Treating Sex Offenders in the Field
Treatment of sex offenders occurs in various forms and settings: group settings in a correctional environment, individual therapy in the correctional environment, group settings in the outpatient setting, and individual therapy in the outpatient setting. While many sex offenders are mandated to complete treatment, some sex offenders are willing to participate in order to lead more normal lives. Treatment approaches, however, can be affected by available resources in a particular setting. For example, many offender programs rely on group interventions because of cost effectiveness as well as treatment efficacy.
In addition to group and individual treatment approaches, there are other evidence-based intervention approaches for certain sex offenders. For example, certain sex offenders may be good candidates for pharmacological interventions. The use of antidepressants, hormones, and various other pharmacological agents can help the offender to achieve greater self-control of their inappropriate sexual impulses. Some sexual offender treatment programs use biofeedback approaches that measure sexual responses. Still other treatment programs use a combination approach in which group therapy is the core of the experience, with individual interventions augmenting the treatment process.
One advantage to utilizing an array of treatment approaches is the amount of empirical research used to support, alter, or discontinue a given intervention. Many programs and approaches have been evaluated in several different treatment settings to address the efficacy of the intervention. But each study is unique in how it measures success, for example, recidivism, relapse, or harm-reduction. Fortunately, sex offender treatment is an area of research that has continued to receive attention as a result of increased interest since the passing of Megan’s Law and other, similar legislation.
To prepare for this Discussion:
• Review Chapter 11, “Sex Offenders: Assessment and Treatment,” in the course text Correctional Counseling and Treatment. Pay particular attention to the types of sex offenses as well as sex offender treatment approaches.
• Review the article “Therapeutic Responses of Psychopathic Sexual Offenders: Treatment Attrition, Therapeutic Change, and Long-Term Recidivism” in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the efficacy of different treatment approaches for sex offenders.
• Identify a specific treatment approach for treating one group of sex offenders that is of particular interest to you.
• Conduct an academic search in the Walden Library and select at least one scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal that discusses the treatment approach you selected. Ensure that the treatment demonstrates efficacy in the treatment of your selected offender group.
• Think about the unique characteristics of the sex offender group you selected and reflect on considerations related to their treatment.
• Consider the challenges you might encounter when using the specific treatment approach with your selected group of sex offenders. Reflect on how you would address these challenges.
• Review the course document, Treatment Outcome Models provided in the introduction area to this week’s discussion.
• Think about how the success of the treatment approach could be evaluated with each treatment outcome model.
• Select one treatment outcome model that you think would be most effective for measuring the success of the treatment approach and consider why.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 4 a brief description of the research article you selected. Include the type of sex offender and treatment approach. Then explain which treatment outcome model you would use to measure program success and why.
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