Yochelson and Samenow

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  • Yochelson and Samenow
    • Aims:
      • To understand the MAKE-UP of the criminal personality. To establish TECHNIQUES that could be used to alter the personality disorders that produce crime. To encourage an UNDERSTANDING of legal RESPONSIBILITY. To establish techniques that can be effective in PREVENTING criminal behaviour.
    • Participants:
      • 255 MALES from various backgrounds (black, white, inner city inhabitants, suburbs, wealthy, poor e.t.c). No control group.
      • Population of studied OFFENDERS composed of those who were CONFINED to HOSPITAL, who had been found GUILTY, but because of their INSANITY were considered more suited to INDEFINITE SECURE treatment.
      • Roughly an equal number of CONVICTED CRIMINALS that were NOT confined to the institution and had not made that plea. If found NOT guilty, sent to secure mental hospital instead of prison.
    • Methodology:
      • Series of INTERVIEWS conducted with participants over a period of several YEARS.
    • Findings:
      • Criminals are: RESTLESS, DISSATISFIED and IRRITABLE. While at school, considered requests from teachers+parents as IMPOSITIONS. Set themselves APART from others.
        • Want life of EXCITEMENT at any cost. Habitually ANGRY as a WAY of life. LACKING EMPATHY. Feel no obligation to anyone/anything. Poor at responsible DECISION-making.
          • Out of 255 participants, most dropped out. 30 completed programme of interviews, only 9 CHANGED as a result by standards established at start.
            • FREUDIAN-based therapy, attempted to find ROOT CAUSE of criminality in past lives. Criminals then expected to IMPROVE behaviour by STOPPING lying, drug + alcohol abuse + theft of hospital supplies.
              • Acknowledged patients LIED + gave SOCIALLY DESIRABLE answers so changed emphasis to examining THINKING PROCESS.
                • Errors found part of modern-day DIAGNOSIS of antisocial personality disorder.
    • Conclusion:
      • 52 thinking patterns distinguishable. Considered ERRORS in thinking. NOT unique to criminals, but displayed MORE.
        • No control group so not certain about this as non-criminals may be just as likely to display errors.
          • Lack of control group as research evolved from clinical practice with group of patients.


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