IamA Psychologist who works with criminal offenders, particularly sexual offenders. AMA!
My short bio: I am a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and I am a Licensed Psychologist. My experience and training is in the assessment and treatment of criminal populations, particularly sexual offenders. I have been working with this population for five years. I realize 'criminal offender' is a bit redundant, but I have found it useful to attempt to specify the term 'offender' when it is used to discuss a population.
I am here to answer your questions about psychology in general, and working with this population in particular. With that being said, I will not answer questions regarding diagnosing or providing a professional opinion about you, discussing a situation someone else is experiencing, or providing any type of professional opinion for individual cases or situations. Please do not take any statement I have made in this AMA to mean I have established a professional relationship with you in any manner.
My Proof: Submitted information to the moderators to verify my claims. I imagine a verified tag should be on this post shortly. Given the nature of the population I serve, I found it pertinent not to share information which could potentially identify where I work, with whom I work, or would lead to my identity itself.
Edit 1: I know someone (and maybe others) are getting downvoted for chiming in on their professional views and/or experiences during this AMA. I welcome this type of information and feedback! Psychology is a collaborative field, and I appreciate that another person took some time out to discuss their thoughts on related questions. Psychology is still evolving, so there are going to be disagreements or alternative views. That is healthy for the field. My thoughts and experiences should not be taken as sole fact. It is useful to see the differences in opinion/views, and I hope that if they are not inappropriate they are not downvoted to oblivion.
Edit 2: I have been answering questions for a little over two straight hours now. Right now, I have about 200 questions/replies in my inbox. I have one question I am going to come back and answer later today which involves why people go on to engage in criminal behavior. I need to take a break, and I will come back to answer more questions in a few hours. I do plan on answering questions throughout the weekend. I will answer them in terms of how upvoted they are, coupled with any I find which are interesting as I am browsing through the questions. So I'll let some of the non-responded questions have a chance to sort themselves out in terms of interest before I return. Thank you all for your questions and interests in this area!
Edit 3: I am back and responded to the question I said I would respond. I will now be working from a phone, so my response time will slow down and I will be as concise as possible to answer questions. If something is lengthier, I'll tag it for myself to respond in more detail later once I have access to a keyboard again.
Edit 4: Life beckons, so I will be breaking for awhile again. I should be on a computer later today to answer in some more depth. I will also be back tomorrow to keep following up. What is clear is there is no way I'll be able to respond to all questions. I will do my best to answer as many top rated ones I can. Thanks everyone!
Edit 5: I'm back to answer more questions. In taking a peek at the absolute deluge of replies I have gotten, there are two main questions I haven't answered which involve education to work in psychology, and the impact the work has on me personally. I will try and find the highest rated question I haven't responded to yet to answer both. Its also very apparent (as I figured it may) that the discussion on pedophilia is very controversial and provoking a lot of discussion. That's great! I am going to amend the response to include the second part of the question I originally failed to answer (as pointed out by a very downrated redditor, which is why this may not be showing) AND provide a few links in the edit to some more information on Pedophilic Disorder and its treatment.
Edit 6: I've been working at answering different questions for about two hours straight again. I feel at this point I have responded to most of the higher rated questions for the initial post that were asked. Tomorrow I'll look to see if any questions to this post have been further upvoted. I understand that the majority of the post questions were not answered; I'm sorry, the response to this topic was very large. Tomorrow I will spend some time looking at different comment replies/questions that were raised and answer some of the more upvoted ones. I will also see if there are any remaining post questions (not necessarily highly upvoted) that I find interesting that I'd like to answer. I'd like to comment that I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to talk about what I do, answer what is a clear interest by the public about this line of work, and use this opportunity to offer some education on a highly marginalized population. The vast majority of you have been very supportive and appropriate about a very controversial and emotion provoking area. Thank you everyone and good night!
Edit 7: Back on a phone for now. I have over 600 messages in my inbox. I am going to respond to some questions, but it looks like nothing got major upvoted for new questions. I will be on and off today to respond to some replies and questions. I will give a final edit to let folks I am done with most of the AMA. I will also include links to some various organizations folks may have interest in. I will respond to some of the backlog throughout the week as well, but I have a 50+ hour work week coming up, so no promises. Have a nice day everyone!
Edit 8: This is probably my final edit. I have responded to more questions, and will probably only pop in to answer a few more later today. Some organizations others may want to look into if interested in psychology include the Association for Psychological Science, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and if you are ever feeling at risk for harming yourself the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Thank you all again for your interest!