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Book Reviews   |    
Identifying and Treating Sex Offenders: Current Approaches, Research, and Techniques
Reviewed by Richard B. Krueger, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2006; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.57.2.282
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edited by Robert Geffner, Ph.D.; New York, Haworth Press, 2004, 323 pages, $39.95

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This printed volume was co-published simultaneously as a volume of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse (volume 12, numbers 3 and 4, 2003). The book is divided into three sections, the first including an introduction and theoretical issues, the second covering assessment and forensic issues, and the third covering treatment issues and approaches. Many of the authors have extensive qualifications and experience in the treatment and assessment of sexual offenders. Each of the chapters is well researched, and extensive bibliographies provide a good and balanced introduction to the literature of the field.

The various topics and issues discussed in the introduction are current and germane and provide an excellent overview. The chapter by Levenson discusses thoroughly and cogently the policies and practices of community notification and civil commitment and offers suggestions as to how to evaluate both. The chapter by Quackenbush presents information on and a critical appraisal of psychological testing, the use of actuarial risk assessment, and the assessment of psychopathy, a construct that has been demonstrated repeatedly to be associated with higher rates of recidivism.

Saleh and Berlin provide an updated and excellent review of relevant neurobiologic and psychopharmacologic literature. The chapters on assessment, interviewing, forensic issues, and the use of the polygraph all present useful and detailed discussions of these various areas. The chapter by Yates presents information on cognitive-behavioral treatment and gives the reader some appreciation for what this approach actually means, discussing therapeutic styles and goals. The final chapter presents information on how to assess and enhance empathy with the victim, a concept that has assumed some importance in the field.

Overall, this volume is well researched and well written and will be of great assistance to mental health professionals and facilities who have contact with the occasional patient who is a sex offender as well as to professionals whose focus and specialty is already in this area and who are looking for an informative update on a variety of relevant issues. All mental health professionals, including therapy aides, nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and family practitioners, will be able to appreciate and benefit from the book. It presents an excellent way to begin to understand this growing and important area.

Dr. Krueger is affiliated with the department of psychiatry of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and is medical director of the sexual behavior clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City.




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