Where the Abusers Go for Help: Intervention and Confrontation, but No Cure
Campo-Flores, Arian, Newsweek
Byline: Arian Campo-Flores
When priests who have sexually abused children or teenagers arrive for treatment at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn., they're "suspicious, terrified, anxious," says Dr. Leslie Lothstein, director of clinical psychology. "Everybody has shame." Each year, six to eight such priests are treated at the tranquil 35-acre campus dotted with Tudor-style cottages and ancient oak trees. Sent by their bishops, or sometimes by the courts, they hail from around the country and the globe, and through a combination of behavioral therapy and drug treatment they confront their sexual disorder.
Experts long ago abandoned the notion that priests could be cured of pedophilia. The goal of treatment today is to prevent a relapse. To begin, the priests are evaluated by psychiatrists and undergo a battery of assessments. Some patients are shown photographs while their level of arousal is monitored. At the institute's cathartic group-therapy sessions, priests plumb their pasts for the origins of their disorders, build empathy for their victims and learn strategies to avoid acting on their urges. In addition, they're sometimes prescribed antidepressants and drugs like Depo-Provera to suppress sexual appetites. …