Sunday, 14 February 2010

The torture continues

A week into the first block of SOGP, it have become obvious that the whole process is just a box-ticking exercise.

During our "Steps to Offending" we were analysing how we got from "that's wrong" to "that's ok to do" and how we changed our own environment to allow the "offending behaviour".

We then had to examine "routes to offending" which meant analysing patterns in our own life.

Finally, we completed "decision chains". This is supposed to show you the points at which you made "inappropriate" decision which led to your offending.

Only problem with all three of those - since I can't remember my offending, how in the name of all that is holy am I supposed to identify the steps I took, the decisions I made, the patterns that existed? Indeed, since this was my first ever offence, and my first ever visit to either Court or Prison, how relevant will any patterns be.

I'm also very concerned with the negativity in the language being used by your supposedly neutral facilitators. They keep discussing "inappropriate sexual thoughts" and "sexual abuse" when referring to the offences and the lead-up to them. I have tried to challenge this more than once, but keep being "shouted" down by the group. However, not all sexual offending is sexual abuse, and conversely, not all sexual abuse is sexual offending.

I'm also extrememly concerned with the fact that it has been admitted that this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a form of Psychological treatment, but no-one wants to tell us what we are being treated for - what condition we have, either in DSM V or ICD 10 that this is the approved treatment for. Which is something very relevant.

When I was in a Mental Institution, many years ago as a child, I was told by the Doctors that they could only treat "disgnosable" conditions. These were specified, at the time, in ICD 6, and later in ICD 9. I was diagnosed at age 11 as having "sub-threshold Multiple Personality Disorder" - what is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder, and since it was sub-threshold they couldn't treat it but could help me, with counselling, to manage it.

This management worked really well, I know that I have three distinct personalities, but there is congruence between them and I have memory of all three. In other words, my "personalities" can change to reflect my state of mind, but the underlying "me" is always in control. And yes, the underlying "me" is Fenrir, and all of the personalities identify themselves externally as Fenrir, even if we argue like cat and dog in my head!

So, as a result, I have a really good understanding of both "inappropriate" thoughts, and psychological treatment. In fact, once of my Identities wanted to study psychology when I was younger! The other always wanted to be a lawyer, but that's a different story.

And now, despite knowing that there is an emergent fourth identity - the one which I can't remember, I'm being denied the opportunity to try to reconcile this identity into myself, because I'm being forced to undergo this pointless programme. I think it's doing more harm than good, but if I say that I risk a return to prison, and no Psychology input for at least another 2 years.

I wonder if I should go and see my doctor, and get a psychiatric referral preventing me from continuing SOGP due to the mental damage it is doing me? That won't look good on Probation's part!

Monday, 8 February 2010

And so it begins

Last Friday, I started my SOGP course.

There are 9 guys who range from "sexual activity with a relative" to "distributing indecent images", all of whom come from around the county. The youngest is in his twenties, the oldest in his sixties.

And we have 2 female facilitators...

This is something that never ceases to amaze me - why are all the facilitators female? In prison they were female, on Probation they are female. Do they think that women taking an interest in my sexual behaviour will make it more difficult for me to justify it?

Anyway, we were introduced to concepts like "inappropriate sexual thinking" - who defines what is inappropriate for me to think about? And the Finkelhor model is used to show how how the offender has Cognitive Distortions. But there's no consideration for the fact that the facilitators also have Cognitive Distortions. Yes, that's the same "Finklehor" model that's been discredited by Bruce Rind et al. I suppose that explains why this programme is no longer accredited.

Not only that, we were shown that the programme is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Yes, that's the same CBT that should be an approved, accredited programme run by or under the direct supervision of a qualified psychologist. Which neither of your facilitators are - I asked them. And there isn't a Chartered Psychologist supervising the county programmes either. Hmmm...

Today, having been shown the Finklehor model, we were asked to fit our offending into it. And I can't. The reason I can't is because I don't recall my offending. This is, apparently, a Cognitive Distortion that is well known to practitioners in Forensic Psychology. But it doesn't change that I can't explain what I can't remember! But, apparently, lack of memory is grounds to breach someone, and recall them to prison.

Hmmm, not according to my solicitor, it isn't! And since this loss of memory is precipitated by the prescription drugs I was on at the time, as supported by a Forensic Psychiatrist, I fail to see how the unqualified facilitators can press the point.

The best thing is, they seem to think that, because I was caught offending once, I have been offending continuously since I was 13, and probably a lot more seriously than what I was tried for. But what I did only became offences in 2003, so I couldn't have been offending before then, no matter how much they might not like what I was doing!

So I might well decide to pull out of this discredited, and, frankly, worthless course. Because I know what I need to do to ensure I don't re-offend, and I've been doing it for the last 5 months since release, without any support or distraction from Northants MAPPA or Probation, who are currently a chocolate fire-guard!

In fact, the most useful thing the Authorities could do is let me get a job, one of the main 7 pathways to resettlement. But no, they won't even let me pull pints in the Earl of Dalkeith - how many under 16 girls am I likely to meet working behind a bar, I ask you?