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On this track, we will examine the stages that a pedophilic client will undergo during an addictive experience. These stages include: preoccupation; ritualization; compulsive sexual behavior; and despair.
I stated to Jim, "Because of your obsession, every introduction and meeting passes through your sexually obsessive filter. Normally, these obsessions begin to interfere with daily life, and other areas are affected. Does that ever happen with you?" Jim stated, "Yeah, I couldn’t concentrate on work, all I could think about were these images and how to make them come about. I can’t sleep, so I spend most of my time on the internet. Sometimes, when I’m chatting with people I know are adults, I’ll fantasize that they’re really young teens."
Clients like Jim are addicted to sexual behavior, and, in the case of pedophiles, become addicted and preoccupied with the thought of sexual acts with children. I stated to Jim, "I’d like you to think of this preoccupation as a warning sign that’s telling you to watch your steps. When you begin to feel the obsession taking over, be mindful of it and of your behaviors." Think of your Jim. Is he experiencing this sexual preoccupation? How would you address his preoccupation?
Norm, age 45, had narrowed his ritualization to phrases and words. He stated, "I used the same lines over and over again: ‘I understand,’ ‘oh my god, that sucks!’ or the most effective one, ‘you’re so smart’ or ‘special’ or ‘pretty.’ I didn’t have to think about an intelligent conversation, I just used the same ideas over and over again." This preoccupation trance is as important as sexual contact or orgasm.
The intoxication of the whole experience is what the pedophile seeks in order to move through the cycle from despair to exhilaration. The search and suspense absorb the pedophile’s concentration and energy. Net surfing, flirtation, preparation, are all part of the mood alteration. Think of your Norm. Is he using rituals to heighten their sense of arousal?
#3 Compulsive Sexual Behavior
Jim stated, "I always thought I could control this behavior. I was laboring under the false perception that my body and mind were under my discipline. This was obviously not so. No matter how many times I tried, I could not break myself. At my nephew’s birthday party, I promised myself never to jerk off to him again, but that lasted for about a week."
I stated to Jim, "When you try to control your behavior by yourself, it will almost always fail. However, you still cling to the hope that you will not have to admit you have a problem. When you don’t succeed, yet another indictment of self-control and morality is added to ever-increasing shame." Think of your pedophilic client. Is he compulsively indulging in his sexual fantasies? Is this affecting his self-esteem?
Phil, age 28, had been luring teenage girls to his house through the internet for some time. He would convince them that he loved them and would arrange a private meeting. After having gotten them there, he would provoke them into sexual acts. Phil stated, "I was raised Christian, I know better than to do this! I hate myself for this. I betray these girls’ trust every time I approach them. The only way I can make myself stop feeling so awful is to begin thinking about it all over again! It never ends!"
Like in Phil’s case, each repetition builds upon the previous experiences and solidifies the reiterative pattern of the addiction. Think of your Phil. Is he experiencing self-hate because of his pedophilic behaviors?
Technique: Reversing Core Beliefs
Norm included on his list, "I need sex all the time" and "Other people think I’m disgusting." I then asked them to write contradicting statements on another card, addressing all the statements on the first list. Norm included on this card, "I have other, deeper emotional needs that need to be fulfilled" and "I need to find that person who will love me as I am." Think of your Norm. Would he or she benefit from "Reversing Core Beliefs"? We will discuss Core Beliefs more thoroughly on a later track.
On this track, we examined the phases that a pedophile will undergo during an addictive experience. These stages included: preoccupation; ritualization; compulsive sexual behavior; and despair.
On the next track, we will discuss dimensions of developmental causes. These dimensions include: self-image and relationships; needs; and sexuality.
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