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Self-esteem, shame, cognitive distortions and empathy in sexual offenders: their integration and treatment implications

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In this paper we outline a model that integrates several issues that have been identified in the sexual offender literature but their relationships have not previously been specified. There is clear evidence that many sexual offenders suffer from low self-esteem, that most lack empathy for their victims, and that almost all have distorted perceptions and thoughts relevant to their offences. More recently shame and guilt have been identified in sexual offenders. Our model proposes that each of these issues is functionally related with each other, and may impede treatment progress, but the model suggests an approach based on evidence that should effectively overcome these obstacles to treatment.
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Keywords: cognitive distortions; empathy; self-esteem; sex offenders

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rockwood Psychological Services, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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