Helping people with pedophilic feelings

Dr Frans E. J. Gieles from The Netherlands

Key words: Treatment, Self-help methodology, Therapy, Pedophilia, Paraphilias.


Nearly everywhere nowadays, pedophilic feelings are seen as a deviancy, as a mental disorder. Most courts will enforce some kind of ‘treatment’. Otherwise, many young persons, especially in their twenties, wrestle with pedophilic feelings and will ask for some kind of help. Which kind of ‘treatment’ should we use? I want to draw a distinction between three kinds of help for people who wrestle with pedophilic feelings.

‘Treatment’. This is a special kind of treatment that is widely used nowadays.

Self-help. This is a method used in some of the local NVSH workgroups here in The Netherlands. In addition, support circles can be helpful. Some church communities use it.

Real Therapy. I call it "Real Therapy" to draw a sharp distinction between number 1 and number 3. The first kind of treatment is often named "therapy", but - in my view - number 1 is not real therapy at all, but only ‘treatment’ on the behavioral level.

It appears that every method has its strength and its weakness. One should make distinction between the clients in order to choose the right method for each of them. There is not one method working for all.

The first method arouses some critical notes because of the external control built in it and the lack of profundity because of its focus on behavior.

The third method is well known.

I will highlight the second method, the self-help methodology as a useful method for many clients. We have practiced this methodology for many years in The Netherlands with a reasonable degree of success.