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Aversion therapy

This method was first used in 1935 in an effort to eliminate homosexuality. It attempts to associate in the patientís mind a previously attractive sexual stimulus or behavior with an unpleasant sensation, such as pain, nausea, or fear. The therapist presents the patient with a deviant stimulus (such as a photograph of a nude child, or an audiotape of a child in a sexual context), while simultaneously presenting him with an unpleasant (aversive) stimulus.27

Aversive stimuli have included the following:28

Covert sensitization is a physically safer variation that has also been used with homosexuals and sexual deviants.31

Another variation, shame aversion therapy, involves subjecting the patient to public shame or humiliation in conjunction with his deviant behavior.32

Evaluations of the effectiveness of these methods have been uncontrolled case studies, involving very small numbers of subjects, and have found inconsistent results.33

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27. Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1987; Matson & DiLorenzo, 1984; Crawford, 1981; Langevin, 1983.

28. Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1987; Crawford, 1981; Hall, 1996; Langevin, 1983; Maletzky, 1991; Matson & DiLorenzo, 1984.

29. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1999*.

30. Maletzky, 1991.

31. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1999*; Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1987; Crawford, 1981; Langevin, 1983; Maletzky, 1991; Matson & DiLorenzo, 1984.

32. Maletzky, 1991; Langevin, 1983.

33. Center for Sex Offender Management, 1999*; Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1987; Crawford, 1981; Hall, 1996; Langevin, 1983; Matson & DiLorenzo, 1984; McConaghy, 1999.

34. Harris, 1987.

35. Langevin, 1983.

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