I have only worked with about a dozen sex offenders in my 32 years as a therapist. They were children who had been molested and then molested other children because they did not realize there was anything wrong with what they were doing. They were too young to understand the ramifications of their actions. It got them into treatment. I know a therapist who works with sex offenders for a living. His experience has been valuable to me over the years and especially with these cases. He usually has a captive audience because most sex offenders that he works with are in jail or have been in jail or are on probation. It is court ordered. I have learned that out of 100 people who have been molested as children only 15 of those people will become offenders. The other 85, whether they ever get treatment or not, will not become offenders. They will exhibit symptoms of being molested. I have also learned that if you were molested before the age of reason, you are more likely to become a sex offender. After the age of reason, your instinct that something is wrong with what is happening kicks in and you will not do it to another person. Your resistance will probable be met with a threat to your family or the offender will get you drunk or high in order to carry out his plan. The thought about that is, if you were molested starting when you were a baby or toddler, you think it is just something that you do with this person. You will model that behavior, just like you did when you learned to walk, talk, hold a spoon or fork dress yourself, etc. You will not realize there is anything wrong with what you are doing. There have been many studies on sex offenders all over the world, most of them out of jails with the promise of getting out early if they cooperate with the study. So I am not convinced totally of the results. All of them basically say the same thing, however. Every sex offender in jail, has been molested themselves. They have all been drunk or high when they became offenders for the first time. They continue to drink and get high during the molestation of others. If you can reach them as small children, you can retrain their brains. Reprogram them and replace the behavior with something else. I have also learned that there is no therapeutic treatment that works for an adult offender. It seems to be passed on from generation to generation, whether it is incestuous or not. The only thing that seems to work, for the most part, is being monitored by a probation officer when they get out of jail. Even that does not always work because the ratio of probation officers to sex offenders is too high to keep track of everyone on your case load. I have no answers for this problem in our society. I know that it seems to be more prevalent due to the number of children that are exhibiting symptoms. I also know that court ordered treatment, whether for children or adults, does not work. No one learns anything, they are just going through the motions in order to not be thrown in jail or to appease their parents. It does not matter what the problem might be, if you are not ready to deal with the problem, no one is going to make you.
I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist. View all posts by dtoomey2015