Good Hope Story

This is very likely one of the hardest stories I have ever given. I will take you back to the age of thirteen. This is where my addiction started even though it More »

WHOS Sunshine Coast Client reflection

I was born in Gladstone Qld on the 23/10/1979.  My mother and father separated when I was one year of age. Mum found a new boyfriend who was her partner til I More »

WHOS New Beginnings Client Story

My life before I got to New Beginnings was very depressing. I was out of control in so many ways. I had recently moved back from Mt Isa and was in a More »

WHOS MTAR Client Story

Prior to coming to WHOS MTAR my life was unmanageable to the extent where even going to the chemist to pick up my methadone was a struggle. I was stuck in a More »

WHOS Gunyah Client Story

I was surrounded by drugs from an early age. My father was addicted to drugs and there wasn’t many times I did not see him with a beer in hand or some More »

RTOD Client Male 35 years old – 110 mg Methadone

Before I thought about coming to WHOS RTOD I had done about 12 detox programs and thought every time I could stay clean myself. It took a long time to realize this More »

WHOS RTOD Client Female 35 years old – 130 mg Methadone

Life before WHOS RTOD was absolute hell for me. I have one sister who is alive and 2 brothers deceased. My father passed away last year and my mum is dying from More »

Hunter resident reflections

What it was like. At the age of 11 it was just natural to me that everyone used drugs, I thought nothing of it. I listened to everyone glorifying it so I More »


Hi, my name is Sophie and I am an alcoholic. I will be eternally grateful to the Therapeutic Community at Cyrenian House, my counsellor, my very wise sponsor,  my Higher Power, my More »



Looking for some support?

This website provides the names and contact details of ATCA members, all of which are available to help you or someone you know who has an alcohol or other drug problem.

Navigating the system is easy –

  1. Click on the Referrals button at the top of this page
  2. Select the location (Australian state or territory or New Zealand) from the drop-down box
  3. This will then open a further drop-down box with a list of TCs (e.g. there are 15 listed in NSW)
  4. Click on the name of a TC and follow the information provided on referrals

There are many things to consider when you are seeking treatment and rehabilitation for yourself or someone in your life.

We are here to help, and wish you well on this important journey.

Our History

In 1985, the Social Issues in Australia Survey was conducted to obtain benchmark data on attitudes to drugs, and led to the establishment of The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, following a Special Premiers’ Conference in Melbourne. The conference brought together treatment providers from across Australia, including a small group of people who were operating residential treatment programs as Therapeutic Communities (TCs) but who had remained largely unconnected from each other.

In 1986, following the Special Premiers’ Conference, this group met at Odyssey House in Melbourne and agreed to the establishment of the Australian (later to become the Australasian) Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA). ATCA was established as a membership association whose purpose was to bring together Therapeutic Communities from across Australia & New Zealand and to support and promote the TC as a method of treatment for substance dependency.

From 1986 – 2006, ATCA operated as a voluntary group with an elected Board of Management, providing peer support and training to its members and working together to ensure quality standards of treatment were maintained. In 2006, the Association received a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing which provided funding to establish a secretariat to, “provide information aimed at improving the quality of TC services in the areas of treatment, research, education and support”. This grant facilitated the employment of an Executive Officer to take responsibility for fulfilling these goals.

Since 2006, ATCA membership has grown by 70%, with ATCA members managing 69 TCs in community and custodial settings across Australia and New Zealand. ATCA members also provide a range of non-residential services, and over the course of a year will provide residential services to over 9,000 people and out-client support to a further 24,000. These services include detoxification units, family, gambling and mental health counselling, child care facilities, family support programs, exit housing and outreach services.

TCs are a proven model of effective treatment for a range of issues, including substance use and mental health, and have been shown to be especially effective for people with coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) conditions and those affected by chronic substance dependency. The research base is steadily growing through active partnerships between member agencies and universities. Of particular note are the partnerships with the Universities of New South Wales, Newcastle, Wollongong, Monash and Deakin, with a growing number of papers published in quality peer reviewed journals in Australia and internationally.

ATCA Standard

The support of the Australian Government through the Department of Health was further enhanced in 2008, with funding to develop the ATCA Standard. The ATCA Standard was first launched in 2009 and since that time has been trialed and modified through peer review. In 2014 the ATCA Standard for Therapeutic Communities and Residential Rehabilitation Services was certified by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and is now available on the ATCA website ( . Also available on the website is the Interpretive Guide to assist TCs and residential services wishing to undertake a review or accreditation against the ATCA Standard.

To navigate your way to the ATCA Standard, click on the Members tab at the top of this page, and then on ATCA Standard, where you will find a copy of the ATCA Standard and the ATCA Interpretive Guide, together with information on the ATCA Quality Portal, which has been developed in partnership with Breaking New Ground.

Our Vision

The Therapeutic Community model of treatment is recognised and embraced by community and governments across Australasia.

Our Mission

We support, represent and advocate for programs that restore a sense of self, hope and belonging through the use of the Therapeutic Community model of treatment.

Our purpose

  • To advance the Therapeutic Communities Model in Australasia
  • To promote community awareness of the Therapeutic Communities Model of treatment in Australasia
  • To ensure consistency in approach through the application of the ATCA Essential Elements in practice
  • To encourage capacity building in Therapeutic Communities through a variety of peer support and professional development opportunities
  • To advocate for recognition and funding for Therapeutic Communities in Australasia
  • To encourage and support ongoing research into the Therapeutic Communities Model
  • To support and network with organisations and individuals interested in, or aspiring to become members of the ATCA

Our Reconciliation Vision

atcaimage30ATCA has always acknowledged the need to ensure that our services are both accessible and appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds. Cultural security is about ensuring that the delivery of health services is such that no one person is afforded a less favourable outcome simply because she or he holds a different cultural outlook.

ATCA is committed to applying this principle in practice across all aspects of organisational governance and planning, service delivery and all relationships with individuals and organisations. We aim to further develop positive relationships and ways of working that will contribute to improving the health and wellbeing and dignity of all Australasians.

More reading:

ATCA-Strategic-Plan 2017-2021

Therapeutic Community Model of Treatment

ATCA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH). We acknowledge the financial support provided to the ATCA Secretariat and to the development and implementation of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) Standard.