What Is Sex Offender Therapy?
Therapy is a form of treatment which for sex offenders is aimed at helping them identify and control (or eliminate) factors which contributed to their offense. A major component of this process is concerted effort towards the development of alternative [appropriate] behaviors which will satisfy offender needs and wants. The primary aim of sex offender therapy is protection of the public. There are a variety of approaches to addressing the problem of sexual offending. Such variety is necessary because of the extreme diversity in offender attitudes, motives, and behaviors.
Family Therapy – The population engaged in this therapy are the individual sex offender and members of his/her family conjointly. Family members are included because of their closeness to the offender, their importance and their potential influence over him/her. Their [appropriate] support can be a vital part of the restoration process.
There are two other forms of therapy: individual and group. Each has its advantages but our focus is on group processes.
Why Group Therapy?
Clients in group therapy share the stage with several other clients (members) and a facilitator (therapist). Sometimes there are multiple therapists. Group members may find comfort in discussing issues with peers and thus avoid the possible embarrassment of every topic being directed at them. There is less anxiety if their concerns are shared (voiced) by several others as opposed to being experienced by them alone.
Sex Offender Group Therapy /Mental Health Group Therapy/ Substance Abuse Group Therapy – what’s the difference?
Mental health and Substance Abuse Group therapy have two things in common: a therapist or therapists and members. Beyond those things the three therapies mentioned have different boundaries.
Substance Abuse groups focus on causes, patterns of use, maintenance factors and relapse prevention strategies related to substance abuse.
Mental Health groups examine dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors which interfere with appropriate, successful, happy living.
Sex Offender groups target individuals who have committed crimes included under the umbrella of sex offenses. The goals of such groups are to promote full disclosure (of offense conduct), increase offender insight, develop victim empathy, recognize warning signs, increase healthy behavior patterns and learn how to cope with the guilt and shame which often accompany such offenses.