“The People Who Leave Here Are Not the People Who Arrived.”: A Qualitative Analysis of the Therapeutic Process and Identity Transition in the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway

Nicholas Blagden, Jacquie Evans, Lloyd Gould, Naomi Murphy, Laura Hamilton, Chloe Tolley, Kyra Wardle

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Abstract

Individuals with personality disorder are often construed as difficult to treat, and sometimes even “untreatable.” In this study, 24 men who had completed treatment on the offender personality disorder treatment pathway participated in focus groups at a high-security prison in the United Kingdom. The results of the data analysis revealed three superordinate themes that captured the impact and experience of the therapeutic process. The three themes were “A self-reconstructed,” which focused on the reconstruing and reconstructions of participants’ identity and how intervention assisted with a coherent narrative of self. The second superordinate theme, “Relational resilience and dealing with abandonment,” relates to the attachment to therapists and the negotiation of relational boundaries and resilience. The third theme, “Reimagining and re-experiencing trauma,” focuses on participants’ exploration and reliving of trauma, and how group processes allowed for shared understanding and a reconstruing of their trauma. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1052
Number of pages18
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume50
Issue number7
Early online date23 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 23 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.

Keywords

  • Law
  • General Psychology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • treatment
  • personality disorder
  • identity
  • intervention

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