We provide a specialist service for those experiencing complex mental health problems, specifically those who often attract a diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’.

This may include difficulty with relationships, misuse of alcohol, drugs or prescribed/over-the-counter medication, other kinds of self-harm, under or over-eating, or isolating yourself.

In particular, we can help you if you're having difficulty accessing effective and relevant services.

We run the 'TASTE' group for Tameside and Stockport, and the 'ORB' group for Oldham, Rochdale and Bury.

Referrals are made by health and social care professionals only (more on the criteria below).

More about the democratic therapeutic community (DTC) model

The DTC model is a form of group therapy which “emphasises the role of attachment”.

We aim to create a culture of enquiry, to explore all behaviours, thoughts and emotions. This can be used to form relationships between all members of the DTC, empowering you to take responsibility for yourself and each other.

“This has been synthesised into a simple developmental model of emotional development, where the task of the therapeutic community is to recreate a network of close relationships much like a family, in which deeply ingrained behavioural patterns, negative cognitions and adverse emotions can be re-learned”.  (Association of Therapeutic Communities).  

The therapy comprises of an introduction group (six sessions over 12 weeks), the main therapy group (one day per week for 12 months), and a voluntary peer support group for people when they leave therapy.

Criteria for the DTC

Eligibility

To be eligible to join the democratic therapeutic community you must have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, or experience at least five of the following symptoms:

  • You engage in a variety of destructive and impulsive behaviour, including self-harm, excessive use of alcohol, illicit substances or food to cope with difficulties.
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation, and/or a persistent unstable sense of self
  • You have a history of complicated, longstanding, emotional and behavioural difficulties, often stemming from traumatic childhood experiences
  • You find existing services unsuitable, difficult to use or not of lasting benefit, which may have led to difficult relationships with professionals.
  • Recurrent suicidal behaviours, gestures or threats of self-mutilation behaviour
  • Chronic feelings of isolation and emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulties controlling anger and frequent displays of temper.
Expectations

You need to have a care co-ordinator or have had some exposure to mental health services, either psychological treatment, prior group treatment, or psychiatric care (in or out patient).

You also need to want to work on changing your behaviour and understanding yourself through the input of others.

You will need to access transport to attend the group on a regular basis.

Our service is not normally open to those with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia (or other psychotic disorders), bipolar disorder, dementia, those with moderate learning disability, or those who have a history of sexual offences.

Applying to join the DTC

If you meet our referral criteria, you can apply to join us using this application form.

Your mental health professional or care coordinator may complete this with you.

We've also made a flow chart which outlines the application process. Click here to view it.

Information materials and meeting agendas