Criminal Defense

What are Psychosexual Evaluations?

June 21, 2023 by Madison Ferguson in Criminal Defense  Special Report  
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Psychosexual Evaluations

When navigating cases of sexual misconduct, individuals have found great benefit in undergoing a psychosexual evaluation (PSE), a potent tool often referred to as a sexual deviancy evaluation. Not only does this evaluation aid in identifying areas requiring intervention, but it also helps to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to meet individual needs.

A psychosexual evaluation (PSE) delves deep into a client’s social and intimate background, atypical or unconventional desires, and the potential for recidivism in matters of a sexual nature. This comprehensive evaluation is designed to paint a rich and nuanced portrait of the client’s psychosocial and intimate motivations, enabling clinicians to understand better and manage their patients’ needs. Conducting a psychosexual evaluation aims to uncover specific areas of concern requiring targeted treatment to address the client’s issues effectively. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan that caters to their unique psychosexual needs. Only individuals certified by the state as Sexual Offender Treatment Providers have the expertise to conduct meticulous psychosexual evaluations.

Despite being a crucial instrument in defense of individuals accused of sexual impropriety, psychosexual evaluations, are also beset with potential hazards. A psychosexual evaluation (PSE) provides an attorney with a means to gather reasonably impartial data that can aid their client in resolving their case. However, a psychosexual evaluation is not a completely unbiased measurement of a tangible reality akin to a numerical outcome from a blood examination. A psychosexual evaluation (PSE) is a subjective assessment of the beliefs and attitudes held by the client at a specific moment in time.

Anticipated Outcomes of Psychosexual Assessment?

State-accredited mental health professionals conduct four sections in psychosexual evaluations. Usually done in a day, sometimes taking two.

Process completion time in a standard facility is from 8 am to 5 pm per session. Tests are scheduled within the breaks. Here’s how each evaluation step pans out.

Clinical Interview

A one-hour session allows for introductions before testing. A clinical interview serves as an introductory session with a mental health professional. In this session, it is necessary to address any allegations. Honesty is crucial in shaping the therapist’s impression.

In a clinical interview, the evaluator will inquire about various topics, including family, education, sexual history, mental health, and social issues.

Psychometric Tests

The test aims to detect psychopathy. The examination comprises a computer-scored inventory of 154 objective items that assess personality traits. A sexual inventory evaluates a person’s sexual development, history, and background. The sexual inventory has around 560 items, making it the longest to fill out.

Finally, the client’s intellectual ability is measured by an IQ test. An IQ test can determine if someone is mentally capable of handling further treatment. Usually done in just 20 minutes.

Evaluating Physical Signs of Sexual Arousal

Physiological testing helps therapists grasp if an allegation results from abnormal sexual tendencies. A device called a penile plethysmograph (PPG) is used with pressure to achieve this.

PPG measures how visual stimuli impact blood pressure and erectile function. It also checks respiration to prevent intentional misrepresentation of findings during psychosexual assessments.

Psychosexual evaluations become more strenuous when a PPG is employed with visual stimuli, creating difficulties. Cheating on psychosexual evaluations negatively impacts impressions and treatment plans; therefore, accuracy is crucial.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments determine a person’s propensity to repeat a sexual offense. Reoffending on sexual crimes and overall criminal behavior are two components of risk assessment. Risk assessments may also be used to assess the former. By allocating risk profiles, psychosexual evaluations enable therapists to evaluate their clients’ likelihood of committing sexual and non-sexual crimes again.

Risk assessments are essential when treating sexual misconduct, mainly when charges are at stake. Risk assessments performed by a therapist may influence the decision by designating their client as a low-risk offender. Given the findings of psychosexual evaluations, penalties for low-risk offenders might be less severe.


PSE assessments for defense cases are private and only given to clients and their attorneys. Psychosexual evaluations can only be used in court proceedings, and the results are kept secret from partners or government officials.

Are Juveniles Subjected to Psychosexual Assessments?

Psychosexual evaluations are needed for juveniles who engage in improper sexual activities, such as having sex with minors three or more years younger, non-consenting partners, family members, animals, or those with mental or physical disabilities. Psychosexual evaluations are necessary for youths who engage in indecent exposure, inappropriate touching, or sexual offenses.

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