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But when all of these factors are thrown into the mix, the counselor is often faced with denial on several levels: denial of facts (“It wasn’t me”); denial of intent (“I was drunk”); denial of impact (“She didn’t seem to mind”); and denial of the need for treatment.
Research supports the best practice of sex offender therapy being conducted in groups whenever possible.
Of course, group therapy adds still other elements for the therapist to consider, including properly populating groups (for example, matching risk factors, genders and ages) and building and maintaining effective group dynamics.For instance, individuals convicted of sex offenses can be highly manipulative, not only with their therapist but also with others in their therapy groups.Power plays, deflection, grooming and lying are a few examples of the criminal thinking that may be evident.Those laws and policies, even when couched as seemingly more sensible restrictions on living locations (as though all sex offenders are child molesters), send a clear message of “not on our block, in our neighborhood or in our town.” In the meantime, the question of “Who is a sex offender? When I describe a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend of two years, some people will respond, “Well, he’s not a sex offender in that case.” Yet I have worked with a number of individuals convicted in similar situations who are now registered as sex offenders for life and required to complete treatment.In fact, there were so many such cases in Oregon that the state finally passed what is referred to as the “Romeo and Juliet law.” Under this law and similar laws in some other states, there is generally no charge of engaging in unlawful sex even if the “victim” is underage and the “offender” is an adult, as long as the age difference is no more than three years and the sexual act was consensual.
Many offenders will also present with a virtual encyclopedia of thinking errors.