The structure of the house is not so much imposed as shaped or opened according to the abiding concerns which its members have. Like an individual, a household evolves a way, a style.
Since creating a therapeutic community at Kingsley Hall in 1965, the Philadelphia Association has run more than twenty community houses which have offered asylum and hospitality to people in distress. This work continues at two houses in North London.
The experience of fifty years has shown that personal crises and seemingly inescapable unhappiness may for many people be transformed in households like these. They are places where people can come together to address their difficulties in a situation of shared everyday living.
HOW THE HOUSES WORK
Residents have their own rooms, with an open invitation to make themselves at home. People may come with a variety of diagnoses but what matters is a desire to change and give meaning to the experiences that have led to their distress.
Each community has several meetings each week with its two house therapists. Residents are also encouraged to be in individual therapy.
Many residents find that in time they are able to reduce or end medication and regular contact with psychiatric services. How long people stay depends on individual circumstances. The insight that residents gain during their time at the houses helps them lead more fulfilling lives afterwards.
THE TWO HOUSES
The house in Freegrove Road, Islington, is a large terraced property with a garden and conservatory. It opened in 1996 and can accommodate seven people.
The Grove is situated in Haringey, close to Finsbury Park. It has been open since 1973 and has space for seven people.
APPLYING FOR A PLACE
If you wish to ask about joining a household, please email email@example.com. Our houses are able to accommodate people eligible for housing benefit or who can pay the rent themselves.
It costs around £20,000 a year to run each house. Administrative costs are kept to a minimum and all our therapists work part-time. In order to ensure the long-term future of the houses, donations are urgently needed. Please call 0207 794 2652, email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss making a donation.