Dr. Feller Explains Social Learning Theory as a Framework to Understand Sexual Aggression
Written by: Lydia D’Ross, Renewal Program Outreach Chaplain and ordained minister
As pastors, we provide emotional and spiritual support to the best of our ability to our church members and their families. At Brookhaven Hospital, we hold seminars every other month to provide education for pastors about the issues that they encounter on a daily basis. Dr. Randall Feller, Chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Oral Roberts University, an ordained minister and former Director of the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program at Family & Children Services, recently spoke at our November 13th Pastoral Seminar on the “Pastor’s Role of Social Learning Theory in Understanding and Treating Sexual Aggression.”
Dr. Feller highlighted a brief overview of the field of sexual abuse, the prevalence of sexual aggression, the high rates of recidivism in the past, and what is more recently being done to help lower the rates of recidivism. About twenty years ago, the rates of successful treatment were around 1% with a recidivism rate of 99%. The belief that perpetrators of sexual aggression could not be rehabilitated was prevalent. Through the application of social learning theory, however, the recidivism rate currently stands around 25%.
Dr. Feller stated that “sexual aggression cuts across all social economic levels, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, educational levels, religious preferences, and racial backgrounds.” Because of this, it is very difficult for a church or any organization to screen out individuals who may be sexual aggressors. Dr. Feller recommended that churches make the necessary changes to protect their church members. This could be as simple as making sure that doors to classrooms within the church have windows, and limit or completely eliminate situations in which an adult would be alone with a child.
Pastors who attended the seminar said they learned a lot from Dr. Feller’s presentation. An opportunity was given for Q&A on the Pastor’s role regarding intervention and prevention strategies.
Our next Pastoral Seminar will be February 12, 2015 featuring speaker, Chief Chaplain Danny Lynchard, of the Tulsa Police Department. Please call 918.438.4257, and speak with Lydia D’Ross to reserve your spot for this seminar. Our Pastoral Seminars are free to attend for pastors, chaplains, and church personnel.