Treatment focuses on three primary goals:
- Prevent any future offending (no more victims).
- Become a healing rather than an emotionally victimizing force, both for one’s own victims and for all survivors of sexual abuse in our society.
- Identify and cultivate the attitudes and skills needed to envision and implement one’s own unique Good Life Plan.
In our efforts to help individuals achieve the first goal, we place greatest emphasis on incorporating practices that have been demonstrated to reduce both sexual and general criminal recidivism (what helps the individual avoid reoffending). The second and third goals go beyond the mission of reducing recidivism. To achieve these goals, we base our practices on evidence derived from victimology research (what causes trauma and what helps victim’s heal) and broader holistic health research (what has been demonstrated effective in improving the quality of life for people in general).
Replacing Offending Cycles with an Intimacy-Promoting Lifestyle. In treatment, we view both healthy and unhealthy life-paths in terms of cycles. Our task within each of the four quadrants of these cycles is to replace unhealthy, offense-promoting attitudes and behaviors with more fulfilling, intimacy-promoting alternatives. Learn more about each quadrant in the sections below:
- Quadrant 1
In Quadrant One, the task is one of identifying and correcting barriers to self-love and peer intimacy, i.e. challenging self-defeating beliefs/attitudes that block peer-intimacy and promote offending, replacing them with these healthy alternatives:
– A clear self-identity one can value and respect (self-chosen goals, values, interests, mission, passions);
– Intimacy-promoting beliefs and practices regarding sexuality, conflict, love, and determinants of human worth.
– Respectful listening and assertive boundary-setting skills in preparation for risking emotional intimacy with others.
The endpoint of Quadrant One of our Intimacy Cycle is self-love and openness to intimacy with others.
- Quadrant 2
In Quadrant Two, offense-promoting fantasies are identified. We explore how one has attempted to compensate for peer intimacy voids in their life by fantasizing ways in which they can meet shallow and distorted attention, control and revenge “needs.” In the sex offense cycle, this quadrant includes the added task of exploring how the individual sexualized these emotional needs. If paraphilic arousal patterns have been developed (e.g. arousal to pre-pubescent children, force/non-consent), then treatment includes behavioral counter-conditioning of such arousal and more emphasis on goals for life-long monitoring of these habituated escapes. For all individuals, the healthy alternative Intimacy Cycle tasks call for envisioning fulfillment through intimate relationships with self, humankind, family and groups, close friends, and romantic/sexual partnerships. Emphasis is placed on balancing intimacy among these diverse relationships rather than unrealistically expecting any one type of relationship to compensate for voids in other areas. This all becomes part of each individual’s Good Life Plan.
- Quadrant 3
In Quadrant Three of the offense cycle, cruising and grooming are the terms used to describe the manner in which individuals identified, manipulated and used others as objects upon which to project and act out unhealthy fantasies. Associated treatment tasks include taking responsibility for all aspects of offense preparation and orchestration. To the extent the individual has misled or manipulated others while engaging in offense-related behaviors, this aspect of treatment enables one to begin correcting deceptions, take full responsibility, and become a healing force rather than an emotionally victimizing force in the lives of both primary and secondary victims. In the Intimacy Cycle, healthy Quadrant Three goals include identifying the social arenas where goals associated with self-love and balanced investments in intimacy with others are most likely to be met. Our focus is on helping individuals set boundaries to protect their emerging healthy identity and respect the boundaries of others as they operate in these social arenas. The healthy cycle also stresses the importance of appreciating intimacy in whichever form it is offered rather than attempting to manipulate others into fulfilling unhealthy or non-intimacy based fantasies.
- Quadrant 4
In Quadrant Four, the offense cycle looks at any aspects of post-offense thinking and behaviors that would increase the likelihood of reoffending. Treatment examines the manner in which individuals might fail to utilize healthy remorse after committing an offense and instead think in ways that justify or minimize the importance of offense behaviors or displace portions of the responsibility for decisions. Correcting re-offense promoting patterns requires learning to guard against both self-righteous stances (“whatever I did wrong was an aberration in my otherwise good character”) or a self-condemning view (“the wrong-doing was an unavoidable component of my inherently bad character”). The Intimacy Cycle challenges the individual to gain personal power in a healthy manner by (1) correcting distorted thinking, (2) taking full responsibility for choices, behaviors and their negative impacts, (3) acknowledging undesirable propensities, investing in managing them humbly and (4) embracing personal strengths, committing to actualize them in intimacy-promoting ways. The end-goal is a rewarding, offense-free future built upon humility, acceptance of one’s own self-worth, and investment in a life satisfyingly filled with well-balanced forms of emotional intimacy.