Forensic Psychology for Brighter Futures

Our children and young people may have experienced early years adversity, which often leads to attachment, trauma, and mental health difficulties, impacting life chances and opportunities. This means that the possibility of criminal behaviour, addiction, homelessness, etc. in adult life is higher.

Without intervention, these young people may therefore face serious challenges in their adolescence and adulthood, including harm to self and others. Our Forensic Psychology Team assesses, formulates, and intervenes with those engaging in harmful behaviours and assists them to find positive pathways out of adolescence and adult adversity. The aim is to support our children to develop into healthy individuals who can contribute to a safer and happier society.

The Formulation Process

We know that well-informed, evidence-based assessment improves our ability to care safely and reduce risk. So, when young people become part of our family, we start working in our homes on a 5 P’s Assessment, or ‘Formulation’, that is underpinned by psychological and sociological theory and research.

By identifying the answer to each ‘P’, we gain a holistic view of the young person, defining their story and unlocking the way towards the right therapeutic approach that will make them flourish.

The 5 P’s Assessment

We assess the factors below to obtain a comprehensive report of risk and need for each child:


1. Presenting needs and risks – i.e., what behaviours do they present with now?

2. Predisposing factors – i.e., what has happened to them that impacts on their presenting behaviour?

3. Precipitating factors – i.e., what triggers certain behaviours?

4. Perpetuating factors – i.e., what maintains this behaviour?

5. Protective factors – i.e., what meets needs and reduces risk?


Through this process, we are able to recognise the interaction between the biological, psychological, and social circumstances influencing an individual’s life.

S.’ story

S. joined Pebbles in 2019, and we undertook a forensic psychological risk assessment to understand his alleged harmful sexual behaviour. Our compassion-focused formulation was used to develop a treatment plan alongside 48 sessions of Eamon McGrory’s ‘Change for Good’ programme. S. also required an additional 16 sessions during therapy for a safe space to discuss current concerns, which we find is often the case for young people engaging in longer-term therapy.

The programme has been successfully completed, and there have been no more sexually harmful behaviours. The child has developed protective factors for healthy relationships and coping strategies

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