Wobbly Walls and Wobbly Lives: A Systemic- Attachment Based Intervention for Young People who have Engaged in Harmful Sexual Behaviours

(Pages: 93-101)

Rudi Dallos1,*, Edwin Price2 and Denise Jackson3

1Rudi Dallos, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Dept. of Clinical Psychology, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK. PL46DT. 2Edwin Price, D. Clin. Psychology, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Gweres Kernow, County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro Cornwall TR1 3AY, UK. 3Denise Jackson, Senior Social Worker, Gweres Kernow, County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro Cornwall TR1, UK


This paper describes an orientation to working with young people who present with sexually harmful behaviours which focusses on formulation integrating the relational and attachment context of the young people‟s lives. Different models are explored in relation to young people who engage in sexually harmful behaviour and an approach to formulation and intervention using the metaphor of „wobbly walls‟, developed in the Gweres Kernow service is described. An overview of the relevance of an attachment – systemic perspective is described with reference to the concept of safe – uncertainty. An illustration of the approach is offered utilising a metaphor of „wobbly walls‟ to capture the process of assessment and intervention. Discussions of managing the anxieties of families and professionals involved with them is discussed alongside a consideration of how the approach can offer a nonblaming perspective to assisting families ensure safety and also to facilitate change. 


Sexual harmful behaviour, children, attachment, trauma, therapeutic service , research.