Authors: Adam Mahoney, Edinburgh Napier University, UK; Gillian Sutcliffe and Bernadette Connolly, HMPPS Women’s Estate Prison Service (WEPS), UK.



The high prevalence of interpersonal trauma for women in custody is well known. The mental health sequelae of such experiences can include lifelong patterns of harmful behaviour directed towards both onself and others. Responding effectively to such concerns has presented a considerable challenge to prison services. Based on our clinical experience we proposed CRANE (Compassionate Recovery and Neurological Empowerment) as an integrative approach to treating ‘prolific’ and acute acts of self-harm and suicidal ideation as symptoms associated with interpersonal trauma. CRANE draws on compassion focused therapy (CFT), and other trauma focused approaches, to promote participant recovery and stability. This is reflected in CRANE’s four integrated strands, which include body centred trauma psychoeducation, trauma memory processing and a strengths-based approach to developing positive connections to self and others. This practice paper outlines these strands along with clinical illustrations from a pilot delivery and direction to theory, to help consider the benefits and challenges participants faced during the course of this intervention.

Keywords: Women’s Prisons; Self-harm; Suicide Prevention; Trauma Informed; Complex PTSD; Compassion Focused Therapy.

Vol 3, Issue 2, October 2022