Our specialized sexual offender treatment program is designed to assist the sexual offender in making the changes necessary to develop a healthy non-offending lifestyle in which they are: (1) aware of thoughts, feelings and the impact they have on behavior; (2) aware of specific thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and behaviors which make up their pattern; (3) aware of specific interventions which effectively interrupt their offense pattern; (4) interacting with peers in an open, honest, direct manner; and (5) meeting personal needs without exploiting, manipulating, controlling, coercing, or sexually abusing someone.
The manner in which rehabilitation occurs represents a second order change. In other words the individual experiences internal changes which satisfy the need met by his/her sexual offending. The primary theoretical approach is Cognitive-Behavioral/Gestalt. However, various concepts from family systems, psycho dynamic, rational emotive, and reality therapy are used to assist change.
If we were to dissect the change in an individual who started the process as an offender and ended as a rehabilitated non-offending person, we would see development occurring in specific stages. As the person would complete one level, he/she would progress to another level, then another, and so on. Essentially that is what we are doing when we cognitively restructure someone. Naturally, as in any therapy, the first stage the offender must go through is re-education. Learning what is expected of the individual in treatment, what issues, dynamics, goals, etc. must be learned. By providing the individual with this type of information, he/she develops the foundation for the therapy process. Everything the offender will encounter in treatment should be taught to them. Upon demonstrating sufficient understanding of what is expected, the person begins the second stage in the process of change.
The second stage of treatment consists of identifying and breaking down the offender's cognitive distortions concerning their sexual offending. By engaging in behavior that is morally and ethically wrong, the offender must alleviate the anxiety of this behavior through the use of defense mechanisms. The use of denial, rationalization, repression, etc. allows the offender to reduce the internal anxiety associated with their offending. However, they also distort the reality
of the offending which interferes with successful rehabilitation. Before the offender is willing to look at the manner in which they selected, groomed, and carried out their offense, they must be able to honestly accept the offense without distortion. When the offender is able to look realistically at the offending without distortions, the offender begins the third stage of treatment.
The third stage of treatment consists of identifying their sexual offense cycle. The cycle represents the steps taken by the offender in the commission of their offense. By identifying how the offender sexually offends step by step, we can then begin to look at specific strategies that interrupt their offense pattern. At this level we may use dominos to demonstrate how the pattern results in an offense. Since as much as ninety percent of the pattern is internal, it is important that the individual is able to recognize the thoughts, feelings, and distortions that occur prior to the deviant behavior. Once conscious recognition of the pattern of offending is accomplished and
appropriate strategies, behavioral changes, etc. which interrupt the cycle are identified, the offender begins the fourth stage of treatment.
The fourth stage of treatment is identifying the needs, which were met through the offending. Behavior is purposeful and motivated by needs. The needs may be conscious or unconscious, however to discontinue a behavior, we must find other ways to adequately meet the needs the sexual offender met through the offense. Once the needs are identified, we develop new healthy ways to meet those needs. In doing so the offender begins the last stage of treatment.
The fifth (and final) stage of treatment involves successfully implementing the “new ways” to meet needs and specific strategies that interfere with pattern completion. As the offender begins behaving in new more effective ways, he/she will be able to extinguish the need to re-offend. Treatment continues to support and reinforce these changes while monitoring the newly established healthy lifestyle patterns. The tools learned to assist in living this healthy lifestyle such as; self-awareness, honest interaction, intimacy, empathy, and affective recognition, must be maintained and continued for the remainder of his/her life. If they are not, the chance of re-offending is increased.