Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation

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The Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation[1] is a comprehensive and dynamic program of support and opportunities for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses. In contrast to traditional day-treatment and other day program models, Clubhouse participants are called "members" (as opposed to "patients" or "clients") and restorative activities focus on their strengths and abilities, not their illness. The Clubhouse is unique in that it is not a clinical program, meaning there are no therapists or psychiatrists on staff. All clinical aspects of the program have been removed so as to focus on the strengths of the individual, rather than their illness. Additionally, all participation in a clubhouse is strictly on a voluntary basis.

Clubhouse International, formerly International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD),[2] lays out four guaranteed Rights of membership, which are at the core of the Clubhouse Model:

  1. A right to a place to come;
  2. A right to meaningful relationships;
  3. A right to meaningful work; and
  4. A right to a place to return.

The members and staff of a Clubhouse work side-by-side to manage all the operations of the Clubhouse, providing an opportunity for members to contribute in significant and meaningful ways; therefore, a Clubhouse is operated in a partnership model with members and staff working side-by-side as colleagues. Through this environment of support, acceptance, and commitment to the potential contribution and success of each individual, Clubhouses are places where people can belong as contributing adults, rather than passing their time as patients who need to be treated. The Clubhouse Model seeks to demonstrate that people with mental illness can successfully live productive lives and work in the community, regardless of the nature or severity of their mental illness. Currently, there are over 325 clubhouses in 28 countries around the world.


The Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation was recognized as an effective approach as a result of an agenda for mental health reform mandated by congress through the National Mental Health Reform Advisory Committee under the United State Senate Joint Commission on Mental Health Reform and Chairmanship of Edward M. Kennedy, convene in or about 1975 in closed sessions classified sensitive, strictly confidential. The Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation was first proposed as a safe house for individuals of the mentally ill community seeking to emplement their agenda for mental health reform and revolutionize mental health free from opposition or resistance. The so-called "We Are Not Alone (WANA) organization was one of about six mental health reform advisory committees from across the United States who each submitted their recommendations for an agenda for mental health reform. WANA's agenda recommended rebuilding the traditional huge psychiatric institution/facility(s). In 1944, a small group of people who recently had been discharged from a New York state psychiatric hospital united to create a group known as "We Are Not Alone (WANA)". Initially started as a self-help organization, WANA later evolved into a highly successful and innovative community-based program to assist people with mental illness to reclaim the lives and aspirations they had lost during the time of their illness. Elizabeth Schermerhorn, a former hospital technician at Rockwell hospital, helped the members of WANA to get organized.[3] She was born in a wealthy family and collected funds for the WANA among the New York Jungian socialites.[4] She had met Michael Obolenski at Rockland State Hospital and was familiar with Hiram K. Johnson's teachings which insisted on self-reliance and peer-support.[5] In 1948 Fountain House the first clubhouse, was opened in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan. With the help of dedicated volunteers Fountain House officially purchased a building in the early 1950s." The Fountain House program became the template for what became the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial rehabilitation in 1977 with over 325 other programs eventually adopting the recovery model in 28 countries around the world. Given its longstanding history and status within the clubhouse community, Fountain House was and continues to be closely affiliated with the governing body Clubhouse International which was created by the global community of Clubhouses.[6][7][full citation needed]

The Typical Clubhouse[edit]

Clubhouse Units: Clubhouses are divided into various work units designed to manage the everyday tasks associated with the operation of the clubhouse. Typical work units may include Clerical, Food Services, Facilities/Environmental, Reach Out (contacting and supporting members who have not attended the Clubhouse in a while), Membership, Education, Advocacy, Social Recreation, and Employment. The work of each unit is further divided into specific, manageable tasks. When a member joins the clubhouse, he or she selects a "home unit", according to his or her interests and abilities. The member can then sign up to perform the unit tasks, giving him or her an opportunity to work side-by-side with the clubhouse staff in a unique partnership and to contribute in meaningful ways to the overall operation of the clubhouse. All member contribution inside the clubhouse is done so on a voluntary basis; payment of a member to work in the clubhouse is considered unethical, regardless of work performed or hours put in.

Community Employment: Clubhouses offer a tiered employment program designed to integrate interested members back into meaningful and gainful employment in the community. The first step of the program is Transitional Employment (TE), in which members can work in meaningful part-time jobs outside the clubhouse procured through partnerships with community entities and businesses. The member selected by the clubhouse community for these position(s) are trained by a clubhouse staff and/or member who are in charge of that particular placement. As an incentive to the employer, job attendance and performance are guaranteed, as a staff and/or member will support or even fill-in for the clubhouse member if he or she needs to be absent for any reason. Each member contribution at a Transitional Employment position is designed to be transitional and temporary, lasting for six to nine months, as these positions belong to the clubhouse, and are designed in such a way so that ideally all members will have an opportunity to work. Each member of a clubhouse who participates in a Transitional Employment position is guaranteed to earn minimum wage or above. Additionally, all clubhouse TE positions are entry level so that all members have the opportunity to work in all positions. The single most important factor in placing members in TE positions is the individual's desire to work.

The second step is supported employment, in which the clubhouse community helps an interested member obtain his or her own employment and serves as a resource and support for résumé makeup, interviewing skills, transportation, and employer liaisons.

The third step is independent employment, in which the member is meaningfully and gainfully employed without the intervention (but always with the support) of the clubhouse community.

Other Aspects of the Clubhouse Model

In addition to in-house and community-based work opportunities, clubhouses generally offer a wide array of other member services, including housing support and placement, benefit advocacy, case management, financial planning, evening and weekend social programs, continuing education support, and regional and international conferences. As with all aspects of clubhouse operations, these services and programs are administered through the joint efforts of both clubhouse members and staff.

Flourish House[edit]


Flourish House is a Glasgow-based Clubhouse charity which has moved since its creation in Dixon Street, Glasgow. It is now situated in Ashley Street. In 2014/15 membership increased from 147–160 participants. Flourish House is modeled on the clubhouse model. It has focused on the recovery and co-production embedded in the make-up of psycho-social rehabilitation.[8] [9]


In the spring of 1996 the Glasgow Association for Mental Health (GAMH) arranged for a group of staff and members, from the recently established Mosaic Club House in London, to visit Glasgow to speak at a seminar on the future of mental health services in Glasgow. Service users, core staff and service commissioners heard first-hand about the clubhouse model and its benefits for people with mental illness.[10] Funding was made available by the Greater Glasgow Health Board, and in 1997 Flourish House was established.

Clubhouse Units[edit]

The upstairs unit at Flourish house is divided up into three main areas: education, business and admin, and employment. As with the downstairs unit, each area offers tasks as part of the work-ordered day. For example, selling on eBay and writing for The Flourish Times newsletter. Group activities in the upstairs unit includes literacy and I.T. classes. Film screenings can also be held upstairs. The downstairs unit at Flourish House is also divided into three main areas: reception, The Flourish Café, and the garden. Each area offers additional tasks as part of the work-ordered day. Clubhouse members take calls, welcome other members, and guests at reception. Others help preparing and serving food in the café. Additionally, a weight management class is held downstairs.

Mosaic Clubhouse[edit]


Mosaic Clubhouse is based in the London borough of Lambeth. Since its inception in 1994 it has grown steadily and moved to new premises in 2013. In 2014/15 it supported over 600 people, approximately 70–80 members attend each day. Mosaic Clubhouse is one of only 10 Clubhouses worldwide which are designated as training bases, assisting other clubhouse to learn how to stay focused on the principles of recovery and co-production embedded in the DNA of the clubhouse model of psychosocial rehabilitation. Mosaic hosts three week training twice a year for members and staff.


Mosaic Clubhouse runs three main work units:

  1. Business and Administration Department
  2. Employment, Education and Information Department
  3. Hospitality, Horticulture and Facilities Department
  • The first of these, the business and administrative team of staff and members run reception, book rooms, pay invoices, enter information on the database, prepare board papers, routine typing and social media communications – all the things you would expect from an admin team. Learning to use a computer is one of the most popular requests from new members. This unit attracts many younger members as they also make videos, take photographs and generally offer a creative atmosphere.
  • The employment, education and information team of staff and members run the mental health information hub; a walk in, email and telephone information service run in partnership with Lambeth and Southwark Mind. Anyone with a mental health related query can contact Mosaic who host the living well partnership, a network of organisation who can offer advice and guidance though a system of appointments held at the clubhouse each week. Strong educational partnerships with Lambeth College, City Lit, Workers Educational Association and South London and Maudsley Recovery College enable members to access a wide variety of courses at the clubhouse and then move into mainstream education . Mosaic now offers 18 transitional employment opportunities (TEP) with different employers, members can choose from a range of jobs spending six to nine months gaining confidence and being supported to move on to supported and independent employment.
  • The Hospitality, Horticulture and Facilities team of staff and members run the café, order food, cook healthy meals, maintain the building and gardens, and are responsible for laundry and cleaning as well as banking for the café. The café is a favourite meeting place for other mental health organisations, it has a busy and vibrant atmosphere.

Mosaic is open every bank holiday, has a social (out in the community) event every Monday evening, keep fit and member led workshops (e.g. art, jewellery making) every Tuesday and has a football team that plays every Saturday morning. Healthy living is a key component of our focus. We keep people well and out of hospital because they feel part of a community that values them and helps them move on in their lives.[11]

Clubhouse International, Clubhouse Standards, and Accreditation[edit]

As more treatment programs began adopting and implementing the principles of the Clubhouse Model, the need for some sort of central organization and defining criteria of what a clubhouse comprises became apparent. In March 1994, the International Center for Clubhouse Development, now Clubhouse International, was created to serve and represent the rapidly growing clubhouse community. Through Clubhouse International, a set of International Standards for Clubhouse Programs were developed and consensually agreed upon by the worldwide clubhouse community, giving the first working definition of the Clubhouse Model of Rehabilitation. Every two years, the worldwide clubhouse community reviews the Standards, and amends them as deemed necessary. The process is coordinated by the Clubhouse International Standards Review Committee, which made up of members and staff of Clubhouse International-certified clubhouses from around the world. The Standards serve as a "bill of rights" for members and a code of ethics for staff, oversight boards, and administrators. The Standards consistently emphasize choice, respect, and opportunity for all clubhouse members. Currently, there are 36 standards.

These standards also provide the basis for assessing clubhouse quality, which is evaluated through the Clubhouse International certification process. Programs wishing to officially adopt the Clubhouse Model can request a visit from Clubhouse International Faculty Members (consisting of members and staff from various clubhouses around the world), who pay a three-day visit to the program, assessing its adherence to Clubhouse International Standards, giving feedback regarding the quality of the program, and, ultimately, deciding whether the official status of the program should be given the title of "Clubhouse".

Critique and assessment[edit]

Given the relative recency of the Clubhouse Model as a growing, viable alternative to traditional day-treatment programs, the literature regarding its effectiveness in treating mental illness as compared to other models is in the beginning stages.


  1. ^ "Clubhouse International". 
  2. ^ "Clubhouse International". 
  3. ^ Zaballos, Nausica. Vie et Mort d'un Hôpital Psychiatrique: Le Camarillo Hospital (1936-1996) L'Harmattan : Ethique et Pratique Médicales, 2014, pp.109-114.
  4. ^ Dincin, J. "Psychiatric Rehabilitation" Schizophrenia Bulletin, 13 : 131-147, 1975.
  5. ^ Goertzel V., Beard J., Pilnick S., "Fountain House Foundation: Case Study of an Expatient's Club" Journal of Social Issues, vol.16, issue 2, pp.54-61, spring 1960.
  6. ^ Fountain House Website
  7. ^ Clubhouse International website>
  8. ^ [1],
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2016-01-14. , VOX Scotland.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Home Page : Mosaic Clubhouse". Mosaic Clubhouse. 

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