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Use of Therapeutic Community Learning Experiences With Youth Referred for Sexually Abusive Behavior (From Handbook of Sex Offender Treatment, P 49-1 - 49-20, 2011, Barbara K. Schwartz, ed. - See NCJ-243091)

NCJ Number
James M. Yokley, Ph.D.
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter reports on the results of a clinical trial of treatment community (TC) experiential methods with adolescent sex offenders.
The impact of the TC experiential methods was favorable. The learning experiences produced clinically significant improvement in abuser behavior management, treatment participation, and treatment satisfaction without an adverse impact on abuser emotional well-being. The combination of traditional TC learning experiences with an expanded abuse conceptual model (the Abuse Development Triad) and an intensive outpatient therapeutic foster family treatment milieu was a viable treatment approach for multiple abusers who had been referred for outpatient sexual abuse treatment. Substituting an intensive outpatient treatment with a closely coordinated group of therapeutic foster families allowed treatment providers to generate enough of the TC positive peer cultural milieu to achieve the necessary supplementary impact. The findings suggest that the impact of the TC learning experience may be sufficiently strong to allow the substitution of alternative support systems for the learning experiences that have traditionally been delivered in a residential group home. These findings have positive implications for the use of TC learning experiences in other outpatient or day treatment settings. Although the clinical trial did not include preteen abusers, a number of factors support the application of TC learning experiences to this population. The TC was based in family values such as honesty, concern, and responsibility, which are the ideal building blocks for the healthy development of the preteen offender. Encounter groups can build self-efficacy in preteens who feel helpless about their natural family situation. The modified TC organization of the surrogate support families combined with the encounter group focus on the present and on behaviors. For older children, earning reentry status and a community job may be replaced with earning the right to be trusted to help others through appropriate community services. 7 figures, 3 tables, and 35 references