The milieu is a supportive environment in which Menninger staff work with patients to provide safety and structure while assessing the patient’s relationships and behavior. A consistent routine is maintained, which fosters predictability and trust. A milieu is considered therapeutic when the program’s community provides a sense of civility, membership, belonging, care and accountability.
Milieu structure helps patients contain negative behavior and provides an opportunity to remedy situations through staff and peer feedback and modeling constructive behavior.
Patients work with their professional peers and staff to take responsibility for the welfare of others in their community and the community as a whole. Menninger’s therapeutic community provides a set of values and norms for behavior with the expectation that community members will participate in activities, value one another as individuals and learn to care for themselves and their peers.
This community offers a safe, nurturing environment in which patients can share their problems and reflect upon their lives, their belief systems and the effects of their behavior.
The Menninger milieu also provides a place for the patient to integrate new and positive experiences, practice new skills and reassess themselves in relationships with others. Activities that foster these objectives include a weekly community meeting, leisure activities and daily group activities on the unit.