Can sexual predators like Ariel Castro be helped with treatment? Can such a sexual abuser change their ways? What are the psychological traits of a sexual predator? Here it is folks! The answers to the questions you want to know. As a human behavior expert and Psychotherapist I am going to lay it out there in black and white and I open up the discussion for YOU to decide.
I am sure you have heard by now of Ariel Castro, adult male who abducted 3 females 10+ years ago and held them captive in his home. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse was consistent. Clearly Ariel Castro is a sexual predator. What else is he? A molester? Certainly. A Psychopath? A Sociopath? Evil? A monster? A criminal? Sick in the mind? You decide. Take out your analytical skills, read my talking points below, and determine what you think based on what you know thus far.
Talking Points – Ariel Castro And Sexual Predators Psychoanlayzed
Molesters use distorted thinking to rationalize and justify their crimes. In this way they make their own needs more important.
Psychopaths And Sociopaths
Some Psychopaths and Sociopaths are so good at acting normal and at manipulation that those around them never suspect their true nature.
Psychopaths and Sociopaths are terms used in psychology and criminology and often used interchangeably. There is controversy over whether they share the same qualities. They do share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them. Psychopaths and Sociopaths are considered subsets of people with antisocial personality traits. Traits that Psychopaths and Sociopaths share include:
- A disregard for the rights of others
- A failure to feel remorse or guilt
- A disregard for laws and social morals
- A tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts
Not all mental health professionals agree on what differentiates Psychopaths from Sociopaths. For those who believe they are separate disorders the following is a key differentiation:
Psychopathy stems from a physiological defect in the brain that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control and emotion. Psychopaths don’t feel guilt or remorse. They would commit crimes against family or friends as well as strangers.
Sociopathy is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse. They have no empathy nor attachment to the greater society and will not feel guilt in harming a stranger but some can emotionally attach to others and feel badly when they hurt those individuals they are attached to.
We as a public typically refer to brutal and savage behaviors that are the unimaginable as insane. Ariel Castro is certainly an example of water cooler talk in terms of stating; “He is insane!”. In clinical terms, Castro’s horrific behavior and crime would likely not be classified as insane because from what we the public know to date, he was fully conscious of his actions and intentions. Do we know this for sure? Of course not, as we have not interviewed him. This blog is simply to provide education and offer thought provoking analysis to a topic on everyone’s mind.
Psychological Traits Of A Sexual Predator
- Low self esteem
- Need for power and control
- Lack of empathy
- Often had a troubled childhood
- Display deviant sexual behaviors and attitudes
- Refuse to take responsibility for their actions
Abusers Often Say They Were Abused Themselves – Sexual Offenders Often Say They Were Sexually Molested
As a Psychotherapist for 20 years, it has been my experience, and is agreed among experts in the mental health industry that typically, abusers and molesters report they were abused and molested when they were young. For an example, 78% of Pedophile offenders state they were themselves victims (American Psychological Association). It is not an “excuse” for their behavior, and does not make their actions acceptable. Rather it is a point of information.
Mental health and wellness professionals, including Psychotherapists and Psychologists are put in a position of having to evaluate the level of risk an individual poses to a community while considering the individual liberty concerns of an offender. This is tricky to balance and evaluate and make an accurate determination because there is no definitive way to know for certain. Should we not err on the side of caution? What do you think?
A one sized therapeutic treatment model does not fit for all people who have committed sexual crimes. One component is that people commit these crimes for different reasons, and that plays a role in treatment and treatment outcome. Many experts are of the belief that there isn’t much hope that treatment works for sex offenders. Sex offenders as clients often do not disclose all of their crimes or sexual deviant thoughts. Also, they often do not realize the severity of their actions. Although, there are experts who believe that treatment is an option. The effectiveness of treatment for sex offenders published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment (Vol. 14, No. 2) 2002 shows the difference between sex offenders who were treated and those who were not. The analysis shows that there is a difference between those who were treated versus not. The problem though, that is voiced among many experts in the mental health industry is that some sex offenders are highly predatory and psychopathic/sociopathic, which will make a difference in terms of whether treatment can help or not. One would likely evaluate and determine about Ariel Castro, based on what we know, which is that not only is he a sexual predator, a sexual offender, he is also a Psychopath or a Sociopath. What do you think? A candidate for treatment or not?
Generally speaking, therapy can help a person to allow them-self to confront and thus figure out why they did what they did to understand one’s self better. Therapy can help you to free yourself from the compulsion to do it (whatever the “it” is again), once what our unconscious needs are, are uncovered, and one is honest about one’s self. It is this cognitive therapy component that can help people develop insight and thus stop their negative behavior patterns. It is the behavioral portion of therapy that provides people with concrete behavioral actions they can take that is different from their old patterns of behavior. Hence why cognitive behavioral therapy is so helpful, especially with a caring therapist who is solution based. The problem is, some people are resistant to any kind of therapy as confronting certain truths would lead to the danger of crumbling emotionally.
When it comes to Psychopaths specifically, there are experts who suggest there is not any treatment for Psychopaths because it is a disorder of the personality. For those who believe in the distinction between Psychopaths and Sociopaths, and believe they can 100% know the difference upon evaluating such a person, then those experts may believe treatment is possible for the Sociopath since it is considered an environmental cause, even though it is a personality disorder. The etiology is different. But, there are many mental health professionals who say; when it comes to nature versus nurture how much affects one versus the other?
If no treatment technique can 100% produce a cure, if the sexual predator must consistently use skills he has learned to avoid his impulse combined with hormonal treatment – who would feel confident to give such an individual the stamp of approval to mix among the community?
Now that you have read the aforementioned, you tell me. What do you think? Is Ariel Castro a sexual predator? A molester? An abuser? A Psychopath? A Sociopath? Can he be helped with treatment? What about others who have committed sexual crimes – can they change their ways? Should each case be evaluated on a case by case basis? What’s your analysis?
- If you find this blog interesting you may also wish to read: What Lies Ahead For The Cleveland Women? Link included of Dr. Karen Ruskin’s appearance on FOX News Channel’s Sean Hannity, discussing this horrific case.