Vol. 6, No. 3, 2000 Page 6

Hare: does psychotherapy do psychopaths more harm than good?

One good reason for studying biological anomalies in psychopathic offenders is that psychotherapeutic approaches rarely are successful in treating these criminals. In fact, Robert Hare, an expert on psychopathic behavior, argues that current sociological and psychological interventions may be worse than useless.

In a recent presentation to the American Neuropsychiatric Association, Hare noted that treatment seems to increase, rather than decrease, the rate of recidivism among criminal psychopaths. Among the research he cited:

Hare speculates that psychotherapy simply helps a psychopath learn more about how other people think, and thus "improves his ability to con."


"Treatment for psychopaths is likely to make them worse," Carl Sherman, Clinical Psychiatry News, Vol. 28, No. 5, May 2000, p. 38.

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