Motivation and emotion/Book/2017/Good Lives Model of offender rehabilitation
What is the theory and research about GLM?
- 1 Overview
- 2 Criminogenic needs
- 3 Relevant motivational theories
- 4 Human goods - A motivational construct
- 5 What does the research say?
- 6 Case study
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 Quiz
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The key problem for any behavioural intervention is how to motivate genuine, lasting change? This is a particularly important question in the realm of offender rehabilitation, where therapists and other practitioners are often faced with clients lacking intrinsic motivation to change, but where change could not only improve the lives of offenders, but also positively impact the community as a whole.
The Good Lives Model of offender rehabilitation (GLM) is a comparatively new, strengths-based approach to rehabilitation which focuses intervention around offenders' personal interests and goals with the overall aim of preventing recidivism by providing offenders with the necessary skills and external conditions to be able to meet their inherent needs through prosocial means (Ward & Fortune, 2013; Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b). The holistic, growth-oriented perspective of the GLM is derived from an organismic approach to motivational theory, in which human beings are seen as active agents possessing an inherent tendency toward personal growth.
From a GLM perspective, offender rehabilitation programs should focus on increasing individuals' awareness of their core values and provide them with tools and support to realize these values as specific, concrete and detailed interventions (Ward & Fortune, 2013). It is this focus on individual strengths, universal needs and approach goals, rather than avoidance goals targeted at controlling risk, that separates the GLM from the dominant Risk-Need-Responsivity model (RNR). The GLM does not ignore risk management, rather, it adopts a dual focus of risk reduction and management coupled with the enhancement of an offender's wellbeing by providing them with the internal and external conditions necessary for living a life that fulfills their inherent needs (Ward, 2002b; Ward & Fortune, 2013).
A key underlying assumption of the GLM is that all human beings share a set of similar basic needs and aspirations, and it is the responsibility of parents, teachers and the community as whole to provide each individual with the tools required to live a "good life". The "good" in "good life" does not refer to moral good, but rather to prudential good, or a good defined in terms of what is meaningful and rewarding to an individual (Ward & Fortune, 2013; Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b). As individuals seek to live a good life, some end up using inappropriate or maladaptive strategies to achieve their ends, such as engaging in theft or rape to satisfy needs for wealth and intimacy. This is often due to a lack of necessary internal and external conditions or resources that would allow a person to achieve their goals in a prosocial manner (Ward & Fortune, 2013; Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b). These internal and external obstacles prevent an individual from meeting their needs appropriately constitute the GLM conception of criminogenic needs or dynamic risk factors. From the GLM perspective, the utilization of inappropriate strategies in the attempt to fulfill basic needs is the origin of criminal behaviour (Ward & Fortune, 2013; Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b).
Relevant motivational theories
The principles and components of the GLM's overlap with existing, supported motivational research, such as Emmons' 1986 work regarding goals associated with personal strivings and the domains of life satisfaction identified by Cummins (1996). Another key theory considered in the development of the GLM was Deci and Ryan's (2000) work on Self-Determination Theory, which argues that all human beings are essentially active and self-directed, and naturally inclined to seek autonomy, competence and relatedness to ensure continuing psychological growth and wellbeing (Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b). This strong theoretical basis is essential to ensuring that the GLM has the best chance of affecting positive change for offenders and their communities. Also, having a strong basis in general motivational theory, rather than theory specific to crime and rehabilitation, means that the principles of the GLM may be a source of guidance for others seeking ways to live a good life.
A key theoretical underpinning of the Good Lives Model is Self-Determination Theory (SDT) – particularly the work done by Deci and Ryan. SDT is an empirical, organismic approach to human motivation and personality, concerned with growth psychology and innate human needs. SDT considers innate psychological needs to be the basis for human self-motivation and personality integration (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). Ryan and Deci specify three such needs that appear to be core to optimal functioning and development: autonomy, competence and relatedness (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Fulfillment of these needs is considered central to ideal human functioning, development and well-being, and their thwarting leads to the undermining of self-motivation, social functioning and personal well-being (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). Alienation, nonoptimal challenges and lack of control disrupt the natural tendency toward actualization, causing distress and facilitating the development of psychopathology (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000).
Intrinsic motivation is the prototypic manifestation of humans' innate tendency toward novelty, learning and optimal challenges (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). Intrinsic motivation is essential to cognitive and social development, and is a key source of pleasure and enjoyment in life; however, it can be fairly easily subdued or thwarted by conditions that do not support psychological need fulfillment. For example, tangible rewards, threats, deadlines and externally imposed goals all undermine intrinsic motivation by shifting an individual’s perceived locus of causality toward the external, thus thwarting the need for autonomy (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). Therefore, traditional offender rehabilitation programs that may not consider or prioritize intrinsically motivating goals, or that overuse threatening and/or pressuring systems for monitoring behavior, may already be on the back foot in terms of promoting motivation and readiness for change.
While important, intrinsic motivation can only be fostered for activities that possess intrinsic interest to an individual – much of what people do in their day-to-day lives is extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation exists on a continuum between amotivation and intrinsic motivation, varying in the degree to which a behavior is internally valued, and the extent to which it is autonomously regulated (see Figure 2)(Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). As people experience greater integration and internalization of regulation, they experience greater autonomy, become more effective in their behavior, persist longer, assimilate better and experience enhanced subjective well-being (Ryan, R. & Deci, E., 2000). Like intrinsic motivation, internalized and integrated extrinsic motivation is supported by need fulfilment. From this perspective, any intervention that seeks to promote lasting and meaningful changes in behaviour must recognise and support basic human needs.
One of the major influences cited by Ward in his introduction of the Good Lives Model was Emmons’ work on personal strivings (Ward, 2002a). Emmons (1986) proposed the concept of personal strivings as a motivational unit of analysis for personality study, describing them as the various types of goals that individuals work to accomplish through their behavior on a day-to-day basis. In terms of their level of abstraction, personal strivings sit between implicit motives at the superordinate level, and specific goals at the subordinate level. They act as a unifying construct, organizing and integrating an individual's goals and actions around a common theme (Emmons, 1986). Personal strivings can be thought of as the individual's experience or expression of implicit motives such as achievement, power, affiliation and intimacy (Emmons & McAdams, 1991). Some examples of personal strivings include: "trying to make my family proud", "appearing effective and competent at work" and "avoiding embarrassment".
Personal strivings are both idiographic and nomothetic – that is, they are unique to each individual, but they can all be described by their place on a discrete set of dimensions (Emmons, 1986). Emmons (1986) explored the relationships between these dimensions and the subjective well-being dimensions of positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction. Some key findings were:
- Positive affect was most strongly associated with value, effort required, and past fulfillment.
- Negative affect was most strongly associated with low instrumentality (high conflict), striving ambivalence, and low perceived probability of success.
- High life satisfaction was correlated with high importance, high value, high instrumentality and higher perceived probability of success.
While participating in the GLM of rehabilitation, individuals are encouraged to develop goals that are deeply important and relevant to them, and that will result in a significant, positive change in their life. Through a careful and extensive planning process, both therapist and client attempt to eliminate between-goal conflict and plan for how the client will access the internal and external resources required to meet their goals, thus providing them with some expectation of success. According to Emmons' findings, if this process is successful, it should result in offenders experiencing greater positive affect, lesser negative affect and greater life satisfaction, so facilitating their continuing journey towards living a good life.
Domains of life satisfaction
One of the informing theoretical resources for the GLM's list of primary goods is Cummins' work on the domains of life satisfaction (Ward, 2002a). Cummins (1996) conducted a study that found that 68% of the 173 different domain names extracted from the literature around subjective quality of life could be classified under the seven headings used by the Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale (ComQol) (Cummins, R., 1996). Once the repeated use of some domain names was accounted for, the ComQol classification included 83% of total data, leading to the conclusion that life satisfaction and subjective well-being can be validly measured using the seven ComQol domains (Cummins, R., 1996):
- Material well-being
- Place in community
- Emotional well-being
Human goods - A motivational construct
The central motivational construct of the GLM is that of primary goods: states of mind, experiences and characteristics that are valued, pursued for their own sake and derived from facts of human nature. From the GLM perspective, all human activity arises from the pursuit of human goods, including criminal behaviour (Ward, 2002b). There are three superordinate classes of primary goods: the primary goods of the body, the primary goods of the self and the primary goods of the social life (Ward, 2002a). The primary goods of the body are derived from the conditions that result in the maintenance of life and healthy bodily functioning, including the fulfillment of essential physiological needs for food, water, sleep, shelter etc. The primary goods of the self are derived from the basic psychological needs described by Ryan and Deci in their work on Self-Determination Theory: autonomy, competence and relatedness. The primary goods of the social life include access to leisure activities, family life and social support (Ward, 2002a). Initially, Ward and colleagues specified nine classes of primary goods, however, further research by Purvis revealed that some categories required separation, resulting in the current list of eleven classes (Purvis, Ward & Willis, 2011).
Though all classes must always be considered in the conception of a good life, each individual will place different weightings or values on each of these goods, and so each should be ordered and coherently related to one another during the construction of an individual life plan (Purvis, Ward & Willis, 2011; Ward, 2002a). The relative weightings of each of the eleven classes of goods constitute an individual offender’s personal identity, and outlines the kind of life that they seek. Secondary or instrumental goods are the concrete methods used to attain primary goods; secondary goods take the form of approach goals and are dependent on the abilities, opportunities and obstacles that characterize each offender’s journey (Purvis, Ward & Willis, 2011; Ward, 2002a). When criminal behavior arises, the problem lies either within the means used to secure goods (secondary goods), in between-goal conflict, or in the lack of scope within a good lives plan (Ward, 2002b). It should be the aim of a rehabilitation program to identify and address such problems in a way that is sensitive to each offender's needs, abilities, interests and opportunities, in order to allow them to seek goods in personally meaningful and prosocial ways (Purvis, Ward & Willis, 2011).
What does the research say?
GLM empirical research is still in its early days (Willis, Ward, & Levenson, 2014). Results have been inconsistent, however, taken together, they paint an intriguing portrait of the significant practical barriers faced in implementing the GLM, as well as what its most valuable features are in terms of promoting change above and beyond traditional models. Barnao, Ward and Casey (2016) undertook a study examining forensic service users' perceptions of the GLM. There were were three distinct outcomes relating to participant perceptions of rehabilitation: definite change, subtle change and no change. Four factors were identified as having potentially influenced participant responses:
- Exposure: organizational issues led to differences in participant exposure. Those in the "definite change" group received the greatest exposure to the program (15 weekly sessions).
- Practitioner Experience: participants in the "definite change" cluster benefited from extensive work with a clinical psychologist with previous GLM experience.
- Participant Readiness: those in the "definite change" group expressed a desire to change their lives, though they had little idea of how to go about it.
- Manner of Delivery: those in the "subtle" and "no change" clusters reported some practices inconsistent with the GLM.
A range of issues were also identified relating to organization and institutional culture (Barnao, Ward & Casey, 2016). Similar issues were also identified in an evaluation conducted by Willis, Ward and Levenson two years earlier. In a multisite study of 13 North American treatment programs, it was found that GLM operationalization typically occurred at the level of intervention delivery or as the addition of an extra module of a more conventional treatment program, rather than being delivered as a comprehensive framework for assessment and treatment planning (Willis, Ward & Levenson, 2014). This approach risks losing the benefits of a comprehensive GLM approach, as well as compromising the clarity and logical progression of a given treatment plan. The most frequently reported impediment to the adoption of the GLM was policy and law – unsurprising given the barriers to reintegration posed by USA registration and notification policies. Negative community attitudes were also reported as a significant barrier (Willis, Ward & Levenson, 2014). The most frequently reported factor supporting the adoption of the GLM was client responsivity, a finding consistent with research indicating that the GLM can increase offender engagement, reduce drop-out rates and enhance outcomes (Barnao, Ward & Casey, 2016; Willis, Ward & Levenson, 2014).
In a study of causal factors underlying sex offender recidivism, Willis and Crace (2008) found that recidivist offenders suffered from a lack of detailed reintegration planning and a deficit in GLM secondary goods (concrete, self-identified approach goals). They also found that the absence of the primary goods of relatedness, inner peace and agency were more strongly related to sexual offending than other goods (Willis & Crace, 2008). These findings reveal the strengths of the holistic, detailed approach to life planning undertaken by the GLM. Wainwright and Nee have proposed that GLM principles could provide a foundation for early intervention approaches with young offenders, after finding that successful desistence from criminal activity was found to be associated with a changed self-identity – an outcome strongly encouraged by the GLM's core principles and methods (Wainwright & Nee, 2014). Andrews, Bonta and Wormith concede that the essentially positive tone of the GLM has the benefit of allowing clients and clinicians to focus on strengths and minimize harm, and that pursuit of emotional well-being in rehabilitation is connected with reduced reoffending (Andrews, Bonta & Wormith, 2011).
Mr. L is a 32-year-old Australian man with an extensive history of violent and non-violent offending, including burglary, drug charges, assault, and breach of bail. He has spent most of his adult life in the prison system. During clinical interview, Mr. L revealed that he was the second youngest of seven children, and was exposed to frequent physical, emotional and sexual abuse from the age of ten, shortly after his mother passed away in a motor vehicle accident. As a result, Mr. L often chose to spend his nights on the streets, where he was exposed to drug and alcohol abuse and casual criminal behaviour. By fifteen, he had left home and was recruited into a criminally oriented group, notorious in the area for drug distribution and violence. Soon after, Mr. L dropped out of school, not having attained any formal qualifications. His emerging pattern of criminal behaviour was strongly reinforced by his ties to the local drug-dealing community, as he found acceptance and purpose there that he did not find either at home or at school. Mr. L was categorized a high-risk violent offender.
We all experience internal and external barriers when seeking to reach our goals – sometimes we need to look to our past to understand and conquer these barriers. What reinforces your behaviour? How are you attaining your primary goods?
Prior to involvement with the GLM, Mr. L had participated in cognitive-behavioural programs focusing on group-based treatment, the development of understanding around criminal behaviour and the management of high-risk situations. While completing these programs, Mr. L constructed a comprehensive Risk-Management and safety plan addressing his criminogenic needs. After his release upon completion of one of these programs, Mr. L failed to adhere to his plan and soon reoffended. Though Mr. L understood the purpose of his plan, he reported that he did not see it as relevant to him due to his position within the local drug distribution network and perceived debt to his recruiters. As such, Mr. L was not motivated to carry on engaging with treatment beyond what was necessary to secure his parole. The potential benefits of introducing the GLM in Mr. L’s case include the provision of a framework for treatment integration, facilitating treatment readiness by motivating him to apply the knowledge acquired in other treatment programs, as well as enabling Mr. L to access positive affective states and the visualization of a new evolved identity through the use of approach goals.
We often make plans for how our life is going to change – like New Year’s resolutions, for example. Almost as often, though, we find ourselves lapsing into old patterns. How can we motivate change in our own lives? The underlying principles of the GLM may be able to help.
GLM is used as a framework to support and structure the delivery of standard Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy interventions (Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007). Treatment was delivered in 5 phases.
Phase 1: Readiness and Goals
Phase 1 aims to increase readiness, establish treatment goals (approach goals) that are relevant to the offender and identify the most highly valued human goods. The therapist uses questions such as "What did you see yourself doing when you were a child?" and "What goals do you have for your life?" to begin to develop an understanding with the client of what kind of life would be meaningful and satisfying to them – what does a "good life" actually look like? This initial stage should also include an examination of each primary good and the means by which they are being attained (or not attained)(Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007).
During this introductory phase, Mr. L developed an understanding of the model and began to experience a fundamental shift from a present-focused orientation to a more future-focused orientation, facilitated by his engagement with creating meaningful approach goals representing aspirations for the future that he previously considered beyond his reach. These goals became the motive for addressing his dynamic risk factors, thus increasing his responsivity and readiness to engage with the tools provided by traditional interventions. Specifically, Mr. L's approach goals included reconnection with his siblings and their children, improved intimate relationships and attending trade school to learn about food, cooking and hospitality, with the hope of attaining steady employment in the industry. Even though these goals did not explicitly address Mr. L's criminogenic needs, the means for fulfilling them had significant criminogenic effects, including a reduction in drug and alcohol abuse, forming relationships with prosocial peers and conforming to institutional regulations, dissolving relationships with antisocial peers and changing attitudes around the use of violence and his perceived debt to criminal associates.
Phase 2: Conceptualisation and Connection
The second phase of treatment aims to consolidate client understanding and conceptualization of their new direction, and for the therapist to explicitly connect the client's chosen goals with criminogenic needs and risk management, as well as primary and secondary goods (Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007). Through careful and explicit examination of his goals, Mr. L was able to appreciate the need to address his criminogenic needs and implement his previously constructed Risk Management plan in order to achieve his own primary goods. In order to be accepted and trusted by his family, and to be permitted to study at the local technological institute, Mr. L would have to stop associating with criminal peers, reduce or eliminate his own drug intake and work to manage his propensity for violent outbursts.
Phase 3: Case Formulation
Using the understanding developed in the previous phases concerning goals and positive versus negative behavior patterns, the third phase involves the detailed construction of a Good Lives case formulation (Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007). By this point, the client and the therapist should have a shared understanding of how behavioural patterns emerge and are maintained, and how inappropriate secondary goods and dynamic risk factors prevent the effective achievement of primary human goods. Mr. L's case formulation looked like this:
Mr. L's criminogenic needs can be understood within a Good Lives framework. Relevant concepts include primary human goods, secondary goods and direct pathways. There has been a direct pathway between Mr. L's attempts to attain the primary human goods of excellence in agency (particularly regarding autonomy), friendship, community and happiness and the secondary goods of selling and using illicit drugs combined with the resultant association with antisocial peers and the use of violence in interpersonal relationships. Mr. L's efforts to attain these primary human goods have been frustrated by his criminogenic needs of substance abuse, inclination toward violence, criminal association, difficulties in intimate relationships and employment instability. His negative behavior patterns were maintained by his pursuit of the goods of autonomy and friendship initially reflected in his decision to involve himself in the local drug distribution network. These goods are highly valued by Mr. L, and it is likely that they have negatively affected the means by which he pursues other goods, thus compromising his ability to achieve a "good life".
Phase 4: Good Lives Plan
From the case formulation developed in phase 3, phase 4 aims to construct a detailed Good Lives plan by breaking goals down into achievable steps using the SMART strategies. These goals need to consider how the client will be equipped with the skills, values, attitudes and resources they need to lead a meaningful, fulfilling life that does not involve harming others (Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007). One of Mr. L's most important goals that he had specified was to reconnect with his siblings, most of whom he had not had contact with in over 10 years. Working with his therapist, Mr. L broke down that one overarching goal into several initial steps. The first was to begin the process of getting clean. Mr. L decided that he would join a local 12-step program within one month of his release into the community. After attending 7 meetings and maintaining his sobriety, he would call his younger sister, the only one of his siblings to maintain regular contact with him while he was in prison, tell her about his engagement with the GLM and ask her to speak with the others on his behalf. He would then collaborate with his therapist to form further goals from there.
Break it down and be SMART. Make sure that the steps to achieving your goal include gathering everything you need to
Phase 5: Achieving Goals and Monitoring Progress
Phase 5 is about goal attainment and monitoring (Whitehead, Ward & Collie, 2007). To support Mr. L in the pursuit of his goal to further his education, his therapist helped him to liaise with the local technological institute, who, in turn, helped Mr. L to access the tools and equipment he would need to engage with the course at a price he could manage. There was initial concern about providing a recidivist offender with potentially dangerous tools such as chef's knives. Mr. L met with the executive staff to discuss their concerns, and agreed to a set of conditions incorporating his Risk Management plan. During this time, Mr. L had resumed contact with his younger sister and three of his older siblings, all of whom expressed pride in his transformation and a willingness to support him on his journey.
The GLM of offender rehabilitation emerged as a response to a system and a culture that was seen as overly negative, punitive and ultimately ineffective in promoting genuine change. Building from a strong foundation in motivational theory, the GLM uses a strengths-based approach to reduce recidivism by providing offenders with the internal and external conditions that they need in order to live a personally meaningful, fulfilling life, which meets their essential human needs. Research has revealed that the GLM faces significant challenges in terms of implementation; to gain the full benefit of the model, it must be adopted as a framework for assessment and treatment, and that involves the allocation of resources, extensive training and a shift in the current culture of rehabilitative services outcomes (Barnao, Ward & Casey, 2016; Willis, Ward & Levenson, 2014). However, research has also revealed the strengths of the GLM's holistic, positive approach, and has begun to explore how it could be used to change lives outside of the prison population. The GLM approaches change and rehabilitation from the point of view that human beings are essentially good, and that behaviour is motivated by active seeking of the components of a good life. It proposes that, in order to live a good life, people must have access to the necessary internal and external conditions to allow for the attainment of human goods, and that this state of affairs can be brought about through careful planning (Ward & Fortune, 2013; Ward, 2002a; Ward, 2002b). Surely, then, everyone has the potential to benefit from learning about and utilising the principles and practices of the GLM in the pursuit of their own good life.
Test your knowledge - choose the correct answers and click "Submit":
- Mental Illness and Treatment Motivation (Book chapter, 2016)
- Rehabilitation (Wikipedia)
- Self-determination theory (Wikipedia)
- Sexual offender risk assessment (Book chapter, 2016)
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Ward, T. & Fortune, CA. (2013). The Good Lives Model: Aligning risk reduction with promoting offenders’ personal goals. European Journal of Probation, 5, 29-46.
Whitehead, P., Ward, T. & Collie, R. (2007). Time for a change. Appplying the Good Lives Model of rehabilitation to a high-risk violent offender. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 51, 578-598.
Willis, G. & Grace, R. (2008). The quality of community reintegration planning for child molesters. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Reseach and Treatment, 20, 218-240.
Willis, G., Ward, T. & Levenson, J. (2014) The good lives model (GLM): An evaluation of GLM operationalization in North American treatment programs. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 26, 58-81.