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Services and Workshops

Working with Resistant Offenders:  

An interactive 2-day workshop which provides theories and practice in techniques to aid the delivery of programmes and one-to-one work with offenders.   More »

Psychological Risk Assessments:  
  • Assessment of psychopathic personality using the PCL-R.
  • Violence and domestic violence risk assessment   More »
Programme Development:  

We have experience of developing offending behaviour programmes to accreditation standards. Recent programme developments include a new cognitive skills programme, programmes for younger at-risk individuals, motivational programmes, programmes aimed at alcohol-related offending. More »


Working with Resistant Offenders Workshop

For many staff delivering a variety of offending behaviour programmes to groups of offenders on a day to day basis, the main challenge to be faced is having to deal with a lack of willingness to engage in rehabilitative work and a lack of motivation to change.

This resistance can sometimes reflect on staff motivation, making it difficult for them to engage effectively with the offenders and raising concerns about issues such as:

  • How do you motivate groups of offenders to change the habits of a lifetime?
  • How do you apply motivational interviewing techniques effectively in a group setting?
  • How do you challenge individuals in a group effectively, without building resistance?

Motivational interviewing and Socratic questioning approaches are generally advocated as effective ways of working with offenders, but these techniques were designed for use with individuals, and there is little evidence of their utility within a group setting. Whilst these techniques undoubtedly have much to offer, the way they are used within a group setting has to be different from how they are used on a one-to-one basis. Often they are used ineffectually, because the dynamics of group process are not taken fully into account.

The notion of "groupthink" was introduced by Irving Janis (1972) to describe what happens to decision-making in high-level groups, such as governments, juries and committees. But the insight into group processes which Janis reveals can teach us important lessons about the perils of working with groups of offenders:

Groupthink obtains when the decision process of a highly cohesive group of like-minded people becomes so overwhelmed by consensus seeking that their apprehension of reality is undermined… this process is encouraged when a number of conditions are fulfilled: when the… group is highly cohesive, when it is isolated from alternative sources of information; and when its leader clearly favours a particular option… These processes occur both at the intra-individual (self-censorship) and at the inter-individual level (conformity pressures).
(Van Avermaet, 1988)

We would suggest that programme tutors sometimes inadvertently create a kind of "groupthink" effect, because of their lack of understanding of how and when to use techniques designed primarily for work in a different setting. Techniques which might be effective on a more personal, one-to-one basis, when used inappropriately with a group tend to result in heightened resistance to learning and challenge in the group as a whole.

We are offering a two day interactive Workshop which gives staff an opportunity to:

  • Learn more about theories and techniques which will aid their delivery of programmes
  • Understand how resistance and motivation works, in particular in a group setting
  • Develop skills to enable them to both work with and challenge thinking within a group setting.

The training is applicable to all staff working with group programmes for offenders.

It is equally relevant for staff working with individual offenders and those working in support roles who wish to improve their motivational style.


Psychological Risk Assessments

Dr Linda Blud outlines her professional experience and areas of expertise as follows:

I have more than 25 years' experience of working in forensic psychology. I worked for HM Prison Service between 1990 and 2001. I currently work as an independent forensic psychology consultant, and served as a member of the Parole Board for England & Wales from 2004 to 2012.

My work involves psychological risk assessments of adults with a forensic history.

My main area of expertise is in the assessment of

  • violence, including domestic violence, and risk of sexual violence
  • personality disorder including psychopathy
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • cognitive deficits and problem solving skills
  • cognitive functioning (WAIS-IV)

Professional Qualifications/Affiliations

  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Member of the Division of Forensic Psychology, BPS
  • Chartered Forensic Psychologist
  • Registered with Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Affiliate Member of the American Psychological Association
  • Member of the American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology
  • RSA Diploma in Post-Traumatic Stress Counselling (1995)
  • Hare PCL-R certification (2001)
  • Primary and Advanced Practicum Certificates in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Albert Ellis Institute, New York (2003, 2005
  • Expert Witness Certificate (2013) (Cardiff Law School / Bond Solon)
  • Trained and experienced in using a range of assessment tools including WAIS-IV, HCR20 (V3), SARA, RSVP, IPDE, etc.


Programme Development

A service offering programmes custom-built to address the needs of particular client groups.

‘Increasingly, we are using programmes that tailor supervision and assistance to the individual, and that challenges the way the person thinks about the world’.
- from Reducing Crime- Changing Lives: The government’s plans for transforming the management of offenders. (Home Office, 2004)

Who is it for?

Client groups include offenders in both prison and community settings; young offenders in YOIs, Secure Training Centres or adult prisons; young people in local authority accommodation; children and young people at risk of school exclusion, and the long term unemployed.

How does it work?

This is a unique initiative which offers a core programme incorporating key elements of best practise to challenge anti-social behaviour. Added to this are tailored modules which can be designed to your specification, ensuring issues of diversity and need are met. The complete package may also include additional services.

The core programme will incorporate key elements from effective practice, drawn from cognitive skills training, motivational enhancement approaches, and Rational Emotive Behaviour therapy. This provides a holistic platform which targets cognitive, affective and behavioural change.

Onto this platform tailored modules are developed according to the needs of the client group. The areas of need covered in individually designed packages can include those identified by the Social Exclusion Unit, namely employability; accommodation; dependency; institutional and life skills; relationships; education and training; finances and debt; attitudes and self-control; general wellbeing.

Additional services which can be provided to enhance delivery of programmes include:

  • Provision of consultation to develop specific programme elements as required – taking into account the needs
        of client groups and providers, contexts and budgets
  • Training of staff to run all programme elements
  • Supervision and support
  • Development of quality control systems

Putting it into Practice

The provision of selection, training, evaluation and delivery will obviously depend on the exact constitution of the programme. General guidelines would include:

Programme deliverers would usually be recruited locally or drawn from existing staff and given specific training in the delivery of the programme, and the theoretical model which underpins it. The programme would typically be delivered by one or two tutors.

Once in-house expertise has developed, the programme can be delivered as often as is needed with no further support needed from external consultants.

Delivery of training: The programme for the training of facilitators will depend on the size and complexity of the programme. Typically there will be:

  • An overview to orient people to the course and to encourage recruitment of the best candidates as tutors,
        if appropriate. This would normally take no more than half a day.
  • Training of tutors, which would usually be accomplished in four or five days.
  • Reviews and evaluation report would be offered according to the client’s need.

Programme delivery: We would advise on planning and timetabling delivery of the programme during the training period.