DSHS - Sex Offender Treatment
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Sex Offender Treatment

The Special Commitment Center's (SCC) sex offender specific treatment program is organized into phases. Each treatment phase builds on the resident's earlier work - nothing is done once and then left behind. In later phases, more intensive family counseling and other services are offered to prepare residents for movement into a community transition program. Phases Three through Six are "intensive treatment" and require maturity and sincere effort to change. Feelings of being a "victim of the system" must be left behind, with the focus on meeting individual treatment goals. Phase seven is reserved for SCC residents who are on conditional release to less restrictive alternative community placements.

The following is a description of the treatment phases of the "regular track" treatment program. SCC residents with special needs such as development disabilities, learning disabilities or severe psychiatric disabilities, participate in a program that is modified to address the residents' disabilities.

Treatment Program (Regular Track)

1: Orientation and Evaluation
In this first phase, residents learn what to expect in treatment and learn how the program works. Since effective, individualized treatment can only occur when we know about the resident; his past, present, thoughts, actions, emotions, and how he relates to others. We can learn a lot from written records, but they will not tell us much about who the resident is today and how to plan treatment to help him. In this phase, the resident completes a comprehensive assessment. The intake team meets with the resident to assess medical, nursing, psychiatric, social psychological, substance/chemical use, emotional and vocational needs and use of leisure time. The resident must be as honest as he can be and make a difficult re-examination of his life, actions, and ways of thinking.

2: Treatment Readiness
Helps residents develop necessary attitudes and motivation to prepare for in-depth self- examination and program involvement.  Residents remain in this phase until they have mastered the basics of understanding and behavior to move on to the next, more demanding level of sex offender treatment.

3: Skill Acquisition
Assist residents in examining their lives.  Residents gain understanding of sexual development, cognitive distortions, defense mechanisms, their criminal behavior, their motivation to offend, their pattern of sexual arousal, how they developed urges, and their cycle of offending.  Residents will begin to develop and implement interventions to stop abusive behavior.

4: Skill Application
This phase helps residents gain further insight into the harm they did to their victims and into their distorted thinking patterns.  Phase work helps them accept full responsibility for their offenses. Residents are taught to identify risk factors and learn how to stay out of high-risk situations, to express anger appropriately, to take feedback and deal with lapses. They learn why their controls broke down and how to prevent this in the future. 

5: Skill Generalization
This phase is designed to assist residents to show more empathy and concern for their peers' treatment, to understand short and long-term effects of sexual abuse, to openly discuss their fantasies and arousal patterns, and to seek help from peers. Residents are expected to demonstrate they can change their arousal pattern and identify, disclose and act on lapses. In this phase, the resident is expected to consistently demonstrate the concepts of treatment through behavior control.

6: Discharge readiness
This phase assists residents to develop an approved relapse prevention plan before moving into the community. Residents are to provide full disclosure of their offenses and range of deviance to their family/support group, and to help teach them about risk factors, cues and coping strategies. This work will prepare residents and those who care about them for their roles in supporting each other and living a healthy life with zero offenses. Residents in this phase must demonstrate motivation to continue treatment after discharge.

7: Aftercare
This phase provides further treatment, counseling, and support for residents who receive court-ordered conditional release to a community less restrictive alternative placement such as a Secure Community Transition Facility or a family home. The resident continues treatment with a contracted community sex offender treatment professional and supervision by SCTF staff and a Department of Corrections Community Corrections Officer.


Treatment Team

Each resident at the SCC is provided a treatment team.  This team consists of a primary therapist, a psychologist (who is the team leader), and a Residential Rehabilitation Counselor.  The teams coordinate, and are key providers, of the resident's treatment plan.  In addition, to the assigned treatment team, residents have the opportunity to interact with a number of other professional staff in groups, psycho educational modules, recreation, education, vocation, and the daily living environment.


Treatment Progress Review

The treatment program at the SCC has undergone some structural changes since January 2005. Most significantly is the removal of the trimester system. The calendar year is structured into two treatment blocks ending with a review period. Treatment blocks and reviews will be January to June and July to December. During each review period, Treatment Teams will be responsible for staffing each resident with a multi-disciplinary team to address treatment progress and make any necessary revisions to the treatment plan. There will be no break in treatment during this time. At the end of each treatment block, resident progress will again be reviewed and treatment plans will be updated. Residents will be asked to update their consent to treatment form and a formalized multi-disciplinary treatment team meeting will occur.


Breaks from Treatment

In the past there have been two significant breaks in treatment during each trimester. At mid-trimester, resident treatment groups and classes were suspended for one week while paperwork and meetings occurred. There was another one month break at the end of each trimester, again for the completion of reviews and paperwork. In the new six month review periods there will be no break at the mid point. At the end of the first review period (January to June) there will be a one week break in groups and classes. At the end of the second review period (July to December), there will be a two week break accommodating the winter Holidays.


Phase Promotion

Another significant change to the treatment program is the structure of phase promotion. In the past, phase promotion has only been conducted at the end of a trimester. The new system allows for residents to be reviewed by Senior Clinical for phase promotion when the treatment team believes that a resident has met all phase specific criteria. Residents who change phase in the middle of a review period will be given a treatment schedule which may consist of sex offender specific modules and groups from both phases (the graduated phase and the new phase).