chapter  14
14 Pages

Forensic Psychotherapy: Psychodynamic Therapy with Offenders

ByDaniel Papapietro, Gwen Adshead

Forensic Psychotherapy (Cordess and Cox 1995) was a joint venture between forensic psychiatry and the psychological therapies. It described the process of engaging a patient’s curiosity about his life and his crime in an eff ort to identify and understand what conscious and unconscious emotional confl icts, issues, or impulses compelled him to do what he did. Th e aim of therapy was to contextualize both crime and mental illness within the narrative of a life. Twenty years later, psychodynamic psychotherapy continues to strive for an in-depth understanding of the forensic patient from earliest infancy forward. Th rough slow, deep, and thoughtful exploration it seeks to understand his issues of attachment, progress or impairment through normally expected developmental stages, and ultimately the nature of his adult sexual and emotional relationships to help understand why he off ended, and whether he might one day in the future, under certain conditions, ever again at risk of reoff ending.