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Mad or Bad?: A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology

Mad or Bad?: A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology

First Edition
Edited by:

May 2017 | 400 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Is an offender with mental health problems fully responsible for their offences? Should certain criminal behaviors be treated with incarceration and rehabilitation—or counseling and psychotherapy? Mad or Bad? asks these questions, and more. It is a cutting-edge text that provides a comprehensive introduction to mental health problems and criminal behavior, and considers the most common and effective therapeutic approaches for working with offenders and victims of crime.
  • Part 1 explores the predominant tensions between forensic and therapeutic agendas;
  • Part 2 considers how criminal and ‘insane’ identities and careers may be considered gendered, classed, culturally, and age-dependent experiences, and be related to power and oppression;
  • Part 3 examines issues around sex and sexuality in forensic and therapeutic settings;
  • Part 4 introduces a range of therapeutic approaches for working with offenders and victims of crime;
  • Part 5 covers forensic and therapeutic practices, including programs for the prevention of both mental health issues and offending.
Edited by an expert team from the Open University and written by a broad range of contributors, this book draws on a wealth of experience in this popular subject area. It will be a key text for students of forensic psychology, counseling and psychotherapy, and for health and social care professionals working in therapeutic and forensic settings.
Part I: Mad or bad? - Setting the scene
Andreas Vossler, Catriona Havard, Meg-John Barker, Graham Pike, Bianca Raabe and Zoe Walkington
Working therapeutically in forensic settings
Catriona Havard and Katherine D. Watson
Historical overview
Troy Cooper and Simon Cross
Media representations
David Pilgrim
Diagnosis and categorisation
Part II: Mad/bad identities
Hári Sewell
Jane E.M. Callaghan and Joanne H. Alexander
Emily Glorney
Daniel Holman
Part III: Sex and sexuality in mental health and crime
Tara N. Richards and Joan A. Reid
Sexual assault and abuse
Amanda O'Donovan
Sex and sexuality in the therapy room
Jemma Tosh
Allan Tyler
Sex work
Part IV: Treatment
Mary Haley
Attachment-based approaches
Matt Bruce
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Andreas Vossler, Brigitte Squire and Clare Bingham
Systemic approaches
Meg-John Barker and Troy Cooper
Part V: Dichotomies in forensic and therapeutic practice
Nadia Wager
Andrew Reeves and Paul Taylor
Self-harm and suicide
Henry Strick van Linschoten
Nadia Wager and Graham Pike

While the title of the book will either attract or repel potential readers, undertaking a critical review of counselling and forensic psychology is to be welcomed. Contributions by expert psychotherapists and clinical, counselling and forensic psychologists working in a multiplicity of forensic settings alongside academics, many with practitioner experience, ensures that a range of views, disciplines and approaches are fully explored.  With chapters covering issues such as media representations, identities, sexual offending, diagnosis, treatment, therapeutic practice and prevention, this book is a highly recommended read for students, academics and practitioners interested in mental health and its relationship with criminality.

Professor Michael Brookes OBE
Professor of Forensic Psychology, Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist, Former Director of Therapeutic Communities, HMP Grendon

This collection sheds new light on the problems of people with mental health difficulties in the criminal justice system. It carefully shows that we cannot just label people as "mad" or "bad" but must instead consider a complex set of interacting social, psychological, legal and circumstantial factors, in order to understand how people become caught up in crime. This outstanding book will be essential reading for students or anyone interested in the complicated relationship between mental health, contemporary social life and criminal justice.

Dr Joel Harvey
Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, King's College London

A quite remarkable and very well-researched book, in both its range and depth of exploring how our legal and psychiatric systems are used to control people who are different. The tensions between punishment and treatment are thoroughly examined. Critical socio-psychology at its finest!

Dominic Davies
Founder, Pink Therapy

A really interesting perspective is taken on the overlap between Forensic and Counselling Psychology, with contributions for experts in the field and use of contemporary research. A thought-provoking read.

Mrs Suzi Smale
Psychology, Petroc College
July 4, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Mad or Bad? - Chapter 1

Andreas Vossler

Andreas Vossler is Director of the Foundation Degree in Counselling and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University. He is also a systemic trained couple and family psychotherapist. His current research activities focus on therapeutic work with couples and families, infidelity, Internet infidelity, and counselling and psychotherapy. Andreas is co-editor of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Handbook (2014) and Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy (2010; both Sage). He has authored three textbooks and published 17 book chapters and 19 articles in peer-reviewed papers on topics related to counselling and psychotherapy... More About Author

Catriona Havard

Catriona Havard is a Senior Lecturer at the Open University. She has investigated how accurate people are at recognising faces, in the forensic context of eyewitness identification from line-ups. The aim of her research is to make eyewitness evidence more reliable, especially for children and older adult (over 60 yrs) witnesses, and to reduce misidentifications that could lead to wrongful convictions. More About Author

Graham Pike

Graham Pike is an academic with interests in forensic psychology, critical criminology and applied cognition, whose research focuses on issues of evidence and harm within the criminal justice system. He is Professor of Forensic Cognition at The Open University, Deputy Director of the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative and Associate Director for the National Centre for Policing Research and Professional Development. His research has led to changes in the PACE Codes of Practice, numerous guidelines for policing practice and also development of the VIPER identification system and E-FIT software. He has a passion for public engagement,... More About Author

Meg-John Barker

Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including Queer: A Graphic History, Gender: A Graphic Guide, How To Understand Your Gender, Life Isn’t Binary, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To), Rewriting the Rules, The Psychology of Sex, and The Secrets of Enduring Love. They have also written a number of books for scholars and counsellors on these topics, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice. Websites:, Twitter: @megjohnbarker, Instagram: @meg_john_barker. More About Author

Bianca Raabe

Bianca Raabe is an academic with interests in Social, Developmental and Counselling psychology, whose research interests have focused on young people’s constructions of citizenship and identity, and is currently interested in ‘wild’ therapy, and therapy in open spaces.  In maintaining her therapeutic practice Bianca is involved in both short term (3 session counselling) and long term psychotherapy.  She is a Staff Tutor based in the North East of England, at The Open University, Gateshead. In her role as a Staff Tutor she has particular interest in collaborative teaching and learning and working with complex group dynamics. More About Author

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