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Internet Pedophiles Treating Perpetrators & Victims
Internet Pedophiles continuing education MFT CEUs

Section 2
Analyses of Pedophilia

CEU Question 2 | CEU Test | Table of Contents | Internet
Counselor CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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On the last track, we discussed the phases that a pedophilic client will undergo during an addictive experience.  These stages included: preoccupation; ritualization; compulsive sexual behavior; and despair.

On this track, we will examine dimensions of developmental causes.  These dimensions include:  self-image and relationships; needs; and sexuality.

3 Dimensions of Developmental Causes

#1  Self-Image and Relationships
The first dimension involves self-image and relationships.  Many pedophile clients experienced some form of feelings of unworthiness in regards to relationships with parents and other authority figures.  Matthew, age 45, was abandoned by his mother when he was six.  His father, a traveling business man, would leave his son at a boarding house run by two spinster sisters.  When he misbehaved, the sisters would strip him down and beat him, especially around the genital areas.  After such punishments, the other boarders, who were all older men, comforted Matthew by masturbating him to sleep. 

In this environment, Matthew learned that sexuality involves humiliation and comfort at the same time.  Also, most importantly, Matthew faced severe fears of abandonment which affected his self-image.  First, his mother left him at an early stage of development, and his father, through his frequent business trips perpetually abandoned Matthew to a life of sexual humiliation.  In addition, when Matthew went to his father and told him about the abuse, his father did not believe him.  Because of this loss of childhood, Matthew sympathizes with younger children, believing that by gratifying his sexual desires with children, he is in fact regaining his childhood.  

Think of your Matthew.  Is his self-image and concepts about relationships a cause of his pedophilia?

#2  Needs
The second dimension involves needs.  During their developmental years, many pedophilic clients report feeling desperately lonely.  Their basic intimacy needs such as feeling guided or protected, are ignored or neglected by those who should have provided for those needs. Thus, the basic human trust is broken between the rest of the world and these clients.  To replace that which was ignored, clients find another emotional filler, such as food, sex, or money. 

Jethro, age 51, had been addicted to child pornography in some form for nearly twenty-five years.  It wasn't until the birth of the internet that he began to stalk and approach young teens in message boards.  He stated, "I could never look a kid in the face and try to bring them home with me, but the internet makes the search so much easier.  I don't even lie to them about my age, I tell them.  I pretend to be the cool dad or uncle that wants to help them out with their problems, something their parents never do." 

I asked Jethro about his father and mother.  He stated, "Ma never really thought much about me and my sisters.  She worked most of the time and Dad was never around.  Being the oldest, I started playing dad to my two younger sisters.  Never laid a finger on them, though!  Thought about it, but there are some things I won't do."  Jethro was translating his early lack of intimacy from his mother and father into a more mature role which he then blurred with sexuality.  As seen in his behavior online, Jethro wished to adopt the part of the parent, a function his own parents never fulfilled for him. 

Think of your Jethro.  What needs could he have lacked early in childhood?

#3 Sexuality
In addition to self-image, relationships, and needs, the third dimension is sexuality.  The type of environment that a child is raised in often affects his or her later perceptions of sex.  A restricted sexual environment may result in a more closeted sexual addict, but an openly sexual environment may result in an overtly sexual pedophile.  Even something as seemingly negligible and archaic as objectifying woman can cause an impressionable, need-thirsty child to perceive sex as an object to be obtained.   

Paul, age 34, stated that his single father, Mike, never showed him the basic signs of affection.  Mike also brought a new girl home every night.  Paul stated, "These woman were always small and petite.  My dad was a beefy guy, so all the little woman thought he was He-Man or something.  When he got them home, he never really asked for sex, he just guided them to the bedroom.  Sometimes I heard fights and my dad would sometimes hit them.  No one ever reported him though, he had that much control.  I think that's what I want.  I want control over those women, but since I have no social skills, I have to find 13 year old girls online." 

To replace the intimacy he never received from his father, Paul instead tried to replicate his father's sexual conquests in the form of children.

Technique:  Write a Letter to the Past
To help clients such as Matthew, Jethro, and Paul understand the ways in which their past had affected their present lives, I asked them to "Write a Letter to the Past."  I asked all three of them to consider the developmental causes that had affected them and to pinpoint any specific events or persons who exemplify the ideas previously discussed.  Paul thought of his father Mike, whose own ideas of women and sexuality led Paul to desire control over his victims.  I asked Paul to write to Mike, hypothetically, and tell him what he did to cause Paul pain, how it affected him, and why it is important to confront these issues. 

Paul wrote, "Dad, you never respected women in any sense, which is probably why my mom left you.  You treated people like sex objects and always tried to exert control over them and me.  Now, I associate control with sexuality, and the only way I feel I can control anyone is if they’re small and helpless.  I need to tell you all this because I also need to confront these issues.  Now I know why I have this obsession, and knowing the why can help me stop it."  Think of your Paul.  Would he or she benefit from "Write a Letter to the Past?"

On this track, we discussed dimensions of developmental causes.  These dimensions included:  self-image and relationships; needs; and sexuality.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Brem, M. J., Florimbio, A. R., Grigorian, H., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., Rothman, E. F., Temple, J. R., & Stuart, G. L. (2019). Cyber abuse among men arrested for domestic violence: Cyber monitoring moderates the relationship between alcohol problems and intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence, 9(4), 410–418.

Jahnke, S. (2018). The stigma of pedophilia: Clinical and forensic implications. European Psychologist, 23(2), 144–153. 

Schuler, M., Mohnke, S., Amelung, T., Dziobek, I., Lemme, B., Borchardt, V., Gerwinn, H., Kärgel, C., Kneer, J., Massau, C., Pohl, A., Tenbergen, G., Weiß, S., Wittfoth, M., Waller, L., Beier, K. M., Walter, M., Ponseti, J., Schiffer, B., . . . Walter, H. (2019). Empathy in pedophilia and sexual offending against children: A multifaceted approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(5), 453–464.

Seto, M. C., Wood, J. M., Babchishin, K. M., & Flynn, S. (2012). Online solicitation offenders are different from child pornography offenders and lower risk contact sexual offenders. Law and Human Behavior, 36(4), 320–330. 

Stephens, S., Leroux, E., Skilling, T., Cantor, J. M., & Seto, M. C. (2017). Taxometric analyses of pedophilia utilizing self-report, behavioral, and sexual arousal indicators. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(8), 1114–1119. 

Wolak, J., Finkelhor, D., Mitchell, K. J., & Ybarra, M. L. (2008). Online "predators" and their victims: Myths, realities, and implications for prevention and treatment. American Psychologist, 63(2), 111–128. 

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 2
What are three dimensions of developmental causes? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Test.

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