Vol. XXIX, No. 3
Summer 2017
Text Only Version | Mobile Version
In This Issue
Regular Features
Editor's Note
President's Message
Is pornography use safe for those convicted of a sexual offence?
Featured Articles
Prosocial Treatment Methods for Juveniles Who Sexually Offended
The Relationship between Implicit and Explicit Evaluations of Sexual Aggression and Sexually Aggressive Behavior
Child pornography offenders: Profiles of a complex group
Students' Voice
Processes Accounting for the Covariation Between Hypersexual and Psychopathic Traits
Book Review
Treatment of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: An Integrated Approach
Changing The Journal Name
Apply for the ATSA Fellow for 2017
2017 Election
ATSA International Committee: An introduction
2017 ATSA Conference: Exhibit and Support Opportunities
Win a Free Conference Registration
New ATSA Conference Event
Keeping up with the news
Legislative update
New ATSA Members
Newsletter Tools
Search Past Issues
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Forum Team
David Prescott
Book Review Editor

Sarah Gorter
Production Editor

Forum Editor
Contact the editor or submit articles to:

Heather M. Moulden, Ph.D.
Forensic Program
St. Joseph's Healthcare
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
E: hmoulden@stjoes.ca
P: (905) 522-1155 ext. 35539
Book Review
Treatment of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: An Integrated Approach
Review Submitted by David S. Prescott, LICSW


Treatment of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: An Integrated Approach
Jeffrey Abracen and Jan Looman
Wiley-Blackwell, 264 Pages

The amusing twist in this book comes at the outset. The authors make it clear, right up front, they would have preferred that someone else write this book. After all, there is very little available to professionals who work with this select group of clients. On the one hand, it calls to mind a quote attributed to Jerry Garcia: “Somebody had to do something, and it’s incredibly lame that it had to be us.” On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine a pair of authors better suited for this project.

David S. Prescott, LICSW
Forum Book Review Editor

Abracen and Looman are true scientist-practitioners involved in the treatment of some of Canada’s most high-risk clients for many years. Employed by the Correctional Service of Canada the authors have collaborated for many years, not only developing and implementing programming, but studying it as well. ATSA members are likely familiar with their work in some capacity, whether it’s their published research, Forum articles, or contributions to ATSA’s listserv (Jan Looman once produced new data analyses in response to a Listserv discussion, quipping that he did it because he was “bored at lunch”. It is this kind of interchange that makes ATSA the helpful resource that it is).  

Of course, Abracen and Looman have not operated in a vacuum. They have been fortunate enough to practice in Ontario during an era of explosive growth and expanding knowledge. As this book illustrates, they have developed many of their best ideas as a result of dialog with others, from Bill and Liam Marshall and their associates, to the late Marnie Rice, Grant Harris, and others from around the province. The end result is a document of work by innovative individuals, made better by the community of professionals around them.

These last points are not mere flattery. Beyond its elegant and informative writing style, the book describes many lessons learned and has numerous tips for clinicians based on the authors’ experience. When combined with incisive reviews of the literature, the chapters combine to form a whole that will deepen professionals’ knowledge base, both practically and empirically. Of course, the authors are not without strong opinions and biases; these certainly add to the interest of the book and point the way towards further research possibilities and professional self-development opportunities for the reader.

As one example of the authors’ leanings, they take the Good Lives Model (GLM) to task in ways that this admittedly biased writer believes did not consider the full body of this model’s literature. Indeed, the authors describe how they started to adopt elements of the GLM and abandoned it in short order. On the one hand, it seems they did not necessarily give it that much of a chance. On the other hand, it’s impressive that they tried it at all when they had already spent years developing their own programming – this speaks to their efforts at refinement. The literature on what works in psychotherapy suggests that if you aren’t convinced that a model will work for you, it’s probably better not to use it. Conversely, and by way of analogy, if your diet works for you, it’s probably best to maintain your eating habits.

Going beyond the bounds of many other book projects, the authors dig deep into the interactions between complex post-traumatic stress, attachment, and sexual offending. This is a welcome addition to the literature, as very little has been written in this area (Levenson, Willis, & Prescott, 2015; 2016; Reavis, Looman, Franco, & Rojas, 2013). They also provide a very helpful description of their work with comorbid substance abuse disorders.

The layout of the book is as straightforward as its writing style. After an introduction, the table of contents include:

  1. Background and definitions
  2. A description of the RTCSOTP group characteristics and program
  3. Treatment outcomes of high-risk violent and sexual offenders
  4. Therapist and setting characteristics
  5. The integrated Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR-I) Model
  6. Etiological factors: Attachment theory and complex post-traumatic stress
  7. Combining attachment theory and complex post-traumatic stress disorder and theories of sexual offending: The RNR-I Model
  8. Good Lives Model and sexual offending
  9. Therapeutic orientation and relevance to assessment
  10. Self-management component
  11. Social skills and individual therapy
  12. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and sexual offending
  13. Deviant sexual arousal
  14. Practical applications of the RNR-I model in the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders with substance or alcohol abuse disorders
  15. A model for community management
  16. Summary and conclusions

The authors may have shied away from the project initially, but in all it is a concise and helpful history of a solid program for some of the most challenging clients in the world.


Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Prescott, D. (2015). Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Lives of Female Sex O enders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research & Treatment, 27, 235-257.

Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Prescott, D. (2016). Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Lives of Male Sex Offenders and Implications for Trauma-Informed Care. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research & Treatment, 28 340-359. doi:10.1177/1079063214535819.

Reavis, J., Looman, J., Franco, K., & Rojas, B. (2013). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Criminality: How long must we live before we possess our own lives? e Permanente Journal, 17(2), 44-48.

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