Welcome to The Keyword Glossary

Throughout the site we use a range of Keywords, designed to help you when browsing both the Library and the Members' Directory; or adding material.

Some of these keywords benefit from some explanation to clarify their meaning, as used here. All these defined keywords are listed below, in alphabetical order. 

Alternatively you can use the search bar to go directly to any term you wish to look up. If you don't find a term defined here, it is because we are thinking it probably doesn't need it.. .



For a very, very short introduction to using keywords on this site, see "A very, very short introduction to keywords":


For a more in-depth discussion of this approach to creating a shared PIEs core vocabulary, see: "Keywords: finding your way around the PIELink".

All Keywords

Type a Keyword here and press enter...

a PIE of pathways

Attention taken to the range of services in any one area, and thus the “pathways” by which individuals enter of leave any one service, with the same ‘psychologically informed’ thinking. See also ‘cycle of change’; ‘systemic failure’.

a specific PIE framework

Working to a specific agreed approach, such as an explicit psychological model.


Asset Based Community Development: a strengths-based approach that applies to communities in both senses of the word – the community at large’, and also the smaller, more ‘intentional’ communities that individuals may join or enter, for a particular purpose

Acquired Brain Injury

The high prevalence of ‘traumatic’ or ‘acquired brain injury’ (ABI) is only just being recognised in services.

action learning sets

An ‘ALS’ is a peer support learning group, usually for individuals involved in developing new practice or facing other life challenges

action research

Work contributing to wider understanding of any phenomenon through exploratory development of practice, whether kept within one organisation, or shared ( see ‘ evidence generating practice’)


By this we mean, for the moment, all and any substance abuse other than alcohol. But see ‘other’, below


Unlike a broker, an advocate concentrates primarily on the needs of the individual. In practice, many advocacy services and roles DO lead to the advocate have views on how services actually operate, and how they should change, and will be listened to; so the distinction may not be clear-cut..

all adults

Similar to all or any group, but excluding young people

all homeless

‘All’ homeless includes issues and services for families and couples as well as individuals

all or any groups

You might use this if in principle your role or range might cover the whole population, and not just those with support needs (See all ‘vulnerable adults’ in Client group)

arms-length organisation

An organisation, formally independent, but existing primarily or solely to provide services for or on behalf of central or local government.

arts worker

By arts worker we mean to encompass all those who use expressive arts work – painting, drama, music, even knitting – to encourage self-expression, creativity and empowerment, and to get people talking. (See also ‘group activities’)

attachment issues

It is arguable that ‘attachment issues’ is not a diagnostic term. But there is now a growing consensus that early attachment issues underlie a range of mental health problems in later life, most obviously ‘personality disorders’ ( or ‘histories of complex trauma’ as we prefer to describe them.),

built environment

(Attention to) the built environment “and its social spaces” is one of the typical or defining features of a psychologically informed environment. See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .

business model

The way that an organisation gets the income needed to provide its goods or services.

business model

The way that an organisation gets the income needed to provide its goods or services.

care leavers

Those leaving, and those who have or had left, the care of social care services. Note that we do not put time limit on this definition. Use it is it seems relevant, so you can define the time limits for yourself.

CEO, Board or similar

See policy and strategy; CEOs and Board members have a degree of autonomy, and a level of responsibility, that differs from frontline and middle manager staff.

change management

The task or skills of re-engineering a service to meet new, or changing needs.


Use this term flexibly, to accommodate a range of organisations which exist primarily for public benefit.

clinic or sessional work

Visiting staff, employed by a healthcare agency (or similar) to provide extra support to clients


A commissioner is someone with a budget and the responsibility to provide services, who then “purchases” those services from another agency, rather than managing the services themselves. (See: ‘New Public Management’ for the theory or philosophy, and ‘commissioning’ for the practice.)


Use for issues arising from a competition framework for services. See also ‘commissioning’, ‘partnership’, ‘New Public Management’


Use for issues arising from a competition framework for services. See also ‘commissioning’, ‘partnership’, ‘New Public Management’

complex needs

In recent needs, ‘complex needs’ has started to be identified as a client group in its own right (See the UK Big Lottery’s Fulfilling Lives programme for one useful definition.) For a discussion of this change in vocabulary, as a social policy phenomenon, see: Johnson (2014a, 2014b) in the Library.

complex trauma

Many services are now adopting this term, derived from psychology and neuroscience, in preference to the awkward medico-diagnostic term “personality disorder”.


Usually consultancy is provided to a team or services as a whole, whereas mentoring is support for a particular individual in their role in the organisation; but here one term can stand for both offers.

core and cluster model

In a core and cluster model , a staffed hostel or high-dependency unit also provides on-going support for a number of ‘satellite’ houses or flats for people of a similar client group, needing less intense support from the staff team.

The residents of the cluster of satellite units – who may or may not necessarily be former residents at the hostel – are seen as full members of the on-going community ( in contrast to move on or half way houses, where residents are expected to be leaving the community eventually.) The term ‘core and cluster’, and the model itself, originated in services for people with learning difficulties in Canada. As with the Clubhouse, it is used for client groups with a high degree of on-going vulnerability, needing a sense of security and immediate support when at risk. (See also ‘Keyring’, ‘dispersed housing’).

The Clubhouse model typically mixes some overnight or short-medium-stay accommodation in the same building as a day service that operates as a self help community, to offer highly flexible levels of support to its members. The clubhouse originated in the US, primarily for people with alcohol or other substance abuse issues, and therefore at high risk of relapse and benefitting especially from peer support and opportunities for active and practical recovery.


Return on Investment (ROI) considers not just costs but benefits or savings – what is gained. Social Return on Investment (SROI) includes in the calculation wider, more ‘systemic’ savings – some quite intangible or hard to quantify with precision, but clearly relevant.


The term ‘innovation’ is normally applied to services, whereas ‘creativity’ is applied to individuals (and especially to ‘artistic’ work and self expression). The idea that there are ‘creative industries, and all the rest are simply dull and worthy, is simply wrong.

cycle of change

The cycle of change is a useful concept that helps us to understand why and how individuals may be slow to make the personal changes they may need, and may or may not even be aware they need, to make. Although the cycle of changes does chart stages in what will be a progress,for many, the progress is halting and fitful. But the cycle of change helps workers to appreciate where the individual is in their own cycle; and what role they can play in helping and supporting through the whole process, including relapse. (See also life journey; theory of change)

day service

See also Clubhouse model.

developing PIEs thinking

Consciously contributing to the development of new practice with PIEs in new approaches or areas, including research


Any approach to supporting reflective practice that emphasizes open-ended questions, intended to help teams explore their own experience and reactions. .(See Appreciative Inquiry, Dialogical)

dispersed housing

Dispersed housing is accommodation provided in single units or flats, at some distance from each other, but managed by the same provider for the purpose of supporting recovery. See also ‘Keyring’, ‘core and cluster’


EET is a commonly used acronym for “Employment, Education or Training” – seen as a measure of inclusion, and also of success in efforts to help vulnerable individuals on the path to independence. 

employment opportunities

use this, rather than ’employment training and support’, of a service that actually creates and provides work or onsite training opportunities, as against supporting work and training elsewhere – though of course many services will do both. (See also ‘social therapy”, for activities undertaken within a service intended primarily for psychological rather than financial gain.)

Employment training and support

As we use the term here, this denotes a work scheme for current or former homeless people, including work skills preparation, supported (temporary) placements, and support into full employment . For work opportunities provided as part of the operation of another service, see ‘work opportunities’, ‘peer mentor’ and ‘volunteer’

enabling environment

An emotionally healthy environment – ward or workplace, hostel, school, etc. But here we use the term more specifically, to mean one that operates, consciously or not, broadly according to principles identified as ‘EE values’, by the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists. For the shared history and the conceptual links between EEs, PIEs and therapeutic communities, see:”PIEs and EEs.doc”

escaping intimate partner violence

‘Escaping violence’ describes a service providing refuge from immediate threat, or the recovery from trauma or threat, such as women or men escaping ‘domestic;’ or ‘intimate partner’ violence, or for asylum seekers or victims of torture.

NB: In the literature, ‘escaping intimate partner violence’ is gradually supplanting the term “domestic violence”, as it is more accurate. Note however that there is no assumed gender in this definition, and a specific gender, age or other issues can be specified by other keywords. 

evidence-generating practice

One of the typical or defining features of a psychologically informed environment.   See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .

expert by experience

Expertise gained from lived experience is one of the most valuable qualifications you can have.


Folksonomy is an approach to categorisation, for research or other systematic purposes, in which a community of interest contributes to the development of the categories to be used, simply by using whatever keywords they see fit. (See discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of fully open categorisation in ‘New Developments’)

frontline manager

Those who run a specific service, managing staff, and often dealing with service users (and/or other clients, such as students) face to face.

frontline worker

Those working in a frontline service, of any kind, without broader management or strategic responsibilities.


A funder here may be a donor, or someone who manages other funds, as a commissioner, to provide services (See also commissioning).

government agency

Central, regional or local government – the distinction between them can be identified in the ‘Range’ codes. NB: For QUANGos, use ‘arms length organisation’, plus codes in ‘Sector’, to indicate (for example) an organisation for regulation and inspection which is set up by, but formally independent of, government


Greencare is an umbrella term now used to cover both traditional social and horticultural therapy, and newer approaches such as animal-assisted therapy, ecotherapy, care farms, forest schools, “green gym”.

healthcare patients

Use this for a patient of your own healthcare service, or for anyone who is a client of a significant and closely related healthcare service (such as discharge liaison) .


Used in its broadest sense, history here is an account of past events, told not solely from personal reflection but from observation and carefully assessed sources. See also ‘personal reflection’, ‘idiographic account’, ‘narrative analysis’.


Use this is your service is specifically concerned with homelessness, rather than including homelessness as one of many service need issues.


In UK parlance, a hostel is a temporary place to stay, usually not large (perhaps 10 to 30+ beds) and often with individual rooms or shared flats; and this is the standard term for a residential unit for homeless persons, in the UK. Typically a range of support services may also be offered to residents.

A foyer is a hostel specifically for young people, with education and support into employment, perhaps counselling, as part of the offer. 

A refuge is normally a very small hostel for women escaping intimate partner violence – though there are a few refuges for men; a refuge will usually have a heightened degree of protection, and often a good deal of peer support.. See also night shelter.

‘Safe haven’ is the term used for services funded under a particular US government programme, so longer being extended with new funding. Capturing the characteristic features of the services funded as safe havens may add something useful to the international dialogue that is not often heard.

Housing First

An approach that stresses the value of providing settled and secure accommodation before any attempts to provide ‘treatment’ .There are, however, other key principles that, it is argued, Housing First programmes should adopt, to be fully faithful to the model as originally developed. (See also ‘pre-treatment’).

housing-related support

In the UK, ‘housing related support’ was term used and loosely defined in a government-funded programme that has now been wound down. Many of the services set up over this period still exist, and many services till identify themselves with the original definition of their role, although there is now greater flexibility and fewer constraints over what work can be funded.

idiographic account

A description by a third party of an individual case – person or situation – that explores and illustrates one or more wider issues in some depth. See also ‘ case study’ for an example chosen specifically to exemplify a specific issue; ‘personal reflection’ for a first person account; also ‘narrative’ and ‘life journey’ for a sequence of events..

Immediate needs

Meeting ‘immediate needs’ – food and shelter – is for some services their sole ambition. For many, however, it is the first step in a process of relationship-building and engagement, with a series of further offers of support.

in-patient unit

Although the focus on this community is on homelessness services, there are homeless people on acute wards; and discharge liaison requires a better understanding and knowledge of services. Meanwhile, it appears some psychiatric services are beginning to adopt some of the PIE principles.


Use this term, in preference to “private sector”, for individuals or small teams, such as trainers and consultants, providing their own services for a fee.


Individual Budgets are an approach to funding of support and care services whereby the vulnerable individual is given some measure of control over the kind of highly personalised support they will receive, within an agreed budget allocation for themselves. In some cases, the individual has full control over the budget; in others, they have a major say in what is provided and how the budget is spent, but are not themselves the budget-holders..

individual support

Everybody is an individual – though some, perhaps more so than others. ‘Individual support’ should therefore refer only to those services that take especial care to provide a bespoke service, rather than offering membership of a group or community of service users. (See also ‘Individual Budgets’, ‘social therapy’ and ‘therapeutic community; )

introducing PIE frameworks

Exploring or encouraging early take-up of this approach and thinking in an organisation of service that has not consciously worked in this way in the past


Phenomenology is an approach to understanding which takes the subjective experience of the individual as central to understanding their thought, emotions, actions, and interactions in their social world.  There are a number of different applications of phenomenology as method.  For example, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is a qualitative research method in psychology which entails analysing core issues through the lived experience of the participants, but generalised by the author/researcher, to pick out key underlying themes.

See also idiographic account, personal reflection, participant observation, narrative analysis, empowerment practice.


Keyring models of support are social networks created and maintained to improve the quality of life for an identified group of vulnerable individuals primarily through social and peer support, though usually with volunteer befrienders and staff co-ordinators, Keyrings were first developed in services for people with learning difficulties, but have since been also extended to people with mental health problems in need of informal support. These might perhaps be thought of as day services, clubhouses or core and cluster models without a centre or residential core. Circles of support are volunteers who support one vulnerable individual, usually with high risks, such as former sex-offenders.

KUF training

Training in and/or using the ‘Knowledge and Understanding Framework’ for personality disorder.

life journey

An account of an individual’s life history (or part of it). See also ‘personal reflection’, ‘narrative’, ‘idiographic account’.

local catchment area

A catchment area is the geographical area covered by (and so defined by) a local government or similar administrative body, that in effect defines the range of services. If your service is local but NOT limited by local authority funding you probably want to use “other” – and give more detail in a personal profile?


A locality, at least as will use the term here, means a smaller sub-district within a town or city, usually with some special reasons to be a focus of services, such as area poverty or a concentration of other needs.

long-term support housing

There are many possible models of long-term support, in which the support maybe provided integral with or independent of the housing provider. See also ‘night shelter’, ‘clubhouse’, ‘core and cluster’, ‘safe haven’.

management studies

The perspective of a business school, which – contrary to popular assumptions – can often include critical theory accounts of business models and economics.


“Mentalisation” is a term with its origins in psychology, whereas “mindfulness” has its origins in spiritual practices such as meditation. However, in recent years considerable research uses the two terms as if they were different aspects of the same thing, and so we do not attempt to distinguish them here.

methodology discussion

An explicit discussion of the suitability of particular methodologies (as distinct from a simple statement of methodology, as all research should have).

middle manager

NB: ‘Middle’, as used here, may prove too ambiguous a term, covering organisations with few or many levels in the management hierarchy. But here we mean to refer to those who do not have ultimate responsibility for the organisation as a whole, as a CEO or Board member will do.

move on

See night shelter. ‘Move on’ or ‘half way’ (ie: to independent living) is accommodation, provided (usually) by the same agency that had earlier provided more intensive support, that individuals take on a short term basis, with a view to moving on eventually. There is considerable argument currently on how valuable or necessary such accommodation is; but it might be more helpful to explore who it is valuable and necessary for.

multiple exclusion

Like ‘complex needs (see below), multiple exclusion is lately beginning to be used as a client group definition, as a counterpart to ‘complex needs’. To cater for this (and encourage it), we include it in this list.

narrative account

A simple description of a sequence of events, such as to a development in a project, a policy, or an individual’s life.


Not all flexibility necessarily is devoted to being more ‘needs-led’; but they tend to go together; without flexibility, being ‘needs-led’ is compromised. Therefore here we do link the two, rather than offering them as separate categories.

New Public Management

The approach to provision of state-funded services whereby independent agencies are commissioned to provide these services, operating as businesses, and accountable to the state (central or local government) for ‘delivery’ of these ‘outcomes’.

night shelter

In the US, the term ‘shelter’ is used to cover all forms of sheltered accommodation, including those that in the UK would be termed hostels, foyers or refuges, half-way houses and long-term supported accommodation (see below).

To avoid confusion, we propose to use the term ‘night shelter’ for services that offer night-by-night (or ‘direct access’) accommodation.


The line between offenders and ex-offenders seems to be a convention: prisoners are ‘offenders’, as are those on probation or release; those with an offending history and still at high risk , and/or needing support to establish an new life, to such a degree that they constitute a client group, are ‘ex-offenders’.

older people

We don’t specify a lower age limit to older age. Use this if it seems relevant to your service or interests

organisational culture

The way things are done, as a matter of attitude or philosophy, rather than the specifics of service delivery or the particular “rules of engagement” ( See also ‘rules of engagement’; ‘values-based practice’, ‘faith-based practice’, ‘social value/purpose’)

other client

Let us know of any other significant client group definitions, and we will add them in future if there is sufficient demand. See ‘folksonomy’

other health concerns

The prevalence of gambling addictions is just being recognised; but perhaps not enough to merit a category of its own. But the ‘other’ category may allow us to assess the prevalence of a range other issues, which we can then feed into a research agenda.

other health issues

The prevalence of gambling addictions is just being recognised; but perhaps not enough to merit a category of its own. But the ‘other’ category may allow us to assess the prevalence of a range other issues, which we can then feed into a research agenda.

participant observation

In sociology, participant observation describes a method of study in which a researcher joins in living, working or otherwise hanging out with the people whose lifestyle and thinking he or she is studying, in order to get an in-depth, insider’s view of what the world means to those s/he is studying. For non-academics, we can use this term to describe a perspective on a subject based on the author’s working knowledge of the field. For more personal reflection on an individual’s own experience, use ‘personal reflection’.

participatory research

Participatory research uses members of the community or client group as equal colleagues in devising and then running the research exercise, and formulating any conclusions. (See also Experts by Experience)

particular ethnic group

You may specify the particular ethnic group in your personal profile and/ or via a link to the agency website


Actively seeking and creating inter-agency relationships and co-ordination (ie: at managerial level, not just in casework with individuals) . See also ‘system broker’.

Payment by Results

PbR is an approach to funding of support and care services whereby services are paid only according to the measured effectiveness of their service, according to pre-specified outcome measures. (See ‘New Public Management’, ‘metrics and measures’, ‘Individual Budgets’ etc

peer mentor

Mentoring is a more specific and mutually agreed support relationship than befriending, which is more informal.

personal reflection

See participant observation; also narrative account, life journey.

personality disorder

See also ‘complex trauma’


“Psychologically informed planned environments”. This is the term currently in use for PIEs or EEs in the criminal justice system in the UK. (See also “enabling environment”)

policy or strategy

Policy and strategy may be a distinct job title for some workers; or may be simply part of the overall responsibilities of a staff member, from CEO to middle or service manager, depending on the culture of devolution in any service or area.

practice examples

We avoid here the term ‘good’ or ‘best’ practice, which suggests (wrongly) that services should follow some other services’ example, rather than coming up with their own answers. But here we record examples of practice that have been nominated by others as good examples, to learn from rather than to emulate (See also: case study, as a research methodology)


An approach focussed on engagement. (See especially the page here on the subject; also Levy, 2013, 2014; also Levy’s various videos)


For these purposes, we propose to distinguish “private sector” and “independent”, using “private sector” for a company with shareholders and employees, and “independent” for a small enterprise with one or a handful of partners, such as trainers and consultants, providing their own services for a fee.


The study of the meaning of place, or a place, in the lived experience of the inhabitants; as a blend of human geography with critical theory, the term has its origins in radical counter-culture thought  (see for example the Wikipedia entry on the subject), but is open to further re-appropriation….

psychological model

One of the typical or defining features of a psychologically informed environment. See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .


Strictly speaking, post-traumatic stress disorder applies to the consequences of one major stress. It has been suggested that a pattern of accumulated stresses might be called “chronic PTSD”; but we prefer the term “complex trauma”, as it is the enmeshing complexity as much as the duration that is the key issue. (See also ‘complex needs’)

reflective practice

One of the typical and/or defining features of a psychologically informed environment. See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .

refugees or asylum seekers

To side-step legal arguments, we may eventually wish to include all vulnerable migrants in this group


A region is essentially an administrative term, rather than a geographical or historical one (though often based closely on historical and cultural ties). By ‘region’ here we propose to mean any range that goes significantly beyond the boundaries of one local authority catchment area.  (It’s hard to come up with a better definition or term; but if you have one, let us know.)

representation and campaigning

A membership-based organisation that exists to articulate and actively promote the needs and views of its members, and/or the particular community of interest that its members cares for

roll out of  PIE models

Spreading the use of a PIE approach (one or more models) from one service or part of an organisation where it is established, to others in the same service.

roll out of PIEs thinking

Spreading the use of a PIE approach (one or more models) from one service or part of an organisation where it is already established to others in the same service

rough sleepers/sofa surfers

NB: not all rough sleepers are sleeping on the streets (see ‘street outreach’); and here, for the moment at least,  the term will include those ‘sofa surfing’ – staying temporarily with friends or acquaintances.

rules of engagement

Carefully thought-through ‘rules of engagement’, taking into account users’ psychological and emotional needs, are seen as typical or defining features of a psychologically informed environment. See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .

schema therapy

A recent variant of CBT. 


The psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the term ‘self-actualisation’ to describe what he saw as the highest of all human ‘needs’.Those from a culture less focussed on individualistic striving may see belonging to a community, and taking collective action, as equally valid. Here the term covers and equates creative self-expression, such as in the arts, with individuality (as in: ‘I did it my way’) and living life to the full ( see also ‘recovery’).


The US psychologist  Abraham Maslow coined the term ‘self-actualisation’ in the 1940s to describe what he saw as the highest of all human ‘needs’. The term covers creative self-expression, such as in the arts, with individuality (as in:  ‘I did it my way’) and living life to the full. Those from a culture less focussed on individualistic  striving may see belonging to a community, and taking collective action, as equally valid.  ( See also ‘positive psychology’, recovery’, ’empowerment’).

service broker

A service broker is someone who does more than advocate or case manage for an individual; a broker has an agreed role and mandate within a network of organisations – usually at local level – to alert services to any changes they may need to make, in order for these services be better able to accommodate individuals with complex needs

service development

As with policy and strategy, service development may be a specific role, or an issue that all frontline managers will be dealing with. (Use this also for ‘new business’ development.)

service user

Most people don’t much like the term ‘service user’; we know some really dislike it. But it IS the most generalisable term we can find.

sex workers

It is perhaps a moot point whether it is the sex workers themselves that are the ‘clients’ here; but some services do focus on this group; and they are thus, to that extent, the clients of such services.


Beyond the LGBT community as a category, we don’t specify further at this stage at least.

single homeless

Services and issues that apply specifically or primarily to single homeless people.

social therapy

An approach with its roots originally in social psychiatry, which uses social and practical activities as opportunities and material for personal growth – whether or not described formally as ‘therapy’. (See also ‘greencare’ and ‘therapeutic community’ for specific variants. But many activities may operate informally as therapy.)

staff development

As we use it here, staff development is a role within an organisation. (NB: an independent trainer, though contracted to work with an organisation’s staff, is a ‘trainer’.) For these purposes, use ‘staff training and support’ for issues more specific to working with psychological and emotional needs of service users.

staff morale

Use this keyword for a range of concerns over staff support as a problem; for staff support as a positive issue, use “staff development” or ‘staff training and support’.

staff training and support

See Keats et al: “Psychologically informed services”; also Johnson: “A handy guide to PIEs” (Video) .

street outreach

The term ‘street’ here is not to be defined too narrowly. People may sleep in parks, fields, on buses and under bridges. 


A supporter of any service or approach will be someone with no other more formal role.

systemic failure

The argument that ‘complex needs’ reflect a welfare services system that has become too rigid,  and that it is this rigidity, just as much as the complexity of individuals’ needs, that accounts for the marginalisation, disadvantage and exclusion of individuals with complex needs.

theory of change

The underlying beliefs in use about how things and people change, as distinct from the particular methods or measurements used to make or monitor change.

therapeutic community

UK : Treatment approaches called therapeutic communities in the Uk operate primarily in the field of mental health (and especially personality disorder), and tend to be democratic and ‘permissive’ (ie: with relatively few strictly enforced rules of conduct), in contrast to the usage in the US, where the term is used primarily in substance abuse treatment services,  which are generally strict over what behaviour is expected, and more ‘hierarchical’ in the way they are enforced. There has been much long debate about the essence of a TC  (see Johnson, 2012)

US : Treatment approaches called therapeutic communities in the US operate primarily in the field of substance abuse, and tend to be strict about members’ permitted behaviour (eg: abstinence), and hierarchical, in contrast to the usage in the UK, where the term is used for a more democratic and less rule-governed (or “permissive”) approach.. There has been much long debate about the essence of a TC  (see Johnson, 2012)

time banks

An exchange scheme by which volunteer workers gain credits by their work, which can be exchanged for other goods of services. ( See “Gardiner : Manageable Chunks of Time”)


Early difficulties may have lasting effects, and  entrenched  (or ‘chronic’)  problems may need long-term solutions and relationships: yet services’ funding tends to be organised in short-term cycles, and research often likewise. Use this keyword for any discussion on suitable and un-suitable timescales of support and evidence-gathering, as well as for more ‘pure research’ questions; it is unlikely that separating these issues would be helpful.


Anyone who provides specific training modules for staff or others, either as part of their role within one organisation, or as an offer to other organisations.

trans-local comparison

An attempt to shed new light on any phenomenon or research – especially contradictory findings – by a better understanding of the localised context of practice.  This approach therefore may compare and contrast one country with another, one region, city or town, even one part of town or smaller area, in an attempt to learn from the comparison. See also ‘policy/political context’.

transactional analysis

TA is blend of psychodynamics with games theory; transactional analysis treats interactions as interesting phenomena in their own right, and not solely as expressions of the personalities of the participants. For an example, see the Drama Triangle video.

trauma-informed care

See the relevant section of this site for a discussion of TIC and its links with PIEs.

urban studies

A range of studies spanning architecture and human geography, and especially exploring the relationship between them.


Unlike a history of offending, a history of working in the armed services is not stigmatising, and not an identify issues that people wish to live down. We include the term here, to be used only where it is relevant to the issues some individuals now face, and the support these individuals now need. The US terms veterans is becoming more common in UK parlance; but for the moment we here use both.

vulnerable adults

NB: It is better to use “all or any group”, in Demographics, if the range of your service or interests are not confined to vulnerable adults. Use this to mean specifically those with particular care and support needs.

young people

We don’t specify an upper age limit to youth. Use this if it seems relevant to your service or interests.