Gwen Adshead interview: Why ordinary people commit heinous crimes

Three many years spent working as a psychotherapist with essentially the most violent offenders has satisfied Gwen Adshead that they don’t seem to be the monsters we painting them as


29 September 2021

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Jennie Edwards

HOW do individuals come to commit violent and life-threatening acts? Some assume such individuals are innately dangerous, calling them “monsters” or “evil”. It’s a view that William Shakespeare encapsulated in The Tempest when Prospero says of Caliban that he’s “a born satan, on whose nature nurture can by no means stick”. However Gwen Adshead doesn’t settle for that view. She has spent her profession working as a psychotherapist with offenders in prisons and safe psychiatric hospitals, together with Broadmoor Hospital, the place a number of the UK’s most infamous criminals are detained. Fairly than seeing violent offenders as being innately evil, she thinks of her sufferers as survivors …

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