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"Anger, Aggression & the Forensic Population"

by Jan Kossack & Kerry Beckley


Dealing with forensic clients, or those who have significant anger issues, present challenges to the schema therapist, particularly when their behaviours result in fear, distress, anger or even disgust.  In forensic settings, we use the schema model as a basis for offence formulation and as a way of making sense of the parallels between the offence and the therapy room.  Schema formulation can also help us to make sense of the interpersonal dynamics within institutional settings.  The mode model enables us to be able to appropriately care for the client whilst keeping the offence in mind, in order to achieve both healing for the client and improved public protection. 

This workshop will include:

  • The application of the mode model to a range of common forensic presentations and offending behaviour.
  • Consideration of boundary issues and psychological safety
  • Application of the schema model across the lifespan
  • Use imagery re-scripting, chairwork and modecards


The seminar will include lecture, video presentation, role-plays, and clinical group exercises.


Participants will: 

  • Acquire a working understanding of schema theory for conceptualizing violence and sexual violence
  • Practice the application of schema therapy techniques with different forensic presentations
  • Explore their own schemas and modes in working with this client group
  • Consider the application of the schema model in forensic staff groups
  • Have an opportunity to bring clinical material to a ‘case surgery’


Beginner – Advanced Schema Therapist

Meets Requirements for 6 hours of the curriculum for certification in Individual Schema Therapy for those who qualify or 6 hours of the Continuing Education Credit required for Certified Schema Therapists.

Suggested Readings

Beckley. K. A. & Gordon. K. A. (2010). Schema Therapy within a High Secure Setting. In A. Tennant & K. Howells.   Using time not doing time: Practitioner perspectives in Personality Disorder and Risk (p. 95-109).  Chichester: Wiley Blackwell and Sons. 

Beckley, K.A. (2010). Team Dynamics: A schema focused approach.  In P. Willmot & N. Gordon (eds.) Working Positively with Personality Disorder. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell and Sons. 

Bernstein, D., De Vos, M.K., Jonkers, P., de Jonge. E & Arntz, A. (2012).  Schema Therapy in Forensic Settings.  In van Vreeswijk, M., Broersen, J. & Nadort, M. The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Schema Therapy: Theory, Research, and Practice. Chichester; John Wiley & Sons.

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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