What is Social Therapy?

From the website of ACESTA (Association for those working with people with complex needs in Care, Education and Social Therapy out of Anthroposophy; website no longer available):

There are two primary streams within anthroposophical social care:

Anthroposophical Curative Education (ACE) is a specific method and approach to the work with children with special and complex needs developed by Rudolf Steiner PhD.  It is practised in the fields of education, care and therapy. ‘Curative Education’ is a translation from the German word ‘Heilpädagogik’. Rudolf Steiner developed the holistic understanding of the human being known as anthroposophy. Other terms used for the work with children and young people would be Social Pedagogy (as in Camphill Schools in Aberdeen), and Therapeutic Education (as in Ruskin Mill Education Trust).

ACE works with this holistic view of the human being considering physical, soul and spiritual needs when responding to the individual. The uniqueness and integrity of each individual is central to this approach which aims to promote the ability of vulnerable individuals to develop their full potential to participate in society...

Anthroposophical Social Therapy (AST) is a specific method and approach to the inclusive integration of vulnerable adults in community, both in the home life and in the working life.  The capacity of each individual to contribute is balanced with support for their physical, psychological and spiritual needs. Wherever possible coworkers and those with special needs share their lives in the house communities, and innovative ways are being sought for those who prefer to live semi- independently within the shelter of the community.

AST is a distinctive component of intentional community life with vulnerable adults. Work and cultural life are a meaningful extension of the intentional life-sharing aims of AST.


Social Therapy and Curative Education in Scotland

Edinburgh Area

The Engine Shed — (now closed) A bakery and cafe with training places for 30 adults with learning disabilities.

Garvald Edinburgh — Day services and accommodation services for adults with disabilities.

Garvald Glenesk — 0131 654 9566: Two cottages and a walled garden.

Columcille Centre — Run a workshop offering crafts, gardening and other activities. Main Hall is used for drama, music, ceilidhs, etc.

Garvald West Linton — Residential care for adults with disabilities. Workshops, etc.

Garvald Home Farm — 01968 682 238: Biodynamic farm. Small community of 20 people, 8 of whom are adults with learning disabilities.

Tiphereth Camphill Edinburgh — Day services and accommodation services for adults with special needs.



Ochil Tower School — Independent residential school for children and young people with a range of special needs.

Corbenic Camphill Community — Community residential care for adults with disabilities. Cafe, Workshops, etc.



Camphill Blair Drummond — Community residential care for adults with disabilities.



Loch Arthur Community — Over 70 people (families, adults with learning disabilities and volunteers) live in seven households on 500 acres of land. Biodynamic farm, etc.



Camphill Aberdeen — "More than 700 people live and work in Camphill Aberdeen City and Shire communities, offering education, therapies, training, work and living opportunities for vulnerable children, young people, adults and the elderly."