There are four Youth Offenders Institutions (YOI) across the UK and they are HMYOI Cookham wood, HMYOI Feltham and HMYOI Wetherby and Werrington. Each has their own unique culture and service.
Trainee Counselling Psychologists interested in a placement at either of the YOIs are advised to consider that the environment and population will present practical and emotional challenges not experienced in other environments. The children will often have experienced extremely adverse conditions and events, including abuse, which may have resulted in emotional regulation issues, trauma and engagement difficulties.
The placement is within a custodial setting so Trainees will be required to carry keys and keep all gates locked at all times. The children are encouraged to attend a range of activities so Education, the gym, family visits and interventions, such as psychological counselling. Given the emphasis on education and on the system having to respond quickly to violence and risk there may sometimes be delays to sessions, difficulties access young people, so booked sessions may need to be rescheduled. The environment is challenging but is one in which a Trainee counselling psychologist will build on their resilience, clinical experience and partner with a creative and dedicated specialist staff team. A team comprised of custodial officers and a multi-disciplinary CAMHS team.
The Trainee Counselling Psychologist (s) on placement will work from the Psychology Department made up of Trainee Forensic Psychologist at various stages of training, Registered Psychologist and at some sites there is also a Family Therapist. Clinical supervision will be provided by a registered Psychologist.
The Trainee(s) can agree to a 6 month placement, however a 12 month contract and longer is preferred because it provides a better depth of experience and learning. The Trainee will attend the placement once a week. Days are negotiable. They can see up to four clients, depending on experience and gaining familiarity with the setting. If the YOI has a family therapist the Trainee may want to join the Family Therapy team. There are opportunities for assessment, formulation, treatment planning and therapy.