Forensic Case Formulation – Principles and Practice

Two-Day Coaching Support Package Brief

1.0 Introduction

WrightLink Ltd. has actively delivered forensic case formulation coaching courses and workshops to multi-agency teams supporting children and young people since 2012.

Our approach in this field has been evaluated by professionals nationally, and has been recognised by many services as significantly improving the level of psychological knowledge and subsequent practice of professionals working with young people and their parents/carers. In particular, our support to both Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service (YOS) and Buckinghamshire YOS surrounding forensic case formulation has significantly impacted upon HMIP inspection findings, with both services being identified as adopting an ‘innovative approach’ to multi agency case management based upon our support.

In 2015, YJB Cymru initiated a pilot of case formulation approach for complex cases of young people engaging with 4 YOTs in Wales, which has been subjected to formal evaluation by Cordis Bright consultancy. WrightLink Ltd is pleased to be aware of this pilot study; we are also proud to be recognised by our clients as the first national company to provide such specialist support to services in England for over 5 years.

Highly qualified and experienced forensic and/or clinical psychologists in collaboration deliver this package of support with youth justice specialists with expertise in children and young people who may be at risk of, or who have engaged in unhelpful/harm-related behaviour.

2.0 Support Package Aims

The focus of this support package is to provide professionals with the relevant psychological theory, research evidence, and practice-based skills support to undertake multi-agency forensic case formulations; this ensures practitioners produce robust, psychologically informed, developmentally sensitive hypotheses regarding the possible origin, development, and maintenance of problem behaviour.

Additional benefits of a forensic case formulation approach to practice, is that it helps to produce more robust ASSET Plus case assessments, Pre-Sentence Reports/Referral Order Reports (in particular ‘offence analysis’ and ‘offender assessment’ sections of reports) as well as individualised, tailored interventions to support the presenting needs of the client as well as also helping to accurately inform risk management activity, based upon the case formulation proposed.

This is achieved through the use of real case studies to support professionals to develop their knowledge, skills, and practice surrounding forensic case formulation and intervention planning in a safe and supportive coaching context.

The package consists of the following psychological theories/explanations underpinning a developmental pathway towards harmful behaviour towards to others committed by young people in conflict with the Law:

  • Biopsychosocial model of personality development
  • Child temperament
  • Attachment theory
  • Schema theory and Early Maladaptive Schema (EMS) development
  • Neuropsychological theory
  • Trauma theory
  • Social learning theory
  • Good Lives Model (GLM)
  • Trauma Recovery Model (TRM)
  • Multifactorial Offender Readiness Model (MORM)
  • Trans-theoretical model of behaviour change

Day 1 consists of providing an overview of a number of the above psychological theories/explanations, which are presented to participants in a user-friendly manner, and then applied to directly to a real case study. This enables participants to experience how to produce a psychologically informed analysis using Structured Professional Judgment (SPJ) principles effectively, which is a key requirement of ASSET Plus assessment framework.

Participants will then be required to complete a homework task individually/groups regarding a ‘self-assessment’ of a current case, based upon input from day 1 of the support.

N.B: This homework task will take place between delivery of day 1 and day 2 of the support package (a time gap of approximately 3 weeks is requested, to allow participants time to complete the homework task provided, to reflect upon their own learning).

Day 2 consists of reflection and review of the homework task, followed by the presentation of the remaining psychological theories/explanations. In addition, participants will also complete a small group formulation using a more complex case study provided. Once the formulation has been provided, intervention-planning principles (i.e. outcomes, performance goals that are SMART) are then considered in light of knowledge gained through theories presented during both days of the support, to help inform what may be effective to address those factors maintaining the problem behaviour.