A popular therapeutic approach in group counseling is milieu therapy. As more individuals receive treatment for their mental health in their communities rather than as inpatients in institutions, milieu therapy is growing in popularity and significance. 

Not many individuals outside the mental health field know about milieu therapy. However, if an individual is receiving therapy for a mental illness, they may be intuitively acquainted with it. In this article, we will discuss milieu therapy, its core principles, and examples.

To support the work of the people working on TherapyHunter.com, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Looking for a specialist?
Get matched with a Milieu therapist online.

Price Comparison In-Person vs. Online Therapy

Even though milieu therapy is essentially a kind of group therapy, it can be done online with a certified therapist and other patients. It may even be a more affordable option as compared with in-person therapy at a clinic or therapist’s office. 

In-person therapy sessions can cost anywhere from $75 to $200. On the other hand, online therapy on platforms like BetterHelp is much more cost-effective. For instance, BetterHelp charges $60 to $90 per week, which includes one live therapy session and unlimited communication with the therapist on text. You’re billed every four weeks, so the monthly cost comes down to $240 to $360, which includes four live sessions. 

In-Person Therapy BetterHelp
$75 to $200 per session

$60 to $90 weekly

1 live session weekly


$240 to $360 monthly

4 live sessions monthly

Get 15% off on BetterHelp.com

milieu therapy examples

5/5 - (1 vote)

What is Milieu Therapy? 

The French term milieu defines the person’s social context. Milieu therapy has long been practiced in mental wards, psychiatric institutions, and regular hospitals. 

As a form of psychotherapy, milieu therapy aims to manage your surroundings to keep you safe. Furthermore, it also aims to promote positive attitudes and enhance your capacity to acquire new mental health skills. 

Other therapeutic techniques can be used in conjunction with this therapeutic strategy. It functions by organizing the treatment environment to provide patients a sense of safety and security while they are receiving care. 

Additionally, milieu therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims in establishing therapeutic communities among groups of patients who come together for treatment sessions.  

Substance misuse and schizophrenia are only two of the many problems and psychological illnesses that therapists treat using milieu therapy. 

Milieu therapy can be implemented in different therapy settings such as psychiatric nursing, residential treatment centers, alcohol rehab centers, inpatient psychiatry, and community mental health services. 

To make participants feel more comfortable expressing themselves, milieu therapy provides a secure environment. On the other hand, in a group environment, individuals may interact with one another and their therapist and receive rapid feedback that can help them make better treatment decisions. 


Milieu therapy setting is established and supported by the therapist so that the individuals can start to feel more at ease. Thus, enhancing their mental health. 

To allow shared authority rather than having all power rest with the therapist, it is essential that patients and healthcare professionals respect one another. Furthermore, the participants are accountable for their actions. 

Patient education is a different approach that may be utilized in conjunction with milieu treatment. In order to better equip them to handle their condition, patients with mental health disorders get education about it.

Additionally, family support is crucial in milieu treatment. Family members are the ones who give the patient support outside of therapy. Hence it is crucial that they are frequently included in the therapeutic process.

The milieu therapy includes a number of different elements, including:

  • Open therapeutic dialogue aims to offer patient support, and workers encourage patients to talk openly. Each patient will advance at a different rate. Therefore, staff members need to adopt a tailored approach and give the patient time to become used to the therapeutic procedure.
  • Interactions between staff members that are structured and predictable help to establish a routine for the patient. The patient will develop confidence in the team via regular contact, which may lead to open and honest dialogue. 
  • Power-sharing as the patient advances in therapy, they will take on leadership roles and take part in decision-making processes with staff members.

Looking for a specialist?
Get matched with a Milieu therapist online.

To support the work of the people working on TherapyHunter.com, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Examples of Milieu Therapy

Milieu treatment emphasizes the environment and the community rather than promoting reliance on mental health professionals and staff. 

Licensed mental health professionals that specialize in milieu therapy provide it to patients in either an outpatient or inpatient environment, depending on their requirements. 

Several strategies could be applied when putting milieu therapy into practice. For instance, in addition to milieu therapy, individuals with mental health issues including drug misuse, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia may require psychiatric treatment assistance. 

For individuals with anger issues, therapy can include a mix of anger management counseling in addition to milieu therapy so they can interact with society more successfully.

An example of how milieu therapy strategies are put into practice includes making sure that the physical environment is welcoming and comfortable. It also includes organizing a recreational activity that will foster high levels of participation and interpersonal interaction. 

Another example is organizing a day around community meetings, skill-training groups, and work tasks. Each of these activities contributes to shaping the environment in a way that makes it possible for the people receiving services to achieve their goals. 

The chance for social contact is one of the most important components of milieu-based therapy. Patients are able to assume leadership positions and handle social issues during group treatment or activities.

How Does Milieu Therapy Work?

According to milieu therapy, a therapeutic setting is essential to the therapeutic process and required for transformation. On the other hand, collaboration among experts from many fields is used to advance milieu therapy.

It may incorporate many forms of normally structured therapies including individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. These sessions are open to clients as well as to their partners, families, and other supporters.

Milieu therapy makes use of a variety of environmental factors and therapeutic philosophies. It begins by demonstrating that the space is organized, secure, and pleasant. 

The environment is entirely within the therapists’ control, allowing them to tailor it to encourage the desired transformations. The therapeutic atmosphere is controlled in every aspect.

milieu therapy

Benefits of Milieu Therapy

Milieu therapy is employed in a variety of clinical settings and is effective in treating a wide range of maladaptive behaviors and mental health conditions. 

The treatment is a special strategy to treat drug addiction disorders in people. Milieu treatment may be beneficial for the following conditions:

In addition to addressing the disorders mentioned above, milieu treatment can lower recidivism rates. The efficacy of milieu treatment has been shown by several studies. 

Milieu therapy for patients with severe mental illness has long been seen as a key therapeutic tool. This kind of treatment focuses on the unique therapeutic elements in the setting that support effective treatment.

In a 2020 study, the effectiveness of milieu treatment for patients with schizophrenia in an inpatient environment was evaluated. While the other group simply received standard hospital care, the researchers offered milieu therapy to half of the individuals.

The individuals who underwent milieu treatment showed bigger decreases in aggressiveness, self-harm, and deviant behavior than the control group. 

On the other hand, the elements of the milieu work together to create the “milieu experience,” which aims to assist and educate clients about particular treatment challenges, coping skills, and involvement via a consistent, pleasant, and secure atmosphere.


Milieu therapy is frequently utilized in group counseling for people from all different types of demographics and has demonstrated advantages for persons with a wide range of mental health and behavioral difficulties. 

This approach utilizes the environment in a special way to foster therapeutic involvement that goes beyond the confines of individual treatment sessions. Milieu therapy places a strong emphasis on shared accountability and reciprocal respect.

Numerous psychiatric and behavioral problems have been treated with it. But like many forms of therapy, its success depends on the patients and therapists involved. 

Finding a program that gives assistance as you transition from the treatment facility to the greater community is crucial if you are thinking about milieu therapy.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *