It’s understandable if you’re nervous about approaching a therapist.
Some of the considerations are…
- finding a therapist who has dealt with pedophiles before
- fears over the therapist breaking confidentiality
- fears of the therapist aiming to ‘cure’ you instead of listening to you
- concealing the fact or the reason you’re having therapy
- being able to visit the therapist without people finding out
- finding a private enough space to do online therapy
- the cost
We won’t lie: we have heard from pedophiles whose therapists have refused to treat them, reported them because they are a pedophile, or hurt rather than helped their sense of self-worth. These things can happen, and there are reasons to be very careful.
But many pedophiles do tell us they benefited from therapy. There are good stories, too.
Most people assume that pedophiles would mainly seek therapy to get ‘cured’ or to manage problematic behaviors like use of CSAM. However, a lot of us don’t have these needs. We just need to be listened to, without suspicion or judgment.
A good place to start is with a therapist who knows about pedophiles (is ‘MAP-aware’). ASAP international runs a list of such therapists. They might know someone in your area, or who you can talk to online.
If you can’t find a therapist through recommendation, then here are some steps you can take when seeking a one-to-one therapist to make sure you are seeing someone safe:
Check out their website and see if…
- they say they will work with pedophiles or MAPs (this is rare, but worth looking out for).
- they have experience of working with sexual issues or pedophilia-related issues in particular.
- they claim to ‘convert’ pedophiles rather than following what we understand to be the scientific consensus.
Through an anonymous email service like Proton Mail , you can ask any therapist:
- what the therapist is obligated to report by law
- what the therapist would report, even if not obligated
- what the therapist thinks about pedophilia and how they would react to a client saying they were a pedophile
- what they understand about pedophilia, and whether they know what ‘virtuous pedophile’ means
Be prepared to walk away if you get unfavorable answers. When you are unsure of yourself, you might feel the professional knows best; however, you might know more about pedophilia than the therapist you are approaching.
If you go to a first session, you don’t have to say you are a pedophile right away. You can talk about other issues in your life, and at the same time see how the therapist reacts to the following:
- talking about having a minority sexual interest
- bringing up the topic of non-offending pedophiles, as if talking about someone else
These are just some initial suggestions. The MAP Resources site runs a comprehensive guide on finding and using therapy which you can find here: MAP Resources’ guide on finding and using therapy .