Thursday, 30 August 2012

Frustration with the lack of psychotherapy for adolescent sex offenders.

Over the last few years I have been asked to assess adolescent sex offenders either pre-trial or pre-sentencing.  More often than not these adolescents have experienced trauma that predates their offences and often I recommended psychodynamic therapy in addition to the traditional sex offender treatment programme.  I recommend this not just because it would be beneficial to the psychological development of the individual, but also because if (as is also common) the adolescent is emotionally under-developed as a result of their trauma, the psychotherapy will enable them to develop to such a point that they would be able to fully engage with sex offender treatment.

So last week I was asked to reassess an adolescent who was applying for parole whom I had recommended the above with concern that his mental health would deteriorate.  I was saddened to discover that his mental health had worsened and I considered him to be of greater risk than two years previously.  He had not received psychodynamic psychotherapy, but had been accessing sex offender treatment but had not completed it, in my opinion due to an inability as a result of his emotional incapacity.  This left me feeling frustrated, but ready to improve awareness and try to change this.

Nigel organises a good congress!

Well it has taken a little while to post this, but still worth a little read:

Joint Congress of the European Association for Mental Health and Intellectual Disability and IASSID Challenging Behaviour and Mental Health SIRG
1-3 September 2011, Palace Hotel, Manchester.

Well, it was always going to be a good conference with Nigel Beail organising it… and I am not just talking about the Social Programme (although the Casablanca Steps were rather fabulous!).

It was a conference where I could not find a slot in the programme to have a break, so I attended throughout, despite my weariness (noting the good social programme again!).

My highlights were hearing: Noelle Blackman presenting a case study of an eight year psychotherapy with a woman with learning disabilities who initially displayed some very disturbed and dangerous (self-injurious) behaviour; Valerie Sinason raising our awareness of the presence of Dissociative Identity Disorder in people with intellectual disability in her wonderful expressive and heartfelt style (which prompted me to buy the new edition of her book Mental Handicap and the Human Condition); and overall, Pat Frankish giving her keynote speech considering the Paradigm Shift that has happened over the last thirty years from a position where psychological therapies were not considered appropriate for people with intellectual disabilities, whereas now they are widely used, and this was reflected in the congress programme.

Pat has worked hard over the last thirty years… I guess it’s time for us to keep the momentum going!