Understanding and unraveling the therapeutic correctional relationship, using a participatory approach

  • Sarah Lewis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines how relationships that promote behavioural change are conceptualised and de-constructed within Probation practice in England and Wales, investigating the relational narrative and temporary tears in the relationship (ruptures). The project embraces a participatory approach, involving probationers1 and practitioners within the design, implementation and analysis of the research to acknowledge the benefits of listening to the “offender voice” within relational research. Seventeen Probation practitioners participated in focus groups and eighteen probationer interviews were undertaken, with the use of visual aids to enhance engagement. In light of the findings, the Dynamic Model of Therapeutic Correctional Relationships (TCRs) is presented to conceptualise TCRs, through an examination of its mechanisms. The relational narrative is de-constructed and five stages emerged from the data, these being; relational pre-conceptions, activating the TCR, developing the TCR, sustaining/maintaining the TCR and preparing to end the TCR. During each stage, it was found that certain aspects of practice could promote the development of TCRs over time. Finally, the findings suggest that relational ruptures exist within Probation practice and the management of ruptures are addressed through a set of principles. These principles promote the reparation of ruptures through acknowledgement, action, reflection and review. This thesis concludes with the proposal that practitioners need to “play‖ a new relational ―game” within Probation practice, to encourage the development of TCRs and support the processes of change.

Date of AwardApr 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMichael Nash (Supervisor) & Dennis Gough (Supervisor)

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