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Psychopathy, Treatment of

The treatment of psychopathy is a controversial and underinvestigated area of study. Many researchers and clinicians have suggested that the pervasive and manipulative nature of the disorder makes it unlikely that psychopathic individuals can benefit from treatment. It is of concern that the primary characteristics of psychopathy (e.g., manipulation, deceit, and shallow affect) result in low treatment compliance and efficacy. To elaborate on this point, Ivan Zinger and Adelle Forth (1998) contend that the pessimistic views of treating the psychopath derive from three primary sources. First, Hervey Cleckley's description of the psychopath's inability to form affective relationships considered necessary for effective treatment was influential. Second, psychopaths who cause substantial harm to society tend to decrease the compassion of clinicians, thereby reducing therapist motivation. Third, serious ...

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