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      Therapists’ Experiences in Their Work With Sex Offenders and People With Pedophilia: A Literature Review


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          This article presents a review of the literature that pertains to the experiences of therapists who work directly with child sex offenders and/or people with pedophilia. We draw together results from studies that attempted to identify how therapists experience such work and how they were personally impacted by it. Usually, such studies are embedded within one of the following theoretical frameworks: Secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization and burnout. Most literature on the topic has therefore sought to determine to what extent and why, work-related stress responses may occur among these therapists. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide insight into this, arguably, important line of research, while evaluating the current knowledge as well as providing recommendations for future research efforts.

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          Most cited references46

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          The current prevalence of child sexual abuse worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Systematic reviews on prevalence estimates of child sexual abuse (CSA) worldwide included studies with adult participants referring on a period of abuse of about 50 years. Therefore we aimed to describe the current prevalence of CSA, taking into account geographical region, type of abuse, level of country development and research methods. We included studies published between 2002 and 2009 that reported CSA in children below 18 years. We performed a random effects meta-analysis and analyzed moderator variables by meta-regression. Fifty-five studies from 24 countries were included. According to four predefined types of sexual abuse, prevalence estimates ranged from 8 to 31 % for girls and 3 to 17 % for boys. Nine girls and 3 boys out of 100 are victims of forced intercourse. Heterogeneity between primary studies was high in all analyses. Our results based on most recent data confirm results from previous reviews with adults. Surveys in children offer most recent estimates of CSA. Reducing heterogeneity between studies might be possible by standardized measures to make data more meaningful in international comparisons.
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            Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims

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              Vicarious traumatization: implications for the mental health of health workers?

              It has been suggested that a unique feature of some mental heath practitioners' work is exposure through their role as therapists to clients' descriptions of and reactions to trauma, and that these experiences may actually indirectly cause distress and traumatization to the therapist. This proposed phenomenon has been termed "vicarious traumatization" (VT) and is the focus of the current review. The concept of VT, together with other related concepts such as "burnout," "compassion fatigue," "secondary traumatic stress" (STS), and "work stress" are appraised. Psychological mechanisms that might be theoretically involved in VT are considered. The measurement of VT is reviewed alongside the limited research evidence supporting its existence. Factors such as direct trauma exposure and the personal attributes of mental health workers, which have been suggested to be associated with VT, are also assessed. It is concluded that the evidence to support the existence of VT is meager and inconsistent. Future research needs to be directed at distinguishing VT from other sources of distress arising within the workplace. Finally, the organizational relevance of VT and its possible implications for the management of mental health workers are critically appraised.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Psychol
                Europe's Journal of Psychology
                Eur. J. Psychol.
                19 June 2018
                : 14
                : 2
                : 498-514
                [a ]Department of Psychology, Southern University of Denmark , Odense, Denmark
                [b ]Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University , Aalborg, Denmark
                [3]Department of Psychology, Webster University Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
                Author notes
                [* ]University of Southern Denmark, Department of Psychology, The Research Group on Interpersonal Violence (ThRIVE), Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense, Denmark. mhbach@ 123456health.sdu.dk

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 12 July 2017
                : 28 December 2017
                Self URI (journal-page): https://journals.psychopen.eu/
                Literature Reviews

                personal impact,pedophilia,vicarious traumatization,experience,treatment providers,therapists,secondary traumatic stress,work-related stress,burnout,sex-offenders,compassion fatigue


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