BoyChat Analysis

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cognitive Distortions, this is at the heart of any discussion concerning pedophilia. The use of which we previously discussed HERE

To recap, Cognitive distortions may be defined as a set of beliefs, assumptions, or self-statements that are used to deny, justify, minimize, or rationalize deviant sexual behavior.

To illustrate the use of these cognitive distortions a recent study was done on the pedophile messsage board. The purpose being to observe interaction between members of an online community that was sympathetic to individuals with pedophilic interests. The study written by L. Avin Malesky and Liam Ennis and published in Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling April 2004 Volume 24

The study was done on messages posted over a 7 day period. The results revealed that at least one type of cognitive distortion was present in 27% of the posts and while many contained multiple types of distortions, euphemistic labeling was the most common i.e. substituting aggreeable expressions for those carrying negative connotations. Validation of pedophilic ideologies was present in over one fifth of the posts.

The social reinforcement of cognitive distortions may serve to compromise the therapeutic benefit of treatment. Participation in these message board exchanges might also serve to strengthen the distorted schemata of offenders, thereby making them more resistant to treatment.

These findings indicate that the professional who is involved in the treatment or community monitoring of sex offenders should thoroughly investigate his client's online behaviors and should include inappropriate Internet usage as a risk factor in relapse prevention.

It is incumbent upon treating and supervisory agents to become knowledgeable about computer misuse and access to potential areas of misuse that may place the client at an increased risk of reoffending.

Moreover, there is evidence suggesting that individuals who have been convicted of Internet-related, non-contact sexual offenses are likely to have committed undetected 'hands on' offenses as well. Clinicians who become aware of deviant Internet usage by a client should investigate the possibility that the individual has a history of hands-on offending.

Before continuing I would like to make note of the fact that pedophiles attempt to separate themselves from child molesters. The fact is that they don't believe the things they do with children are molestations. Another cognitive distortion. But let us continue....
The posts in this study were submitted by individuals who had specific sexual interests (i.e., young males), and were goal-directed in their pedophilic behavior. The nature of their distorted views are such that they are unlikely to be motivated to change their behaviors or patterns of sexual attraction. Existing research suggests that these characteristics may represent a heightened likelihood of future offending.

It is apparent from this study that cyber communities serve multiple functions, foremost of which appear to be as a social forum. Given that the establishment and maintenance of healthy adult relationships is often a goal of sex offender treatment, a clinical recommendation from this study is that Internet-related sex offenders should refrain from using the Internet and should instead, focus on developing and strengthening real-life prosocial adult relationships.

Finally, although it is common practice in sex offender treatment to refute and challenge all types of cognitive distortions, the results of this study indicate that there is a need to focus attention on the distortions referred to as Euphemistic Labeling. Sex offender treatment should, therefore, address the harm that is done to the victims as a result of the abuse as well as dispute the notion that the offender maintained a "romantic," egalitariain relationship with his victims.

blog comments powered by Disqus