Communicating your understanding of the service user is likely to help them to feel understood and contained.

If they feel safer and recognised, they may feel more trusting and open and willing to engage in a way that enables us to understand them better.

One aim of a risk assessment interview is to explore the unique meaning of risky situations for that individual.

Focus on developing a narrative with the service user that makes sense to them, rather than trying to solve a mystery like a detective.

Asking ‘Why did you do it?’ is usually not helpful. Asking around the subject may be more productive.

Beware of the risk of becoming task-focused in order to avoid difficult or painful emotions.

Reading reports can be helpful, and history is a vital source of information, but it is also important to keep an open, questioning mind.

If you feel pressure to act in a certain way, considering why this might be may free you from the pressure to act.