Therapeutic climate of sexual offender treatment programs

  • Anthony Beech
  • Ann Scott Fordham
Research and Clinical Articles


A measure of group atmosphere, the Group Environment Scale (GES), was administered to members and leaders of 12 sexual offender treatment groups: 8 were probation programs; 4 were conducted at a long-term residential center. The GES measured the following aspects of group processes: relationships within the group, personal growth of members, and structure of the group. Results suggested that the atmosphere of a group had an important influence on treatment change. A successful group was highly cohesive, was well organized and led, encouraged the open expression of feelings, produced a sense of group responsibility, and instilled a sense of hope in its members. A helpful and supportive leadership style was found to be important in creating an atmosphere in which effective therapy could take place. Overcontrolling leaders were seen to have a detrimental effect upon group climate. It is suggested that the employment of a group process measure, such as the GES, would be a useful inclusion to any outcome evaluation of treatment programs.

Key Words

group process group therapy sexual offender therapy sexual offending 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Beech
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ann Scott Fordham
    • 3
  1. 1.Oxford Regional Forensic Service, Department of Foresnsic PsychologyFairmile HospitalWallingfordU.K.
  2. 2.The University of BirminghamBirminghamU.K.
  3. 3.Merseyside Regional Forensic PsychiatryLiverpoolU.K.

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