A relapse prevention plan is designed to help one from reoffending. It is written in a manner to explain how one may end up reoffending as well as explain how this can be prevented. A relapse prevention plan is set up in several sections in order to make it easier to utilize and understand. Sections that should be included 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 one should include.
The information here is not provided by a psychologist or counselor.
A hypothetical reoffense is a made up scenario about one committing a sexual offense. It is written to assist others and oneself in understand how problems in one’s life can possibly lead to one reoffending. This made up scenario has some similarities to what occurred in one’s offense. It shows how problems may compound in one’s life 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 reoffense my arise, that does not mean one is going to reoffend. It means there are elements occurring in one life where one reoffending has a higher chance of occurring. 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 one problems, how it could cause a relapse (reoffend), and methods to prevent/intervene when one of these risk factors affect one in a negative way. This section is also designed to assist one in living a healthy lifestyle.
Each risk factor is written to show how it could lead to a relapse. Risk factors should be broken down into Internal Risk Factors and External Risk Factors. The number of risk factors one should write should be up to the individual and/or counselor, but 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(s) in one’s life
- External Risk Factor – Something outside oneself (i.e. the environment one lives in) that could cause a problem(s) 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); can occur 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 I need to do or something someone else needs to do on a regular basis.
- Trigger – Something that affects me in an obvious, in my face 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 I need 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 one will be in contact with on a regular bases.
Once can set up their support network in two sections, primary and alternative members. The primary members are individuals whom one will have contact with on a regular bases. An alternative member is someone that helps with certain areas of one’s prevention plan, such as a support group (AA, EA, etc…).
Personal goals are goals that are set to assist one in living a healthy lifestyle. Goals should be set for within the first month, first six months, end of two years, end of five years of writing a relapse prevention plan.