Art on Trial

Confessions of a serial art therapist

Addressing Sexual Deviance: Does Making Art Help or Hinder?

As a result of a recent lecture and previous blog post, a counseling professor in Kansas asked a provocative and complicated question about a sex offender drawing a pornographic image. Ultimately, do--or can-- the same beneficial dynamics a violent offender experiences through art making apply to a pedophile? The answer may be just as provocative as the question. Read More

Suggestion for a Different Approach

Dr. Gussack, I would like to suggest a different approach to the problem.

Since sexual fantasies harm no one. I think we should focus on the difference between the person who only fantasizes about a criminal act and the one who actually does it. What's the difference between the two?

The prime suspect, in my view, should be on behavior which satisfies the need to feel superior to others which might be labeled egotism, vanity, narcissism or arrogance. When the need to feel superior is high, conscience is low. When this need is high, the behavior needed to satisfy it can include intentional harm to others.

Rather than trying to cure the various deviant attitudes, we should focus on trying to make the criminal a better human being. However, since it feels good to feel superior (imagine the gloating pleasure), making them want to become better human beings is the first challenge.

Nicely stated. Thank

Nicely stated. Thank you.


First there the thought, then there was the manifestation.
I see the obsessed mind of Sade, writing tales about tails with his own feces on cellar walls.
Darkness, isolation, depravity. The will that wrote on and on and on.
Alas, there came only one thing that ended this mans "need" and it was not death but deaf.
You take away the receiver and you kill the radio man.
With no one interested, no one listening. You render the giver null and void.
That is what killed Sade, "nothing" killed him. He spent his last days begging and pleading for feedback for comment.
Silence is Golden so give them gold.

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David Gussak, PhD, ATR-BC, is professor and chairperson for the Florida State University Department of Art Education, and Clinical Coordinator of its Graduate Art Therapy Program.


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