Although the claims are preliminary, the first results of his research on patients involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment (TBS patients) are promising.
David Bernstein, professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, may have found a treatment for even the worst cases of psychopathy: schema therapy. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is a good example of a psychopath: a person with no conscience who does not regret the pain he inflicts on others.
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Many forensic psychologists believe their behaviour cannot be changed, and that psychopathic disorders are genetically determined, thus rendering treatment pointless.
‘You can’t turn a cat into a mouse’, said the renowned psychopathy researcher Robert Hare.
This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they can’t be treated, why bother in the first place? “Psychopaths are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.
Consider the damage they cause; the devastation, the psychological and physical violence.
What makes this method unique is that it focuses not on unchangeable character traits, but on the patient’s emotional state.
It uses a package of special treatment techniques, ‘limited reparenting’ being the most important of these.“With psychopaths, there’s no such thing as a ‘cure’.You can never guarantee they won’t commit another crime”, says Bernstein. You can compare it to cancer: you try to keep someone cancer-free for as long as possible, but that doesn’t mean the risk is gone.He can also appreciate the scepticism with which this treatment method is viewed.“It’s good to be sceptical; in fact, we should be sceptical.People are right to be concerned about how dangerous these people are.