'The Phone Call From Hell` - the therapist’s reaction to when a sex offender calls - A TAP Talk by Juliet Grayson
Report by David Trott Tap Council Member.
On 14 October, TAP members and guests had another opportunity to expand their own Continuing Professional Development when Juliet Grayson presented her talk entitled `The Phone Call From Hell` - the title reflecting a Therapist’s possible reaction to when a sex offender calls.
Juliet is co-founder and chair of StopSo (Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending) which is a not for profit organisation that is working to stop sexual offending through therapy. StopSo has formed a nationwide network of therapists who are trained to work with anyone who is concerned about their sexual behaviour and feels that they may be at risk of committing a sexual offence, or re-offending.
Although hugely busy with StopSo, Juliet explained that her main work as a psychotherapist lies with couples who are experiencing sexual problems in their relationship. She is also an accomplished author and one of the most experienced practitioners of Pesso Boyden System Psychotherapy in the UK.
The evening commenced with some audience participation in the form of a quiz entitled `Sex, Statistics and the Law`. This gave participants the opportunity to test themselves in current law with regard to sexual offending in the UK. The cleverly compiled twenty questions produced some head scratching and a few surprises when the correct answers were revealed. This resulted in the mild suspicion that there were possibly some gaps in the audience’s knowledge.
Later a video of Dr James Cantor, who is a Canadian clinical psychologist and sexologist was shown. In this, he discusses the work which has been done to understand the minds of paedophiles as well as some common physical characteristics, such as lower IQ, left handedness and below average height.
Juliet revealed that there are only around 86,000 places in UK prisons and so it’s not possible to incarcerate every offender. This simple fact highlighted the value of the work of StopSo and other similar organisations in this field.
The slides from Juliet's presentation are available to download HERE.
Tea and coffee were served afterwards which gave everyone the chance to discuss and reflect on yet another superb presentation. The next TAP Talk is on18 November when Dr Sue Whitcombe presents Smoke Without Fire: The challenges of identifying and working with Parental Alienation. All are very welcome.
Saturday 16th May saw more than 80 delegates attend the annual TAP Conference at Taunton Racecourse on the timely and important subject of sexual abuse.
Fay Maxted , CEO of the Survivors Trust, spoke first about statistics, dispelling some of the myths around rape and sexual violence; she went on to talk about the need for pre-trial therapy as a base line defined in the Youth Justice Criminal Evidence Act 1999. This area of work is much needed and soon to be supported further by an EU Directive. Faye outlined some of the changes now in place to support the victim of the crime of sexual violence and there is now a clearer pathway with support from Sexual Assault Referral Centres, Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, and multi-agency support alongside pre-trial therapy. Faye expanded on the role therapists have in providing pre-trial therapy, the importance of client notes, writing reports and being called to be a witness in court. We concluded the morning session looking at various scenarios from both the client and counsellor perspectives which was an illuminating process.
Following a good lunch we reconvened to listen to Zoe Lodrick speak on Understanding the Psychology of the Rape Offender. Zoe is an experienced speaker, training many of our Police Forces and Barristers on this subject. She spoke about the motivations to offend and the causes of an offender’s cognitive distortions. Zoe used every day analogies to illustrate how easy it can be for our own brain to distort when we want something, for example our desire for biscuits. She described the parallels between the offender and the victim’s own cognitive distortions, offering possible reasons why victims keep returning to an abuser time and again when our logical brain tells us that what is happening is wrong . She also examined why the majority of cases are either not reported or fail to come to court. Zoe informed us about the function of our brain in response to threat and why our clients may present with extreme anxiety/depression/PTSD when talking about these traumatic events in the counselling room.
Both our speakers delivered important information in an engaging manner on a current and difficult subject and were well received by a large audience. The speakers will be providing their notes for download on this website in the near future.
A Sexual Taboo: working with Sexually Harmful (Perpetrator) behaviour in people who have experienced Sexual Abuse -A TAP Talk by Angela McCormack
On 20th February TAP welcomed Angela McCormack to talk on A Sexual Taboo: working with Sexually Harmful (Perpetrator) behaviour in people who have experienced Sexual Abuse. This difficult topic explored what can happen when a personal experience leads to repetition in some form towards others. Throughout the talk Angela asked us to have a moment of reflection, to pay attention to our bodies and feelings. This is essential when working with this client group who often use disassociation to survive their own experiences.
Angela covered understanding ‘Sexually Harmful Behaviour’, various theoretical frameworks and working with this client group using case studies. Different definitions are available and age appropriate. We must always consider the following: consent including age and level of understanding, equality, power, authority/control, coercion/co-operation, compliance, and criminal offence.
Statistics provided by the NSPCC and Radford et al. dispelled some of the myths in the media. 66% of children who experience sexually harmful behaviour experience at the hands of other children. 80% of 11-17 year olds have not told anyone about their experiences from a peer. Over 86% of children who display sexually harmful behaviour and receive treatment are unlikely to go onto to sexually offend in adult life.
There is a fine line between good and evil as shown in all cultures throughout history and this cuts through us all. We were shown a mandala of angels and demons highlighting that we can see both and were asked what defines our identity.
Working in this area we need to be aware of the legal, ethical and moral frameworks, safeguarding and resourcing, effective supervision, a strong ethical framework, CPD, work life balance, personal and professional support and healthy boundaries. This is a complex subject and Angela is an experienced and enlightening speaker and she has kindly made the slides from her talk available HERE
Our next talk is on April 17th when Matthew Neave will talk about PTSD experiences by ex-servicemen. The talk will start at 7.45pm at Taunton United Reform Church, Paul Street. All welcome
TAP is pleased to announce that after detailed discussions the theme and speakers for the 2015 conference have been finalised.
On Saturday the 16th May 2015, at Taunton Racecourse, we will be welcoming Fay Maxted and Zoe Lodrick to speak on the them 'Healing the trauma of sexual abuse', an issue that is at last being given the wider recognition many therapists have called for for years.
Fay Maxted is Chief Executive of The Survivor's Trust, a national umbrella agency for over 135 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. It works to provide support and networking for member agencies; deliver accredited training; raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse and its effect on survivors, their supporters and society at large; promote effective responses to rape and sexual abuse on a local, regional and national level. Fay speaks regularly on the subject, and raises awareness of the issue in the media.
Zoe Lodrick has over 19 years experience of working therapeutically with women and men who have experienced sexualised trauma(s). She provides training and consultation to most police forces in England and Wales and to many other professionals including Judges, Magistrates, Lawyers, Forensic Medical Examiners (FMEs), Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs), Counsellors and Crisis Workers. She has been commissioned by a number of police forces and CPS areas to provide expert testimony, explaining victim behaviour in rape, kidnap and domestic abuse cases.
We are looking forward to hearing these two top flight speakers offer the benefit of their experience and offer much to think about and take away from the day.
As soon as the programme is finalised in the new year we will be sure to let you know. In the meantime, do get in touch if you would like to be put on our mailing list for receipt of conference booking details as soon as they are available.