Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work

Summer 8-29-2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kurt Gehlert, Bryana French, Jennifer Weigelt


In an attempt to limit correctional consequences and reduce sexual recidivism rates amongst sex offenders, sex offender treatment programs attempt to provide rehabilitation services to those convicted of a sex offense. However, current sex offender treatment intervention strategies are excessively long in duration and tend to provide generalized treatment approaches, ignoring individual needs and risk factors. This overtreatment of individuals can result in increased risk for recidivism. Therefore, there is a need for more efficient and effective treatment interventions. This original contribution to practice, based on the available research, proposes a five-session individual treatment protocol centered around expressive writing, supplemented by psychoeducation, mindfulness, and journaling practices. Expressive writing has shown promise in lowering feelings of hostility, improving problem-solving abilities, and increasing self-regulation. The risk factors of feelings of hostility, poor problem-solving skills, and difficulties with self-regulation, have therefore been chosen as the target risk factors for this contribution to practice. It has been designed to provide more appropriately matched treatment interventions to sex offenders deemed to be of low to moderate risk for re-offense. While the sample size to test the effectiveness of the expressive writing portion of this protocol was small, there is some promise for utilization of expressive writing to improve self-regulation. However, further research is needed before determining the effectiveness of not only the expressive writing intervention itself in addressing risk factors of sexual offense, but the proposed contribution to practice as a whole.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.