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Compassionate Recovery and Neurological Empowerment (CRANE): A trauma focused pilot intervention for women in prison with complex needs who engage in self-harm

Mahoney, Adam; Sutcliffe, Gillian; Connolly, Bernadette


Gillian Sutcliffe

Bernadette Connolly


The high prevalence of interpersonal trauma for women in custody is well known. The mental health sequelae of such experiences can include lifelong patterns of harmful behaviour directed towards both onself and others. Responding effectively to such concerns has presented a considerable challenge to prison services. Based on our clinical experience we proposed CRANE (Compassionate Recovery and Neurological Empowerment) as an integrative approach to treating ‘prolific’ and acute acts of self-harm and suicidal ideation as symptoms associated with interpersonal trauma. CRANE draws on compassion focused therapy (CFT), and other trauma focused approaches, to promote participant recovery and stability. This is reflected in CRANE’s four integrated strands, which include body centred trauma psychoeducation, trauma memory processing and a strengths-based approach to developing positive connections to self and others. This practice paper outlines these strands along with clinical illustrations from a pilot delivery and direction to theory, to help consider the benefits and challenges participants faced during the course of this intervention.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 12, 2022
Publication Date 2022-10
Deposit Date Oct 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2024
Journal Abuse: An International Impact Journal
Print ISSN 2633-8742
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 46-60
Keywords Women’s Prisons; Self-harm; Suicide Prevention; Trauma Informed; Complex PTSD; Compassion Focused Therapy
Public URL


Compassionate Recovery And Neurological Empowerment (CRANE): A Trauma Focused Pilot Intervention For Women In Prison With Complex Needs Who Engage In Self-harm (accepted version) (296 Kb)

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