Not surprisingly, treating pedophiles can be a daunting task. One
challenge, Fabian Saleh, M.D., pointed out, is determining whether child
molesters understand that "having sex with a child is inappropriate,
illegal, and causes harm. If they don't have any insight into that, then it is
going to be difficult to treat them because they consider that type of
In addition to being an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University
of Massachusetts, Saleh is director of the university's sexual disorders
A second hurdle "is to establish whether a treatment was successful
or not," Richard Krueger, M.D., medical director of the sexual behavior
clinic at New York State Psychiatric Institute, said. "This is a group
of individuals who, even if they are under court compunction, are unreliable
self reporters"—perhaps because they don't have insight into their
problem, perhaps because they are in denial, or perhaps because they are
But probably the major challenge "is to appreciate that if treatment
fails, innocent children could suffer," declared Fred Berlin, M.D., an
associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a leading
Nonetheless, "when treatment succeeds, the community is made a safer
place," Berlin pointed out. Such achievements, he said, are deeply
Linda Grasswick, M.D., a Canadian psychiatrist who has treated pedophiles,
agreed. "One of the rewards is that we are reducing their risk of
re-offending and helping the public."
Grasswick is unit director of forensic assessment at the Royal Ottawa
Health Care Group-Brockville Campus in Ottawa.
And helping pedophiles themselves "to live safely in the community is
also, when successful, a very satisfying feeling," Berlin reported."
These are human beings who do not choose to be sexually attracted to
children and discover they are afflicted with this aberration of their sexual
makeup, and in many other ways they are often fundamentally decent people with
families who are concerned for them."