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 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 are a clinician or practitioner working in generic mental health services, social care, forensic mental health or the criminal justice system 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.

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

Typical Course Outline  

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Online Perversions
  • Violence and Psychopathy
  • Relational Approaches to Sexual Offending
  • 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
  • Conclusion  

I came away from the Tavistock feeling like I have learned so much. Mar 18

Fascinating course with really informative lecturers. Difficult and challenging content presented so thoughtfully and skilfully. Dec 20

Really helpful thank you. So much to think about and reflect on. Dec 20

Dr Muzaffar Husain is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and a Psychoanalyst. He trained in forensic psychiatric settings across the secure estate in the UK. Alongside the Portman Clinic, he works in a regional secure service. He has wide ranging experience in providing expert evidence to criminal courts and parole board hearings in the context of mentally disordered offenders. He works as a medical psychotherapist undertaking individual and group treatment of violent and sexually deviant individuals. He is a member of the British Psychoanalytic Society.  

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.
Additional resources for this course will be provided using Moodle, our virtual learning environment.
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.

The course will run on Fridays from 2:30pm – 4:30pm on the following dates

23rd and 30th April 2021

7th, 14th and 21st May 2021

followed by a two week break until...

11th, 18th and 25th June 2021

2nd and 9th July 2021.

Course fee: £800.

To apply, please click on the green 'Apply' button on the left of your screen.

Included in your course fee, you will receive online 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 navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying).Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists, and regularly share helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
10 weeks
Admission status:
April 2021 to July 2021

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