The Purpose of Psychosexual Evaluations
Psychosexual evaluations are designed to determine:
- The risk of the individual repeating the behavior.
- Interventions that will be most effective.
- Specific risk factors.
- One's willingness to comply with treatment recommendations and interventions.
- Identifying factors that may prevent engagement in treatment and interventions.
- Identifying strengths and protective factors that are preventatives.
Psychosexual evaluations do not:
- Determine guilt or innocence
- Identify whether an individual is or is not a “sex offender”
- Conclude whether an adult or juvenile meets the “profile” of a sex offender
Mental health professionals are frequently called upon to conduct specialized clinical assessments of adult and juvenile sex offenders, oftentimes, but not always, at an early point in the management process. Because these evaluators are responsible for illuminating some of the complex and unique dynamics involved with sexual behavioral problems, the practitioners who conduct Psychosexual Evaluations must have specialized training and experience in the field.
What to Expect
The Evaluation Process
Psychosexual Evaluations are different from Psychological Evaluations. A Psychosexual Evaluation helps to determine potential psychological and sexual problems as well as to provide additional information to help with the treatment process. The evaluation process will take at least three hours. Texas PCS will provide a quiet environment for the process. Getting a good's night rest as well as an adequate meal, will help one to remain focused during this process.
During the sentencing or disposition phase of the court process, psychosexual evaluations (sometimes referred to as sex offender–specific evaluations) are often requested. Generally speaking, psychosexual evaluations are designed to identify the following:
- Level of risk for sexual and non–sexual recidivism;
- Recommended types and intensity of interventions that will be most beneficial, including level of care (e.g., community versus more secure placement);
- The specific dynamic risk factors or criminogenic needs to be targeted through interventions;
- Amenability to interventions;
- Responsivity factors that may impact engagement in and response to interventions; and
- Strengths and protective factors relative to the individual, as well as those that exist within family, peer, and other community support systems.
Conversely, Psychosexual Evaluations should never be used for any of the following purposes:
- Determining guilt or innocence (which is well outside of the scope and boundaries of the mental health professional’s role);
- Identifying whether an individual is or is not a “sex offender” (which is not an appropriate referral question, because no specific type of assessment or set of assessment tools is designed for making this determination); or
- Concluding whether an adult or juvenile meets the “profile” of a sex offender (which does not exist; research consistently demonstrates the diversity of adults and juveniles who have committed sex offenses).