Few articles have been written about counseling approaches outside of sex offender treatment programs.
Alex Van Naerssen and Gertjan van Zessen at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands provide counseling that has two main purposes:
- to help the client make sense of his sexual feelings, behavior, and emotional attachments in order to develop a positive self-concept and stable sexual identity
- to help the client learn to develop emotional commitment and cope with problems concerning relationships with boys.
The approaches they use to meet these goals include cognitive therapy, group counseling, the formation of social support systems, and discussion of affirmative models of relationships with boys.53
Danish sociologist Agner Fog writes that paraphiliacs often suffer from the "isolated minority syndrome," characterized by isolation from others with similar feelings. As a result, they lack models of how to deal with their sexual feelings, and try to suppress them. This can lead to poor mental health, substance abuse, criminal behavior, and inflexible or uncontrolled sexual behavior. Thus, Fog promotes group therapy or self-help organizations in which members serve as role models for each other and help each other live satisfying lives. 54
Similarly, therapist Frans Gieles with the Dutch Association for Sexual Reform criticizes traditional sex offender treatment on ethical and therapeutic grounds. For minor-attracted adults who are able to communicate with others and control themselves, he recommends support groups of peers as well as normal adults. Goals are to help members become conscious of their inner feelings and accept them as a part of themselves, to develop an ethical code, and to find ways of socializing their desires.
Gieles writes that almost all group members remain celibate. Not all of his clients had offended in the first place, but among those who had, the re-offense rate was 6%. He writes that his approach is more humane and less expensive than sex offender treatment.55
As with other methods, none of these counseling programs have been subjected to careful scientific study, so their effectiveness is not proven.