The Bridging the Gap Team held a very successful Conference and re-launch event at HMP Askham Grange on 1st March 2017. Representatives from the National Probation Service in North Yorkshire and Humberside and partner agencies including Mental Health, Housing Services, Substance Misuse teams, Prisons and Police Public Protection Officers attended and heard presentations from the Bridging the Gap team and Southview PIPE. It was wonderful to have the support of Ruth Kettle CEO of Community Links and Lynda Marginson NPS Director in the North East who both talked about the importance of the work with personality disordered offenders.
There was a focus on understanding how the brain reacts to trauma that drew upon the evolutionary model of the brain, the use of DBT and how it is delivered, also an experience of soothing rhythm breathing used in compassion focussed therapy. An ex service user was at the conference and was able to share his experiences and journey in working with BtG.
It was interesting to hear the presentation from York University about the evaluation of our work, including positive outcomes for our service users. Initial findings are promising and the team look forward to further developments when more data is available.
We had some excellent feedback from those who attended and a warm welcome and excellent lunch provided by the staff and women at HMP Askham.
‘A better awareness of what bridging the Gap offers and confidence in its processes, in particular what a psychologically informed planned environment (PIPE ) is and what they offer.’
‘Having a Service User involved was particularly refreshing; a description of his experience and journey through Bridging the gap was effective. This could give a sense of confidence for service users.’
‘The National Probation service team noted a deeper understanding of the referral criteria and who would be suitable for the service. ‘A new service for the NPS staff’.’
‘A sense of empathy for individuals with personality disorders and an informed knowledge of compassion focused therapy. By asking everybody to take part in the soothing, rhythm breathing exercise this allowed insight into mindfulness and the techniques that can be used to care for self in times of stress or anxiety.