Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA)


The Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) was established in 1986 as a membership association whose purpose was to bring together Therapeutic Communities (TC) across Australia & New Zealand and to support and promote the TC as the method of treatment for substance dependency.

In 2006 the Association received a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing which provided funding to operate a secretariat to; “provide information aimed at improving the quality of TC services in the areas of treatment, research, education and support”. This grant facilitated the employment of an Executive Officer to take responsibility for fulfilling these goals.

The ATCA’s key functions are professional development and maintaining the fidelity of the TC model. The Association is cognisant of the need to foster evidence-based practices as the foundation for treatment.

The Association’s membership currently consists of 26 agencies providing 38 TC programs across Australia & New Zealand.

TCs play a unique role in the treatment of dependency and co-morbidity. The TC model focuses on the bio-psychosocial, emotional and spiritual dimensions of substance use, with the use of the “community” to heal individuals and support the development of behaviours, attitudes and values of healthy living. The holistic approach offered by TCs leads to significant improvement in many areas of individual functioning. A shift from problematic substance use, adoption of safe usage practices, improved work performance, reduced criminal activity, improved interpersonal relationships and increased self-esteem are all legitimate areas of success and all areas targeted by most TC programs.

Vision: To advance the TC model in Australasia through advocacy, research, capacity building and networking.

Mission: Through community as method of treatment, we restore a sense of self, hope and belonging to people who enter our Therapeutic Communities.


  • Advance the TC Model in Australasia
  • Advocate for recognition and funding for TCs in Australasia
  • Encourage and support research into the TC Model
  • Encourage capacity building in TCs by organising and disseminating information about development and funding opportunities.
  • Networking organisations and individuals interested in therapeutic communities.

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