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Choice, Thinking, and Responsibility Implications for the Treatment of the Sex Offender

NCJ Number
D Berenson
Date Published
9 pages
The habilitation of the sex offender requires the alteration of his thinking.
According to Yochelson and Samenow, the core of criminal behavior is the power lust, the amalgamation of power and the need for extraordinarily high levels of excitement, excitement which only comes from doing the forbidden. Under this theory, even in sex, whether it be by consent or by rape, the criminal is not looking for authentic sexual pleasure but for total domination. Samenow reasons that to change a criminal, his criminal thinking must be changed. Treatment requires total personal responsibility, with all methods and practices directed to the reconstruction of the offender's view of life, value system, self-perception, and patterns of thinking. At the outset of treatment, the offender must learn to disclose and report the full content of his thinking. He must develop the capacity for receptivity to new ideas, criticisms, and the views of others, while encouraging self-critical thinking. As he engages in this work, he must develop self-disgust for his patterns of offending, deception, and intimidation. Treatment program components must address such issues as positive human sexuality, ongoing assessments, skills-deficit training, work with families, transition and re-entry into the community, and aftercare followup. All components, however, must work to alter the offenders thinking patterns and encourage constant self-critical judgments of thinking and behaviors. 19 footnotes.