Working Positively with Personality Disorder in Secure Settings: A Practitioner's Perspective

By Phil Willmot; Neil Gordon | Go to book overview

Chapter Twelve
The Importance of Systemic
Workforce Development in High
Secure Settings

Andrea Milligan and Neil Gordon

High secure organizations employ staff to work in environments that deliver complex psychological intervention programmes within a risk management framework, with the aim of reducing offending behaviours. Those incarcerated in these environments present a considerable challenge with respect to their psychological vulnerabilities and antisocial personality features. The dialectic between punishment and treatment pervades these systems. Patients in these settings are usually perpetrators – the makers of victims (Morris, 2001) – who have been deemed too dangerous or unacceptable to society because of the crimes they have committed or the threat they pose (Cordess, 1998). As several writers have noted (Cox, 1994; Hinshelwood, 1993; Morris, 2001), the walls of these institutions can serve to exclude those within them from the outside world in order that the painfulness of the internal culture is contained and those who offend society’s sensibilities can be put away and forgotten. For those selected to work in day-to-day contact with this disenfranchised group it is particularly important that they demonstrate a degree of self-awareness and an ability to reflect critically on their personal experiences while utilizing interpersonal, therapeutic and self-management skills. Despite the obvious demands of this role, post-employment training and educational inputs aimed at increasing capability and competence remain relatively unsophisticated and poorly organized.

This chapter explores our approach to tackling these problems through the development of a creative, systematic and psychologically informed training programme within the Personality Disorder Service (PDS) at Pvampton Hospital. The

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