Psychosexual evaluations (PSE) are used widely by courts, defense lawyers, and attorneys to offer a basis to gauge a person’s risk of repeating a sexual offense. A defense attorney may request a PSE, which is entirely confidential. Moreover, if there is a disclaimer such as child pornography, it is essential to have a PSE. Here is what PSE is and what you can expect.
What is Psychosexual Evaluation?
A psychosexual evaluation is a clinical process that assesses a person’s psychological or sexual functioning. It assesses a person’s sexual history, sexual interests, behavior, and attitudes to diagnose destructive or paraphilic interests. The psychosexual evaluation aims to identify individual treatment needs and propose an individualized plan based on the requirements.
A state-licensed mental health expert does the PSE. The evaluation is done during an office visit, and includes a clinical review and test sessions.
During the process, the therapist may contact a community service worker, family, investigating officer, or a treatment provider to better understand the client’s history.
Why are Psychosexual Evaluations Needed?
A psychosexual evaluation aims to determine if a person has a problem requiring sex-specific intervention. In addition, it helps the therapist determine the best course of treatment. Through a thorough sexual evaluation, a therapist can choose the best techniques for reducing deviant sexual arousal.
Here is a summary of why psychosexual evaluation is essential:
- Psychological testing helps identify deviancy in sex behavior
- PSE helps estimate threats to a community
- It allows the therapist to gauge if contact with minors is safe
- PSE clarifies diagnostic impressions
- Identifies specific elements in a person that therapy should target during treatment
- PSE offers treatment recommendations for sex offenders
- Psychosexual assessments assess risk factors and stratify risk for future reoffending
Of note, PSEs are an excellent tool for determining whether a person is likely to offend or if they need rehabilitation. A PSE is not exclusive to a court-related incident. These can be sought out and administered to detect any sort of paraphilic interest. Therefore, you must be honest during these sessions so that therapists can give their best recommendations.
What to Expect from Psychosexual Evaluation?
Psychosexual evaluations have four sections undertaken by state-accredited mental health professionals. These sections are typically completed in a day, but in some circumstances, they can spill to a second day.
In a standard facility, you will complete the process in a session from 8 am to 5 pm. However, there are breaks in between for taking tests. Below is a description of what happens in each step of the evaluation process.
A clinical interview will be an ice breaker between you and a mental health expert. It is a one-hour session where you will get to know one another before tests begin. During this session, one must talk about the allegation, if any. It is vital to be honest since this will form the basis of the therapist’s impression.
During a clinical interview, the evaluator will ask questions about your family, education level or background, sexual history, relationship status, mental health issues, and social issues, among other things.
The test includes a personality test inventory with 154 item objectives scored by a computer. The goal of the test is to identify a psychopathic disorder.
There is also a sexual inventory that thoroughly assesses an individual’s sexual development, history, and background. A sexual inventory is the longest, with about 560 items to complete
Lastly, an IQ test gauges the client’s intellectual ability. With an IQ test, the evaluator can judge if one can withstand the mental demands of subsequent treatment. It typically takes only 20 minutes to complete.
Physiological Assessment of Sexual Arousal
The aim of physiological testing is to enable the therapist to understand whether an allegation is due to outlier behaviors by understanding their sexual preferences. It is done by a pressurized device, a penile plethysmograph (PPG).
The PPG measures erectile function and blood pressure that changes in response to visual stimuli. In addition, it monitors breathing to ensure the client isn’t deliberately falsifying results.
Owing to the nature of a PPG and the visual stimuli used, this is the most challenging part of a psychosexual evaluation of an individual being tested. No attempt should be made to cheat since accurate results are vital for a proper impression and a treatment plan.
Risk assessment has two parts; sexual recidivism and general criminality. Their goal is to determine a person’s risk of repeating a sex offense. It enables the therapist to assign their clients’ risk profiles in case they are likely to repeat offenses in both sexual and general crimes.
It is an integral part of a sexual misconduct treatment program, especially if there are charges. A therapist’s testimony that their client is a low-risk-level offender may influence judgment. A low-risk offender may not receive as harsh a punishment.
Wherever PSE is done as part of preparing a defense case, it is confidential and given only to the clients and their attorneys. In addition, no spouse or government entity will be able to access the evaluation results unless they are used in court.
How Long Does A Psychosexual Evaluation Take?
Typically, a psychosexual evaluation should be completed in a day. However, in some circumstances, it may extend to a second day. It typically is scheduled for about six hours. However, this is not continuous as there are breaks in between tests.
A standard psychosexual evaluation should last from around 8 am to 5 pm, with breaks in between.
How Do I Prepare for Psychosexual Evaluation?
Before psychosexual evaluation, tell your attorney about your charged or uncharged conduct. In addition, prepare to spend the whole day in the evaluation facility. Of note, you must be prepared to share the most intimate facts about your thoughts or behavior. If you have a police report, make it available.
Be honest in whatever you say since psychosexual evaluations always pick up any deception. Moreover, be ready to undergo invasive tests that determine your body’s reaction to sexual stimuli. One invasive procedure is using a penile plethysmograph, a pressurized device that is used to test erectile response.
You don’t need to have charges pending against you to undergo a psychosexual evaluation, but it is important to correctly identify any deviant sexual behaviors and manage them before they become evident in sexual assaults.
Sex Crimes Attorney
When it comes to sex crimes, Mike G Law is uniquely prepared to aggressively defend your case. With twenty years of experience and history as a prosecuting attorney, Mike G understands what to anticipate and how best to protect your rights.
If you’ve been charged with a sex crime and want to better understand your rights regarding a psychosexual evaluation, schedule your FREE consultation with Mike G Law today.