The Good Lives Model

What is the Good Lives Model?

The Good Lives Model (GLM) is a strengths-based rehabilitation framework for helping clients build lifestyles that are incompatible with offending. It was developed by Tony Ward in the early 2000s to address what Dr. Ward identified as a major shortcoming of the widely used RNR (Risk-Need-Responsivity) model of rehabilitation, which focuses almost exclusively on risk reduction. This shortcoming is the inherent difficulty of motivating and engaging clients in treatment when the treatment is aimed primarily at eliminating their harmful behaviors. Instead, the GLM provides a framework for helping clients build healthy, prosocial lifestyles that are aligned with their own values and priorities and incompatible with harmful behaviors. 

The GLM achieves the aims of the RNR model by supporting clients in their quest to develop and implement a prosocial good life plan that is underpinned by their own core values, priorities, and strengths. The Good Lives Model accommodates the principles of risk, need, and responsivity in that it views a client’s dynamic risk factors as signals that the client lacks the capacity to achieve what Dr. Ward called primary human goods (such as relationships, mastery, inner peace, and autonomy) in prosocial ways.  Dynamic risk factors are thus addressed in the broader pursuit of strengthening the client’s capacity to achieve valued goods by way of the acquisition of internal (e.g., skills, knowledge) and external resources (e.g., social supports, vocational training). The Good Lives Model has been embraced by treatment providers in a wide range of settings and in countries all over the world.

The Good Lives Model can take considerable effort to implement with fidelity, however, a number of resources developed by colleagues of Tony Ward are available to supplement clinicians’ ability to successfully implement the GLM.

Safer Society is the Source for Good Lives Model Resources

Safer Society Press was a pioneer publishing information about the GLM, as well as developing the top workbooks utilizing the model. Today we have a number of workbooks and professional guides to support clinicians and other professionals in applying the GLM approach with their clients.

Professional guidebooks include:


For Adults

Building a Better Life
A full GLM curriculum aimed specifically at the treatment of adult sexual abusers.

This workbook emphasizes the establishment of desirable goals toward which the client can work. This builds on the fundamental principles of the good lives model and on research findings that approach goals are inherently more attainable than avoidance goals; that people who build their lives around approach goals tend to be happier and less distressed than those who organize their lives around avoidance goals.

Lighter weight workbooks using the GLM to address harmful behaviors of many types, including sexual abuse:

For Adolescents

These workbooks use the GLM to address harmful behaviors of many types, including harmful sexual behaviors:

See here for additional information about both the above workbooks.

Online Trainings and Webinars

On Demand Training – Shaping the Future: The Good Lives Model in Theory and Practice

This online training provides practitioners and others with information as to how to translate and integrate the GLM into practice in the overall structure, content and process of sexual offending treatment, and illustrates key assessment and treatment strategies with role-play demonstrations. The training provides an overview of GLM-based assessment and intervention planning and describes the module or phase-based structure of a RNR/CBT treatment program using the model. Lastly, the online training addresses how typical program modules targeting dynamic risk factors such as sexual and general self-regulation can be developed and integrated using a GLM approach.

Access to training materials and video will last for 10 days following the payment of the registration fee

On Demand Training – Trauma, Risk, and Good Lives: What Have We Learned?

This webinar reviews what our field has learned about trauma, adversity, risk, and the Good Lives Model in recent years. It next explores what we can learn about the adhering to the principles of risk, need, and responsivity by examining the underlying narratives of people’s lives. As Tony Ward and others have observed in recent years, our understanding of “factors” often does not adequately account for the processes that drive these factors.

Access to training materials and video will last for 10 days following the payment of the registration fee

Watch the free Safer Talk webinar with Tony Ward!

In this webinar conversation, the developer of the Good Lives and Self-Regulation Models discusses their origins, development, implementation, and underlying theories. He will also address several areas of his more recent research, including the importance of deepening our understanding of risk and protective factors

This video discussion produced by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation of Australia brings together two of the pioneers of the Good Lives Model (GLM). Tony Ward conceived and developed the treatment model. David Prescott has written several workbooks using the GLM. Together with Pamela Yates, the two authored the definitive book on the subject. This video provides an insider look at the GLM.