After several years of Therapists mentioning the need for a service for those people struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts, beliefs, and fantasies. Or even more worrying that there was no service for those who had acted on those thoughts, feelings and fantasies, to the detriment of their victims.
One very brave and forward-thinking woman Ruth Hallam Jones who at the time was supervising a number of trained Psychosexual Therapists arranged a group meeting to discuss ways in which our discussions might come to life.
Ruth’s original idea came when she was approached from a clergyman who was looking at illegal images of children and had been arrested and was looking for help.
Ruth in her role as a therapist decided that she would see him as a client and the story that unfolded was that he had also been abused as a child and hadn’t told anyone.
At the end of therapy, he wanted to give something back and offered to pay for 2 more people who were in the same position as him but who could not afford to pay for therapy.
At first Ruth admitted that she felt guilty helping someone who had hurt others and done something bad but soon realised that it was the right thing to do if we wanted to make change, and all the changes that were made was to prevent child abuse.
As a result, in 2011 the initial meeting took place and STOPSO was registered as a not-for-profit organisation in 2012.
We also discussed the lack of provision of training for therapists who were keen to work in this area but didn’t feel they had the necessary skills to do it.
At this point we had a discussion with a colleague, Dr Glyn Hudson-Allez, who had developed a specific training day known as “Crossing the Line”. This training focused on working with those individuals who feel they were addicted to watching porn but then had escalated to watching children being abused, bestiality and other illegal sexual images and videos.
Glyn was extremely kind and offered to train the 3 main therapists involved in taking STOPSO forward in “Training the Trainers- Crossing the line” From this we were then able to offer this training to other therapists who were interested in becoming members of the organisation and in working with this client group.
Training then progressed and Dr Andrew Smith Joined our training team and developed the “Certificate in working with sex offenders or those at risk of offending”.
We now have over 100 therapists who are qualified and skilled to work with this client group.
The organisation is now a registered charity and has a varied training programme to keep up to date with latest trends to offer best practice to the clients that self-refer to the organisation.
Since its inception STOPSO therapists have worked with hundreds of individuals and as a result, have prevented potential or further abuse of children.
As they say the rest is history!