Treatment for boys attracted to younger boys
Intervention occurs only when the youth is suspected or convicted of a sex offense. It may involve the following components:6
- family therapy
- plethysmograph assessment (device attached to the penis to measure arousal while sexual scenes are presented visually or by audiotape)
- polygraph (lie detector) testing
- sexual arousal reconditioning including covert sensitization, aversion therapy, or masturbatory satiation
- the use of sex-drive reducing drugs
- cognitive restructuring, based on the assumption that offenders lack control of aggressive and sexual impulses, lack sympathy for others, are prone to denial and cognitive distortions, suffer from low self-esteem, lack social skills, have a need to dominate others, and lack an understanding of normal sexuality.
CSOM recommends the suspension of the youth’s sentence contingent upon successful completion of treatment. It also notes several controversial areas which "pose special ethical and legal risks for practitioners":
- issues of informed consent when treatment is part of a sentence
- poor validity of plethysmographs and polygraphs with youth
- the physical and emotional pain and unproven effectiveness of aversion therapy
- the unproven safety and effectiveness of unapproved sex-drive reducing drugs
CSOM concludes that clinicians should develop additional consent forms to cover the use of the plethysmograph, aversive conditioning, and unapproved drugs, and that clients should understand that these procedures are voluntary and that they are free to decline them.7
7. Center for Sex Offender Management, 1999*. For more details about ethical issues related to treatment, go to the section on this site about ethics.
*Will open an off-site article in a new window.