Assessing risk: a relational approach

Course overview

This ten week course offers you an innovative framework for understanding the complex and subtle issues involved in assessing and managing the risk of violence and sexual offending.  You may work in a variety of settings, including generic mental health services, social care, forensic mental health and the criminal justice system.

This is a ten-week CPD short course and over the ten weeks, you will examine:

  • Introduction: models of risk assessment. Accuracy and limitations of different types of risk assessment.
  • Key psychodynamic concepts in understanding symptoms, offending and enactment.
  • Psychodynamics of the relationship between offender and victim, and between practitioner and client.
  • Psychodynamic theories of violence.
  • The impact of childhood development on adult enactment and offending: developmental history, attachment and cycles of violence and abuse.
  • Psychodynamic theories of sexual offending and perversion. 
  • Borderline and psychotic states of mind. 
  • What can be learned?

Each session will include a lecture and work discussion group.

This course is delivered by the renowned Portman Clinic and will introduce you to models of risk assessment and examine the accuracy and limitations of them.  You will also examine key psychodynamic concepts in understanding symptoms, offending and enactment and gain an understanding of the impact of childhood development on adult enactment and offending.  You will also examine psychodynamic theories of sexual offending and perversion and borderline and psychotic states of mind.

This course is for you if you work in criminal justice or mental health settings and come into contact with individuals who present a risk of harm to others. You may be a clinician or practitioner who assess and manages risk of harm to self or others in individuals with severe psychopathology in secure and community settings.

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you are a clinician or practitioner working in generic mental health services, social care, forensic mental health and the criminal justice system.

Although there are no formal academic entry requirement, we ask that you have had some previous learning/experience in the basics of psychodynamic theory.

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

Typical Course Outline  

Introduction to the Course

Online Perversions

Violence and Psychopathy

Sexual Deviation, Perversions and Risk  

Stalking: A Relational Approach

Counter-transference Issues in working with Mentally Disordered Offenders –

Relational Security in Forensic Institutions

Attachment Issues in Offender Populations

Violence and Sexual Deviation in Adolescence

Offending as a Psychodynamic Enactment

The Psychoanalytic Understanding of Female Offenders


Fees for 2020 will be announced in due course

Included in your course fee, you will receive full membership of the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection plus reference access to all our print books. Our Information Skills Trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you to navigate our comprehensive electronic collections.  PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use.

Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists and Subject Updates, to help you stay on top of latest developments, as well as regularly sharing helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
10 weeks
The Tavistock Centre, London
Admission status:

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