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

Section 3
Understanding Pedophilic Child Molesters

CEU Question 3 | CEU Test | Table of Contents | Internet
Social Worker CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

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

On this track, we will examine core beliefs that many pedophiles have internalized.  These beliefs include:  unworthiness; unlovable; unrealized needs; and sexualization.  From what the pedophile has learned from his culture and society, he has developed and internalized these beliefs and applied them to himself.  These beliefs correspond with the dimensions of the developmental causes discussed in the previous track.

4 Internalized Core Beliefs

#1 Unworthiness
The first core belief is unworthiness.  From society, the pedophiles begins to internalize the belief "I am basically a bad, unworthy person."  Jim, age 58, was a voyeuristic pedophile who sent sexually explicit pictures to young pre-teens after meeting them through a message board designed for that age group.  Jim thought that his unworthiness related to his own physical self-image.  He stated, "I am not attractive, personally or physically.  I know women prefer bigger, stronger, more successful men, so why should I bother?" 

Have you ever encountered clients like Jim?  Have they adopted a feeling of self-defeat because of a cultural stigma attached to what is masculine?  To help Jim regain a better sense of self-image, I asked that he find an activity in which he can improve his own physical appearance but also improve his health, outside of the sphere of the internet.  Jim, who lived in front of a large woods, took up hiking.  At first, he only went out a few times a week.  Soon, however, he enjoyed the weather and quiet isolation so much, he began to go every day. 

He lost weight and started to become more confident.  He stated, "Look at me.  Best shape I’ve been in my whole life."  Now that Jim could appreciate his own body, he could begin to appreciate his emotional self as well.  Think of your Jim.  Would a rigorous physical activity help to curve his or her negative self-image?

#2 Unlovable
The second core belief involves being unlovable.  This second belief relates to the dimension of relationships, in which a client believes that, "No one would love me as I am."  Because of cultural influences, this belief arises out of a public outrage at such pedophilic clients.  Most of the reaction to this disorder is extremely negative and considered one of the worst violations of human decency.  Thus, the client believes himself to be unlovable which also contributes to his belief that he is worthless and relationships of all kinds become almost impossible. 

Terrence, age 26, thought that, even at his relatively young age, he would be alone for the rest of his life.  He stated, "If I told anyone I loved about my problem, they would run away in fear."  To help Terrence understand that he is not a hated monster, I asked him to list three unconditionally loving people who, no matter what he was, would love him anyway if he truly committed to change. 

Terrence wrote, "Mom, my brother Roy, and God."  I asked him about this last one, and he stated, "Even though I know what I have done is wrong, I am penitent, and God will forgive me."  I found Terrence’s choice of God interesting.  Raised a Catholic, he described a very restrictive religion, and I assumed this compounded in negative connotations with God.  Instead, Terrence found strength here.  Think of your Terrence.  Is he or she religious?  How does this negatively or positively affect their lifestyle and development?

#3 Unrealized Needs
The third belief system is unrealized needs.  As discussed in track 2, needs that were never met during early childhood can translate into a fear of not being able to realize one’s own sexual needs.  This core belief becomes, "My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others."  Because of this, clients look to children because they are easily manipulated and nonjudgmental up to a certain point. 

Phil, age 42, had lured 24 teenagers into sexual encounters through the internet.  He stated, "No woman would want me for who I am, so I had to take what I could find.  The easiest way to do this was through the internet.  The kids were all right there, I just had to approach them.  I was in control of my needs, so I didn’t fear rejection of any kind." 

I asked Phil if his behavior ever actually satisfied the needs he so desperately wished to satisfy.  He stated, "Well, for a little while, but I always need to have more.  Soon, that’s all it turns out to be;  an endless cycle of re-approaching more teens."  Think of your Phil.  Do his actions satisfy his more basic needs permanently or are they merely a temporary answer?

#4 Sexualization
In addition to unworthiness, unlovableness, and unrealized needs, the fourth core belief is the sexualization of all relationships.  When a client internalizes this, he has absorbed the belief that, "Sex is my most important need."  In his mind, the addictive pedophilic client believes that he needs sex all the time, cannot get enough, and must not pass up any opportunities.  He also believes that he is the only one that obsesses over this specific sexual addiction. 

Luke, age 27, believed that his insatiable needs were justified according to society’s standards.  He stated, "Men are just more sexual than women and more free to enjoy it.  We should take sex whenever we can get it.  It’s our primitive right."  Clients such as Luke feel little to no shame about their actions, believing that they are reacting to an evolutionary primal throw-back.  In other words, it’s in their nature so they don’t need to stop it.  Think of your Luke.  How does he sexualize the world around him?  Is sex and the acquiring of sex his one ultimate goal?

On this track, we discussed core beliefs that many pedophiles have internalized.  These core beliefs included:  unworthiness; unlovable; unrealized needs; and sexualization. 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Dombert, B., Antfolk, J., Kallvik, L., Zappalà, A., Osterheider, M., Mokros, A., & Santtila, P. (2017). Identifying pedophilic interest in sex offenders against children with the indirect choice reaction time task. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 33(5), 345–351.

Grady, M. D., Levenson, J. S., Mesias, G., Kavanagh, S., & Charles, J. (2019). “I can’t talk about that”: Stigma and fear as barriers to preventive services for minor-attracted persons. Stigma and Health, 4(4), 400–410.

Grady, M. D., & Levenson, J. S. (2021). Prevalence rates of adverse childhood experiences in a sample of minor-attracted persons: A comparison study. Traumatology, 27(2), 227–235.

Grubbs, J. B., Kraus, S. W., Perry, S. L., Lewczuk, K., & Gola, M. (2020). Moral incongruence and compulsive sexual behavior: Results from cross-sectional interactions and parallel growth curve analyses. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 129(3), 266–278.

Helmus, L., Ó Ciardha, C., & Seto, M. C. (2015). The Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests (SSPI): Construct, predictive, and incremental validity. Law and Human Behavior, 39(1), 35–43.

Suchy, Y., Eastvold, A. D., Strassberg, D. S., & Franchow, E. I. (2014). Understanding processing speed weaknesses among pedophilic child molesters: Response style vs. Neuropathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123(1), 273–285.

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 3
What are four core beliefs that pedophile clients have internalized? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Test.

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