Understanding, Assessing, & Treating Sexual Offenders: Tools for the Therapist

By Matthew D. Rosenberg, MSW, CSW
Edited by Debra Pawluck, MSW, CSW

Stress, Fantasies, and Masturbation

Stress is tension or pressure on the body and mind that is caused by a wide variety of things. Some of the common things that cause stress are—divorce, parent’s fighting, poor grades, peer pressure, moving, sexual offending, and so forth.

People handle stress a number of ways. Please list some of the ways you think people (or yourself) handle stress (BOTH GOOD AND BAD WAYS).

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Stress comes in two forms: positive and negative. Positive stress is stress created by things that are positive, and negative stress is stress that is created by things that are negative. Please list some sources of positive and negative stress:

POSITIVE

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NEGATIVE

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Our body and mind like to maintain a “relaxed” feeling. Stress and tension do not make us feel relaxed, but instead make us feel frustrated, tired, angry, and so forth. When we have too much stress and tension, our body will try to make us feel relaxed. One way our body does this is through doing things that make us feel good. Name some of the things that our body can do that will make us feel good: _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________

One of the major ways our body tries to make us feel better and take away that stress is through fantasies. A fantasy is a dream or made up event that is not real, and the likelihood of it coming true is very small. It takes us out of our world (which is full of stress) and puts us into fantasy land. For example, a boy who is starving to death (which creates a lot of stress) may fantasize about eating the best food in the world. Moreover, a girl who has been raped by her brother may fantasize about killing him. Most people realize that fantasies are just that, fantasies, and will not try and live them out. However, we fantasize about things we really would like to happen, and if given the opportunity and the circumstances are right, we may try and act a fantasy out.

(This exercise includes more material and questions)(Copyrighted Material 1999)