Research into treatment services for offenders has consistently indicated that they are more effective when the Risk, Need and Responsivity principles are carefully implemented (Andrews & Bonta, 2003). Accordingly the SVP Treatment Program seeks to follow these principles. The Risk Principle requires concentrating more intense treatment on higher risk offenders. This principle is easy for the SVP program to follow since individuals deemed to be low risk would not be committed under Chapter 980. The Need Principle requires that treatment be focused on social and psychological factors that predisposed to offending. The SVP program combines an idiographic identification of these factors through the treatment process with using the Structured Risk Assessment framework (Thornton, 2002; Knight & Thornton, 2007) to assess empirically identified psychological risk factors (Mann et al, 2010). The Responsivity Principle requires using treatment methods to which offenders are generally responsive and tailoring treatment to the learning style of the individual. The SVP program seeks to tailor treatment to the learning style of the individual through the use of treatment tracks and individualization within track based on detailed assessment. In seeking effective methods it employs cognitive behavioral methods, trains and supervises treatment providers to develop an effective therapist style, and makes extensive use of Motivational Interviewing.
The SVP Treatment Program employs a three phase model to structure the program. Phase 1 programming works with patients in meaningfully engaging in the SVP treatment program. It focuses on assisting patients in building the attitudes, skills and motivation that are necessary for effective treatment participation. Phase 1 is particularly attentive to assisting patients learn to better regulate their impulses and emotions, and more generally in assisting them with personality disorder related issues.
Phase 2 programming works with patients to develop a shared understanding of their specific treatment needs, including an understanding of the factors that contributed to their past offending. During this phase patients work on seeing in a more objective way how these factors have affected them in the past and how they continue to affect them now. Achieving this requires attending specifically to the thoughts, attitudes, emotions, behaviors, and sexual arousal linked to their sexual offending and learning to recognize when these thoughts, emotions, behaviors, or sexual arousal occur. As patients become aware of the impact of these factors therapists assist them in discovering and developing the determined motivation required to overcome these problems. Phase 3 programming works with patients to assist them in effectively managing their personal risk factors and developing healthier ways of functioning in order to transition to the community. Within each of these defined phases patients advance if and when they demonstrate satisfactory progress in the earlier phases.
The SVP population is quite diverse, varying greatly in the degree to which psychopathic traits are present and in level of cognitive functioning. This diversity can make it challenging to deliver effective treatment services. The SVP treatment program seeks to respond to these challenges in several ways. First, treatment always begins with a very comprehensive assessment. Second, treatment services are divided into four tracks, according to degree of cognitive functioning and level of psychopathic traits. Third, within each track, treatment services are further individualized based on the patient's neuropsychological profile.
The SVP treatment program at SRSTC currently consists of four primary treatment tracks: (1) the Conventional Program; (2) the Corrective Thinking Program; (3) the Choices and Opportunities for Meaningful Personal Achievement in a Supportive Setting Program (COMPASS); and (4) the Achieving the Capability to Thrive Program.