Node-Link Mapping

Therapeutic Solutions was commissioned with Ed Day by Public Health England to develop bespoke node-link mapping tools for prisons and the community. We worked in collaboration with Institute of Behavioural Research in Texas and Node Link Mapping is now a key corner stone to all prisons and community based interventions.

What is Node Line Mapping:

Node-link mapping was first studied as a tool for helping students take better notes during lengthy college lectures. Students were taught to take notes by placing key ideas in boxes called “nodes” that were connected to other nodes with lines (“links”) representing different types of relationships. The end result often resembled a map or flow chart of the lecture. Other students took notes as they would usually take them, and when the two approaches were compared the students who used the “node-link mapping” system did better on tests and felt more confident about understanding the lecture than did students who took traditional notes. There seems to be something about visually displaying information that helps us better understand things and recall key ideas (hopefully when we need them). This is summarised in the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

See also the attached ‘Prezi’ presentation on this and how to worker can ‘draw’ on maps pages 40/41 (which is an actual map from a session Dr Ed Day had with “Geoff”), the main point is it that “Geoff” only knows one person in recovery and it’s the worker role to draw this out and see why it’s only one person, but without an evidence based mechanism to draw this out of the offender/client both worker and client almost dance around ‘recovery’.

Earlier materials developed for the National Treatment Agency are available on the links below.

In addition, we have recently published summary findings on the use of node-link mapping in one local authority area. The study suggested that despite staff commitment to the principles of node-link mapping there remained mixed views on how to implement it in practice. For staff interviewed there was a lack of perceived ownership of the process and a lack of confidence in using mapping techniques on a regular basis. “Traditional” didactic methods of imparting support were not seen to be effective and there was a need to embed new practices within wider supervision processes. Pressures from commissioning and changes in operational priorities also influenced use of the tools.

The abstract is available here:

Node-Link Mapping with Young People’s Services

We have also worked with DECCA a young people’s services in Sandwell to produce maps for inclusion as part of their assessment and treatment process. Examples of the assessment are provided below.

Recovery Services

We have offered a range of services to support the development of recovery services across the substance misuse sector including a number of reports and academic peer-reviewed papers. We have a paper written in partnership with Birmingham University on influences to 12-Step mutual self-help groups published in the European Addiction Research in September 2014.

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Our Services

We have developed a range of analytical and methodological approaches aimed at understanding the health and substance misuse needs of individuals including extensive interviews with a cross-section of service users in contact with healthcare and other related services. We have also worked to develop methods aimed at understanding the nuances of prisoner satisfaction of clinical services received. Our paper testing use of SERVQUAL as a mechanism for understanding ‘real’ satisfaction rates has been published here.

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Studies and Assessments

We have undertaken over 50 health and substance misuse specific needs assessments since 2006. These have included studies across community settings and across the criminal justice system (including detainee needs in police custody; service users in contact with Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and prisoners in contact with health services in secure settings).

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