The purpose of psychotherapy is to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for the purpose of problem solving and feeling better about who you are and what you are doing in life. Psychotherapy is talk therapy and occurs between a licensed therapist and a person seeking help. I do not tell you what you should do, I help you explore and see all of your options and help guide you to reach your goals. It is very difficult for many people to take an honest and accurate look at themselves and discover the roots of what drives their behaviors. It is even more difficult to change a behavior that you don’t know even exists. I deal with mental illness, developmental disabilities, everyday problems, and problems related to depression, anxiety, anger, communication skills, PTSD, abusive childhoods, trauma, building healthier relationships, and physical as well as sexual abuse. There are many different forms of psychotherapy, psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, existential, humanistic, brief, systemic, etc... I combine my years of experience and use what ever is necessary to get the job done! (read our FAQ Section to learn more)
If I were to define my style of psychotherapy, I would say I use more of a humanistic approach where an environment is created for the therapeutic relationship to help you with your experiential learning to build the confidence you need for a new you. I will help you reach awareness and deepen your insight of yourself so you can better make the changes necessary to be a happier you. The goal is to be able to reach your full potential. I work with children, teens, and adults.
Sex Offender Treatment
I run a community based outpatient Sex Offender Treatment Program that is certified by the State of California’s Sex Offender Management Board. I am also certified as a Sex Offender Treatment Specialist that uses evidence based practices. I am deeply committed to the prevention of sexual abuse. I also believe community safety is vital to every person’s well being, both young and old. Whether you have been struggling with deviant urges and fantasies that are illegal, or you have been arrested, or convicted of a sexual crime, I have a Sex Offender Treatment program that is dedicated to preventing recidivism.
My sex offender treatment program addresses many types of sexual offenses including but not limited to: violating sexual boundaries by words or touch, sexual addictions, deviant sexual pre-occupations, addictive or deviant pornography usage, frottage, voyeurism, sexual battery, bestiality, stalking, child molestation, rape, and unlawful sexual intercourse. I provide risk assessments and psychosexual evaluations for the courts and children’s services. I also provide expert testimony for the courts in the areas of both victims and offenders of sexual violence. I provide individual and group treatment for adolescents and adults, both male and female. I have specialized groups for offenders with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.
Sex Offender Treatment is very different than any other type of treatment and takes a specialist educated in this specific field. Each person walking through my door is treated with dignity and respect but held accountable and responsible for their actions. If you have committed a sexual offense, my treatment is focused on learning new strategies to stop your abusive behaviors. You will be expected to take an honest look at your life. You will need to identify the distortions used to make abusive behaviors okay at the time of your offense. You will address the denial and minimizations used to commit your offense. You will develop a relapse prevention plan. You will be expected to take a honest look at your manipulative and abusive behaviors. You will learn to develop healthy sexual attitudes and behaviors. You will look at the harm you caused others and work on your empathy. You will be expected to work on developing strengths and managing your personal risk factors. I also work closely with your social workers, probation/parole officers, attorneys, and courts as needed. By the time you finish treatment you will have all the tools necessary to live an offense free life.
Victims of Sexual Violence
One in three women in the United States will be a victim of sexual assault sometime in her life; 7 to 10% of rape victims are male. One in four women will experience rape or attempted rape during her college year. Only 10 to 15% of all sexual assaults are reported to police. Rape victims are less likely to report assault when the assailant is known to them.
I started my career in the early 90s by working with victims of sexual violence. The one thing I could never help with is all of the why questions. I felt helpless. I then decided to start working with offenders and I learned a lot. With all the sex offenders that I have treated, well over 1000 now, I am better able to help victims take blame off of themselves, by using real life examples. I can give them example after example of the planning, plotting and set-up that went into the offense and how there was nothing they could do but tell to make it stop.
After being sexually assaulted many people wonder things such as:
Why did this happen to me?
Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?
Who should I talk to about what happened?
Will I be believed?
It is important to know that sexual assaults are NOT your fault and they are acts of violence. Nobody ever deserves to be assaulted no matter what you were wearing. You cannot consent to sex if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you have been sexually abused call the police and report it! Then get support from family and friends as you go through this process. People who have been sexually abused often need professional help. Symptoms of anger, fear, anxiety, sleep disturbances, shame, guilt, depression, and intrusive thoughts can develop in the days, weeks, or months following the assault. Many victims are reluctant to seek help because of their fear that thinking or talking about their experience will be too painful. However, most victims find therapy helpful in the process of recovering and moving on with their life. I can help with the entire process of recovering from victim to survivor.
Dawn has shared her wealth of knowledge about sexual abuse by appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson Cooper, HLN, In Session, Tru-TV and many different news broadcasts to help educate the public about sexual abuse. Oprah’s show ran for 25 years and had 4561 different episodes. Oprah named the show they did in her top 25 “aha moments”. Dawn is very passionate about her work with victims, offenders, and families of sexual abuse and has an in-depth understanding of the many layers of issues involved with all aspects of sexual abuse. She understands why people offend and who they choose as their victims. She believes that education is key to stopping sexual abuse. She believes that our communities need to be and can be much safer than they currently are. Many of our current laws are actually increase sexual abuse as they are based on emotion and not fact. She has learned so much about offenders over the years as she treated more than 1000 people who have sexually offend and she is willing to share her knowledge with others to help decrease sexual abuse. So many people are looking at the wrong information based on myths and stereotypes that they are still chasing the “creepy guy” and may miss what is right in front of them.
Dawn has testified many times as an expert witness in the field of sexual abuse and sexual offenders. She has testified in family court and criminal court for both the prosecution and the defense. She has a vast knowledge about people who offend based on the over 1000 people that she has treated. She has testified about issues ranging from risk level for offenders, amenability to treatment, and multiple child custody issues involving offenders.
Dawn feels very strongly about education being the key in stopping sexual abuse. There are a lot of very strong emotional reactions when people hear the term sex offender. A lot of people’s perceptions of who offenders are and what they do, are based on emotion and not fact. The problem with this is that it is more difficult to keep yourself and your families safe if you don’t understand the facts. Dawn enjoys providing learning seminars or trainings about sex offenders, as it is all part of community safety. She has provided trainings for rape crises, police departments, courts, social workers, foster family agencies, specific small communities, and classes, with regard to topics such as victimology, rape culture, molestation, treatment, offender's anger, why offenders offend, developing safety plans, risk factors, healing from abuse, and sex offender registry and laws.
Dawn provides specialized psychosexual evaluations for both adults and juveniles. Empirically validated tools are used for the risk portion. The evaluations can include levels of risk, amenability to treatment, identifying strength and protective factors, diagnoses, static and dynamic variables, and assessments of deviant arousals, interests, and preferences. Recommendations can be made to the type and intensity of potential treatment. Evaluations do not determine guilt or innocence.