16 May Living as New Me Relapse Prevention Programme at Chadwick Lodge
For a number of years, Chadwick Lodge has been running a relapse prevention programme for men that have completed offence focused treatment for sexually harmful behaviours. This group is called the Living as New Me programme. The men who attend this programme have undertaken treatment on their offending histories either at Chadwick Lodge or at other secure sites across the country.
All of the men on the Living as New Me programme have a significant history of sexually harmful behaviours towards others. This was often in the context of complex mental health and personality disorder issues and as such these men have struggled to either get into conventional treatment approaches for sexually harmful behaviour or have simply not had their full range of treatment needs understood and addressed by these conventional programmes. Instead, they have been referred for therapy at Chadwick Lodge. The backgrounds of these men are always highly complex, with a range of significant attachment difficulties due to complex childhoods, trauma histories, substance misuse, complex offending and harmful behaviours and diagnoses of significant and often multiple personality disorder. A significant number have also experienced co-morbid psychotic illnesses. For these men, there is no quick fix and no magic cure. To keep them safe and to enable them to lead fulfilling, safe lives is a complex and slow process, typically spanning many years.
Chadwick Lodge is well known for its interventions for sexual offender treatment and as such has offered men care which has proved successful and with strong outcomes. The clinicians involved in the pathway include highly experienced Forensic Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists and Forensic Psychologists – all provide ‘microscopically managed’ treatment pathways and throughcare to ensure the wellbeing and successful progression of the men. After treatment and multidisciplinary intervention, men are able to graduate onto the Maintenance Group, where they are again microscopically managed. This group is a relapse prevention and support programme to help the men maintain what they have learnt from treatment and put it into practice into daily life, with an emphasis on gradual reintegration into the community. Most of the men on the group are living in low secure services at Chadwick Lodge and have come through the Chadwick Lodge treatment process. They attend the Living as New Me programme twice a month, discussing successes and potential risky scenarios they have experienced. This may include when they have had risky thoughts or feelings. The group helps the men to be honest and insightful about these risk issues and acknowledges that they are preventable and manageable. In the group, the men put strategies together that they practice in the real world – such as how to dismiss risky thoughts and challenge them so that they don’t ‘grow’ and become problematic. The focus is on leading high quality, safe lives and as such the men are encouraged to live in a way that will enable them to desist from sexually harmful behaviour. The men find the group supportive and, where they may still be guarded about risk issues, they are quickly challenged by peers and staff running the group. Feedback from all MDT professionals working with the men is vital to ensuring that progress and safe living is maintained. Positive risk-taking is encouraged from the wider team – on condition that the men are being open, transparent and are maintaining safe behaviours. Most of the men have seen great progress since moving through the pathway of care at Chadwick Lodge. Men who have been in maximum secure, stepping down to medium secure and then low secure are now having unescorted community access. They are living fulfilling and enjoyable lives and as such have no desire to return to harmful behaviours. Some of those that have moved on from Chadwick Lodge and from the Living as New Me programme continue to stay in touch and support the group and their ‘buddies’ in therapy. Chadwick Lodge is the only secure service offering a pathway of care and support to such a group of men. The Living as New Me programme is the only one in secure services and has a track record of successful integration of some of the most complex and hard to place men in the country. Those men are now living in independent living in the community and are making a success of their lives.
Karen Howell, Head of Psychology
Chadwick Lodge and Eaglestone View