Community Placements

Community Placements

A community placement is an essential component of the Arbours Psychotherapy Training. Trainees are offered first hand clinical experience in the life of one of the houses, and enabled to participate in the therapeutic programme, rather than just being observers. In this setting, trainees can begin to understand the fundamentals of the interactional processes of the mind. Psychoanalytic concepts and ideas come to life as trainees become aware of the ways that they and the residents behave and interact.

The trainee becomes part of the community group during his/her placement.

There is a minimum duration specified for placements (see below), but experience has shown that trainees’ learning will be enhanced if they are able to commit to spending additional hours in one of the communities.

Please see article ‘Rites of Passage’ written by one of our of ex trainees ( Dr Irene Bruna Seu) relating to community placement experience.


The Arbours therapeutic communities were founded in the 1970s with the aim of providing non-institutional residential settings where people in severe emotional distress were related to as individuals. Over the years, this model of care successfully facilitated many residents’ recovery from damaging states of mind.

The Communities in the 21st Century

We have continued successfully to provide a similar model of alternative therapeutic care for more than forty years, mindful of evolving attitudes to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health in society.

The Arbours Model

Relationships are at the heart of our clinical work. In the Arbours communities, the rich web of interconnected levels of relating mirrors life in the wider community. With the support of the coordinators, facilitators, personal therapists, art and movement therapists, as well as volunteers and trainees, residents are enabled to disentangle themselves from debilitating and sometimes distorted ways of seeing themselves.

What we offer a trainee on a placement:

  • Unique experience of spending time, with no specified rôle, in company with individuals in emotional distress
  • An introduction to psychoanalytic concepts in vivo, particularly group processes.
  • A place to explore feelings engendered by the placement in individual supervision with one of the community coordinators every week.
  • A place to liaise with others on placement in group supervision at least twice a month.
  • An opportunity to attend one of the weekly house meetings with the residents, facilitated by one of the coordinators.
  • The possibility of attending monthly in-house training sessions with all the community facilitators and with other trainees.
  • For some individuals, the possibility of attending one of the following groups every week: creative group, art therapy, movement therapy, or the drama group. (This will depend on the needs of the community and its residents at a given time).

What we require from a trainee on placement

  • To spend a minimum of one full day per week in the community for a period of at least one year. (On occasions, placements can be tailored to the needs of each trainee depending on his/her personal commitments).
  • To establish relationships with residents and to engage with the life of the community.
  • To offer emotional and practical support to residents.
  • To commit to attending both weekly individual supervision, and twice monthly group supervision, as arranged.
  • To commit to attending one house meeting every week, as arranged.
  • To keep a journal of your experiences throughout the placement. (This is for personal use, and it will not be necessary to share this with supervisors, coordinators, or personal tutors).