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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202258 Find in a Library
Title: Principals and Techniques for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Group Therapy with Sex Offenders
Journal: Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment  Volume:15  Issue:4  Dated:October 2003  Pages:251-267
Author(s): Jerry L. Jennings; Steven Sawyer
Date Published: October 2003
Page Count: 17
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the effectiveness of group therapy with sex offenders.
Abstract: The majority of treatment being used with sex offenders is cognitive-behavioral treatment delivered in a group format. The fundamental conviction of group therapy is that all group therapy gains its therapeutical potency from the interactions and relationships that emerge during the group process. A guiding principle of group work is that most interventions should be directed toward interactions and relationships occurring in the group in the present moment. Techniques that can be used to capitalize on group process include drawing attention to interaction between group members, emphasizing shared emotional experiences among group members, and demonstrating active engagement without words. One of the most striking discoveries for abusive men in group treatment is the communal acceptance of other men. This can be facilitated by building a safe social environment where the men can take risks of expressing themselves freely, sharing their experiences openly, and allowing themselves to feel emotions associated with vulnerability and loss of control that are usually suppressed. Some of the strategies that can be used by male or female therapists to establish a safe and nurturing group for males are tempering immediate confrontation, facilitating confrontation with acceptance and without humiliation, reframing bad behavior as skill-deficits, and using face-saving techniques. Many therapists become overly focused on delivering a prepared agenda or covering a particular curriculum topic. The result is a general group climate of passivity, boredom, disinterest, and lack of energy or involvement by group members. Effective group process always compliments the delivery of any type of treatment group regardless of its theoretical orientation. Sex offender therapists can be much more effective by capitalizing on the energy and heightened involvement that is unique to the group modality - when it is properly applied. There is a current lack of research to document effective methods and best practices in group-based interventions with sex offenders. An improved understanding of the importance of group process and its techniques will enhance the effectiveness and satisfaction of current practitioners of sex offender specific treatment. 19 references
Main Term(s): Group therapy; Sex offender treatment
Index Term(s): Counseling; Group behavior; Guided group interaction; Treatment; Treatment effectiveness; Treatment/Therapeutic Community
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