Career profile of Dr Susan Jones, Clinical Director and Lead for Forensics
Dr Susan Jones is HCPC registered and our clinical director and lead for the team of psychologists who use psychological approaches to forensic work. She provides psychological assessments for criminal law, prison law and child-care proceedings, specialising in assessment of risk for violence, sexual offending and domestic abuse, from adolescence onwards.
She is often asked to assess the impact of mental disorders, personality disorder and psychopathy on risk and on parenting skills. Susan also assesses mental capacity, cognitive functioning and offers screening for neuropsychological difficulties. Susan travels across the UK providing assessments for offenders in secure or prison settings. She has extensive experience of presenting psychological evidence to the Courts and to the Parole board, as well as offering a wide range of training including expert witness skills, personality and forensic assessment in relation to mental health difficulties. She also has an interest in cognitive difficulties associated with psychosis and the development of personality disorder in young persons. Susan was previously employed in secure services in the NHS
“I chose early on in my career as a Clinical Psychologist to apply my assessment and therapy skills to the Forensic arena, i.e., the interface between Mental Health and the Courts. This evolved from a fascination with what factors influenced people to cross the line into antisocial acts, and how therapeutic interventions could assist them in regaining independence. This involved specialist training during and after doctoral Clinical Psychology training, in issues relating to pre-trial, pre-sentencing and post-sentencing needs, in forensic inpatient and community settings as well as in prisons.
“Subsequently, I have been able to develop special interests in personality disorders and in balancing public protection issues with service users’ personal goals.
“In addition, I have developed specialist assessment skills, particularly in personality and risk. The career path has also brought me in close contact with colleagues trained in Forensic Psychology, who focus on assessment and intervention within the prison / probation setting, but not specifically on mental health issues. Our work often interfaces in areas such as cognitive difficulties, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, intimate partner violence and sex offending.
“Until I joined Psychology Associates as Forensic Lead and as a Clinical Director in 2010, I had been employed exclusively in the public sector and I continue to be passionate about finding ways in which all sectors can work together to increase choice, providing high quality of services and value for money to commissioners and service users. I am also very excited to see many of my NHS forensic clinical psychology colleagues taking on the role of Approved /Responsible Clinician for forensic clients admitted under the Mental Health Act (1983, as amended 2007), again emphasising the importance of increased choice for service users.
“In the independent sector, I find a wide range of opportunities to apply a forensic perspective to assist with assessments of complex psychological issues. This includes psychological risk assessments in Child & Family, Criminal Law and Prison Law proceedings, as well as independent reports for Mental Health Review Tribunals. I also continue to really enjoy opportunities to deliver training events on psychological topics.”