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Scientific Lectures //

Treating Features of “Psychopathy” in Juveniles

Michael Caldwell, PsyD - Senior Staff Psychologist, Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center and Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

Presented: July 11, 2012

ABSTRACT: Although psychopaths have rightly been the focus of intense study and discussion, our understanding of the phenomena is still in its infancy.  There is not a consensus on what constitutes the "core" features of psychopathy or how those features develop.  There is more agreement about the functional manifestations of psychopathy, but effective treatment of those functional manifestations has been elusive.  Some researchers believe that psychopathic characteristics are inborn and immutable, that psychopaths are untreatable, and that treatment may only make them worse.  This seminar will present the results of an innovative program designed to treat the most aggressive and disruptive juvenile delinquents in the State of Wisconsin.  The results of several studies that have shown a treatment - related reduction in violence in youth with psychopathic features, and a reduction in the characteristics associated with psychopathy.  The program focuses on the functional characteristics of psychopathy in youth, as opposed to direct treatment of callousness or other possible "core" features.  The seminar will discuss the basic principles of the program, along with several of the outcomes studies that have been conducted.

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