Milieu Therapy


Summary of Article The interdisciplinary clinical approach to inpatient psychiatric treatment known as milieu therapy, while still widely used, requires modification if it is to remain an effective treatment approach in the contemporary period. Milieu therapy evolved during periods of economic and social conditions significantly different from those prevailing in the 1990s. Among the more significant of the changes in psychiatric treatment wrought by changes in the economic ad social environments is the trend toward shortstay inpatient treatment. This article suggests that, to remain a viable treatment approach, milieu therapy must embrace transformed treatment goals. As an example, crisis intervention and symptom stabilization might be sought in lieu of lasting personality change.

As a future nurse, the information presented in this article is important to me because it illustrates how the role of the psychiatric nurse may be expected to change in relation to milieu therapy. In the earlier concept of milieu therapy, the role of the nurse was expected, in most instances, to be supportive but noninterpretative. In the transformed concept of milieu therapy, nurses with advanced training are expected to serve as individual and family psychotherapists in shortstay inpatient settings and, importantly, in posthospitalization outpatient followup care. The role of the nurse, thus, is transformed



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