Paradoxical and double-bind communication in treatment for persons who sexually offend

by D.S. Prescott & R.J. Wilson

Journal of Sexual Aggression (2011)



At its most fundamental structural level, treatment for people who sexually offend has inherently paradoxical elements. These involve questions about efficacy, the balance of community safety and client autonomy and responsibility for meaningful change. These elements can create further forms of paradoxical and double-bind communication within the treatment experience itself.

This paper explores this communication and its potentially harmful effects on clients, therapy and community safety, particularly in light of the schemas, implicit theories and cognitive deficits exhibited by people with histories of sexually offending behaviour. It is intended to suggest topics for consideration in solving clinical dilemmas and preventing harm to therapeutic relationships.