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#426463 - 02/25/13 06:45 PM Pedophilia and problems in treatment
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 817
Loc: Ohio
Interview of a Pedophile Treatment Specialist

There have been some posts on articles putting forth the idea of pedophilia as a sexual orientation that have been sensationalist and not well done. This is a very thoughtful article that the therapist keeps a level head in pointing out the fundamental difference is the object of the desires is not capable or consenting.

It is important to note that this man is putting forth the idea of the difficulties the stigma creates in preventing abuse by treating those seeking help.


Edited by catfish86 (02/25/13 06:46 PM)
_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#426472 - 02/25/13 07:55 PM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6708
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: catfish86
Interview of a Pedophile Treatment Specialist

There have been some posts on articles putting forth the idea of pedophilia as a sexual orientation that have been sensationalist and not well done. This is a very thoughtful article that the therapist keeps a level head in pointing out the fundamental difference is the object of the desires is not capable or consenting.

It is important to note that this man is putting forth the idea of the difficulties the stigma creates in preventing abuse by treating those seeking help.


It has been my understanding that there are 2 formidable obstacles in changing the mind of a pedophile:
1) Many or most true pedophiles are sociopathic. Sociopaths do not want to change. They like themselves as they are (unfortunately)
2) It is difficult to change the pedophiles sexual preference even if he does say he wants to change. Some who are in prison have agreed to want to change. But can they be sincere?

Puff

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#426505 - 02/25/13 11:42 PM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 550
I've done a lot of personal thinking about whether pedophilia can be considered a sexual orientation. I think what has to be recognized is that there is both a biological and social construct aspect to that question. That is to say, the whole notion of orientation is a relatively recent one. I'm not just talking about impulse vs. action, but rather how a mind -- raised in a certain society -- processes and internally articulates impulses. Its very hard for people inside one society to step out and see how any other society could ever see any thing different, but its necessary to get proper definitions of these things.

In most patriarchal societies, traditionally sex has been tied to power dynamics and the "orientations" they would have been able to discuss would not have been hetero vs. homosexual but rather dominant vs. passive (do you desire to be in control or do you submit to being controlled?). Age, gender, or any other attribute would have been secondary to that distinction. The normative sexuality was for adult males to be in the active role and every other segment of society to be in the passive role. Everything existed within a power hierarchy. It was not until the more obvious hierarchies started breaking down (through the reformation, age of enlightenment, and political revolutions), that people began to recognize that there were other ways of defining their sexuality other than through power differentials.

So as power and sex began to become less linked, the driving question in sexuality orientation began to be less about "are you in control?" to "who are you attracted to as an equal?" This is an ongoing and unfinished change in human society, but the question itself does provide useful limits. People can and do still say "I find being in control sexy," but no one is going to call that urge an "orientation." For most of human society, it was assumed that the desire to be intimate and the desire to dominate were linked. Now we reject that notion. Thus, pedophilia cannot be an orientation in the modern sense of the term because it is about being attracted to a power differential rather than being attracted to an individual.

The other side would argue that pedophilia is an orientation because the pedophile has a deep sexual desire that was not chosen, cannot be changed, and that the impulse remains whether or not it is acted on. That argument ignores the fact that pedophilia, acted on or not, is not a desire for equal companionship but rather a desire for domination. The doctor in the article argues that there is a range of "feelings" that the pedophile has and they are not always violent or desiring obvious overt domination. But the pedophile is not attracted to the person, but rather a superficial and changing aspect of the person. But so what? Many one night stands are completely erotic affairs based on fleeting beauty. The difference is that the sexual pathology that leads consenting adults to make sexual decisions based on superficial features is not universal to either homosexual or heterosexual orientations -- and in fact the shallow experience can be a door that leads to a more deeper mutual relationship. Healthy sexual attraction often becomes a motivating factor toward a mutual relationship based on the individual essence of the two involved. But at the deepest level, a pedophile cannot be longing for a permanent mutual relationship with an individual. Age is transient and not only is mutuality impossible, there is nothing in the child's personality that would suggest otherwise without the pedophile deluding himself. Self-delusion is not a characteristic of a healthy sexual orientation.

True sexual orientation asks "when selecting a mate, which gender do you prefer as the initial step toward paring the available population down to a specific individual in which to conduct an egalitarian courtship with?" It includes transient physical characteristics but anchors in the hope of a deeper alliance. Pedophilia cannot answer that question because the attraction is based on an entirely superficial level and any deeper relationship formed would be based on power (even if it is subtle rather than violent) rather than equality.

So if pedophilia is not an orientation, how do we define the unchangeable, erotic impulses? I don't see how this question is any different than defining the impulses of those who cannot become aroused without murder or violence. We don't call sado-sexual homicide (or the desire for it) an orientation. It is a pathological desire. Orientation in a person begins broadly, but eventually narrows down to connecting with the individual as a real meaningful being. Pathological desires never lock on to the individual as an individual but forever remains in the realm of "what can that individual do for me?" It is an utterly different view of sexuality and an ultimately crucial distinction in recognizing that sexual orientation is a question of "who am I attracted to," but pathologies like pedophilia are a question of "what can this person do for me?" Obviously such narcissistic dysfunction can and too often does exist inside both homosexual and heterosexual adult relationships, but pedophilia (action OR impulse) cannot exist without this dysfunction. Therefore, pedophilia is truly defined by this aspect of it and therefore does not fit in anyway under an reasonable definition of orientation.
_________________________
"As long as the child within is not allowed to become aware of what happened to him or her, a part of his or her emotional life will remain frozen . . . all appeals to love, solidarity, and compassion will be useless."
-- Alice Miller

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#426664 - 02/27/13 09:41 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
This is a good discussion. First, people should read the interview with Dr. Fred Berlin. His experience and understanding of human sexuality is excellent.

Second, Puffer's definitions of pedophilia and sociopathy are pretty common among the public:
Quote:
It has been my understanding that there are 2 formidable obstacles in changing the mind of a pedophile:
1) Many or most true pedophiles are sociopathic. Sociopaths do not want to change. They like themselves as they are (unfortunately)
2) It is difficult to change the pedophiles sexual preference even if he does say he wants to change. Some who are in prison have agreed to want to change. But can they be sincere?


The typical child molester is not necessarily a pedophile. You can google or wiki the definition of pedophilia or sociopathy and see that it does not apply to most or many people who sexually abuse children.

There are many if not most people who abuse children who are not pedophiles. In my experience, true pedophiles are in the minority of sexual abusers I work with. Of these, all have been caught or identified and the large percentage of sexual abusers have not been apprehended or known to the public. (I'm talking about the abusers I work with, as well as others who come to the attention of professionals. They generally don't volunteer for treatment, although they ALL think about it before they act.)

The discussion that some who claim it is an orientation like heterosexuality or homosexuality may have an agenda to make it OK to act on the feelings like advocates for accepting homosexuality had years ago. (By this I mean that the public did not accept the idea that it was acceptable for two men or two women to have attractions for each other until recently.) However, I believe that some people have an unfortunate attraction to children which, if they were to act on it, would harm children and would be illegal.

It is a difficult and emotional subject for most people to talk about. I hope this can be a discussion that won't polarize folks around here. Let's be civil if there is any discussion.

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#426671 - 02/27/13 11:53 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Ken certainly I wish if this could become discussion and place for us to learn more about this (disturbing) issue.
I'll try to read interview with Dr. Fred Berlin to get more into this matter. Thanks for input!

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#427083 - 03/04/13 10:03 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
I've read interview with Dr. Berlin and it seems very balanced as I can tell, here it is:
http://www.diocesetucson.org/restore5.html
He said clearly that is disorder and that not all abusers are pedophiles, some apparently are treatable.

Well I wonder in any case what are those factors that set environment or conditions so person can become so much associative and having sociopath's traits and that it is capable of abusing children or any other victim trough some terrible violent act.

Here is interesting lecture about some common characteristics of sex offenders although it is not so direct as I would like:
http://www.csom.org/train/etiology/3/3_1.htm

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#427199 - 03/05/13 12:27 PM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 575
Loc: VA
Dr. Berlin failed to mention the fact that child sexual abuse, whether committed by certified "pedophiles" or by plain, old people-who-like-to-fuck-children, is ALWAYS harmful to the victim, and the victim is very young. This is true whether it's a first offense or a 100th offense, whether the perpetrator can help it or not. IMHO that makes CSA qualitatively different from other "phenomena" he discusses.

Berlin also ignores the elaborate and pains-taking schemes child-molesters use, time after time, to zero in on their victims, cut them out of the herd, and keep them isolated.


And eventually he says something stunningly ignorant:

"I find it difficult to imagine that a large group of people, people in institutions—people who work hard and tend to have values that we respect—would get together and with clear vision say, 'We’re going to put protecting our brand ahead of kids.' I think that if we stop and think about it, that is really a stretch."

Apparently he's never heard of the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church, or (though the interview is appended to an article about Jerry Sandusky) Penn State.

John

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#427239 - 03/06/13 12:27 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: unhappycamper]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6708
Loc: USA
Another facet of this problem is having the appearance of evil. I was abused with and by other boys. When I see their pictures I can have a strong PTSD reaction. I don't perp them, I just have that reaction.

Once I wrote a computer program to solve a puzzle. It was appreciated by the manager of a local company. He invited me to come to his factory and explain my solution. When I got there I found he had invited his 13-year-old son to watch my demo. His appearance was very similar, as far as I could remember, to one of the boys who abused me as a 12-year-old at the Boy Scout Camp. Well, I got a huge panic attack which made mince meat of my ability to demonstrate my program. Loss of job.

Puffer

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#427242 - 03/06/13 12:49 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: unhappycamper]
Canuck Offline


Registered: 05/26/10
Posts: 51
Loc: CA, United States
Originally Posted By: unhappycamper
Dr. Berlin failed to mention the fact that child sexual abuse, whether committed by certified "pedophiles" or by plain, old people-who-like-to-fuck-children, is ALWAYS harmful to the victim, and the victim is very young. This is true whether it's a first offense or a 100th offense, whether the perpetrator can help it or not. IMHO that makes CSA qualitatively different from other "phenomena" he discusses.

Berlin also ignores the elaborate and pains-taking schemes child-molesters use, time after time, to zero in on their victims, cut them out of the herd, and keep them isolated.


And eventually he says something stunningly ignorant:

"I find it difficult to imagine that a large group of people, people in institutions—people who work hard and tend to have values that we respect—would get together and with clear vision say, 'We’re going to put protecting our brand ahead of kids.' I think that if we stop and think about it, that is really a stretch."

Apparently he's never heard of the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church, or (though the interview is appended to an article about Jerry Sandusky) Penn State.

John




I'm really glad you said all of this. I'm going to have to agree with you on the whole thing.

This whole splitting of hairs about the definition of pedophilia and sociopathy, and that most people who abuse children are not pedophiles, and orientation, etc...

It's all wonderful to have a nice disconnected academic discussion about lofty this and that. None of it matters when the rubber hits the road.

And frankly, these kinds of arguments are really just ammo that the perps use when then are busy escaping justice and their families and supporters are busy blaming the victims.

To a large degree, I'm in a bad mood because the shrink who molested me is busy in court today further delaying justice, and because he is politically well connected, both his defense attorney AND the prosecutor are in the process of discrediting his victims. (Long story, but he worked for the county and juvenile courts for decades, The DA is somewhat compelled to prosecute due to the sensational nature of the perp, but they really don't want a conviction because it would potentially mean many lawsuits against the county.)

So I come here today, and see another shrink making exactly the same kinds excuses that the perps use against me and the other victims.

And most galling of all, he's urging "discussion that won't polarize folks around here." and instructing: "Let's be civil"

No. I won't be civil: You're contributing to the problem, Ken.

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#427268 - 03/06/13 08:41 AM Re: Pedophilia and problems in treatment [Re: catfish86]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Quote:
So I come here today, and see another shrink making exactly the same kinds excuses that the perps use against me and the other victims.

And most galling of all, he's urging "discussion that won't polarize folks around here." and instructing: "Let's be civil"

No. I won't be civil: You're contributing to the problem, Ken.


I am advocating for civil discussion among the readers here. In no way am I saying that anyone should be swayed by arguments that therapists or perpetrators make. It is only to keep the focus, whether someone is taking a stance one way or another, to be respectful to each other. That's all.

i

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