Sex-Specific Treatment Goals

goals_2In 1993, the National Task Force on Juveniles Offending Sexually outlined treatment goals for juvenile sex-specific treatment. However, over time and with new information and research many of these goals needed to be reviewed. In 2003, Phil Rich a national renowned author in the field, revisited and revised the National Task Force treatment goals and objectives.  Providers offering treatment to youth with sexual behavioral problems should ensure treatment addresses these goals.  The following is a list of seventeen specific treatment areas identified as important in sex-specific treatment and rehabilitation:


1.  Personal responsibility for behaviors;

2.  Behavioral self-control, including interruption of patterns of dysfunctional behavior;

3.  Pro-social behavior with the concomitant reduction of antisocial behavior;

4.  Rational thinking and healthy attitudes, recognizing and eliminating cognitive distortions

and attitudinal mind-sets that support sexually abusive behavior;

5.  Healthy and appropriate self-expression;

6.  Healthy and appropriate relationships with both peers and adults;

7.  Improved self esteem and sense of personal identity;

8.  Improved mental health with resolution of co morbid psychiatric conditions;

9.  Addiction-free lifestyle with regard to both addictive and compulsive sexual behaviors and substance use;

10. Intellectual improvement and development, recognizing and addressing cognitive impairments and developmental delays where present;

11. Healthy sexual attitudes, fantasies, and identity and the reduction or elimination of deviant (inappropriate) sexual arousal;

12. Trauma resolution in the event of personal victimization in the youth’s own history;

13. Improved social skills and increased social competence and sense of self-efficacy and social mastery;

14. Development of relapse prevention plans that recognize situational, emotional, and cognitive factors that might contribute to a sexual reoffense, as well as defined methods to avoid high-risk situations and escape patterns of sexually inappropriate or otherwise antisocial behavior;

15. Improved family functioning in which family dysfunction, communication, attitudes, or roles contributing to or helping to maintain sexually aggressive, antisocial, or unhealthy behaviors are addressed and remediated;

16. Victim recognition and awareness with focus on the development of empathy and clarification of the harm caused to the victim and others;

17. Victim and community restitution in which the juvenile (sexual offender) undertakes reparation and makes amends.”


To operationalize the aforementioned goals, each youth should achieve the following nine concrete objectives:


1.  Understand, identify, and interrupt thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors that contribute to abuse and all unhealthy choices and behaviors;

2.  Develop responsibility for personal choices and behavior without minimization or justification;

3.  Understand the impact of past trauma on self-image, functioning, difficulties and behaviors;

4.  Develop awareness, sensitivity and compassion for others;

5.  Learn and understand normative and inappropriate and/or unhealthy sexual development;

6.  Identify, interrupt and control unhealthy and/or inappropriate sexual arousal, thoughts and fantasies;

7.  Learn and use adaptive coping and social skills;

8.  Build and engage in noncoercive relationships;

9.  Develop and use  healthy interventions and life skills to allow youth to successfully reenter a healthy developmental trajectory and build the competency, resiliency and protective factors necessary to resolve and/or eliminate etiological and maintenance factors, as well as achieve (in a healthy way) the needs and goods required to be happy and healthy and live a good life.

(Adapted from Rich, Phil, Evaluation  of Juvenile Sexual Offender and the Assessment of Risk, Understanding, Assessing, and Rehabilitation Juvenile Sexual Offenders, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.)

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