Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Mental Health Counseling

Language

English

First Advisor

Cynthia Calkins

Second Reader

Elizabeth Jeglic

Third Advisor

Diana Falkenbach

Abstract

There is limited research examining the processes utilized when making diagnoses in sexual offender civil commitment (SVP) evaluations. The purpose of this research was to examine mental health professionals’ (MHPs) opinions towards, and use of, paraphilic diagnoses in SVP evaluations. In particular, other-specified (OS) paraphilic diagnoses of hebephilia and nonconsent were examined. Results indicate a lack of understanding among MHPs regarding how to recognize and apply OS paraphilic diagnoses. Findings also provide insight into how and why MHPs choose to diagnose OS paraphilias, demonstrating a high level of reliance on documentation. Results indicate the existence of an adversarial allegiance among MHPs diagnosing paraphilias in SVP evaluations. These findings advance our understanding of how OS paraphilias are understood by MHPs and provide insight into the diagnostic processes utilized in SVP evaluations. Policy implications and suggestions for future research are explored.

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