Compassionate and Informed Approaches for Supporting Minor-Attracted People

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Baltimore, MD

Emerging research confirms that minor-attracted people (MAPs), both adolescents and adults, often experience high levels of stigma, shame, feelings of loneliness and alienation, suicidal tendencies, and other issues that can make it more difficult to live productive and fulfilling lives. Professionals in mental health, sexuality, and related fields are beginning to develop ways to address these issues, including holistic approaches that take into account each individual MAP’s life experiences. What are these approaches? What are their assumptions and goals? Are they effective? A critical approach to evaluating both traditional and innovative professional responses to MAPs is needed.

This one-day workshop gave therapists, researchers, educators, students, MAPs, and their family members and friends the opportunity to explore such questions by examining findings from research and hearing about the experiences of both MAPs and professionals who work with them. Participants gained an understanding of the experiences, perspectives, and diverse needs of MAPs, discussed criteria for evaluating professional approaches to them, and learned about and evaluated specific approaches (both traditional and innovative) in light of these criteria.


Using Narrative Therapy with Clients who are Attracted to Minors

This workshop demonstrated the use of narrative principles and practices in conversations about sex and sexuality. Because of its non-judgmental and collaborative therapeutic approach, narrative therapy is perfectly positioned to engage individuals in conversations that deconstruct several sociocultural factors that influence their sexual experiences. This session specifically focused on most effective ways to engage minor-attracted persons in therapeutic conversations from a postmodern and narrative lens. In the context of sex therapy, the narrative practitioner views their clients as multi-storied, rather than single-storied. Because of social stigma, minor-attracted persons are susceptible to developing problem-saturated single-stories, which can often lead to a living experience that is incongruent with preferred ways of existing. This presentation demonstrated the ways in which single stories can be challenged, re-authored, and expanded. It emphasized the importance of reinvention and transformation in a therapeutic context.

Presenter: Mauricio P. Yabar, LCSW, M.Ed., CST is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and a narrative therapist experienced in working with individuals experiencing minor-attraction. He has taught courses in human sexuality and clinical theory and practice at the University of Denver, and is a clinical supervisor and mentor to social work and counseling students as well as licensure candidates. Mauricio is currently mentored by David Epston, co-founder of narrative therapy, and has trained with many other pioneers in the fields of narrative therapy and sex therapy.

Examining the Implications of Using Compassion-Focused Therapy for Improving Psychological Well-Being for Minor Attracted Persons

This presentation introduced the concepts underlying compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and summarized the therapeutic benefits of CFT identified in current research. The benefits of CFT were also examined within the context of the therapeutic needs of minor attracted persons. Resources for expanding knowledge and practice of CFT were provided.

Presenter: Theresa M. Robertson, Ph.D., LCPC is a private practice therapist, adjunct faculty member, clinical researcher, and criminal justice reform activist. Her education includes advanced training with Dr. Paul Gilbert, the developer of Compassion Focused Training and the director of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, UK, as well as ongoing weekly consultation with Dr. Dennis Tirch, the director of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, US.

Social workers and psychologists who attended received 5.5 CEUs.