Working therapeutically in forensic settings

Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Barker, Meg-John; Pike, Graham; Raabe, Bianca and Walkington, Zoe (2017). Working therapeutically in forensic settings. In: Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Pike, Graham; Barker, Meg-John and Raabe, Bianca eds. Mad or Bad? A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology. Sage, pp. 9–22.


To explore the tensions between therapeutic and forensic settings, the chapter starts with a discussion of the different agendas and values in both fields that are difficult to integrate when working at the intersection of both disciplines. In a therapeutic setting, the aims are to help the patient/client and to promote well-being. In forensic settings, the main objective is to punish offenders, prevent re-offending and protect society, rather than to specifically help individuals with mental health issues. The chapter then explores different professional roles in forensic and mental health settings and the dual position often experienced by professionals working therapeutically in forensic settings. This is followed by a discussion of consent, risk, disclosure and power - common themes and challenges in therapeutic and forensic work that run through the book and are picked up in the following chapters.

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