Available courses

Rationale for the module

The National Personality Disorder Offender Pathway requires a whole systems approach across the criminal justice system and the NHS recognising the various stages of an offender’s journey, from conviction, sentence, and community based supervision and resettlement. The pathway aims to ensure that the treatment and management of offenders with personality disorder is psychologically informed and led by psychologically trained staff. In response to this, this module provides staff with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills to engage effectively with offenders. The module will focus on the core principles of engaging effectively with a focus on relationships and the social context in which people live. The module will enable students to develop an understanding of key interpersonal processes that impact on engaging with offenders with personality disorder and the way in which joint service delivery can contain, support and intervene effectively.

Rationale for the module


Practitioners working with women with personality disorders need to be aware of the special and complex issues around gender and identity. Contexts in which these issues are particularly important include high and medium security prisons and mental health units, as well community-based services including hostels, and therapeutic settings.

This module is a response to an explicit government request to develop a gender-sensitive component of the Knowledge and Understanding Framework (KUF). A critical understanding of gender and identity issues relating to personality disorder (PD) is essential for effective therapeutic understanding and intervention. Such understanding requires individual self-reflection aimed at developing a capacity to recognize relational aspects of this situation. 

The key purpose of the module is to enable the students to develop an understanding of how the social constructs of gender and identity can inform their attempts to make sense of the presenting behaviours and maladaptive strategies of women diagnosed with a personality disorder.


The rationale for this module is based on the requirement for a thorough understanding of the concept of risk in the context of personality disorder services. When working with people with personality disorders who often express their difficulties through action, a number of behaviours signal a potential risk of harm to self or others and will be cause for concern, notably violence, self-harm and suicide. The module introduced students to the most common concerns about risk when working with people with personality disorders, addressed different viewpoints and perspectives on risk, and enabled students to develop a thorough understanding of the methods traditionally used to assess risk and the strengths and limitations of these. The module enabled students to develop an understanding of key interpersonal processes that impact on risk, and the way in which services can contain or exacerbate risk. Students became familiar with a number of standardised instruments for assessing risk, although the module did not offer full accredited training in the use of these instruments; students also developed skills of communicating verbally and in writing about risk.

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 Developing Psychologically Informed Case Formulation with Complex High Risk Offenders

MSc Working with Personality Disorder. Extending Expertise and Enhancing Practice
MSc Working with Personality Disorder. Extending Expertise and Enhancing Practice
Working with Personality Disorder: Extending Expertise and Enhancing Practice

Leadership & Service Development September 2017

All MSc Dissertation Students