Featured job: Applied Psychologists

Employer: The Fens Service, HMP Whitemoor

How has your service evolved?
We were established to create a treatment opportunity for men who were stuck in the high secure prison estate without options to move forward; usually this was because they were considered ‘untreatable’. The men referred to us all have a history of trauma/neglect and were often wary of engaging with psychologists and other authority figures. The role of our service was to find creative ways to overcome this barrier and to engage them and help them demonstrate that like everyone, they do have the capacity to grow.

What treatment do you offer?
Treatment is focused on helping the men understand and resolve the role that trauma/neglect has played in the development of their difficulties, including their offending. It’s heavily influenced by attachment theory, systems theory, polyvagal theory and other neuroscience developments, and it’s targeted at improving interpersonal relating and affect regulation whilst reducing reliance upon addictive behaviour and offending. In addition to talking therapies such as SFT, all men have access to body-based therapeutic work including sensorimotor psychotherapy, yoga and mindfulness.

It sounds like a stimulating but challenging environment to work in...
It is! Working in a prison isn’t everyone’s ideal work context but we have a strong sense of community and a large team with lots of different knowledge and experience. We encourage both staff and patients to be emotionally open and authentic – visitors often comment on how rare that is in forensic services. Most clinicians have limited knowledge of the therapies we offer when they arrive but we encourage them to be curious and engage in the varied CPD opportunities we can create and welcome new learning for ourselves. It is an immensely rewarding job for anyone that wants to make a difference to people’s lives.

- Find more about the job at Jobs in Psychology.

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