Arrested Development and Facing Arrest: Dual diagnosis and complexity in adults and young people

Course overview

The one-day workshop will provide participants with a broad knowledge and understanding of the complexities involved in mental health and substance misuse (Dual Diagnosis). It will examine the organisational dilemmas presented by the issues the topic generates - for example, the impact on normal life span development, risk management and unpredictability, family work, inter-agency work and communication. Potential solutions to these issues, in the absence of robust policy, will be explored and a 'think family' approach will be used to deliver the training.

Adults and young people who have a co-morbid presentation of mental health and substance misuse problems pose significant dilemmas for professionals and services in meeting their needs. The problems are exacerbated by a lack of relevant research and by contradictory policies and working practices. Approaches which are evidenced as working well for adults may not necessarily work well for young people (Smith 2013).

Significantly many of these young people and adults may have numerous problems but, nevertheless, may not meet the thresholds for anyone single agency. Yet their problems combined are having a massive negative impact on their future. For adolescents this can affect ability for a successful transition to an adult. The issues then set the stage for more entrenched substance misuse problems as they mature.       

The current political climate linked to austerity, that favours targets and a tick-box culture that measures short-term outcomes and is driven by financial imperatives, can interfere with the flexible creative practice required to engage and work with these difficult-to-reach highly vulnerable young people.  

The issue of Novel Active Substances has caused further major dilemmas for all professionals including experienced drug workers and adult mental health and CAMHS clinicians. Partly due to the dearth of any robust evidence base and clinical approaches, this will be explored and for this reason, an emphasis is given to practice base evidence and  opportunities for participants to learn from each other.        

The training has been developed in the spirit of the new national DFES (2015) policy document Futures in Mind which gives expectation to the development of a fluid workforce which needs to be able to intervene to support, children young, people and their families (adults) as regards to their emotional needs. As well as being informed by a Think Family Approach, the workshop will also be informed by the The Dual Diagnosis Tool Kit (Clancy et al 2004) the recent government 2017 Drug strategy 

The workshop will be taught using a range of teaching and learning strategies including presentations, open discussions and group work. Other methods include case studies, videos and role play. 

At the end of the day, participants will have had the opportunity to:

  • Understand the contemporary research and thinking on substance misuse and mental health (including neuropharmacological perspectives).

  • Recognise the impact of parental substance misuse and mental health on children and young people (intergenerational transmission)

  • Understand service user and family perspectives.

  • Identify potential solutions

  • Consider the legal, ethical and organisational implications experienced by practitioners in relation to these issues and their effects on professional practice.

  • More informed about the complexities involved

  • Understanding of the links between substance misuse mental health and trauma. 

  • Discuss confidently substance misuse with clients in relation to their emotional well-being. 

  • Improved strategies for addressing legal highs.

  • Explore the importance of the use of self – in relation to reflective practice and supervision, clinical Governance and issues related to vicarious trauma (mindfulness).

  • Improve communication with adults, young people, families and other organisations in relation to the issues

This training is aimed at all professionals and students who are working with adults and young people, or are coming into contact with families. The event will be practical and useful to social workers, adult nurses, drugs workers, CAMHs nurses, youth offending mental health practitioners, Early Intervention in Psychosis clinicians and adult and young people liaison and diversion nurses.

The topic will be of special interest to professionals working with gangs and other young people who come into conflict with the law.

We would highly recommended for participants who attend this training to attend the follow up stage 2 training (A Recovery Approach - BEYOND SURVIVAL AND SIMPLE EXISTENCE )

The course is being run by the Tavistock and Portman in collaboration with FACCTTS (Family Adolescent Child Consultation Therapeutic and Training Solutions).

The course facilitator is Martin Smith, a Consultant CAMHS Nurse, Director of FACCTTS and a member of the National Consortium of Consultant Nurses in Dual Diagnosis.  

"This course is so relevant to our everyday practice and experiences"

"The trainer was engaging and adaptable to meeting the groups needs"

"Informative, current, thought provoking  inclusive, stimulating – best training I have attended for ages"

"Martin delivers an adaptable and fluid training to facilitate an ever changing multifaceted topic affected by various systemic social factors"

"An excellent dynamic presentation which gave us opportunities to engage with the facilitator but also with each other"

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom. This is very easy and safe to use regardless of your level of IT skill.
You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this test link ( to check your set up before booking.
You will be sent joining instructions including all the necessary login links, passwords and guidance on how to use the relevant functionality about a week before the course start date.

Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us at to discuss how we can best help you.

New dates will be advertised here in due course. Please contact us at to be added to the waiting list.

New dates will be advertised here in due course. Please contact us at to be added to the waiting list.

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
1 day
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