Treatment providers recognized that sex offenders evidenced had a high prevalence of cognitive distortions, or thought processes that allowed the offenders to neutralize their feelings of guilt and shame (Abel, 1989). No matter what setting that cognitive therapy is used in, its purpose is to focus on the way an individual thinks and to change any type of “thinking errors”. For our purposes, cognitive treatment is used in the correctional and community setting to help offenders think rationally and responsibly before they act. Sexual offending can vary along a broad spectrum of behaviors, from non-contact offences such as exhibitionism to contact offenses such as rape. Much of the research on the nature of sexual offending has focused on one end of this spectrum, concentrating on understanding offences such as rape, incest and child molesting. The research has also varied in how it categorizes sex offenders. In the best of the studies on recidivism of sex offenders, the definition of ‘sex offender’ is divided into categories. This paper will focus on sex offenders who commit crimes of sexual violence against children within their own families and whether or not cognitive treatment works on reducing recidivism. My research will finally prove that cognitive treatment is the best treatment along with focusing just on child molesters versus grouping them with rapists and other sexual offenders. These offenders are known as child molesters or incest offenders. Cognitive treatment for sex offenders has proved to be successful even if it reduces recidivism but not much. Maletzky and Steinhauser (2002) assessed at 5-year intervals, and over a 25-year span and found that cognitive/behavioral treatment for most offenders appeared effective when provided in individual and group therapy, as measured by self-reports, criminal records reviews, and, when available, by plethysmograph and polygraph assessments. They acknowledge that the method had limitations, it however still appears that the treatment techniques employed in a cognitive/behavioral program generated long-lasting, positive results by reducing recidivism and risk to the community. Gelb (2007) believes that sex offenders have criminogenic needs including the cognitive distortions about victims and offending behavior and found in her research that the overall evidence does show small but significant reductions in sexual recidivism and improvements in offenders’ attitudes following cognitive-behavioral treatments. Prentky and Schwartz (2006) believe that a powerful statistical technique for looking at the question of how effectively treatment reduces recidivism is meta-analysis. In one study that used meta-analyses of treatment studies, Hall (1995) found a small but significant overall where the effect size for treatment was stronger in those studies that used cognitive-behavior therapy or anti-androgen medication. Cognitive-behavior therapy and anti-androgen medication were significantly more effective than behavioral techniques, such as covert sensitization or aversion. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Marsha Linehan and intended for self-harming clients who meet the criteria for borderline personality disorder (Linehan, 1993). DBT was designed to make use of standard cognitive behavioral techniques (such as cognitive restructuring, contingency management, problem solving, self-instructional training and skills practice) including key features that allow the therapist to handle a difficult and challenging client group. One of the clinical similarities is cognitive dysregulation refers both to cognitive disturbances (such as psychotic-type hallucinations and intrusive thoughts), and to cognitive rigidity and ‘black and white thinking”. This technique along with time and practice, can be integrated into the structure of any cognitive-behavioral treatment program for sexual offenders and reduce recidivism. Method...
References: Gelb, K. (2007). Recidivism of Sex Offenders Research Paper. Sentencing Advisory Council.
Hall, G. C. N. (1995). Sexual offender recidivism revisited: A meta-analysis of recent treatment studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 802-809.
Maletzky, B.M., & Steinhauser, C. (2002). A 25-Year Follow-Up of Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy with 7,275 Sexual Offenders. Behavior Modification, 26, 123-147.
Prentky, R. & Schwartz, B. (2006). Treatment of Adult Sex Offenders. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/ Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved 11/11/2007from: http://www.vawnet.org.
Shingler, J. (2004). A process of cross-fertilization: What sex offender treatment can learn from dialectical behaviour therapy. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 10 (2), 171-180.
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