Assessing Risk in Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System: A relational approach

Conference overview

Practitioners in health, social care and the criminal justice system have to manage challenging risk issues in their day to day work, often without the necessary tools for doing so. This can be a daunting task in a culture which attributes blame when things go wrong. It can lead to defensive practice and detracts from understanding the complex and subtle issues involved in making sense of why people engage in behaviors which are harmful to themselves and others, when they are likely to carry out such acts and interpersonal context of managing them.

This conference marks the launch of a new book, Assessing Risk: A Relational Approach, which offers a novel framework for making sense of assessing and managing risks relating to violent and sexual offending. The speakers will draw on mainstream empirical research relating to risk and present new research findings using innovative implicit association techniques for studying links between violence and excitement. 

The conference will address intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions in managing risk and highlight the significance of childhood development in understanding violent and sexually violent acts, and the complicated interpersonal processes involved in managing individuals who have a propensity to violent enactment. These dynamic processes between people impact on risk and risk perception, and can distort judgement if not recognised and understood. The speakers will discuss the problematic issues in communicating risk to the general public and the institutional context of managing such people.

The speakers will draw on their considerable experience working with and undertaking research with high risk individuals. The conference would be of interest to clinicians and practitioners in mental health services, social care and the criminal justice system.

Benefits of attending:

Participants will

  • learn about new innovations in assessing and managing risks of harmful behaviour
  • presented with up to date developments in research relating to violence and cognition
  • gain knowledge on a variety of approaches to risk assessment and obtain an understanding of the limitations of different methods
  • develop insight into clinical and practical applications of knowledge relating to risk
  • reflect on risks relating to internet pornography users
  • engage with the complicated issues associated with the perception of risk and communication of risk related issues to the general public
  • consider a framework for thinking about the challenging interpersonal issues involved in managing high risk individuals
  • think about the organisational aspects of managing high risk people in institutional settings and in the community

10.00     Introduction to the conference

Jessica Yakeley, Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy, Portman Clinic & Director of Medical Education and Associate Medical Director, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust; Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society, & Editor of the journal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

10.10 Refining risk assessment: Associations between violence and excitement

Dr Stephen Blumenthal, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

10.50 Use of implicit methods in risk assessment

Professor Robert Snowden, School of Psychology, Cardiff University

11.30 Questions and panel discussion, followed by teas and coffees at 11.40

12.00 Assessing and managing clinical risks for all core professions: WARRN - the first 15 years

Professor Nicola Gray, Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Swansea University

12.40 Questions and panel discussion, followed by lunch at 12.50

14.00 Risk assessment and public opinion: Communicating counter-intuitive ideas

Dr Jackie Craissati, MBE, Consultant Clinical & Forensic Psychologist Psychological Approaches CIC

14.40 Anxiety and confusion in determining risk of internet offending

Dr Heather Wood, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Consultant Adult Psychotherapist, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

15.20 Questions and panel discussion followed by teas and coffees at 15.40

15.50 Distress Flares and Canaries in Coalmines : Institutional Factors and Risk

Dr Andrew Williams, Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

16.30 Plenary and panel discussion

The conference concludes at 5.00pm and delegates are invited to the book launch at 5.30pm where refreshments will be served.

Friday 5 October 2018

10.00 - 17.00 

De Vere, West One, 9-10 Portland Place, London, W1B 1PR

£250.00 + VAT

To book, please visit the HCUK website here

The Tavistock Centre, London
5 October 2018 10:00 to 17:00

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For more information contact Healthcare Conferences UK on 01932 429933 or email

Assessing risk