nextgenforensic

Optimism in the treatment of psychopathic offenders

Charlotte Aelick

The development of treatment models specific to psychopathic offenders marks an exciting and important time for research of psychopathy. Research involving psychopathic offenders has been slow moving and rife with controversy. However, this research has begun to show some hope for positive treatment outcomes. The development of psychopathy-specific treatment programs provides optimism to those tasked with the treatment of psychopathic individuals despite the chronic and stable nature of their dominant personality traits. Given the high rates of re-offending among psychopathic offenders in the community, the importance of any positive treatment outcomes cannot be understated. The positive results we have begun to see within the literature demands increased attention be paid to this area in hopes of reducing the risk of violent, sexual, and general re-offending among psychopathic offenders.

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Examining preferential pedophilic interest as a risk factor for sexual recidivism

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

In my last two posts on nextgenforensic, I reviewed what we know about the latent structure of pedophilic interests and then examined the implications of this research by looking to see if non-preferential pedophilic interest was a predictor of sexual recidivism (tldr: it was not).

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Examining pedophilic interest as a risk factor for sexual re-offending

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

One of the central preoccupations of forensic psychology is identifying what psychological and social characteristics may contribute to re-offending.  This concept is straightforward and important.  When someone commits an offence, is caught and convicted, and becomes involved in the criminal justice system, we want to understand what separates those who return to criminal behaviour and those who do not.  When we understand this, people working with individuals who have committed sexual offences can help them limit the influence of these problems in their lives and increase the chance that they will desist from crime.

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Examining the latent structure of pedophilic interest

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

In the last five years, there has been a series of attempts by forensic and sex scientists to examine and elucidate the latent structure of sexual interests in prepubescent children, or, pedophilic interest. In this blog post, I will discuss what latent structure is and what the recent science has been finding. In two upcoming blog posts, I will examine the ramifications of this recent latent structure research.

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Disclosing a sexual interest in children to others: The experience of a non-offending pedophile

Ian McPhail

While writing a review paper on non-offending pedophiles, some of the research I reviewed discussed a difficult aspect of having a sexual interest in children: the choice of whether to disclose a sexual interest in children to others or remain hidden.  During interviews with researchers, pedophilic men described that making this choice was a struggle for them, that the decision to disclose or not was fraught with anxiety about the potential interpersonal and other consequences.  Part of the struggle for these men was the fear that in disclosing their interests, others would end the relationship or at the very least, it would impact the relationship in a negative way.  Indeed, if we were to imagine that a friend of ours, or a partner, or a family member disclosed to us they experienced a sexual and emotional attraction to children, I think the majority of us would struggle with this disclosure, even if the struggle was simply knowing how to support the person while maintaining our relationship with them.

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Stigma and non-offending pedophiles

Ian McPhail

People who have pedophilic interests and do not act on these interests present a complex challenge to clinicians.  There is growing evidence that a pedophilic orientation is associated with pre-natal factors, suggesting this orientation may start with events present prior to birth.  On this blog, we were fortunate enough to have the co-founders of Virtuous Pedophiles write a post about the existence of non-offending pedophiles and some of the painful challenges these individuals face due to having a sexual orientation they did not choose.  As part of the shame and fear of disclosing pedophilic interests, some non-offending pedophiles do not make these disclosures, even to mental health professionals.  A consequence of not feeling safe to disclose a pedophilic orientation, these people are left to cope with and manage their sexual attractions on their own.  As a budding mental health professional, I find this state of affairs unacceptable.  There are a number of reasons why I am unsatisfied with this status quo, but one I find pressing and that research is beginning to examine with non-offending pedophiles is stigma.

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Could ’empathy games’ play a role in treatment?

Ian A. Elliott

I occasionally take an interest in the ongoing “GamerGate” controversy, which is odd since the only game console I own is my mid-90s Game Boy loaded with Tetris. This post isn’t about GamerGate, but if you have an interest here’s a linkAlthough this post is not about GamerGate, it’s always good to read widely (it’s Habit #3 of Michael Seto’s advice to new researchers on this blog!). I would, however, encourage you to read this post by Liana Kerzner, which inspired this one, because it’s a wonderfully-written and objective examination of the issue of misogyny as it relates to video games. It also got me thinking about how we address empathy deficits in sex offender treatment – but we’ll get to that.

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The flexibility of pedophilic sexual interests

Ian McPhail

Can someone’s sexual interest in children decrease and their sexual interest in adults increase?  This sounds like a complicated and vital question that professionals in the business of treating sexual offenders should be asking themselves most mornings before they head to work.  Not surprisingly, this is a question that psychologists and psychiatrists have been preoccupied for a long time, with more modern examples emerging in the 1960s and 1970s.  However, more recently, a series of recent articles have dug into this complicated and thorny issue anew.  And perhaps even more interesting, this debate has spilled over into the media, with a recent radio broadcast in Canada featuring two of the main individuals in the recent debate speaking to the issue at hand: can we change pedophilic interests?

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Emotional congruence with children: Recent developments in an old concept

Ian McPhail

In the past number of years, a few colleagues and I have embarked on a line of research examining emotional congruence with children in sexual offenders against children.  The set of psychological processes typically included within this concept highlight the perceived intimate nature of relationships males who commit sexual offences against children have with children and their understanding of these relationships.  Basically, emotional congruence with children suggests the notion that some men feel more comfortable around children than adults, think of children as their friends, are emotionally attracted to children, and may even yearn for the trappings of childhood.

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