Violence risk assessment in mental health care - Journal of Psychiatric Practice outlines a therapeutic risk management approach

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020 - Assessing the potential for violent behavior by patients with psychiatric disorders is an essential but challenging responsibility for mental health professionals. A five-part series currently being published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice summarizes an expert approach to screening, assessment, and management of the risk of "other-directed violence." The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Hal S. Wortzel, MD, of the University of Colorado and colleagues outline their experience-informed approach to therapeutic risk management of the potentially violent patient. While violence risk assessment is a legal and ethical requirement, it can also be "a crucial element of the comprehensive treatment plan to achieve therapeutic goals and optimize mental health," Dr. Wortzel and coauthors write.

Model for Therapeutic Risk Assessment of Other-Directed Violence In several situations, mental health professionals are responsible for assessing the risk for violent behaviors in patients with psychiatric disorders. In many jurisdictions, they also have a duty to warn and protect others who may be at risk of violence. Many clinicians feel they lack the training and experience needed to conduct meaningful violence risk assessments.

In a previous series of "Law and Psychiatry" columns in Journal of Psychiatric Practice, Dr. Wortzel and colleagues shared their approach to assessing the risk of self-directed violence (SDV) in potentially suicidal patients. They emphasized the benefits of therapeutic risk assessment: a patient-centered model that supports the patient's overall treatment and the therapeutic alliance with mental health professionals.

The new series shifts the focus to therapeutic risk assessment for other-directed violence (ODV) - borrowing from the SDV risk assessment skills that many clinicians already have. The series focuses on five essential elements of the therapeutic risk assessment for ODV: The first and second parts of the series appear in the July-August and September-October issues of Journal of Psychiatric Practice. The remaining columns are scheduled for upcoming issues.

Dr. Wortzel and colleagues hope their series will provide a "cogent process" for conducting violence risk assessments - in a way that fulfills legal and ethical responsibilities, protects the safety of patients and potential victims, and supports the patient's overall mental health care. The authors conclude: "Providers can collaborate with their patients to gain a better understanding of their risk for both SDV and ODV and develop plans to manage this risk."
Click here to read "Therapeutic Risk Management for Violence: Augmenting Clinical Risk Assessment With Structured Instruments." DOI: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000495


About Journal of Psychiatric Practice

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®, a peer reviewed journal, publishes reports on new research, clinically applicable reviews, articles on treatment advances, and case studies, with the goal of providing practical and informative guidance for clinicians. Mental health professionals will want access to this journal¬--for sharpening their clinical skills, discovering the best in treatment, and navigating this rapidly changing field. John M. Oldham, MD, is the editor in chief and past president of the American Psychiatric Association.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the clinicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers, and tax, finance, audit, risk, compliance, and regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2019 annual revenues of €4.6 billion. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries, and employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.

Wolters Kluwer provides trusted clinical technology and evidence-based solutions that engage clinicians, patients, researchers and students with advanced clinical decision support, learning and research and clinical intelligence. For more information about our solutions, visit and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @WKHealth.

For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

Combined intimate partner violence that includes sexual violence is common & more damaging
Women who experience sexual violence combined with other forms of intimate partner violence suffer greater damage to their health and are much more likely to attempt suicide, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care published in the International Journal of Epidemiology today [12 November 2020].

As farming developed, so did cooperation -- and violence
The growth of agriculture led to unprecedented cooperation in human societies, a team of researchers, has found, but it also led to a spike in violence, an insight that offers lessons for the present.

The front line of environmental violence
Environmental defenders on the front line of natural resource conflict are being killed at an alarming rate, according to a University of Queensland study.

What can trigger violence in postcolonial Africa?
Why do civil wars and coups d'├ętat occur more frequently in some sub-Saharan African countries than others.

Another victim of violence: Trust in those who mean no harm
Exposure to violence does not change the ability to learn who is likely to do harm, but it does damage the ability to place trust in 'good people,' psychologists at Yale and University of Oxford report April 26 in the journal Nature Communications

Victims of gun violence tell their stories: Everyday violence, 'feelings of hopelessness'
Invited to share their personal stories, victims of urban gun violence describe living with violence as a 'common everyday experience' and feeling abandoned by police and other societal institutions, reports a study in the November/December Journal of Trauma Nursing, official publication of the Society of Trauma Nurses.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Teen dating violence is down, but boys still report more violence than girls
When it comes to teen dating violence, boys are more likely to report being the victim of violence -- being hit, slapped, or pushed--than girls.

Preventing murder by addressing domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence are at a high risk to be murdered -- or a victim of attempted murder -- according to a Cuyahoga County task force of criminal-justice professionals, victim advocates and researchers working to prevent domestic violence and homicides.

'Love displaces violence'
Art historian Eva-Bettina Krems on persistent motifs of peace in art from antiquity to the present day -- dove, rainbow or victory of love: artists draw on recurring motifs.

Read More: Violence News and Violence Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to