James McCartney (Chief Executive of THOMAS)

Director of Dynamic Intelligence Programmes



Working in a therapeutic community involves working with structure, culture, and agency with the mediation of reflection. Culture requires us to be its custodians. In other words, we are the ones who protect its dynamic. Why does it need protecting? Because it is the agent of change. Furthermore, it needs cultivating through a conscious understanding of how we interact with it.

Our Dynamic Intelligence Learning Framework combines emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual learning, developing inner resilience. A growing number of our facilitators are schooled in the DI Framework.

Our approach enhances cognitive change through inner reflection, identification of unmanageability, and a willingness to work with self and others, supported by a strong group dynamic extending out to a local network of THOMAS peers.

Leading THOMAS is the most transformative experience in my quest to understand the human condition. Furthermore, it points me beyond the world of addiction to the interpretative experiences embedded in wider society, where I continue to make sense of the complexity of life. My research interest is in transforming the therapeutic community as a learning community where we build a bridge between the therapeutic dynamic and the human resource development of our service users in the ongoing journey of recovery.

My PhD research is currently looking at perceptions impacting decision-making and the social behaviour engaged in residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The causal mechanisms are closely related to context. It’s always so liberating watching the conscious awareness of new insight through multiple conversations that take us out of our conditioned context to be partakers in a culture, independent from us that becomes the change agent.  We continue to have outstanding successes!