioural reconstruction and changing the life attitude emphasizing the role of the group as a main therapeutic tool.

Type of intervention:
drug free treatment
Type of approach:
Target group:
family/parents, adults
Age group:
Annual coverage:
Substances addressed:
cannabis, opiates, ecstasy, cocaine and derivatives, amphetamines, methamphetamines, inhalants/solvents
Evaluation type:
outcome evaluation, process evaluation
Start date:
End date:

Overall objective

Psychological and physical dependence treatment by behavioural reconstruction and changing the life attitude. The main therapeutic tool is the group. The programme provides relapse prevention, schooling and pre-vocational training, and preparation for social reintegration. The open therapeutic community works daily, except for Saturday and Sunday, during evening hours and the programme duration is 12 months.


The therapeutic grounds of ARGO Alternative Therapeutic Programme for Dependent Individuals rest on the premise that drug dependence is an individual, family and social dysfunction rather than an organic disease. Its philosophy is based on the Therapeutic Community model and its theoretical evolution and it adopts as the fundamental principles of dependence treatment planning: respect for the freedom of the person, recognition of the importance of collectivity and fostering creativity. The method applied in the dependence treatment process is the reflective activity, i.e. reflecting upon the relationships in view of changing them, which leads to dependence treatment. The reflective activity also leads to the development of a “common language” within the community, which contributes to the compatibility and marginally to the synthesis of the different scientific backgrounds and approaches among staff members or the different lines of thinking that emerge during the theme groups. The therapeutic framework is group-centred, with emphasis on group dynamics, limiting individual interventions to support to enable the individual’s effective participation in the group. The use of verbal and non-verbal expression, through words or the body and symbolic and imaginary means of communication, is designed to emotionally liberate the individual, enhance their self-confidence, establish satisfactory relationships, unleash their potential, and help them understand their limits. The Open Therapeutic Community members are adults and during working hours the use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances is prohibited, as is verbal and physical violence. Alcohol abuse or other addictive behaviours (gambling, internet addiction, etc.) are prohibited at all times. In addition to the Open Therapeutic Community, the following groups are also offered: 1. Dual diagnosis 2. Low-threshold (6-month duration) 3. Relapse prevention and management 4. Family therapy Relationships with the professional and social community are a very important goal for the staff and on-going constructive contacts with its various components are pursued. Last but not least, the Open Therapeutic Community regularly reviews its means and methods on a two-year basis, in order to assess its course and its effectiveness. This is complementary to external supervision, conducted by an independent supervisor twice a month.

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.


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We're currently conducting a short survey of this resource (EDDRA: Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action). The survey will take no more than 2 minutes and we would be really grateful for your contribution.

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The EDDRA team


Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012