Confer Facebook LinkConfer Twitter Link
Your basket TEL: 0207 5357595
Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

Vulnerability and Gang Life: Therapeutic Perspectives

With Dr Geraldine Akerman, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Feras Al-Bakri, Dr Richard Grove and Mary Haley

Saturday 2 February 2019 - London

09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Dr Geraldine Akerman and Mary Haley

We are not a gang. We are a group
HMP Grendon is a unique offender institution, where inmates volunteer to go from mainstream prisons so they can take greater control over the day-to-day running of their lives and participate in a demanding rehabilitation programme. It is still the only prison in Europe to operate wholly as a therapeutic community and part of this treatment involves immersion in Democratic Therapeutic Communities (DTCs). Interestingly, whereas some prisoners find it easy to integrate into a DTC, those who have been in gangs find it much more difficult. This talk considers why this might be, the characteristics which attract young people to join a gang and the complex interpersonal dynamics involved, such as the search for love, certainties and belonging. We will explain how a more specialised intervention - Changing the Game - was developed between ex-gang members and therapeutic staff in order to develop a therapeutic programme that was really meaningful to them. We will describe how that has evolved since, incorporating the perspectives of those who have facilitated and participated, and how it has enriched the work of the wider therapeutic community at Grendon.
10.45   Camila Batmanghelidjh

The gang cocktail: Hard to reach kids or hard to reach clinicians?
The "perpetrator-victim" narrative attributed to gangs has not allowed for a more nuanced understanding. Having worked for the past 20 years with children and young people involved in a range of gangs, Camila will describe how she has come to an understanding of the paradox driving gang-affiliated behaviours. To newcomers and those exposed to their violence, gangs appear random, bizarre and incomprehensible. Yet, proximity to the phenomenon demonstrates a lethal and highly organised logic to the behaviour of gang members and the way children and young people are compelled to join them. Conventional, 50-minute psychotherapeutic interventions on the whole fail with this group, rendering the clinicians unreachable. A new and more sophisticated approach is required combining psychological, physiological, social and cultural interventions. In this talk, Camila hopes to make evident the key ingredients required to generate an effective care package for children and young people bound to gangs. No single discipline has the answer. It's a cocktail of theoretical and practical approaches.
11.30   Coffee
12.00   Dr Richard Grove

Project 10/10 - Creating and developing a co-produced project with young people affected by gang involvement: a journey from the graveyard to the church
Richard will share his experience of developing a community based, co-produced mental health service for young people who are affected by gang involvement - this comprises those at risk of offending and at risk of being victims of crime. He will share his reflections on co-production in practice, its challenges, and the benefits of using this approach with young people who would not traditionally access mental health support. Communities tend to experience these young people as complex, challenging, and presenting with high risk. The young people are often rejecting of mainstream services and communities. The project aims to apply psychological theories to attempt to understand this interaction, engage with these young people, and build relationships in which workers can be supported to provide interventions for under-identified mental health needs and the disconnect that exists between these young people and the wider system.
12.45   Discussion
13.00   Lunch
14:00    Camila Batmanghelidjh talking with three rehabilitated gang members

The subjective experience of gang entanglement
Camila Batmanghelidjh will talk with guests who have first-hand experience of gang culture, exploring the needs that underpinned their attraction to gang life, the experience itself and their lives since extracting themselves from those dynamics. What therapeutic help would have been useful? And when?
15.00   Tea
15:30   Workshops

In the light of these presentations, participants will be invited to work in small groups led by Camila, Geraldine and Mary or Richard, in order to develop insights into the wider dynamics of gang culture and the kinds of therapeutic interventions you might be able to offer in your community, school or mental health team.

Please choose one group (register on arrival)

Workshop 1:
Led by Dr Geraldine Akerman and Mary Haley
Developing a gang member-centred therapeutic model in your institution. What we have learned at Grendon.

Workshop 2:
Led by Camila Batmanghelidjh
Generating an effective care package for children and young people bound to gangs.

Workshop 3:
Led by Dr Richard Grove
Engaging and interacting with young people affected by gang involvement. Case discussion and reflections to illustrate the clinical application of the Integrate Model, and how attachment theory and mentalisation-based treatment are used to inform the practice of Project 10/10.

16.30   Panel discussion
17.00   End

Click here to book
You will be taken to a secure web server where your payment will be processed.
Please read our booking conditions before making your booking

Handouts and lunch included
Self-funded: £120
Self-funded x 2: £200
Organisationally-funded: £200
Under 25's: £70

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

8 All Saints Street
N1 9RL

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:30 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15.00 Tea
17:00 End