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When assistance is not given: disaffiliative responses to therapeutic community clients’ implicit requests

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posted on 2015-11-25, 17:01 authored by Marco PinoMarco Pino
In this chapter I examine interactions between the clients and the staff members of a Therapeutic Community (TC). The TC clients sometimes use expressions of need (“I need X”) and desire (“I would like X”) to convey implicit requests for assistance. Analysis illustrates that with these expressions the clients provide the staff members with an opportunity to offer assistance, instead of overtly demanding it. This can put the TC staff members in a delicate position when, for several reasons, they may be reluctant to assist the clients in the achievement of particular goals (such as renewing a driver’s license, buying a car, etc.). The staff members sometimes deal with this problem by disaffiliating with the clients’ projects to achieve particular outcomes (e.g. renewing a driver’s license) on the basis that the clients (allegedly) lack entitlement to those outcomes. This practice enables the staff members to convey that assistance will not be provided, without saying it in so many words.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European’s Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no 626893.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

The Palgrave Handbook of Adult Mental Health


PINO, M., 2016. When assistance is not given: disaffiliative responses to therapeutic community clients’ implicit requests. IN: O'Reilly, M. and Lester, J.N. (eds). The Palgrave Handbook of Adult Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 671-690.


Palgrave Macmillan


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137496843



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  • en