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Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders


Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders
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  • Author(s): edited by David S. Prescott, LICSW
  • ISBN: 978-1-884444-82-1
  • Pages, Binding: 256 pages, paper
  • Audience: Professionals
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No credible evidence exists to prove that punishing people reduces their willingness to cause harm again. In fact, research indicates that a harsh, confrontational approach does not work over the long term. So how do you motivate your tough clients? How do you create a client/therapist environment that promotes your client's willingness to change?

David S. Prescott, Clinical Director of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program at Moose Lake, has assembled this leading-edge, professional resource to begin answering these questions. The book includes both theoretical and concrete approaches that focus on problems many, if not most, professionals have experienced. These include

  • helping clients to envision a more fulfilling life;
  • working effectively with clients in denial (those who say they have not engaged in sexual aggression);
  • understanding the steps by which clients become ready to change;
  • enhancing motivation in group therapy;
  • effective practices for those who supervise clinicians working with sexual offenders; and
  • awakening clients' internal motivation and preparing them for change.


The relationship between the client and the clinician is crucial in effective sex offender treatment, yet few resources have been available to help professionals who do this challenging work. Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders opens the door on new approaches for professionals working with people who have sexually abused. (2009)

About the Editor:

David S. Prescott has worked with individuals who have sexually abused since 1987. He is Clinical Director at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake, as well as serving as President of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), and former editor of that organization's newsletter, The Forum. Prior to his position in Minnesota, he served as the Treatment Assessment Director at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, Wisconsin. Mr. Prescott has published articles on risk assessment, interviewing, and providing residential treatment to youth, and is the author, editor, and co-editor of several other recent books on people who have sexually abused. He is a popular presenter on these topics around North America and in Europe.

Praise for Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders:

"In Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders, David Prescott has gathered an impressive collection of progressive ideas and proven interventions for the successful engagement and treatment of sexual offenders. Not since The Difficult Connection has there been such a clear and concise guide for providers to assist their clients in making the profound changes necessary to combat sexual abuse. This book is the next "Bible" of the profession and should be on the shelf of every clinician attempting to treat this challenging population. It sets the course for the future direction of the field." - Jannine Hebert, MA, LP, Executive Clinical Director, Minnesota Sex Offender Program

"How do we help sexual offenders become "ready, willing, and able" to lead satisfying, offense-free lives? It is a big challenge, and Building Motivation for Change provides answers. This book is well grounded in the research, emerging details and practical clinical strategies. Most importantly, this book captures the spirit of how to listen to and engage our clients in the process of change." - Robert J. McGrath, M.A., Clinical Director, Vermont Treatment Program for Sexual Abusers, co-author of Supervision of the Sex Offender, 2nd Edition

"The foundation for facilitating meaningful change and risk management is therapeutic engagement. This book offers a long overdue voice highlighting why it is important for treatment providers and programs to consider and strategically attend to building therapeutic relationships, motivating clients, and understanding issues and dynamics related to the process of change. These perspectives will enhance treatment efficacy and assist individuals who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviour to manage their risk and risk factors and to live healthier lives, realizing their potential." - Lawrence Ellerby, Ph.D., C. Psych. Forensic Psychological Services, Ellerby & Associates





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