The psychiatric assessment of sexual offenders presents complex ethical and philosophical challenges, offering, on one hand, the potential to assist in the rehabilitation of offenders and reduce the risk for future offending and prevention of harm to potential victims, while on the other, the risk of criticism for medicalizing social deviance or acting as agents of social control. Additionally, separating mental disorder from social deviance is complicated by diagnostic categories containing value judgments as opposed to medical criteria, limited availability of standardized assessment procedures and criteria, and limitations in confidentiality restricting access to psychological phenomena. Risk assessment for non-treatment purposes, in light of the potential harm that may result to the evaluee, also presents both scientific and ethical dilemmas. Despite the general prohibition of combining treatment and forensic roles, the treatment of sexual offenders often leads to psychiatrists managing the dual agency of being both treater and evaluator for parole boards or sexually violent predator (SVP) procedures.
**This content was captured at the 2016 APA Annual Meeting and may reference information from various sources and terminology from previous editions of the DSM.
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- explain the distinction between social deviance and mental disorder
- review literature on the effectiveness of sex offender treatment programs
- describe the role and ethical conflicts of psychiatrists in the treatment of sexual offenders and how to manage these conflicts
Estimated Time to Complete
Estimated Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Begin Date: July 1, 2017
End Date: February 1, 2020
How to Earn Credit
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Continuing Education Credit
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Faculty and Planner Disclosures
- Roy J. O’Shaughnessy, M.D., The University of British Columbia. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
- Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Director of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
- Stanley Lyndon, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
- Ricardo A. Juarez, M.S., Deputy Director, Development and Engagement, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
- Claire Van Wagner, Membership Development Coordinator, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
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