Keyword Groups: Approaches or Techniques

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.

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’).


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)


“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.

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.)

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.