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Child Abuse

Testing the Sexual Behavior of Adolescents

11/18/1999

Question:

I doubt you`ll be able to answer my question since I read through all 205 of the archived questions and none of the questions even came close to mine. Oh well, here goes. My 14 yr.old son is seeing a csw. He`s been caught 3 different times touching younger children sexually, no intercourse, just touching. He has been in therapy for 2 months and his therapist wants him to have a test done. This test sounds somewhat like a lie detector test. He would be shown sexually explicit pictures, bondage, forced sex, young children, etc. His reaction to these pictures and questions asked of him would be monitered. His therapist feels that the test results would help him to focus therapy on specific problem areas. I want to do what`s best for my child but I`m so uncomfortable with this test. He`s currently being treated for depression because of this problem. I`m afraid putting him through something like this would depress him even more. I need another opinion on whether we should have this done. I know you probably can`t give me your opinion but if you could give me someplace I could contact that could help me make this decision, I`d appreciate it.

Thank You.

Answer:

I can understand why this suggestion would make you uncomfortable. Based upon what you describe, this type of testing might be unwarranted. I suggest you get the opinion of other experts in the area of sexual perpetrator treatment. David Finkelhor is at the University of New Hampshire, Nick Groth is with the prison system in Somers Connecticut. In Cincinnati you might contact Stuart Bassman at (513) 651-4365. Good luck.

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Response by:

Patricia A Myers, LISW
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati