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Threat Assessment: The State of the Science

Dr. Meloy will present the state of the science of threat assessment.  Drawing from the influential work of other pioneers in the field, he will contrast threat assessment with other traditional methods of violence risk assessment.  The importance of dynamic risk factors, rather than static factors, in predicting violence will be emphasized, and empirical support will be presented.  He will also offer a new model of warning behaviors—pathway, identification, fixation, novel aggression, leakage, direct threat, and energy burst—which shows promise as a tool to advance threat assessment as a behavioral science discipline.  Warning behaviors will be illustrated with case examples from both public and private targets, and when operationalized, lead to the strategically rational and legally defensible decision as to whether or not an individual poses a threat. Dr. Meloy will also discuss in detail the process of self-radicalization in the workplace, and how ideologically driven violence will likely pose an increasing threat in the world of economic globalization.

Threat Assessment: How is it different from traditional methods of violence risk assessment?

The Power of Dynamic Risk Factors
A New Typology of Warning Behaviors: Pathway, Identification, Fixation, Novel Aggression, Leakage, Direct Threats, Energy Burst

Self-Radicalization and the Emerging Threat of Terrorism in the Globalized Workplace

Workshop Objectives: At the end of this program, particpants should be able to:
Describe the importance of dynamic risk factors in threat assessment
Identify at least four components of Meloy's model of warning behaviors
Explain how the emerging risk of terrorism in the workplace alters typical threat assessment techniques
Desribe how threat assessment differs from typical violence risk assessment

Presented by

Reid Meloy, PhD, ABPP
Reid Meloy, PhD, ABPPDr. Meloy is a board-certified forensic psychologist (ABPP) who consults on criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and a faculty member of the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is past president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the first National Achievement Award in 1998 from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. He was the Yochelson Visiting Scholar at Yale University in March, 2015, and Visiting Scholar at the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich—originally the Burgholzli Clinic--in May, 2018. Dr. Meloy has authored or co-authored over two hundred fifty papers published in peer-reviewed psychiatric and psychological journals, and has authored, co-authored or edited thirteen books. He has been consulting, researching and writing about personality disorder, psychopathy, stalking, narcissism, criminality, mental disorder, and targeted violence for the past thirty years. His first book, The Psychopathic Mind (Aronson, 1988), was an integration of the biological and psychodynamic understanding of psychopathy. His co-edited book with Drs. Hoffmann and Sheridan, Stalking, Threatening and Attacking Public Figures (Oxford University Press, 2008), led to a commissioned study for the National Academy of Sciences on threats toward public figures published in 2011 (www.nap.edu). The first edition of the International Handbook of Threat Assessment was published in 2014, and the second edition in 2021 (Oxford University Press). Dr. Stephen White and he created the WAVR-21 V3 (www.wavr21.com), a structured professional judgment instrument for targeted workplace and campus violence. Dr. Meloy has been a consultant to the Behavioral Analysis Units, FBI, Quantico, for the past twenty years, and is the originator and developer of the TRAP-18 (Terrorist Radicalization Assessment Protocol, mhs.com). He was a member of the Fixated Research Group for the United Kingdom’s Home Office concerning threats to the Royal Family and British political figures, and is a consulting member of Work Trauma Services, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, and Team Psychology and Security in Darmstadt, Germany. He was also a founding associate editor of the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management.