Self-harm and suicidal behaviour – a psychologist’s perspective

This workshop aims to develop knowledge and practice in the area of self-harm and suicidal behaviour in forensic settings. The focus will be on offenders in prison although it will be relevant for closed institutions or community settings, with participants able to apply the workshop to the environment of their choice.

Provisional timetable
09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee 
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a break for lunch)
16:30 Workshop ends


This workshop includes both theoretical and practical elements aimed at developing an understanding of the role of the psychologist, psychological theory and tools in the assessment, care planning and management of self-harm and suicide. This workshop will not include intervention approaches.

The workshop will begin with an overview of the field followed by risk and protective factors for an offending population in prison compared with the general population.  Current theoretical models on self-harm and suicide will be explored along with the current knowledge of their application to prison (with a particular focus on Interpersonal Psychological Theory (Joiner, 2005), Cry of Pain model (Williams, 2001) and the Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model (O’Connor, 2011).

The workshop will review a selection of current psychological tools to aid assessment of self-harm and suicide and their applicability to a prison environment. There will also be an emphasis on practicing the tools on case studies.  Using a combination of theoretical models and the use of psychological assessment, the workshop will consider the development of a care and risk management plan for self-harm or suicidal behaviour.

The workshop will also consider the psychologist as consultant or researcher in this field and the importance of self-care.

The course is intended for any practitioners, academics or researchers who wish to explore the application of psychological knowledge and skill to the area of self-harm and suicide in offenders.  No prior knowledge is required. It is recommended that, due to the topic, this workshop is not suitable for psychological assistants or practitioners without access to supervision or support.

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • To consider the known risks and protective factors for self-harm and suicide in offenders.
  • To develop an understanding of current theoretical models of self-harm and suicide and their application to offenders.
  • Develop awareness of existing assessment tools and be able to approach an assessment for self-harm and suicide.
  • To be able to develop a care and risk management plan for self-harm and/or suicide.
  • Consider the role of consultant or researcher in this area and the importance of self-care.

Facilitators: Dr Karen Slade  CPsychol CSci AFBPsS and Sally Lopresti CPsychol

Karen is an experienced Chartered psychologist and registered Forensic psychologist, with 12 years experience of working within HM Prison Service. She has worked within the High Security Estate, Local prison and Category C medium secure establishments. She has a specific interest in self-harm and suicidal behaviour and has worked with a wide range of offending groups.She is currently a Senior Lecturer in psychology at Nottingham Trent University.During her career, Karen has worked closely with prisoners who engage in self-harm and at high risk of suicide or future self-harm. She spent 3.5 years at a local prison as the lead on suicide prevention and integrating theory into effective practice. She has also completed her doctorate on the application of theory to the prediction of self-harm and suicide in local prisons.

Sally Lopresti spent six years working in HM Prison Service’s Directorate of High Security as a forensic psychologist in training. Her previous roles include treatment manager of an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme, lead risk assessment psychologist and manager of a Research & Short Interventions Team. Since 2008 she has been working independently in association with Psychological Services UK Ltd where she provides treatment, training, risk assessments and delivery of professional evidence at parole hearings. More recently she has expanded her role by becoming a visiting lecturer in forensic psychology at Nottingham Trent University.

Sally was the link psychologist for a high security prison’s Safer Custody  team for a number of years and was involved throughout this time with harm reduction strategies at an organisational level. Sally later became the lead psychologist in units such as the segregation wing, healthcare centre and the close supervision centre (CSC) where she was involved in the care planning and management of individual offenders at high risk of self-harm and suicide.

Booking information


  • Non-Society Member: £90 (£75 + VAT)
  • Society Member: £60 (£50 + VAT)
  • DFP Member: £30 (£25 + VAT)

From 1 January 2013:

  • Non-Society Member: £93 (£77.50 + VAT)
  • Society Member: £62 (£51.67 + VAT)
  • DFP Member: £31 (£25.83 + VAT)

How to book:

Please note: online bookings will close 24 hours prior to the event. Please call +44 (0)116 2529512 for availability after this point.

To pay by cheque or request an invoice complete and return the registration form

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests at least 6 weeks before the event date.

Wed, 20/03/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

Division of Forensic Psychology & BPS Learning Centre