|Categories:||Psychology Forensic science Mental health|
Suicidal risk in patients exhibiting tendencies of self-harm can be as a result of a combination of factors. These factors include but not limited to mental disorder, adverse lifestyles, alcohol and drug abuse, negative family history, physical afflictions, and exposure to suicidal tendencies of family members and friends. Similar to John Does case, more than one of these factors are involved. As opposed to popular belief, no human being is immune to suicide. However, the presence of risk factors significantly increases one's likelihood of taking action on suicidal thoughts. Some of the most common risk factors in patients include mental disorders, history of self-harm, severe depression, personality disorder, alcohol and drug abuse, male gender, and anxiety. On the other hand, according to G. Jung, (2014), a persons personality is based on three dimensions, each represented by two opposites. That is, extroverted vs. introverted, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.
Although there is an overwhelming evidence of risk factors in Johns life, such as drug and alcohol abuse, negative family history and depression, a comprehensive analysis should be conducted as to the level of Johns suicide risk as other factors may be at play. To determine John Does personality type and suicide risk, the setting should preferably be very tranquil with minimal interruption. However, a close family relative or friend should be at hand when needed to provide John with a sense of protection. Although there is no definite way to inquire about suicide risks, the questioning should broach suicidal thoughts in the context of other questions about mood and behavior. General questions should first be asked and depending on Johns answers, the focus should be shifted to ones that are more direct. Issues to ask will include how he feels about his life. Is he having any feelings of hopelessness? Does he consider his life worth living? Has he made plans to end his life? Has he told anyone about his thoughts and/or ideas? How do these plans and thoughts get him to feel? Has he done anything in anticipation of his death such as putting his affairs in order or writing a will? Does he have any support (friends, family, and career)? These questions will give a general idea about his suicide risk. For example, lack of any support or religious inclinations will allude to the fact that he is at a very high risk of committing suicide (Berman & Silverman, 2013). Additionally, the answers to these questions will give a little insight into his personality type. However, additional questions will have to be posed to categorize his character definitively. For example, does he have a wide circle of acquaintances? What kind of job would he like? How does he make his decisions? How often does he reflect on his life and its place in the world (G. Jung, 2014)?
Initial Investigative Post Arrest Assessment
The motivation behind a person's criminal acts is crucial in determining both their mental state and their future risks of committing similar or other offenses. John Doe's case entails a sexual offense. In such scenarios, it is important to assess whether the defendant recognizes his actions as constituting an offense. If so, does he accept that he did indeed commit the offense. Some of the inquiries will include, do you know why you are here? Do you know that having or distributing sexual material of this nature is a criminal offense? Do you think you broke any law in viewing and/or distributing this content? How does this stuff make you feel? Does it have any impact on your life? How did you start viewing and/or distributing it? Does anyone else force you to see it? If you were to stop viewing such material, what do you think would happen in your life? Although not definitive, these questions will help give an idea about John's obsession with child pornography. They will also provide insight as to whether the absence of his motivational factors will rid him of the behavior or will only deter him for a short while before he develops other compulsions to resume with the vise. Consequently, it they will help know if the stated motivating factors fuel his inappropriate sexual preferences or his inappropriate sexual preferences drive his motivating factors ("Causes of Crime, 2016).
Differences between Law Enforcement Personnel And Forensic Mental Health Professionals
Forensics entails the use and application of empirical scientific methods and principles to the law. However, there exist different kinds of forensic professionals who deal with various scientific dimensions in informing law enforcement officials and the law in general (Steel, 2010). Law enforcement personnel would, in this case, concentrate on providing tangible evidence linking John Doe to the crime. This would involve collecting fingerprints, digital trails, and eyewitness testimonies that would directly link John to the sexual material. They aim to provide evidence that John had the physical capacity to commit the crime in question by either delegation or committing the crime himself. Additionally, they link the defendant to the place and time of the crime.
On the other hand, forensic mental health experts would concentrate on finding definite or substantial proof about Johns psychological state that would support the notion that he would indeed commit such a crime. This would entail collecting Johns behavioral and personality traits that can be linked with similar crimes owing to previous convictions or professional judgment. In essence, mental health forensic experts aim to provide evidence that the defendant had the right tools, cognitively, to commit the offence in question (Steel, 2010).
Personality Characteristics and Motivational Dynamics
Sexual offenders, particularly those relating to child abuse and pornography are motivated by personal experiences. Studies reveal that such offenders often have a personal history of abuse when they were children (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005). As such, they develop fixations with kids while in their adulthood in a bid to transfer their pain or superimpose it by abusing children or watching material that sexually objectifies children. John is an impeccable example as he was sexually abused while young and ended up developing unhealthy sexual habits in his adult life.
Additionally, most sexual offenders have antisocial behavior (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005). This behavior includes tendencies to remain unemployed, little social interaction with his/her peers, and abuse of drugs and alcohol. These actions often lead them to fixate on their victims sexually as a way to compensate for what they lack socially. Further, their lack of social interaction makes them seek avenues of releasing accumulated stress. They, therefore, become susceptible to unhealthy means of releasing stress such as indulging in risky sexual behavior, abusing drugs and alcohol, and engaging in illegal activities. John's case presents a good example as his unemployment status provided him with very little social interaction. Further, his abuse of alcohol and drugs served to isolate him further from the society and fuel his addiction to child pornography.
Child molesters and child pornography offenders often have inferiority complexes. Unlike other sexual offenders who seek to satisfy their urge to demonstrate their superiority over their victims, child pornography offenders choose to prey on weaker victims who they often view as their cognitive peers. They cannot, therefore, maintain relationships with their peers and instead choose to prey on children who are often weaker (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005). Furthermore, they might have had bad sexual experiences with their peers. As such, they seek avenues of trying to redeem themselves, which often leads them into child pornography. This is evidenced in Johns case as his first sexual experience when he was eighteen resulted in ridicule form the female companion. Consequently, he resorted to other avenues of redeeming himself sexually.
Post Conviction Treatment
John Doe should first undergo psychodynamic treatment while under incarceration for not less than two years. This will help address underlying issues of past sexual experiences that have shaped his current sexual preferences. In so doing, it will help him let go of the trauma experienced from past sexual and social interactions that he has subconsciously held on for so long. Moreover, making peace with these experiences will help him forgive and be open to making better memories. The end goal of these sessions will be to help John become aware and understand the influence of his past on present behavior.
Once this has been accomplished, he should embark on cognitive-behavioral treatment that will offer a support system and help him change his negative thinking. Moreover, this treatment will help him view situations clearly and take better action in the future. This treatment can stretch for the entire duration of his incarceration and after release. The measure will be the complete overhaul of his current mindset and the inception of desirable character and behavioral mindset.
Medicine will only be necessary during the first stages of psychodynamic treatment to treat depression and avert accumulation of any suicidal thoughts. Termination of medication will only be effected once John displays signs of overcoming depression predictably after psychodynamic treatment has been successfully concluded (Pilecki, Thoma, & McKay, 2015). Psychodynamic treatment will be carried out individually after which he may be introduced to group therapy for his cognitive-behavioral treatment.
Appropriate Psychological Tests
Personality tests such as the Rorschach test are vital in such cases to aid in the clinical diagnosis of mental afflictions. Cards with abstract ink dots or images are shown to the patient who then describes his/her feelings. Using such tests, psychopath tendencies can be identified before other more definitive tests are administered.
Neuropsychological tests help determine deficits in the cognitive abilities of an individual. They test ones ability to think, reason, and speak. They provide important insight into a defendant's intelligent quotient and help determine if he/she is consciously aware of committing the crime.
Additionally, specific clinical tests can be used to determine a defendants level of anxiety, depression, and health depending on the recommendations of the overseeing health professional. These tests are aimed at providing answers to specific health queries about a patient that other general tests cannot ascertain ("Psychological Testing | Psychological Assessment," 2016).
Berman, A. & Silverman, M. (2013). Suicide Risk Assessment and Risk Formulation Part II: Suicide Risk Formulation and the Determination of Levels of Risk. Suicide Life Threat Behav, 44(4), 432-443. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12067
Causes of Crime - Explaining Crime, Physical Abnormalities, Psychological Disorders, Social And Economic Factors, Broken Windows, Income And Education. (2016). Law.jrank.org. Retrieved 16 June 2016, from http://law.jrank.org/pages/12004/Causes-Crime.html
G. Jung, Carl. (2014). Personality Types. New York: Princeton University Press.
Hanson, R. & Morton-Bourgon, K. (2005). The Characteristics of Persistent Sexual Offenders: A Meta-Analysis of Recidivism Studies. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 73(6), 1154-1163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006x.73.6.1154
Pilecki, B., Thoma, N., & McKay, D. (2015). Cognitive Behavioral and Psychodynamic Therapies: Points of Intersection and Divergence. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(3), 463-490. http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/pdps.2015.43.3.463
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