In-house Training

At VRA:T&C, we appreciate that, while continuing professional development is mandatory for professional practice, it is not easy to source and finance appropriate training courses for you and your staff. One solution is in-house training. Our trainers, Professor David Cooke and Dr Caroline Logan, have many years’ experience as forensic clinical psychologists in the violence risk field and in organising both open training and in-house events on key areas of professional practice. Their training is in high demand: in the last few years they have provided well-received workshops across the UK and Europe, in Australia, North America, New Zealand, Russia, the Middle East, the Far East and in the Caribbean.

What are the specific benefits of in-house training?

• Tailored training—The trainer can tailor workshops to meet the specific needs and skill set of your staff and organisation. They can discuss case examples that are relevant to your work, including specific cases about which you may wish advice.
• Clarity and consistency of approach—A recognised advantage of in-house training is that it can increase staff coherence, improve within-team communication and development, and generate clarity and consistency of practice.
• Staff organising and morale—Sending staff to training courses can create problems with cover, availability at the same time, and so on. We can agree an acceptable time for the training that gives you the opportunity to ensure that everything is taken care of in terms of ongoing work demands.
• Cost savings—Sending individual employees to essential professional training – with the attendant costs of travel, accommodation, and subsistence as well as registration – is a significant expense for any organisation. Having the trainer come to you will markedly reduce costs.

The training we can offer you is as follows:

Advanced Forensic Interviewing Skills – A high level of clinical interviewing skill is required in the violence risk field and in forensic mental health in general. However, few practitioners have training or support in the development of specifically forensic clinical interviewing skills. This two-day course is designed to develop skills and awareness of key interviewing techniques in order to maximise the opportunities practitioners have to gather information essential to the reasons for their evaluations.

Advanced Risk – The practice of clinical risk assessment and management has changed greatly in the last five years. Predicting harmful outcomes in clients is giving way to approaches that emphasise the assessment and formulation of risk factors potentially relevant to the outcome to be prevented and risk management planning. Our workshops on advanced risk assessment, formulation and management will cover best practice in the field.

Clinical Skills in the Application of the CAPP – The focus of this two-day workshop is the conceptualization of psychopathic personality disorder using the model described as the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP) (Cooke et al., 2012). David Cooke, Stephen Hart, Caroline Logan, and Christine Michie have developed this model and overseen research using it for more than 12 years now. The CAPP model underpins a variety of approaches to measuring psychopathy – we will focus on two measures: a semi-structured clinical interview and an informant rating form. We will emphasize the application of the CAPP model and its measurements to understanding and explaining the presentation of those with the condition through formulation. We will describe the formulation process, and illustrate the utility of the CAPP in formulating those with psychopathy.

This two-day workshop will provide information about the CAPP model – its origin and development – and formal training in the clinical use of the CAPP Interview and CAPP Informant Rating Form. This workshop will be most suitable for those who wish to broaden their evaluation of psychopathy beyond what is possible with traditional measures of the construct, and who wish to make the assessment of psychopathy useful to the development of formulations and treatment and risk management plans. This workshop would also be useful for those planning to undertake research into psychopathy. Practitioners and researchers who are already trained in the assessment of psychopathy and who use structured assessments of personality disorder in their work with clients in forensic hospitals or correctional settings will benefit most from the work presented.
The workshop will be led by Professor David Cooke and Dr Caroline Logan. A technical manual and materials will provided at this course.
For more information about the CAPP, please go to

Essential Courtroom Skills for Forensic Practitioners – Practitioners are increasingly required to defend their risk assessment reports in Court and other legal settings. This workshop focuses on enhancing both report writing and courtroom skills. Topics to be covered will include the legal framework within which reports have to be prepared, the importance of identifying and answering the legal question posed, and how to structure reports to increase their defensibility. In relation to evidence-giving, common tactics used in cross-examination will be identified and appropriate responses considered. Participants will be encouraged to bring one of their own reports so that direct feedback can be provided.

Forensic applications of the IPDE – The International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE) is a semi-structured clinical interview developed to assess the personality disorder presentations described in section II of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5th Edition and the International Classification of Diseases 10th Edition. Personality disorder assessment is an important undertaking in forensic and other settings, for example, to clarify diagnosis and co-morbidity, to formulate the association between mental health needs and harmful behaviour, and to justify specific treatment and management pathways within the criminal justice and forensic mental health systems.

This two day workshop will provide those attending with training in the use of the IPDE. It will begin with a review of key issues in the assessment and diagnosis of personality disorder, including a review of the alternative system for classifying and assessing personality disorder described in section III of the DSM-5 and the proposed revisions to personality disorder in ICD-11. The IPDE will be examined in detail – an IPDE manual and a range of supportive training materials will be provided at this course – and case studies will be used to illustrate important points about different diagnoses and potential problems in their individual assessment and measurement. The use of the IPDE as opposed to other methods of assessing personality dysfunction will be discussed. The use of IPDE findings in a formulation about personality functioning and its relevance to treatment and harmful behaviour will also be considered, as well as clinical interviewing skills relevant to the assessment of personality pathology.

The IPDE is a complex clinical tool. Therefore, this course is suitable for experienced mental health practitioners who have a good understanding and working knowledge of personality disorder and the DSM-IV and DSM-5 or ICD-10 classification systems. Using the IPDE competently assumes training and experience in making psychiatric diagnoses. The training is therefore most suitable for experienced psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and those with comparable training who are capable of making independent psychiatric diagnoses without semi-structured interviews. Therefore, this training is not suitable for clinicians in the early phase of their training or by research assistants, junior nurses, or medical or graduate students.

Clinical Skills in the Application of the HCR-20-V3 – Systematic assessment of the risk of harm to others is now generally accepted to be a crucial component in the effective management of violent offenders. Using the method of structured professional judgement, violence risk assessment is geared towards the design of a comprehensive risk management plan. Published guidelines following this approach have long been applied in prisons and forensic mental health services in Britain and now are used widely around the world. The approach is also endorsed by the Risk Management Authority, which sets standards of best practice in risk assessment in Scotland. With growing recognition of the need for multidisciplinary involvement in risk assessment and risk management planning, as well as an increased awareness of its relevance in any setting where people with histories of violence are encountered, an increasing number of professionals are being expected to contribute to the process.

The HCR-20 is a tool for assessing general violence risk and is perhaps the most commonly applied risk assessment tool using the SPJ approach. It provides guidelines for integrating information from a broad range of risk factors associated with violence recidivism. This workshop is aimed at any professional working with violent offenders or academics with an interest in violence risk assessment and management. Participants will learn about the structured professional judgement approach and about the background and procedures to the HCR-20. Using case examples, participants will practise drawing up future risk scenarios risk and devising risk management strategies.

Clinical Skills in the Application of the PCL-R – Psychopathic personality disorder is an important risk factor for violence. Additionally, it has relevance for treatment and risk management.

The Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R) is currently the best validated measure of psychopathy. The use of the PCL-R has become widespread across many agencies; it provides a standard methodology for assessing this important risk factor.

In particular, emphasis is given to the clinical information derived from the instrument and how that information can be used in risk violence formulation. Using a variety of teaching modalities didactic, interactive and practical exercises, this workshop will introduce participants to the PCL-R.
A video case will be used to allow participants to apply the PCL-R ratings and obtain feedback. The strengths and limitations of the PCL-R will be discussed. The PCL-R manual is supplied with this course.

Clinical Skills in the Application of the PRISMUsing PRISM to understand the impact of situational risk factors – The keystone of forensic practice is violence prevention. Structured professional judgement approaches (e.g., HCR-20, RSVP) have made a significant contribution to our understanding of the individual patient, prisoner or client. But focusing merely on the individual neglects opportunities for violence prevention. People are violent not just because of who they are, but also, because of where they are.

With his colleague Lorraine Johnstone, David Cooke developed PRISM (Promoting Risk Interventions by Situational Management). This is an evidence-based process that systematically considers all elements of institutional structure and functioning; from security and control, through staff training, morale, and experience to organisational features including, management style, policies and interventions. Just as a physical prism splits white light into its constituent elements, PRISM takes the whole organisation and identifies the constituent elements that affect violence within the organisation; it breaks down complexity in order that interventions can be approached in a measured and systematic manner. The PRISM process moves in seven steps from data collection through risk formulation, scenario planning towards the development of effective interventions for violence prevention.

This workshop will teach participants how to carry out the PRISM process using didactic sessions and case-studies. The workshop is relevant to clinicians, managers, administrators, policy makers and researchers involved in institutions where there is a risk of violence.

In 2007 John Monahan remarked that: “PRISM is a model merging of cutting-edge academic research and state-of-the-art clinical practice. It deserves to be soon and widely implemented in a variety of institutional settings and in many countries.” PRISM has now been used in secure forensic settings, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and institutions for children and young people in New Zealand, Singapore, Barbados, Norway, Denmark and Sweden as well as widely throughout the UK. Lessons learned from these cases will be integrated into this workshop.

Clinical Skills in the Application of the RSVP & SVR-20 -Numerous instruments now exist to support the efforts of practitioners to predict the likelihood of sexual violence recidivism. Fewer instruments are available to support efforts to formulate and manage risk, and ultimately prevent sexual violence. This workshop will prepare participants to administer a structured professional judgement (SPJ) instruments designed for use with sexual offenders.

The Risk of Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP), is a more recent and comprehensive tool designed to assist practitioners in case management. Neither of these instruments employ actuarial or statistical methods to support decision-making about risk, but instead offer guidelines for collecting relevant information and making structured decisions. This workshop will review the content and the administration of the RSVP, and provide an overview of the range of risk management strategies for sexual violence.

Case studies will be presented to allow those attending to apply the instruments in their own work with confidence.

If you are interesting in seeking in-house training from our experts—please click here to submit your interest form.