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Video Recording: Working Therapeutically with Offenders

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Working Therapeutically with Offenders: clinical challenges

A one-day workshop with Dr Gwen Adshead

London, June 16th 2017, Friday, 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Criminal offending can take many forms: theft and fraud, violence that involves a weapon, and violence within the family are some of the commonest. As therapists, we may be called upon to help clients who have histories of criminal convictions and who want to understand their offending; or we may work in institutionalised settings where convicted offenders require therapy. In each of these roles, we face significant challenges, including exposure to extreme stressors and ethical dilemmas unique to forensic settings.

At this practical and interactive workshop that would be relevant for psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors, probation professionals and psychiatrists, Dr Gwen Adshead draws on tenets of Attachment Theory and psychological theories that seek to explain the development of antisocial states of mind. We specifically discuss violent offending, especially family violence and homicide and consider the key aspects of risk assessment and reduction; with a view to understanding therapeutic approaches for working with offenders. Dr Adshead will use examples from her long-standing experience of clinical work in forensic settings to explore:

  • Comprehending crime perpetrators – what conclusions can we draw from theories of personality disorders and Attachment?
  • Relational Violence: understanding toxic attachments and rupture risk
  • Theories of criminal offending and the links with national data
  • Coming to terms with the development of antisocial and violent states of mind
  • Effective psychological formulation for an act of violence
  • Planning for therapy with offenders – being prepared for unique challenges
  • Safety and ethics of forensic work
  • Creating safe and secure spaces for therapeutic change
  • What are the therapeutic options we have at our disposal?

Gwen will not only present material based on published evidence; but also, use group discussion and ‘live supervision’ of cases brought by participants as part of the workshop. Participants are welcome to bring vignettes of clinical material that can be shared and discussed within the normal boundaries of confidentiality.

About the speaker

Dr Gwen Adshead MBBS, MA, FRCPsych MSt is a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She is trained as a group analyst and in mindfulness based cognitive therapy. She has worked in the NHS with a wide variety of clinical problems: including violence perpetrators, trauma survivors and mothers who struggle to care for their children. She has worked in long stay residential secure care and in the community. Gwen writes papers and books about her work, and regularly gives public lectures about her work. She was awarded the President’s medal for her work in psychiatry in 2013.

Workshop Schedule

10:00AM: Session 1: Understanding the nature of crime

In this first session we explore:

  • Diverse types of crime worldwide
  • Can we classify the individuals who commit crimes?
  • What do we know about prisoners?

11:30AM: Coffee Break

11:45 noon: Session 2: Understanding violent crime

  • Different kinds of violence
  • Relational violence: toxic attachments and rupture risk
  • Homicide perpetrators
  • Violent and antisocial states of mind

1:00PM: Lunch (a light lunch is provided as part of the workshop)

2:00PM: Session 3: Psychotherapeutic implications, risk and safety

Our third session of the day builds on and continues the theoretical bases considered so far and illustrates practical therapeutic implications for practitioners. Clinical vignettes will be discussed here. Specifically, we consider:

  • Recognising risk factors for violence
  • How to make safe and secure spaces for therapeutic change
  • What are the purposes of therapy?
  • What therapies are available?
  • Ethical issues in work with offenders

3:15PM: Session 4: Group reflection

In the concluding session of the day, Dr Adshead will invite participants to reflect on the day’s discussions and how these link with their experience as therapists.

4:00PM: Close

© nscience UK, 2016 / 17

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