Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

Second Advisor

Hale Martin

Third Advisor

Lauren Dent


Intersubjectivity, Intersubjective systems theory, Psychodynamic, Forensic


Although there is already a large body of theoretical literature on the utility of Intersubjective Systems Theory in working with more challenging clinical presentations, little has been written about the use of this approach in working with incarcerated clients. In this paper, I will be making the case for the utility and need for the Intersubjective Perspective in working within the forensic system. This paper will first focus on building a general framework for Intersubjective Systems Theory, and its theoretical understanding of clients’ striving towards health, love and connection. Next, this paper will take time to focus on a brief history of trans institutionalization and its implications for treatment. This paper will also briefly cover the general framework for the clinical application of Intersubjective Systems Theory, as well as addressing the intersubjective understanding of aggression. Finally, I will use a previous case from my time at Denver County Jail to explore and highlight both the need for an intersubjective approach, as well as how the approach plays out in an actual therapeutic dyad. By the end of this paper I hope to have laid the framework for further thought and research into the need for a more dynamic and relational approach in the treatment of clients who have found themselves behind bars.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

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