Building Motivation for Change in Sexual Offenders

By David S. Prescott, LICSW, editor and contributor
© 2009

Available from Safer Society Press
      (click here for an order form)
ISBN-13: 978-1-884444-82-1
256 pages, paper

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
  • 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)


—David S. Prescott

  1. Treatment Readiness and Comprehensive Treatment Programming
    —Robin J. Wilson
  2. Readiness and the Treatment of Sex Offenders
    Tony Ward, Sharon Casey, and Robyn L. Langlands
  3. Getting the Context Right for Sex Offender Treatment
    Ruth Mann
  4. Using the Good Lives Model to Motivate Sexual Offenders to Participate in Treatment
    — Pamela Yates
  5. A Treatment Approach for Sexual Offenders in Categorical Denial
    — G. A. Serran and M. D. O'Brien
  6. The Rockwood Preparatory Program for Sexual Offenders: Goals and the Methods Employed to Achieve Them
    —Matt D. O'Brien, Liam E. Marshall, and William L. Marshall
  7. A Hopeful Approach to Motivating Sexual Offenders for Change
    H. M. Moulden and W. L. Marshall
  8. Motivational Interviewing in the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
    — David S. Presco
  9. Using Motivational Interviewing with Sexual Abusers in Group Treatment
    David S. Prescott and Marilyn Ross
  10. Supervising Clinicians using Motivational Interviewing
    — David S. Prescott

Review Comments

“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


“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 Hébert MA, LP,
Executive Clinical Director, Minnesota Sex Offender Program