• Editor's Note
 • President's Message
 • Celebrating Tony Morrison
 • A Journey of Hope
 • Current Practices in the Treatment of Adult Male Sexual Abusers: The Safer Society 2009 North American Survey
 • Everywhere It Matters: Working at the State Level to Influence Public Policy
 • Denial in Contemporary Sexual Offender Treatment:
An Essay
 • Book Review
 • An Invitation to Join ATSA’s Public Policy Committee …
 • Call for Nominations
 • New ATSA Members
 • Paid Advertisement
 • 2010 ATSA Conference Exhibit Information
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Robin J. Wilson
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Vol. XXII, No. 2
Spring 2010
Editor's Note

Robin Wilson, flanked by Anvars Zavackis and Imants Jurevicius
of the Latvian Probation Service

Hello to all my good friends and colleagues in ATSA-land…

I’m sitting here in my room at the Albert Einstein Hotel in historic downtown Riga (est. 1201, but tracing roots back to the 2nd Century), with a mini-blizzard blowing outdoors, pondering a parallel between Latvia and those of us in ATSA working with persons who sexually offend. For most of you, Spring is rapidly approaching and you are looking forward to warmer weather, sprouting plants, and the mental spring cleaning that comes with having just submitted abstracts for the fall conference. In advance of those submissions, many of you will have re-focused yourselves on the services of your agency or practice. In some senses, that is also what our Latvian colleagues are doing. However, the deep freeze from which they are continuing to thaw consisted of many many years in the Eastern Bloc. Our colleague, and my new friend, Imants Jurevičius of the Latvian Probation Service, tells me that correctional/criminology research and practice continue to struggle for a foothold in the post-Soviet era. Indeed, the Latvians are in the midst of a huge undertaking – to bring their practices in line with other progressive nations.

Riga Cityscape from rooftop lounge at Albert Einstein Hotel

To do so, they have enlisted the assistance of a good many ATSA members to provide training and guidance, in such matters as general correctional practices, actuarial risk assessment, and specialized risk management methods – the latter focused on working with sexual offenders. Being here and listening to Imants tell me of the difficulties he faces in this project reminds me of how fortunate we all have been to be members of ATSA and to have had the opportunity to share our collective knowledge and expertise with one another.

I suppose this is also why we feel the loss so greatly when we lose a prominent member of our ever-expanding, but still tightly-knit, group. In February, Dr. Tony Morrison of our sister group NOTA died in an accident while on a trip to Canada. Many of you will remember Tony fondly from his writings and participation in ATSA conferences. His friends Clark Baim, Marcus Erooga, and Jan Horwath share their thoughts about Tony’s inspirational life.

Keeping the mood somber for the moment, this issue of the Forum also includes a sad but engaging essay by former Board member Dr. Jill Levenson of Lynn University in Florida. With a heavy heart, Dr. Levenson tells us of the devastation of the recent earthquake in Haiti, and of the difficult task of assisting in looking for survivors – in particular, a group of students and faculty from Lynn who were in Port au Prince on a “Journey of Hope” when the quake hit.

This issue of the Forum includes pieces that will inform us, cause us to rethink some of the work we do, and challenge mindsets regarding those who sexually offend. The ever-inspiring Bob McGrath and his equally impressive colleagues – Georgia Cumming, Brenda Burchard, Steve Zeoli, and Lawrence Ellerby – present findings from the Safer Society’s 2009 North American Survey. The data and comparisons between the USA and Canada are fascinating, to say the least.

In the Fall 2009 issue, we began a series outlining public policy concerns and efforts across the many jurisdictions of ATSA. In this issue, we restart that series with a piece from Dr. Tom Tobin in California. At times, practice on the west coast has been something of a harbinger of things to come across the US. Tom attempts to balance the good and the bad of public policy efforts – California-style.

Applying research to practice can sometimes prove frustrating. We all know that the Hanson meta-analyses suggest that denial and minimization are unrelated to recidivism. I’m quite sure that many of the treatment folks continue to ask, “How can that be?” As someone who straddles both elements – research and practice – I am also frequently caused to consider the difficulties inherent in designing programs that are both evidence-based and responsive to stakeholder needs (client and community). Despite the Hanson findings regarding reoffending, I remain convinced that denial and minimization are important treatment targets. Perhaps, the trick will be in better defining what we mean by denial and minimization – particularly, in regard to what they mean in different groups of offenders – as well as how we measure these constructs during interventions. In this issue, Sarah Brown, Mark Carich, and Samantha Christie share their thoughts on denial in contemporary sexual offender treatment.

Before closing, I would like to draw your attention to a few administrative matters for members. First, please read through the Public Policy Committee’s invitation for new members. This is a particularly important part of the work we do. Next, the call is out for nominations for President and various Board positions. Having spent some time as your ex-officio observer of Board functions, I can tell you that many important decisions are made by these dedicated colleagues. New blood and new perspectives are always good things. Finally, please join me in welcoming a new crew of ATSA initiates. I am continually heartened to see new colleagues join us in our efforts to ensure best practices.

As a follow-up to last issue, Ray Blanchard has continued to send out messages on the list-serve regarding the ongoing process of revising DSM paraphilia diagnostic criteria. Those members who have not yet visited the DSM-5 Website (http://www.dsm5.org) are strongly encouraged to do so. We have until April 20, 2010 to examine the proposed changes for all DSM diagnostic criteria and to submit any comments. On the DSM-5 Website, each paraphilia has a “Rationale” tab, which takes the reader to brief summaries of the reasons for the changes to that criterion set. The list of references for each “Rationale” tab contains hotlinks to the full report written about the relevant paraphilia by one of the members of the DSM-5 Paraphilias Subworkgroup.  These reports can be downloaded for free as PDFs, thanks to a special copyright agreement between Springer Publishing and the American Psychiatric Association. Thanks also to Ray, for his continued efforts to make the revision process as transparent as possible.

Last, and certainly never least, I want to take a moment to draw your attention to the President’s Message. Yes, my friends, there is a new kid in town. A hearty Forum welcome to Lawrence Ellerby, co-inventor of finger puppet therapy and our new President. From his picture, you can see he would be well-suited to a late winter snowfall in Latvia. New beginnings, indeed.

Robin J. Wilson, Ph.D., ABPP

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