Seeking help to support change


Many people struggle with various harmful sexual thoughts and fantasies. For many, sexual interest in children is a serious problem, which can be demanding to battle alone. If you feel this self-help programme and the related exercises do not offer you enough support to control your behaviour or if you suspect you will not be able to regulate your actions, this section will offer you instructions on how to get further support and help.

 Seeking support and help

Sexual interest in children narrows and reduces opportunities to express one's sexuality. Paedophile orientation often impairs the quality of human relationships and narrows social life. Current research shows that sexual interest in children is a rather stable feature that is often perceived involuntary and oppressive with no way out.

Sexual interest in children and the possible related feelings of shame and self blame often adversely affect mental health and quality of life. Things are further complicated by the fact that sexual interest in children in our society remains a taboo, which is not discussed openly. In daily life, many hide their sexual interest in children and paedophile tendencies and do not seek help. However, help and support are available also anonymously to start the process.

If your sexual interest in children and related thinking and/or activity worries you, be brave and seek further support and help. Open and honest discussion with someone with specialized knowledge on the issue can help you control the harmful, sexual thoughts and offer support in regulating your behaviour.

There are services in Finland housing specialized knowledge to help individuals who are sexually interested in children. For further information, guidance and help, please contact the following:

  • Välitä! Sexual violence services offer conversational support in confidence to sort out your situation and help in finding further support. The services are free of charge and you may contact the staff anonymously.
  • SEXPO foundation offers counselling by appointment and guidance over the Internet or phone. All guidance can be given anonymously.

The nature of sexual orientation or disorder should never determine whether help and support are available. However, the fact remains that in Finland there is a relatively scarce range of services available for those worried about their sexual interest in children. Sexual interest in children evokes in people strong, often negative feelings. This is why it is advisable that you seek help somewhere where your situation and problem will be understood.

 Psychotherapy - an effective treatment

Cognitive behavioural therapy has proven an effective treatment with people who are sexually interested in children. Cognitive therapy focuses on strengthening the individual's own inner control and responsible behaviour, correcting possible distorted thoughts and accepting responsibility for possible sexual acts involving children already committed.

The treatment focuses on dealing with the feelings of worry, fear and insecurity. The focal point is the child-related sexual thoughts, emotions and activity. The treatment increases and strengthens the individual's control over his or her behaviour and the related emotions. Already one single temptation averted and a new, more responsible way of behaving adopted is a step towards a better life.

Not all individuals who are sexually interested in children commit sexual offences. On the other hand, some people commit child-related sexual offences even though they are not primarily sexually interested in children. Many people struggle with their harmful sexual thoughts and fantasies. Help is available and seeking psychotherapy is the best option in these circumstances.

 Identity risks and do what is right

1. Look after yourself

If you are sexually interested in children, it is vital you seek help and support to control your behaviour. Shutting yourself in may cause feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that are reflected on your mood and deteriorate mental health. It is important that you look after yourself.

2. Seek information

The more knowledge you have of your sexual interest in children, the better you understand your feelings, thoughts and experiences. Information and knowledge guide you in controlling your harmful, sexual thoughts and behaviour. The exercises in this programme help you understand your child-related sexual interest. You may want to think about your situation through the following exercises and questions.

3. Talk

Stop dwelling on your sexual interest in children on your own, be brave and contact people who can help you. (See Section 3 for contact information) The specialized staff are there to help and support you, also anonymously.

4. Thoughts, emotions and behaviour

Current knowledge states that sexual interest in children is a rather stable feature. In spite of this, everyone can control, or learn how to control, one's actions and behaviour. It is important to differentiate between sexual thoughts or impulses and actual actions. Humans rarely follow their sexual urges fully automatically. One can affect the way he or she behaves. Strong sexual impulses do pass and everyone can learn to regulate and control the related thoughts and emotions, and act responsibly.

It is a serious offence to act upon child-related thought and desires in practice. Do not commit a crime, seek help. If you feel this programme and its exercises do not offer you the support you need or if you suspect you cannot control your behaviour, please do not harm a child, seek help.

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