Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE)

Many of the clients homeless services work with, seem to have difficulty managing their emotions, appear impulsive and do not consider the consequences of their actions. Some may be withdrawn, isolated and reluctant to engage or exhibit anti-social behaviour. The purpose of a PIE is to help staff understand where these behaviours are coming from and therefore work more creatively and constructively with challenging behaviours.

(Psychologically Informed Services for Homeless People – Good practice guide” 2012 Dept. of Communities and Local Gov)

The people we work with are often vulnerable and socially excluded

Many have experienced adversity or trauma, and as a result may have complex psychological and emotional needs. This can lead to difficulties interacting with people and engaging with services. It’s important that we recognise and address this when working with clients.

What is a psychologically informed environment?

It is one that takes into account the psychological makeup – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience – of its participants in the way that it operates. It’s an approach to supporting people out of homelessness, in particular those who have experienced complex trauma or are diagnosed with a personality disorder. It also considers the psychological needs of staff: developing skills and knowledge, increasing motivation, job satisfaction and resilience.

What is Pie in psychology?

PIE counters a rigid or mechanised approach. Being Psychologically Informed is a understanding and not necessarily a ‘formal’ approach, there is eternal growth to be had when understanding PIE. It can also play a part in the overcoming of systemic issues.

What is PIE approach?

Pie is the origin of client centred or client facing approaches used by services. Developed through understanding the physical and biological environments around us with a view to understanding trauma, the effects of trauma and the way we deal with emotions, how those emotions build up and how we diffuse this within a space.