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10 J. Offender Therapy 1 (1966)

handle is hein.journals/ijotcc10 and id is 1 raw text is: 






Psychotherapy with Reactive
and   Chronic   Delinquents

                        S. W.  ENGEL,   M.D.



T HE following case reports illustrate the treatment of
     delinquency  which   arose  as a reaction to  certain traumatic
experiences,  and was  treated  relatively easily and satisfactorily.
Chronic or more deep-seated cases that have responded to
treatment  are also  reported. The  basis and  orientation  for treat-
ment   is then elaborated.

CASE  No.  I: TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE CAUSING A SUDDEN DELIN-
   QUENT  REACTION.
   A very devout man disapproved of his twenty-year old son's fiancee be-
cause of her religion, and in a fit of rage, threw him out of the house. When
after some days the father asked him to return, he refused and three months
later he committed a burglary, his first offense. He spent three weeks in custody,
where he had some therapy. He was persuaded to go home and to adopt a more
compliant attitude. Eventually the father agreed to the marriage. Therapy was
successful in stopping a likely delinquent development.
  Such cases are frequent. Usually it starts with a quarrel with the father or
employer. The boy runs away, then gets into bad company and ends up by
committing a crime; or alternately, he commits an offense immediately either
in a panic or as an expression of defiance. Such cases are among the most
promising therapeutically. Without treatment they would persist in delin-
quency, but with therapy they can be led back to an orderly, normal social life.

CASE  No.  2: INTERMITTENT DELINQUENT REACTIONS.
  A man  of 4, had started at the age of 36 to commit acts of dishonesty at ir-
regular intervals. Investigation revealed that E.'s wife had been unfaithful.
There were frequent quarrels and E. started to drink. He committed his first
offense under the influence of drink. When he was in prison, his wife had a
child by her lover, but it did not live long. E.'s jealousy continued to smoulder,
though the love affair had ended. E. was inarticulate and never talked any-
thing over with his wife. Occasionally he quarrelled with her and then stole.
Though  his wife had completely returned to him, he could not get over his
resentment, which he then transferred to the world around him. Therapy suc-
ceeded in mitigating his hostility and E. is not likely to commit further offenses,
but his treatment still continues.
  This case is typical. Similar intermittent reactions can arise from con-
flicts between married couples, parents and children, or other relations, partic-
ularly in the case of reserved personalities. If they have a primitive mentality
                                  I

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