Self-injury group psychotherapy intervention for young offenders: a pilot study [2018]

Objective: Self-injury (SI) is a significant and growing problem with the prison estate and a particularly acute issue with young offenders. Despite this, there are no evidence-based interventions for Young Offenders with SI difficulties. The Self-Injury Group Psychotherapy Intervention (SIGPI) was developed to target this.

Method: Drawing on existing evidence, the group was developed and piloted on a sample of 12 male Young Offenders (mean age 19.85 years) in custody with a history of SI. Participants were measured on observable SI behaviour, SI thoughts and urges and psychological distress. A within subject design was utilised with measures at baseline, 6 months and 1 year.

Results: At 12 months follow-up, a significant reduction in SI acts, time spent on SI monitoring, severity of urges and difficulty resisting SI. Psychological distress was also reduced.

Conclusions: SIGPI could be a potentially promising intervention and further investigation into its efficacy is warranted.

Owen Forster & Jake Shaw

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 13 Aug 2018