How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Elliott, LPCC, NCC Your Own Question
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Elliott, LPCC, NCC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a friend who's 13yr old son has been diagnosed as a

This answer was rated:

I have a friend who's 13yr old son has been diagnosed as a sociopath. His family has him seeing a counselor on a regular basis and even has him enrolled in a special school for his behavior. I have as a family friend been a positive influence towards him with okay results but school is a major issue for him as if the behavior does not improve, there will be little choice but to "Baker Act" him. My question is, is it possible to tell him the reality of what it is going to be like for him "if" he should be taken away with him possibly thinking about it?
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

I agree with you that this young man needs to stay out of the clutches of the state. Unfortunately, man children with conduct disorder wind up with full-blown antisocial personality disorders and fill the prisons of our country, at least among the ranks of hardcore criminals.

I have worked in local jails and I have seen how quickly young men adapt to being institutionalized and are able to get on there, even if they desire their freedom. They can handle it.

The juvenile justice system is often a training ground for becoming a hardened criminal. All the wrong role models are there for them and they quickly "man-up" into being part of the group.

You might show the young man this brief video. It is meant to show the implementation of newer programs, but the beginning of it shows what it is like to be a prisoner of the state, and it may frighten him into avoiding that fate.

Some other movies that might frighten him into changing his behavior can be found on these two websites, and can be ordered online, possibly from Net Flix. There is some overlap on these two sites.

Also effective would be the British film with Ray Winstone, "Scum" and a similar (but not as effective) American film called "Dog Pound".

Your personal approach to helping him is effective and can only do him good. He needs support, and he needs to face the fearful fact of losing his freedom.

Seeing some of these films may give him a strong dose of reality and make him not only understand cognitively what he faces, but on the emotional level, which is a much more powerful approach.

I commend you for your wonderful efforts and for caring so much for this young man.

I wish you all the best.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Elliott, His disorder as a sociopath has traits of having shallow emotions and no heartening remorse for hurting others, can a dose of reality such as showing him these vidios and having someone that he knows tell him hands on experience of what it would be like going into an institution actually have meaning to him?

Dear *****,

These films will not give him a sense of empathy or the ability to have remorse. These factors he may never posess.

He is intelligent, however, and very directed towards his own goals and well-being. If these institutions appear to be harsh, uncomfortable, too restrictive for him, and in general, undesirable, then he will definitely want to avoid this kind of incarceration and loss of rights and freedom.

He may not change his character, but some sociopaths do learn to control their lesser instincts for self-preservation. These films are for behavioral training rather than to instill feelings that he cannot feel.

He can be made to understand intellectually what he cannot grasp emotionally. If this succeeds in improving his behavior, then perhaps he can learn to act more appropriately and learn how to win society's rewards by his actions, rather than win rewards by deceiving or hurting others.

He may also benefit from therapy. You never said who diagnosed him as a sociopath, but it is possible that he could have conduct disorder, or perhaps ADHD. A second opinion from a child psycologist or child psychiatrist would be appropriate if he was diagnosed only by a school psychologist or general practitioner.

In the meanwhile, showing him the consequences via films and videos could make a big difference. He may still not care and will have to be "baker-acted" which could mean as little as court-ordered out-patient therapy, which he needs.

I wish you great success, and urge you to try the videos.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Dear *****,

Thank you very much for accepting my answer and for the positive feedback.

Best wishes,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CMHCC