Effectively Utilizing the “Behavioral” in Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy of Sex Offenders

Published in the International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, Dr. Jerry Jennings and Dr. Adam Deming discuss enhancements to cognitive-behavioral group-based treatment for those who sexually abuse.

March 8, 2013

Adam Deming

Executive Director

Dr. Adam Deming has more than 30 years of experience in clinical psychology and is internationally recognized for his contributions to the specialized treatment of individuals who sexually abuse.

Jerry Jennings

VP, Clinical Services

As a nationally recognized clinician and prolific researcher, Dr. Jerry Jennings has published over fifty books, journal articles, and chapters in the field and has presented at dozens of conferences.

Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is touted as the predominant approach in sex offender-specific group treatment, a review of the field shows that the “behavioral” part of CBT has become minimal in relation to that which is cognitive. The authors discuss how a revitalized “behavioral sensibility” may help to enhance group treatment by focusing greater attention on directly observable behaviors. This clinical practice article presents an array of behaviorally-oriented techniques for conducting groups, beginning with the establishment of an operant group environment that supports behavior change; expanding empirical awareness of events occurring in group; streamlining interventions with non-verbal signals; targeted reinforcement of social interaction and bonding; and more. The article also describes several behavioral techniques designed specifically for sex offender-specific groups, which can enhance self-disclosure, social awareness, self-esteem, empathy, and management of deviant thoughts.