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Psychological Treatment of Pedophiles

NCJ Number
Behavioral Sciences and the Law Volume: 3 Issue: 4 Dated: (Autumn 1985) Pages: 403-419
R Langevin; R A Lang
Date Published
This literature review examines etiological factors in pedophilia, treatment goals, and treatment methods.
Research has not identified significant etiological factors in pedophilia, but it has discredited some common assumptions about its etiology. Pedophiles are not generally averse to sexual contact with adult females; it is uncommon for them to have been sexually abused as children; and few need pornography as a stimulant. Treatment goals should be set in accordance with the realization that pedophilic urges will not be eliminated but can be managed to reduce the harm caused by pedophilic behaviors. Engendering motivation for the pedophile to manage his urges is the key to treatment. This can be done by guiding the offender to admit his sexual preference and the extent of his sexual involvement with children, helping him view the child as his victim rather than as a consenting partner, and overcoming his rationalizations for sexual involvement with children. Peer pressure in group therapy can help penetrate offenders' rationalizations for their behavior and expose their hidden motives. Clinical imagery techniques have modified pedophile's affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes. 3 tables and 55 references.