Psychotherapy is not the most effective form of treatment for pedophilia; however, it still is important to teach pedophiles what is at the root of their problems.

Paul Knuckman, clinical psychologist and sexual offender counselor, states that he “focuses on teaching these men that the problem is greater than this particular contact with this victim. It has to do with how they manage their lives, how they meet their needs in addition to sex needs. For many of them, sexual contact with a child is a way to feel competent, powerful, that he has some control over his life” (University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents, 2002).

Family-Systems Theory

Family systems therapy has been tried in homes where incest has occurred and it is desired by all family members to reunite or keep the family intact.

This type of therapy needs to be insight oriented.

All members of the family are involved, especially the parents. The basic focus of the treatment is for the father to accept responsibility for his acts and the mother for her contribution to the problem.

Each member of the family should attend therapy as a group and also have individual counseling. Self-help groups are also recommended (Lanyon, 1986).

Under no circumstances should anyone other than the perpetrator of the molestation be blamed or in any way held accountable for the pedophile’s behavior.


Empirical studies indicate that the most effective treatment as far as physical sexual abuse is concerned resides in the castration methods – either physical, which is illegal, or chemical. The reason these methods are effective, is not because the illness is being cured, but rather because the sexual desire of the male is being inhibited.

Nothing about the mental attitude is being addressed; however, less harm can come to children if no one is sexually using them for their personal gratification.

Can pedophilia be cured? Many do not believe it is possible. Some, however, believe that if an offender is really motivated, he can learn to modify his behaviors and not act on his impulses.

This belief is similar to how an alcoholic or other addict can learn to live without giving in to their addiction. That being said, what are chances for relapse? Who wants to take the risk to find out?

As in the case of alcoholism or drug addiction, relapse rates are very high and long term success is limited, however, the consequences of a pedophile’s relapse are much more severe for society. Along with medication, long term accountability and therapy for those sex offenders interested in remaining celibate from their inappropriate behavior is recommended.