How do therapists contribute to therapeutic change in sex offender treatment: An integration of the literature

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Psychotherapy research suggests that therapists contribute to the process of therapeutic change. Research into sex offender treatment has tended to focus on the content rather than the process of therapeutic change. This paper reviews the evidence for the role of therapist characteristics in relation to therapeutic change in sex offender treatment. A literature search of a number of electronic databases and additional manual searches identified a total of 15 relevant articles. Studies were carried out in different treatment contexts and with a variety of methodological approaches. A number of therapist characteristics were identified in relation to the process of therapeutic change in sex offender treatment. Due to the methodological limitations of the studies, no conclusive evidence was found for the contribution of therapist characteristics to treatment efficacy. Nevertheless, the findings may have some clinical utility in relation to improving the therapeutic effectiveness of sex offender treatment.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • attitudes, empathy, leadership, Sex offender treatment, therapeutic change, therapist characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas