Six Questions to Ask When Selecting a Sex-Specific Therapist
Question What You Want To Hear Why
How many patients with a sexual interest in children do you treat in a year? 20 or more cases Generally, the more experienced the therapist, the more knowledgeable he or she is about effective treatment.
Do you use sexual interest testing, plethysmography or polygraphs as part of your evaluation? Yes Without objective testing, the therapist has to make recommendations based on incomplete information.
If you are a psychiatrist, do you prescribe medications such as SSRIs or Provera for some of your patients with paraphilias?* If you are a licensed therapist, do you have a working relationship with a physician? Yes Ideally, you want a therapist who can prescribe medication if needed, or who works closely with a physician who can prescribe.*
Do your treatments include covert sensitization, aversion or satiation to directly reduce sexual interest in children?* Yes Sexual interest in children is associated with child molestation; therefore, a sex-specific therapist should have this skill.
Do you use cognitive-behavioral and relapse-prevention therapies? Yes Cognitive-behavioral therapies are the most effective means of preventing child molesters from molesting again.*
Do you belong to ATSA (the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers)? This is the national association for sex-specific therapists. Yes Membership suggests a greater likelihood that the therapist has had appropriate training.

* Details about these medicines and therapies may be found in The Stop Child Molestation Book, by Gene G. Abel, M.D., and Nora Harlow. Above information reprinted with the permission of the authors.


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