ATSA Forum - Vol. XXIX, No. 3
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:
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.