SEMAPHORE PSYCHOLOGY

ASSESSMENTS


Semaphore Psychology employ a range of bespoke assessments depending upon the particular need of the client and /or the referring agency.

It is important to recognise that past events and experiences shape and influence how we relate to the world, and in particular how these are expressed in our relationship with others and of course our relationship with ourselves. Robust and valid assessments always accommodate the client's past experiences and seek to create a trusting and safe atmosphere, from where through a collaborative and explorative process, a formulation of the problem is co-created. This process will include the use of questionnaires, which will provide one of several indicators of change during the therapeutic intervention.

SPECIALIST ASSESSMENTS

Semaphore Psychology also offer assessments and interventions for young people with harmful sexual behaviour. These assessments utilise research-informed factors associated with both a propensity to sexually offend and sexual recidivism (for those that have previously offended). The assessments are posited within a Good Lives framework that considers predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors. Key to our success is equal weight ascribed to the assessment and the intervention in the facilitation of positive change. Counselling psychologists are well positioned to both assess and provide efficacious interventions that analyse past experiences - both traumatic and otherwise - and the role these have played in their developing personalities, and how these drive particular maladaptive behaviours that are often underpinned by compensation.

Good Lives model (GLM)

The GLM is grounded in the ethical concept of human dignity (see Ward and Syversen, 2009) and universal human rights, and as such it has a strong emphasis on human agency. That is, the GLM is concerned with individuals’ ability to formulate and select goals, construct plans, and to act freely in the implementation of these plans. A closely related assumption is the basic premise that offenders, like all humans, value certain states of mind, personal characteristics, and experiences, which are defined in the GLM as primary goods. Following an extensive review of psychological, social, biological, and anthropological research, Ward and colleagues (e.g., Ward and Brown 2004; Ward and Marshall 2004) first proposed nine classes of primary goods. Empirical research performed by Purvis in 2006 (published in 2010) tested these aetiological assumptions and actually found that relatedness and community required separation, as did excellence in play and excellence in work, thus producing eleven classes of primary goods. These are now defined as:

​1. Life (including healthy living and functioning)
2. Knowledge (how well informed one feels about things that are important to them)
3. Excellence in play (hobbies and recreational pursuits)
4. Excellence in work (including mastery experiences)
5. Excellence in agency (autonomy, power and self-directedness)
6. Inner peace (freedom from emotional turmoil and stress)
​7. Relatedness (including intimate, romantic, and familial relationships)
8. Community (connection to wider social groups)
9. Spirituality (in the broad sense of finding meaning and purpose in life)
10. Pleasure (feeling good in the here and now)
​11. Creativity (expressing oneself through alternative forms). 

GLM incorporates both the risk-need model – targeting dynamic risk factors (ciminogenic), e.g., impulsivity, poor social skills, and cognitive distortions etc. – and the ‘good-lives’ model – which serve to equip the offender with the necessary internal and external capacities to secure primary human ‘goods’ that are both socially acceptable and personally meaningful. When behaviour is not acceptable, both socially and criminally, the problem lies within the methods employed, i.e. the means to secure ‘goods’; limitations of scope within a ‘good-lives’ plan; tension among ‘goods’ sought or; the inability to adopt a flexible plan in changing situations. This approach moves away from the negative focus of typical relapse prevention (RP) programmes – characterised by elimination, avoidance, and extinction of particular behaviours – and instead focuses on understanding the role played by dynamic risk factors in impeding the acquisition of human ‘goods’, and therefore can be considered approach in focus.

RP in this sense is a consequence of the identification of obstacles that impede offenders from living a fulfilling and balanced life, by providing the offender with the skills, values and beliefs to counter the obstacles. By combining, or perhaps better considered as embedding, the
RP within the ‘good-lives’ model, a crucial assumption is made that offenders’ behaviours are not a permanent construct, but, like adolescence and identity formation, are in a state of transition. This assists the notion that ‘good-lives’ are achievable and can be maintained by the adaptive management of internal and external factors.

An outline of the ‘Good-Lives’ model

Identification of predisposing factors
Identification of precipitating factors
Identification of perpetuating factors
Model creation of the offence process
Identification of type of ‘goods’ and appropriateness – informed by risk factors and model of offence/s
Identification of important primary and secondary ‘goods’
Defining appropriate goals to achieve ‘goods’
Elucidating the process for attaining goals
Identifying goal-impeding factors (including risk factors)
Exploring counter impeding strategies
Client’s self-monitoring of progress
Establishing support systems

Good Way Model

The Good Way Model was originally developed for working with young people with learning difficulties who have sexually abused. It is also now being used with used with adults with learning difficulties. The model is practical and has been developed to address a need for a common, coherent narrative with which clients and therapists can effectively discuss behaviour and experiences. It has been developed through a process of listening to the clients’ descriptions of their experiences and then adapting the conceptual framework accordingly. The model is strengths-based programme using a narrative therapy approach and incorporates relapse prevention. The model works with two merging streams: the Good Way/Bad Way, which focuses on the identification of their strengths and components of their Good Life, developing an understanding of the consequences of their actions including their abusive behaviour, and developing their ability to choose the Good Way. The other stream, Good House/Bad House explores the young person’s experience of loss and trauma, assisting the young person in developing an understanding of the impact on others of their abusive behaviour, and to take steps to repair relationships where possible.  


Stream 1 


My Good Side/Bad Side

Separation of self and bad behaviours


The Good Way/Bad Way 

Identifying actions and behaviour


Rewards and Punishments

Understanding consequences


Strengthening The Good Side-Practising The Good Way

Encouraging positive qualities & learning pro-social behaviour


The Gang of Three (Tricks) & The Three Wise Men (Tools)

Patterns of thought and behaviour


The Three Keys at the Crossroads

Relapse Prevention 


Stream 2


The Good House/Bad House

Understanding environment and context


What Happened in the Bad House

Dealing with own trauma, loss and grief


Doing What I Can To Fix Things Up

Restitution


My Good Life

Goals and positive life map


MILESTONES

My Good Side and
My Bad Side

​The Good Way/ The Bad Way and My Decision
My Good Way Plan/My Good Life

The Story of the Good House/ Bad House
The Gang of Three and the Story of the Abuse

The Story of the Victims
At the Crossroads: Tricks, Tools and Truth

​Then and Now and Thinking About The Future
My Good Life Plan