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Working With Denial in Convicted Sexual Offenders: A Qualitative Analysis of Treatment Professionals Views and Experiences and Their Implications for Practice

Nicholas Blagden, Belinda Winder, Mick Gregson and Karen Thorne.

International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

March 2013, vol. 57, no. 3, 332-356.

 

Abstract

Denial in sexual offenders represents the first barrier to successful treatment a clinician is likely to face. However, there is currently no research focusing on the experiences of treatment professionals who treat and manage deniers. This study aimed to bridge this research gap and to gain an insight into the perspectives and experiences of professionals who treat and manage sex offenders in denial. The purpose was to ascertain their views on whether deniers are amenable to treatment, whether they should be offered treatment (as presently they are excluded from sex offender programmes), and what they believe may work with this population. A qualitative methodology was used, and treatment professionals were interviewed using semistructured interviews at a HM Prison in England. The main findings indicated that participants viewed denial as a barrier to treatment and that categorical deniers should be excluded from treatment. Implications for treatment are discussed, and it is concluded that viewing denial as a barrier to treatment impedes constructive work with offenders. It is argued that denial as an organising principle for treatment needs rethinking and that admittance may not be required for personal reform.

 

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