Is it true that people who sexually abuse children can change their behavior?
Yes. People can and do learn to change behavior with specialized treatment. It is extremely difficult, however, and often impossible to change these behaviors successfully without the help and support of a professional who is experienced with sex abuse-specific treatment. Changing established patterns of abuse is hardly ever a self-help program.
There are treatment programs nationwide that help people change their abusive behaviors and learn how to live safe and healthy lives. In fact, contrary to popular belief, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that sexual offender treatment reduces the risk for future abusive behavior. And when interventions are offered to adolescents and youth with sexual behavior problems, the likelihood of further abusive behavior can be dramatically reduced, or even eliminated.
What are the benefits of treatment to the offending or at-risk adult or adolescent?
- The burden of keeping the secret of this disturbing problem can be lifted.
- The cycle of broken promises to oneself that “it will never happen again” can finally end.
- The abusive behavior can stop, and support is available to rebuild a safer life.
- There can be support from peers in the treatment group to help the offending or at-risk individual stay safe.
- Families can receive information and support during this difficult and confusing time.
What is the goal of treatment?
No more victims.
What is treatment for sexually offensive behavior?
Sex offender treatment is different than other therapies for adults and juveniles. It is treatment that is a serious and encouraging process that focuses on learning specialized strategies for stopping abusive behavior, being accountable and taking responsibility for harm done. For the vast majority of those adults and juveniles who have committed a sexual offense, treatment significantly reduces the future risk of sexually abusing a child. Treatment does not offer amnesty or excuse abusive acts, nor is it intended to punish or humiliate participants.
What happens in treatment for sexual behavior problems?
We require the client attend sessions on a weekly basis in an individual or group setting which are facilitated by a trained professional. In treatment you will learn strategies, develop skills and get peer and professional support to manage and control thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are potentially harmful. If the client is an adolescent, his/her parents or guardians will be required to attend parent support groups, along with individual sessions as needed.
There are ground rules and agreements that all participants must follow in order to remain a member of the group. Many people are court ordered to sexual offender treatment but others may choose to go on their own. Treatment plans will include group/individual therapy, couples therapy. family therapy, polygraph (lie detector test), specialized testing and/or recommendation to further explore the need for prescribed medications.
Is what I tell my therapist confidential?
What an individual tells his or her therapist is usually confidential; however, there are certain circumstances when a therapist must break that promise of confidentiality. Laws in all 50 states require a therapist to contact authorities if a patient is a danger to him/herself, to others, and/or if the therapist suspects that a known child has been abused.
In the State of Texas and as a part of licensing requirements, the Containment Approach of Treatment operates in the context of multi-agency collaboration, explicit policies, and consistent practices that combine case evaluation and risk assessment, sex offender treatment, and intense community surveillance, all designed specifically to maximize public safety. Understanding this limitation to the confidentiality offered in sex-specific treatment is important, and applies to anyone seeking medical care or mental health services. What this means is that, if there is concern the community is at risk by actions of the client, the therapist must discuss those concerns with the necessary individuals or organizations to address the risk.
It is also important to understand that it is the philosophy of OpenDoor that communication with the client’s support system is imperative and it will be expected that you give your therapist permission to speak with your probation officer, spouse, pastor, parent or anyone else important to your recovery.
The good news is that treatment for people with sexual behavior problems can and does work. There is hope and there is help!
Who can attend treatment?
Someone can make an appointment for treatment if they have sexually harmed someone else, or if they believe they are at risk to do so. We include the viewing of pornographic images of children in those categories. Treatment is available for male and female adults and juveniles. Treatment is typically offered separately for males and females. There are also specialized therapies for children with sexual behavior problems.
Is treatment for adolescents different than that for adults?
Because of the dynamic physiological and emotional challenges experienced by adolescents and younger children, the treatment approach differs from those used with adults. For either, we will first do an individual evaluation to help determine the usefulness of treatment and the most effective approaches to use. This is a time when you can and should ask questions.
How long does treatment last?
The duration of the program varies depending on the progress the person in treatment makes. Treatment is not complete until the person changes his or her behavior and makes safe and healthy decisions. For those who are mandated to attend treatment, a timeframe for treatment may be established as part of that requirement. For some, relapse prevention is a lifelong program.
How much does treatment cost?
Treatment is expensive due in large part to the length of time it takes for each individual to make the necessary changes. Contact us to discuss costs based on your needs. We accept checks, cash or credit/debit cards.
Why are polygraphs required?
Texas licensing requires we, as Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers, utilize the polygraph (lie detector) as component of treatment. Our experience has been that the polygraph is an effective tool to assist an individual in becoming and remaining honest through the treatment process. In order for treatment to be successful, thinking must change and that occurs over an extended period of time. Maintaining honesty for an extended period of time allows an individual to focus on issues of concern openly and achieve the ultimate success in the treatment process.
Anyone receiving “sex offender” treatment will be required to fulfill this requirement regardless of conviction or adjudication determination. Polygraphs are performed by licensed polygraph examiners not affiliated with OpenDoor.
Why is insurance not accepted?
Because the quality of treatment is our priority, we believe the time consuming process of working with insurance companies is not the best use of our time. We will do our very best to provide you invoices your insurance company will accept but you will be responsible for any further action in order for you to receive reimbursement.
What happens if I fail a polygraph?
If an individual in treatment fails a polygraph he/or she will have an opportunity to discuss the matter further with the treatment provider and probation officer, if applicable. Depending on what is disclosed by client at that time, he/she might be required to retake the polygraph. If the individual is unable to pass the second polygraph, unsuccessful discharge might occur as inability to pass a polygraph is indicative of deception and increases concern of subsequent risk to the community.
What if I did not commit an offense?
We understand individuals are sometimes blamed for a crime they did not commit or are afraid to disclose an offense fully. In either event the individual will begin individual sessions and discuss the matter further. If no or inadequate disclosures are made, an Instant Offense polygraph will be recommended which will test the client’s report against the offense report. If Client passes the polygraph without disclosures he/she will be asked to complete the sexual history and take the polygraph related to that. Again, if this is passed without disclosures, Client will undergo psychosexual evaluation and, if nothing in this process raises concern related to risk, Client will be discharged and deemed to have successfully completed requirements of program. It should be noted Client will attend individuals sessions throughout this process.
If at any point in time Client reports behavior or thinking patterns that raise concerns related to risk, he/she will most likely be determined appropriate for the standard treatment program and the process will continue.