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What To Say To a Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB)

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What Caregivers Can Say

(to speed up the treatment process for problematic sexual behavior)

By Sheryl Overby, MS NCC LIMHP Woodhaven Counseling 402-592-0328

When children or teens start treatment for having problems with their sexual behavior,

it can be really scary and confusing.

If they have feel supported by their caregivers and have permission to be open,

they are more likely to get through treatment faster  and have a better chance of a successful life.


Here are some examples what other caregivers have said;

pick one or two that fits for you.

  1. I’m so glad you told me now, I want to help you and I’m really sad that you had to go through all of this alone.

  2. This is a really big problem, and I don’t know what to do, but I will find someone who knows how to help us

  3. I will support you as you go through the process of getting healthy ideas about sex.

  4. I imagine it would be really hard to tell me the truth about your touching problem, that is OK, I am not sure I am ready to hear about it right now.  So, we can both get help to solve this problem.

  5. I will do whatever it takes to learn how to help you so you don’t have this problem again.

  6. It’s Ok if you haven’t told me everything, remember, if your story changes later, and you are able to tell more details, you will be so brave and strong.

  7. I’m sure that there are lots of reasons why this happened; we will figure all of that out later.  But for now, remember you are the one who has the problem with sexual behavior and that has to get fixed.

  8. I know you might not have told me everything about your sexual behavior, either way;  I am committed to helping you, no matter what else comes out.

  9. Even if you think you had a really good reason to do this; you were wrong, breaking a sexual behavior rule causes harm, it is bad for the other person and it is bad for you.

  10. It is OK to resist admitting to everything now about what has happened; but you still have to talk to these people that can help you.

  11. Even if the problem behavior with _____ didn’t happen exactly the way he/she says it did, we still need to be here in treatment to talk about things.

  12. I want you to be honest with me, even if it makes me sad/mad/upset, etc., we will work through it all together.

  13. No matter how bad it is – it can be fixed.

  14. You still deserve to have privacy with your thoughts, but there are some things that you need to share so we (your therapist and I) can help you.  After you tell your therapist EVERYTHING about the sexual behavior, the two of you can decide which parts I need to know about.

  15. It will be OK if you tell me that there is more to the story than we first thought.  When you realize you are safe, you can say it out loud. I might be upset, but I will still love you and I promise to try to help you.

  16. Just because you did something wrong, like having illegal sexual behavior, it doesn’t mean all the good things about you are not true.

  17. Just because you have lots of good qualities about you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a mistake, or that the harmful sexual behavior is not true.

  18. I am not proud of the mistake you made, but I believe you have the ability to work hard and fix your mistake, and that starts by talking to your therapist about whatever happened.  You have already started the process by walking into the building today.

  19. If I am to responsible for contributing to this problem in any way, I want to figure out if there was anything I should have done differently  and change things in our family.