Treating a Child Arsonist

Posted by Alessandra Malito

By Melanie Bencosme

“We all like to watch fires,” said Pam Kulbarsh, a nurse who performed in-the-field psychological evaluations on criminals including arsonists. “But it’s the draw to the fire that you have to keep pulling the kid back from.”

The American Psychological Association suggests fire-safety education, medication consultation and therapy. If untreated, the child fire-setter will only continue.

If appointed to a psychologist, the treatment will entail individual therapy. That would focus on anger, impulsivity, and consequences of arson, says Dr. N.G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist who has been court-appointed to treat arsonists.

“The general purpose of therapy is to reinforce pro-social behavior and build self- confidence,” said Berrill.

Doctors prescribe anti-depressants or anti-psychotics if they determine the child is seriously disturbed.

Chasing Fires - May 5, 2014 | Uncategorized