This chapter questions the logic, evidence base and consequences of the prevailing ‘essentialist’ view in psychology that locates mind within the person rather than within a wider system of pathways and interactions that encompasses both person and environment. A perspective that places people in rather than out of context is less concerned with reducing them to relatively isolated component parts than with understanding them in terms of what they are part of. Although such a perspective will have a familiar ring to those who work with families, it has important implications for many areas of concern to forensic psychologists including offending and risk, institutional environments, rehabilitation and reintegration into society.