A relapse prevention plan is designed to help someone from reoffending. It is written to explain how someone may end up reoffending and how this can be prevented. A relapse prevention plan is set up with several sections in order to make it easier to utilize and understand. The sections are listed below with a description. A relapse prevention plan should be updated and modified as often as needed to ensure it is up to date.
The list below does not cover everything one can include in their relapse prevention plan, but it does cover the main things that should be included.
The information here is not provided by a psychologist or counselor.
A hypothetical re-offense is a made up scenario about someone committing a sexual offense. It is written to help understand how problems in someone’s life can lead to reoffending. This made up scenario has some similarities to what occurred with the offender and shows how problems may compound and lead to negative consequences, even if one is following part of their prevention plan.
One must remember that just because certain issues covered in the hypothetical re-offense my arise, that does not mean one is going to reoffend. It means there are elements occurring in ones life that makes the offender more likely to reoffend. If one of these elements exists in one’s life, some type of action needs to be taken. Different preventions and interventions can be found in the risk factor section of the relapse prevention plan.
The risk factor section covers major risk factors one faces in their life and how to handle them when they occur. Each risk factor needs to cover how it may cause the offender problems, how it could cause a relapse (reoffend), and methods to prevent/intervene when one of these risk factors has a negative effect. This section is also designed to assist with living a healthy lifestyle.
Risk factors should be broken down into Internal Risk Factors and External Risk Factors. The number of risk factors one should write is up to the individual and/or counselor, but ideally at least five for each Internal and External risk factors should be written.
- Internal Risk Factor – Something inside oneself (i.e. feelings, thoughts) that could cause a problem in one’s life.
- External Risk Factor – Something outside oneself (i.e. the environment one lives in) that could cause a problem in one’s life.
Each risk factor also includes cues, triggers, preventions and interventions.
- Cue – Something that affects one in a subtle, hard to see way; occurs in repetition (process); occurs in brief or extended time frames (up to days/weeks/months); and gradually leads into a trouble area that needs to be addressed.
- Prevention – An action taken to stop/reduce a cue from occurring at a dangerous level. The action may be something the offender needs to do or something someone else needs to do.
- Trigger – Something that affects me in an obvious way; occurs singularly, briefly and instantly; leads to a trouble area that needs to be addressed.
- Intervention – An action taken to interrupt a trigger when it is occurring. The action may be something the offender needs to do or something someone else needs to do immediately.
The support network section of a relapse prevention plan is a list of individuals and groups that can provide support. Each individual or group listed in this section should have a description of what they will provide. Members of the support network are people or groups that the offender will be in contact with on a regular basis.
One can set up their support network in two sections – primary and alternative members. The primary members are individuals whom the offender will have contact with on a regular bases and the alternative members are people that help with certain areas of the prevention plan, such as a support group (AA, EA, etc…).
Personal goals are goals that are set to assist the offender with living a healthy lifestyle. Goals should be set for within the first month, six months, two years, and five years of writing a relapse prevention plan.
Sections on this page have been adapted from: exoffenderresource.com