Inside the mind of a psychopath

Dean Aufderheide, Ph.D., M.A., Director of Mental Health Services with DC made a very enlightening presentation on psychopaths at ACA. The full read is at CorrectionsOne. Here are the highlights:

Broadly defined as interspecies predators, psychopaths often use charm, manipulation, imitation and violence to control others and satisfy their own selfish needs, said Dean Aufderheide, Ph.D., M.A., Director of Mental Health Services with the Florida Department of Corrections.

But what makes them so dangerous is that any attempt at treatment will make them more likely to commit crimes and develop better manipulation and deceptions then if they were never treated at all, Aufderheide told a session at The American Correctional Association convention in Kissimmee, Fla.

In general, the characteristics of a psychopath are:
• Lack of conscience or empathy
• Average or above in intelligence
• Grandiose/superficial charm
• General disregard for rights of others
• Extreme sensation seeking behaviors

There are three sub types of psychopathic profiles inmates can fall under, the session was told:

Primary: Controlled and deliberate; aimed at power and control; dominant; show little emotions or feeling.

Secondary: Impulsive and angry; lack of conscience as a result of psychosocial factors such as parental abuse; capable of some empathy; shame and resentment.

Dyssocial: Learned behavior based on affiliation and environmental circumstances. Often seen amongst gang members, those in a cult, or within terrorist organizations.

He said about the rates of psychopaths is 6 to 10 percent for pedophiles, 35 percent for rapists, and 64 percent for those who sexually aggressive against both children and adults.

While there is no treatment, the best solution to dealing with this type of inmate is to identify they as a psychopath early on and contain them so they do minimal harm to staff and other inmates, Aufderheide said.

They are twice as likely as other offenders to be sent back to prison upon release, and three times more prone to violent recidivism. Not only that, but they are four times more likely to commit a violent offense after treatment release from an intensive treatment community.

 

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