In 1985, two Master's level clinicians working in a local Mental Health Center were besieged with new referrals of children and youth. The numbers were so great they consumed one clinician's schedule completely and eighty percent of the second clinician's client time. The epidemic was child and youth sexual abuse. Sexual abuse was not new, however, new laws were enacted to identify victims to provide State funded counseling.
Identifying the victims of sexual abuse was expected. The frequency and extent of the sexual abuse of our children was surprising. The identification of the perpetrators became a clinical nightmare. We were experiencing the devastation of their offending knowing that by the time we had successfully worked through the sexual abuse of one victim, their perpetrator would abuse several more innocent victims. Independently, these two clinicians quickly realized that counseling the victim alone was not effective prevention. In reality, sexual abuse prevention would come from stopping the sexual offender.
We decided to impact the cycle of abuse through working with the perpetrator. We started slowly, methodically, and were governed by common sense. We were met with much resistance both from mainstream clinical providers, and community agencies dependent on community support. While neither clinician desired to work with sexual offenders, both were committed to impacting in a positive manner the continued sexual abuse of our society. We remained firmly committed to finding a method of effectively: (1) stopping sexual offending now and in the future; and (2) maximizing and maintaining the safety of the community from further sexual victimization.
We began specialized training, reviewing the research, and collecting data. Data particularly important in our program development came from the hundreds of victims we counseled. Combining data we personally collected from our work with victims, training obtained from experts in the field, available research in the field, and data collected on sexual offenders we had interviewed; our treatment program was developed. The significance of this process should not be lost. While many individuals work with sexual offenders, some utilize a specific program developed somewhere else by someone else. Very few individuals elected to undergo the process from this intensive perspective. The end result has been an uncompromising commitment to excellence through a second order level of understanding that parallels the cognitive restructuring we require our sexual offenders in treatment to experience. This is the secret of our success.
Counseling and Consultation Services, Inc. was established in January 1990, as a non-profit corporation in the State of Tennessee. The Corporation was formed to evaluate, treat and provide consultation regarding specialized services for sexual offenders and their families. Adult Out-Patient Treatment Services and Assessment Center is located between Johnson City and Kingsport Tennessee. We also have a satellite office in Knoxville, Tennessee that provides adult treatment services and assessment services.
In July 2003 SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services (SSYTS) the child and adolescent division of Counseling and Consultation Services was opened in Limestone, Tennessee. SSYTS is a Joint Commission Accredited continuum of services for boys 12-17 years old who have emotional and behavioral problems often in conjunction with sexual issues. For more information go to Steppenstone.org.