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NCJ Number: 199987 Find in a Library
Title: Identification and Management of Psychopaths in Court-Mandated Treatment Programs
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:28  Issue:4  Dated:April 2003  Pages:6,7,25,29
Author(s): Pennie Farrell; Charles Edson
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the diagnosis criteria of psychopathy and offers management strategies for this population, with an emphasis on the importance of collaboration among treatment professionals, community corrections caseworkers, and other professionals involved in their care and management.
Abstract: There are many divergent definitions of psychopathy, but most agree that psychopathy is a deviant developmental disturbance characterized by the absence of a capacity to bond with others. Psychopaths are described as social predictors who manipulate others in order to get what they want, with little or no regard for how their actions affect others. Some researchers contend that there may be biological and social factors that contribute to a psychopathic personality. In terms of violent behavior, research has shown that psychopaths commit more violent crimes and exhibit more violent recidivism rates than nonpsychopaths. Moreover, psychopaths are more likely than others to commit violent crimes against strangers. Psychopaths are also plagued by interpersonal/affective deficits such as limitations in their linguistic processes. They appear to not grasp the affective and abstract meanings of language and words that arouse emotional responses in others do not seem to affect psychopaths at all. Some of the criteria that comprise a diagnosis of psychopathy include a superficial charm, a need for stimulation, pathological lying, and a lack of remorse or guilt. Advice is offered to professionals involved in the treatment of psychopaths. The authors caution that psychopaths do not respond to traditional types of therapy, especially those that attempt to imbibe a sense of empathy, conscience, or interpersonal skills. In fact, some psychopaths do not derive any benefit at all from treatment or therapy, and thus, should not be treated. There are five characteristics that contraindicate treatment; these are described in the article. There are two treatment approaches, however, that show promise in treating psychopaths: pharmacology and biofeedback. Recent research has indicated the importance of brain chemistry or brain structure as an underlying element of criminality. As such, the correct combination and dosage of pharmaceuticals has been suggested to have some value in treating psychopaths. Furthermore, biochemical interventions may prove worthwhile in working with psychopaths in mandated treatment programs. In conclusion, although few treatments have shown promise in changing psychopathic personalities, new research will hopefully illuminate worthwhile treatment approaches. References
Main Term(s): Psychopaths
Index Term(s): Team treatment; Treatment; Treatment effectiveness
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