In the 1980s, alcohol education groups seemed to be the favoured option for tackling offending behaviour that was linked to alcohol misuse. I had been thoroughly uninterested in them until the realities of delivering more ambitious psycho dynamically informed group work seemed to be too demanding for my team to sustain. My lack of interest was not I think without some reason. When I thought of the complexity and depth of problems that lay behind the offending of most of my cases as a young probation and social work practitioner, how could I take seriously a proposition that six to ten meetings which included essentially rather simple educational content, would turn people’s lives around. Also it seemed that people offended under the influence of alcohol for reasons of some personal intensity, concerning feelings of self worth, ambition, shame, anger etc. Group work input that told people about the physical and psychological impact of units of alcohol seemed a ludicrously over simple response.
Struggle to integrate psychodynamic work into offender supervision 1