Personal Construct Perspectives on Forensic Psychology

By James Horley | Go to book overview

most jurisdictions, it appears to be worthwhile to scramble for the resources to provide a range or choice of services to clients who have committed sex offences. These programmes would be particularly welcome at the community level (see Chapter 6, this volume). Community-based programmes seem to be maximally effective (Andrews & Bonta, 1998). Prison-based treatments are hampered by the nontherapeutiveness of the setting—many of my incarcerated clients have pointed out to me that "There is no correction in Corrections!"—and months of therapeutic gains can be wiped out in minutes on a prison range (but see Chapter 7, this volume).

Constructivist psychotherapists, especially PCT psychotherapists, need to enter the field of forensic practice to develop new forms of treatment for sexual offenders for a number of reasons. One important reason concerns the humanization of treatment offered to sexual offenders. Much of what passes for treatment currently (e.g., confrontational groups, forced acceptance of psychiatric labels) is more akin to torture than treatment. Often, it appears to be conducted to exorcize therapists' demons rather than assist clients. Although we may not condone or accept the behaviours of our forensic clients (c.f., Chin-Keung, 1988), we can at least understand their situations, and understand that future victims will only be prevented to the extent that we can reach and help the clients to reorder their lives. Directiveness and prosocial modelling appears to be a part of effective forensic therapy (Andrews & Bonta, 1998), but the extreme directiveness of rationalist therapies (e.g., Ellis, 1962) and confrontational approaches, in contrast to the less directiveness of PCT therapies (see Winter & Watson, 1999), may not be maximally effective. They certainly are not as humane, and we as psychotherapists who work with sexual offenders need to demonstrate humanity to our clients if we are to expect them to demonstrate it later.


References
Abel, G.G., Decker, J.V., & Cunningham-Rathner, J. (1984). Complications, consent, and cognitions in sex between children and adults. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry,7, 89-103.
Abel, G.G., Becker, J.V., Cunningham-Rathner, J., Rouleau, J.L., Kaplan, M., & Reich, J. (1984). The treatment of child molesters. Atlanta: Behavioral Medicine Laboratory.

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