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Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

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Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby myopicdreams » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:25 am

I am training to become a therapist and have some possible interest in working with pedophiles and sex offenders. As I was reading some of the posts here I was quite surprised to note that many people who suffer from pedophilic fantasies are under the impression that therapists will report them if they seek therapy.

Now, I will not promise that any given therapist will follow the confidentiality rules, especially on such a sensitive subject, but it is my sincere hope that any therapist who would be willing to treat a pedophile would also be committed to protecting that client's confidentiality rights. At least in the state of California, a therapist is mandated to file a report about any child abuse of a KNOWN child. From what I can tell, the standard is the same in many other states.

What this means is that if you tell your therapist that you "molested a child" in the past, your therapist would be in violation of your rights if they filed a child abuse report on you. If, however, you reported that you "molested little Jenny, my niece" or that you "have a sexual relationship with Jane Doe who is 12" then your therapist will be mandated by law to file a report with CPS.

It is important to seek help for pedophilia and other paraphilias that can be damaging to yourself and to others. Your confidentiality rights exist because of the importance of treatment and the necessity of being able to feel safe being completely open and honest with your therapist.

I hope this helps.

*EDIT-- IMPORTANT INFORMATION: While I still wholeheartedly believe that my above post is what is supposed to be going on for you and in regard to your confidentiality rights, I have to retract much of my previous views because I have found that I was much too idealistic and the actual state of your rights in therapy is very precarious and risky for you. I have posted a report later in this thread about what I found to be the stance of clinicians I have interviewed and I will be creating another thread to ask your help in learning how I might be able to advocate for you and hopefully help you be able to safely access mental health care.

In view of what I know now, I do not encourage you to avoid therapy (as I believe it can be helpful) but instead recommend that you use an alias (and pay cash) or seek anonymous therapy via an online therapy site. In order to assure your anonymity, as a further precaution, you might look into prepaid credit card giftcards (such as are available in walmart and drugstores etc..) to pay for therapy services. I wish this were not the case for you, and it pains me to say these things, but I firmly believe that you have a right to protect yourself and seek therapy without criminalization (if you have committed no crime) or persecution.

My thoughts are with you.
Last edited by myopicdreams on Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby Borgesius » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:42 pm

Now, I will not promise that any given therapist will follow the confidentiality rules, especially on such a sensitive subject, but it is my sincere hope that any therapist who would be willing to treat a pedophile would also be committed to protecting that client's confidentiality rights.


Problem is, there's no listing of therapists willing to work with pedophiles so we kinda have to wing it and hope whoever we go to is okay with it. There's no knowing how they'll react until you actually tell them.

At least in the state of California, a therapist is mandated to file a report about any child abuse of a KNOWN child. From what I can tell, the standard is the same in many other states.


Isn't it also mandatory if they suspect abuse may occur? That's my impression, and it complicates things because it's up to the therapist to decide if their suspicion is reasonable. That could imaginably be an anecdote where a father gets an erection bathing his son, or has fantasies about his daughter.

There's a huge amount of informational politics in the life of a pedophile - I have to keep fastidious track of who knows what about me and who might suspect something's up, along with how I imagine they might react if they knew my secret. Every interaction has an assessed risk, and specifically going to a therapist to tell them about this ranks somewhere around telling my best friend: it's a huge risk, and I would only take it if I felt I needed to.
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby tlkproxy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:11 pm

myopicdreams wrote:I am training to become a therapist and have some possible interest in working with pedophiles and sex offenders.


Gee, thanks…a POSSIBLE interest, I’m inspired.

When you say “training to become a therapist” what do you mean? What’s your field of expertise? I’ve been down the 'studying psychology' route myself – as a pedophile – and still try to keep up to date with textbooks and developments. I’ve never been particularly inspired by the literature on the subject of pedophilia, it’s inadequate, incomplete and inconsistent to say the least. Not to mention that I don’t like being taxonomised like that and slapped in the face with latinate nomenclature like an insect in a laboratory!

myopicdreams wrote:I was quite surprised to note that many people who suffer from pedophilic fantasies are under the impression that therapists will report them if they seek therapy.


Well, we all have “persecution complexes” after all, why would that surprise you? But seriously, it’s happened before. I’m sure we’ve all read/heard of such stories but, personally, whenever I’ve tried to find out more details THAT is when the confidentiality clause kicks in. So, basically, I’ll never know until I try it for myself and see what happens. No thanks.

myopicdreams wrote:a therapist is mandated to file a report about any child abuse of a KNOWN child.


Some have gone into therapy and ended up in prison for admitting things far less serious things than abuse. They may have just been unlucky with their choice of therapist though. Therapists are human beings too and aren’t as impartial as the scientific community fantazises they are.

myopicdreams wrote: It is important to seek help for pedophilia and other paraphilias that can be damaging to yourself and to others.


I know you mean well, and i am grateful that you're trying, but you sound like a skipping record. I’ve heard it a million times before and personally I don’t want to seek help from people who a) I don’t trust b) I don’t think have MY real interests at heart and are only concerned with “keeping me under control”, again, like an animal. And c) that I disagree with their methods at a fundamental level.

Other that that, I’m all for it!
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby myopicdreams » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:07 am

Borgesius wrote: Problem is, there's no listing of therapists willing to work with pedophiles so we kinda have to wing it and hope whoever we go to is okay with it. There's no knowing how they'll react until you actually tell them.

There's a huge amount of informational politics in the life of a pedophile - I have to keep fastidious track of who knows what about me and who might suspect something's up, along with how I imagine they might react if they knew my secret. Every interaction has an assessed risk, and specifically going to a therapist to tell them about this ranks somewhere around telling my best friend: it's a huge risk, and I would only take it if I felt I needed to.


Dear Borgesius, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to struggle with a condition like pedophilia and I am truly sorry that our society has made it so difficult for you to find help. I know that you did not choose to have the thoughts and feelings of this disorder, and I know that it is very likely that you do not want to experience those thoughts or feelings any more than society wants you to. I wish things were more designed to help you successfully manage or overcome this paraphilia and I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to play some small part in making it easier for pedophiles to not act on their thoughts/desires.

As far as finding a therapist who treats pedophiles, Child Molestation Prevention and Research institute has a listing of therapists who have registered as willing to treat pedophiles http://www.childmolestationprevention.o ... tml#states I understand how scary it must be to take any steps to reach out for help but as a future therapist I want to assure you that I am not alone in my hope to help people like you.

"Isn't it also mandatory if they suspect abuse may occur? That's my impression, and it complicates things because it's up to the therapist to decide if their suspicion is reasonable. That could imaginably be an anecdote where a father gets an erection bathing his son, or has fantasies about his daughter."

Well this is a complicated issue and I can tell you that if a client of mine told me either of those anecdotes I would first of all ask some pointed questions so that I could determine if there was a reasonable risk that the client might act on either scenario. The truth is, though, that reasonable risk and suspicion are both very subjective standards. In my opinion, and erection is an involuntary response to stimulus that by itself would not meet the standard of reasonable suspicion. I also believe that having a fantasy is not the same as acting upon it. Would I be worried by either? I think the fantasy scenario would worry me much more than the erection, and both warrant further discussion. It would be in the further discussion that I would determine if I felt there was a reasonable risk to the child.

None of my opinions will matter much for you, though, and the best advice I can give you is to interview the the therapist carefully and have a discussion about your their take on confidentiality rights and mandated reporting as far as the therapist understands these issues. You absolutely have the right to ask as many questions about this issue as it will take for you to feel safe with your therapist. You have the right to be treated with respect and empathy, and you have the right to receive treatment that is appropriate for your condition-- in a way that allows you to be open and honest enough to adequately address your problems. It is up to you, though, to screen carefully for a therapist who will respect your rights and be committed to helping you without casting judgment.

I think it is a heroic thing to face such a terrible demon, to do what's right, and to protect other's from your personal potential to cause harm. I do not believe that any of us, no matter how mentally healthy we are, is free of some sort of potential to harm other people-- it just so happens that most of us will never have to look that potential in the face like you have to on a daily basis. It takes an astounding amount of courage to accept this sort of truth about yourself and I commend you for putting in the hard work and effort that it surely must take to be the person you want to be instead of the person you could most easily be.

Good luck :)
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby tlkproxy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:34 am

So you're field of expertise is talking psychobabble. Degree first class.
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby myopicdreams » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:02 am

tlkproxy wrote:
myopicdreams wrote:I am training to become a therapist and have some possible interest in working with pedophiles and sex offenders.


Gee, thanks…a POSSIBLE interest, I’m inspired.

When you say “training to become a therapist” what do you mean? What’s your field of expertise? I’ve been down the 'studying psychology' route myself – as a pedophile – and still try to keep up to date with textbooks and developments. I’ve never been particularly inspired by the literature on the subject of pedophilia, it’s inadequate, incomplete and inconsistent to say the least. Not to mention that I don’t like being taxonomised like that and slapped in the face with latinate nomenclature like an insect in a laboratory!


Dear tlkproxy, I'm sorry if my "possible interest" feels a bit meaningless. It certainly doesn't help you in real life and I realize how difficult it must be to find a therapist who can give you the kind of treatment and nonjudgment that you deserve and need. I believe that your questions are justified and that you deserve to have an explanation as to why so many therapists who "might possibly" want to work with your population find themselves unable to do so. I cannot answer for anyone else but I can give you my own reasons for not being sure if I am capable of working with persons suffering with pedophilia.

I am in a graduate program to become a marriage and family therapist. Once I graduate and am licensed I will likely enter private practice with populations that I feel most able to help and personally handle helping. I am interested in a number of populations, those who have trauma-related problems, people with antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders, and those with paraphilias including pedophilia are among the people I feel I may be able to most help (largely because so few people are able to handle working with them). I have found, through various life experiences, that I am capable of detaching emotionally from situations that are emotionally unmanageable for most people. I have volunteered in a jail setting and during that experience I discovered that I was able to maintain empathy and nonjudgment with people who had committed acts which I (outside of the therapeutic/ teaching setting) find intolerable and unpardonable. It was quite surprising, at the time, for me to discover that the crimes that my students committed (even murder of a child) made absolutely no difference to me as their teacher. I still felt the same care and compassion for the woman who starved her baby to death as I did for the women who were in jail for petty theft and drug abuse. Though her crime horrified me and I was terribly sorry for what she had done to that poor child, it did not diminish her humanity in my eyes.

As I have progressed through my training and near the practicing part of my program I have given a great deal of thought to which populations I can make the most difference for. I see that very few of my peers feel like they are capable of working with abusers, offenders, and those with paraphilias so I suspect that I might a needed resource for these communities.

However, I know that what one thinks will happen is often quite different from what actually does happen. I have not worked with any of these populations yet and I can't be sure that the empathy and nonjudgment I felt for that student will carry over into practice with potentially disturbing clients. I personally have a history of sexual abuse by my father, who is a pedophile, so I may find that working with a pedophile would re-traumatize me or that I might have negative feelings and judgement that would compromise my ability to give the level of care that I believe each of my clients deserves.

So I say possible interest, and I mean precisely that. I believe it is profoundly important work and that pedophiles deserve to have therapists who can give them the same care, empathy, and support that every other kind of client is entitled to receive. If I find out that I cannot be an objective, caring, empathetic, and committed therapist to any particular population of people then I feel obligated to refrain from treating those people.

It is not a crime, or a sin, to suffer from a paraphilia. You deserve to be helped by someone who knows this both intellectually and emotionally. I'm sorry for your frustration and your difficulty finding the support you deserve. :)
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby myopicdreams » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:09 am

tlkproxy wrote:So you're field of expertise is talking psychobabble. Degree first class.


:mrgreen: It's nice to have my talents acknowledged :mrgreen:
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby Borgesius » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:18 am

myopicdreams wrote:Dear Borgesius, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to struggle with a condition like pedophilia and I am truly sorry that our society has made it so difficult for you to find help. I know that you did not choose to have the thoughts and feelings of this disorder, and I know that it is very likely that you do not want to experience those thoughts or feelings any more than society wants you to. I wish things were more designed to help you successfully manage or overcome this paraphilia and I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to play some small part in making it easier for pedophiles to not act on their thoughts/desires.


Thanks for your concern, but it's not that big of a worry for me. I can control myself just fine, my problem is that I'm suicidal from years of hiding my sexuality and the stress of being unattracted to adults. Therapy would be great, but if I go back it will primarily focus on that.

myopicdreams wrote:As far as finding a therapist who treats pedophiles, Child Molestation Prevention and Research institute has a listing of therapists who have registered as willing to treat pedophiles http://www.childmolestationprevention.o ... tml#states I understand how scary it must be to take any steps to reach out for help but as a future therapist I want to assure you that I am not alone in my hope to help people like you.


I looked up the ones in my state; those aren't therapists, they're mostly sex offender treatment programs. No sane person would voluntarily check into one of those places, they're for adults in the penal system and teenagers whose parents are worried by their sexual behavior. If I wanted to sit around and catalog my sexual fantasies for total strangers to judge, I could do so using one of the many erotic fiction websites freely available on the internet. I'm not worried that I'll slip up, I've been living with this for too long to distrust my self control.

myopicdreams wrote:Would I be worried by either? I think the fantasy scenario would worry me much more than the erection, and both warrant further discussion. It would be in the further discussion that I would determine if I felt there was a reasonable risk to the child.


See, that level of personal discretion is what's worrying. The case may be that we have to spend time convincing a therapist that we don't pose a risk right at the outset, and if we ###$ it up and get reported our lives are over. Our kids can be taken away, we can be put in jail or inpatient treatment, our names and pictures may become public, and our family and friends will have to deal with the aftermath. The stakes could not be higher.

myopicdreams wrote:You absolutely have the right to ask as many questions about this issue as it will take for you to feel safe with your therapist.


Asking those questions can be what puts me at risk. There's no way to ask about pedophilia without it being imminently obvious why I'm asking.
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby tlkproxy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:26 am

myopicdreams wrote: :mrgreen: It's nice to have my talents acknowledged :mrgreen:


Haha! Good answer! :D

But seriously, i think you hit on the key word there: "Frustration". Judging by the replies to far, it seems to be endemic for us. I apologise for my sardonic attitude earlier, it was uncalled for. Thank you for your reply, it was good of you to give an explanation. However, it hasn't altered my perspective on psychotherapy in general.

I'm sorry for your history of abuse and i hope you won't be retraumatized if/when you attempt to engage in therapy sessions with pedophiles. Just out of curiosity, will you be engaging in this line of therapy within the correctional system, as you explained that you had experience in this area? I was unclear on that point.

Also, do you think that your example strengthens the stereotype that many - if not all - psychologists/psychotherapists head down that path of study precisely because they are prime candidates for therapy themselves?
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Re: Pedophiles have confidentiality rights in therapy

Postby Blben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:40 am

It seems like the only way that you can get alot of therapy for pedophilia is if you actually molest a child then you are hooked up, because if you act like this is what you really are and that you are strickly attracted to children then you are classified it seems like someone that needs help. I am a pedophile and I have never acted on my desires and I don't think that I ever will but it just seems like society thinks that someday I will just cave in and act on my desires and lusts.
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