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Problematic Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program Aimed to Prevent Recidivism

February 22, 2022

Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children, and heal families, is shedding light on the importance of their Problematic Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program (PSB-CBT), a comprehensive family-based clinical treatment intervention created by the University of Oklahoma for children with problematic sexual behaviors (PSB) and adolescents with illegal sexual behavior.

According to sources, nearly 20-25% of child sexual abuse cases are initiated by another youth under 18. These youth are frequently perceived as younger versions of adult sex offenders, and their developmental differences are commonly overlooked. This misinterpretation often prevents communities from understanding key problems and inhibits their ability to provide essential resources that can help prevent recidivism. Instead of restrictive group treatment homes, the PSB-CBT program serves as a low-intensity outpatient treatment intervention where the youth is not treated in a vacuum rather, the family system is evaluated, nurtured, and strengthened.

The program is broken down into two age groups: school-age and adolescent. Both require caregivers to be present and include a teaching curriculum of empathy, critical thinking, decision-making skills, sex laws module, sexual education, and consent. This curriculum is designed to educate both the child and the caregiver while providing the skills and background needed to prevent future PSB.

“The most important part of this program is that we work with the child and the caregiver to unpack the contributing factors for the problematic sexual behavior. Once we have a full understanding, we can design a course to equip them with the skills to avoid further PSB,” says Carrie Jenkins, LPC/S, Sub-Specialty Leader of the PSB-CBT Program. “We create a plan designed around rule-setting and consistency at home—based on healthy family dynamics, communication, and sexual health.”

Results of this program are promising: a 10-year follow-up study found a low recidivism rate (2%) in youth who completed the PSB-CBT program. Dee Norton is continuing to see similar results in those who completed the PSB-CBT program. To build off this momentum, three additional communities are implementing a PSB-CBT Program in South Carolina, including the Child Abuse Center of Spartanburg, SC, The Care House in Florence, SC, and Beyond Abuse in Greenwood, SC. Dee Norton continues to increase awareness of the preventative benefits this treatment provides so additional communities will adopt this essential youth program.

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