Residential Treatment: The Potential for Cultic Evolution – The residential treatment center provides an invaluable holding environment where the severely impaired are helped to develop intrapersonal awareness, interpersonal skills, and the ability to function autonomously. In real and symbolic terms, the residential treatment setting serves as a second-chance family. Here residents are given the opportunity to experience and grow within a close-knit community with a goal of enhancing the sense of self. As with all psychotherapeutic efforts, the individual’s ultimate growth is the product of an initial period of dependency and regression. In this context, responsible mental health professionals have questioned whether or not the development of intense dependency bonds may render individuals incapable of functioning outside of this “protective” setting. This concern is especially acute when working with individuals so lacking in ego strength that their primary mode of relating to the outside world often entails repeated abuse of several substances.