Phil Rich Presents The Evolution of Practice in the Treatment of Youth Who Engage in Sexually Harmful Behavior

We have seen clear shifts in our thinking about young people who engage in sexually harmful behavior, as well as the nature of the treatment we provide for juvenile sexually abusive behavior. This model is substantially different in many respects than the assessment and treatment models that first guided treatment, and is most recently reflected in ATSA’s 2017 adolescent practice guidelines. We’ve seen a re-alignment of the ideas and beliefs that drive assessment, treatment, and case management, and the way we think about the young people with whom we work. We’ve not only seen clear and distinct shifts away from the model of adult treatment, but have recognized that many of the most important aspects of assessment and treatment involve our awareness of and sensitivity to the developmental and contextual issues that surround juvenile sexually abusive behavior. Assessment and treatment have become far more nuanced than was formerly the case, recognizing the complexity and wholeness of our clients and their behavior, and the factors, many of which lie in the social environment rather than “within” the child or adolescent, that contribute to, trigger, and maintain or reinforce behavioral problems, including sexually abusive behavior.

Learning Objectives

Identify the underlying constructs of the contemporary model of treatment for sexually abusive youth.


Identify the central role and importance of therapeutic relationships in a contemporary practice model.


Describe the shift in thinking and beliefs that this contemporary model embodies.


Identify the importance of treatment for a broad range of issues, and describe the emphasis on social skill development and the development of social competence.



About the Presenter
Phil Rich

Phil Rich trains and consults nationally and internationally, specializing in work with sexually abusive youth. Phil holds a doctorate in applied behavioral and organizational studies and a master’s degree in social work, and has been a licensed independent clinical social worker for over 37 years.  

He was the Clinical Director of the Stetson School for 13 years, a large residential treatment program in Massachusetts for children, adolescents, and young adults who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior, and has been the Program or Clinical Director of six residential or day treatment programs. Phil is the author of four books that address work with sexually abusive youth, as well as multiple contributed chapters and articles, and a series of inter-related workbooks for youth in treatment for sexually problematic behavior, now in their second edition, and is the former chair of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers’ Juvenile Practice Committee.

Publications by Phil Rich:

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