Thames Reach
Friday 17 November 2017
Keyword Search

Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE)

Peter Riley and clinical psychologist Emma Williamson
Thames Reach Waterloo Project resident Peter Riley is pictured with SLaM clinical psychologist Emma Williamson

The homelessness and health sectors have teamed up to provide professional psychological support and supportive housing to former rough sleepers in London in a bid to help them turn their lives around.

The Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE), stemming from work by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, recognises the high levels of emotional trauma that accompany, and in many cases precede, an individual becoming homeless, and aims to address the complex needs of the homeless population in Lambeth.

It provides access to therapies that more complex elements of the homeless population currently miss out on due to the chaotic lifestyle associated with substance misuse or a failure to engage with health and homelessness support staff.

A range of individual and group psychological sessions are on offer along with links to drug treatment programmes, mainstream mental health services and a push to help people move to more independent living.

The project enables those facing multiple disadvantages to become more self-reliant and find work, a stable home, and participate more positively in their local community.

Former rough sleepers with a history of being evicted from their flat or hostel are given a much greater chance of sustaining their accommodation.

Positive outcomes include a reduction in anti-social and chaotic behaviour, hospital admissions and spells in prison, improved physical, emotional and mental health, more personal motivation and the taking of more responsibility, better social networks and relationships, and an improvement in self-care and living skills.

As well as working directly with people living in the hostel, psychologists also support staff there to develop their understanding, confidence, skills and a psychological approach to working in this challenging area.

For more information please email

To read Dr Emma Williamson and Dr Kathy Taylor's article on Psychologically Informed Environments in the Clinical Psychology Forum (CPF), a winner of the CPF Article of the Year 2015, please download via the link at the bottom of the page.

Clinical Psychology Forum - CPF Awards 2015
Clinical Psychology Forum - CPF Awards 2015 - [1.28 MB] Click to download