“Come In and Talk for a While” – Bringing Minor-Attracted Persons in From the Waiting Room
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Contemplating the sexual harm of children is difficult, and there is little understanding about those who admit to having a sexual attraction to children, also known as pedophilia. Working with individuals who self-identify as attracted to children can create great difficulty for counsellors as they must work against society’s stigmatizing and dehumanizing attributions of minor-attracted persons. Many in society have difficulty recognizing that there are those who are attracted to minors, and who make the conscious decision not to act on their fantasies or impulses in any way. Providing an ecology of understanding and compassion within the counselling field can be a difficult task for some. The implications related to identifying as a pedophile are vast, and the potential for many helpers and professionals to react with judgment instead of compassion and/or empathy as a first response is a real possibility. Counsellors must be invited to examine their own responsibility in providing services to those who label themselves as ‘minor-attracted’, along with the concomitant prevailing beliefs and attitudes perpetuated by society about such individuals. This thesis suggests that this is not an impossible task, and provides a forum to engage in crucial and difficult conversations with the hopeful result of allowing minor-attracted people in from the waiting room.