UNDERSTANDING THREAT AND RISK
CONCEPTUALIZATIONWhile there are many factors for consideration which ground every assessment, understanding the nuances and personalizing each evaluation is key to appreciating all of the pieces of the puzzle. From here, a strong conceptualization of the larger picture and ways to effectively move each individual towards success is maximized and scientifically and personalized feedback to the employer may be offered.
The information provided does not include an exhaustive list of variables to consider but highlights many relevant factors for consideration.
INTERVIEW: A DIFFERENT FRAMEWORKA strong Safety Threat Assessment looks at actual, attempted, or threatened violent or aggressive contact with another person(s). Psychologists have the unique skill set to apply the clinical literature to formulate and engage in an objective interview procedure to evaluate concerns of safety and violence risk in the workplace through the use of a structured interview grounded in predictors of threat.
OBJECTIVE TESTINGOften overlooked is the value and rich nature of norm based objective testing to understand the personality structure of an individual as this may identify potential markers for aggression and risks to safety which may have been overlooked. At times, individuals are willing to endorse items in testing which is difficult to voice in an interview. Feedback of the results provides further opportunity for disclosure and may improve understanding of the contextual experience of the person.
WHEN TO CALLSafety Threat Risk assessments are sometimes requested to assist a decision maker who is considering return to work, conditional return to work or permanently no longer inviting an employee to participate in the work place. Also, this assessment may assist the employer to identify additional elements which may need to be addressed in coaching, feedback or treatment to maximize an employee’s potential to work harmoniously and contribute to the organization’s goals and mission.
PSYCHOSOCIAL BACKGROUNDTo understand one’s future, an examiner must understand the past in which an employee is grounded. An oak grows from the soil it is planted. Does the employee or candidate have a history of child abuse or any past behaviors where the person engaged in concerning criminal behaviors (failure to conform, deceitfulness, impulsivity, reckless disregard for safety of self/others, irresponsibility)? If possible, information may need to be obtained from collateral records to confirm information.
HISTORY OF OFFENSESA past history of suicidal/homicidal ideation, interpersonal difficulties, occupational complications, past non-violent interactions, and past resistance to follow direction are also elements for consideration.
Difficulties in relationships may erode away hope, purpose, and contribute to reactivity. Also, this may highlight past cyclical patterns of interpersonal behavior which may be of importance for conceptualization.