Therapists’ Personal Experiences in Their Work with Clients Who Have Sexually Offended against Children: A Phenomenological Study

Maria Hardeberg Bach, Carolin Demuth

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The need for professionals working with people who have committed sexual offenses is increasingly recognized. Still, relatively little is known about the personal impact of work with this population. Most research in the field has aimed to determine treatment providers’ level of work-related stress and hence focused on negative aspects of experience. Moreover, most of these studies have been conducted with questionnaires and yielded mixed results. In order to learn more about individual, contextual and dynamic aspects of therapists’ personal experiences with these clients, we suggest to drawing from in-depth interview studies and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). In the present study, four therapists working in Norway were interviewed. Surprisingly, the participants described their work as rewarding, despite the challenges they encountered. In fact, they considered their work to be rewarding precisely because of its challenging nature. The implications of these results for clinical practice and future research will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)799-818
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Treatment providers
  • pedophilia
  • personal impact
  • secondary traumatization
  • sex offenders
  • stress
  • therapists

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