A qualitative investigation into therapists’ perceptions on what factors facilitate abstinence in clients who self-identify as being sexually attracted to children

  • Anna Turner

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This research explored the construction of helpful and hindering factors impacting an individual’s ability to abstain from acting on their sexual attraction to children (under the age of 16), through the eyes of their psychologist/psychotherapist. In an attempt to distinguish this client group from convicted sexual offenders or child pornography users, clinicians who had only worked with these clients group were excluded from the research, placing a sole focus on paedophiles/hebephiles who had not used the Internet or contact means to act on their sexual attraction to children. Using Constructivist Grounded Theory four categories emerged set within a sphere of client’s feeling as if they were suspended in “no-man’s land”. Category one, ‘stepping out from the shadows’, reflects the negotiation of disclosing a sexual attraction to children. The second category, ‘driving them underground’, demonstrated the societal push for paedophiles/hebephiles to retreat from society. The third category, ‘victims of bureaucracy’, reflected the required negotiation of bureaucracy from both the client and clinician. The final category, ‘therapy: the glue that holds everything together’, accounted for the perceived impact of therapy in the management of a sexual attraction to children. The final framework suggests that factors that could aid abstinence in individuals who are sexually attracted to children are constructed within a sphere of hope, facilitating their acquisition of social existence and their fight to belong in treatment services. The final framework draws attention to the role and impact of clinicians through the adherence to ethical guidelines, legal principles and the need for training programmes to engage with this difficult to think about client group.
Date of Award3 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorDiane Bray (Supervisor) & Janek Dubowski (Supervisor)

Cite this

A qualitative investigation into therapists’ perceptions on what factors facilitate abstinence in clients who self-identify as being sexually attracted to children
Turner, A. (Author). 3 Dec 2016

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis