A number of authors have advocated for routine psychiatric assessment of stalkers presenting to courts and in some jurisdictions this is possible via specialist assessment and treatment services that focus on the problem behaviour and can provide referrals to general mental health services where appropriate. While this section has focussed on the role of mental illness in stalking behaviour, it is insufficient to only consider mental disorder when working with a stalker.
Stalking is a complex, multiply-determined behaviour and we believe strongly that understanding the context in which the behaviour began is an integral part of a comprehensive assessment of any stalker.
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The vast majority of individuals who stalk do not behave in this way most of the time and, in fact, their behaviour is usually restricted to a specific victim in a specific context. The role of contextual factors such as relationship breakdown, unemployment, perceived failure or embarrassment, and social isolation all play a central role in the commencement and perpetuation of stalking.
These types of factors, and how they impact upon and are interpreted by the stalker needs to be given equal weight to mental disorder when considering the reasons that the stalking may have developed and is continuing. References McEwan, T. A study of the predictors of persistence in stalking situations. Law and Human Behavior, 33 , Mohandie, K.
Journal of Forensic Sciences, 51 , Rosenfeld, R. Violence risk factors in stalking and obsessional harassment. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 31 , 9.
McEwan, T. The role of psychopathology in stalking by adult strangers and acquaintances. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47 , Stalkers and Their Victims. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shopping Cart: 0 items Checkout. The resentful stalker experiences feelings of injustice and desires revenge against their victim rather than a relationship. Their behavior reflects their perception that they have been humiliated and treated unfairly, viewing themselves as the victim.
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It is has been found that resentful stalkers often regard their fathers as highly controlling. Mark Chapman, the notorious John Lennon stalker and murderer is a classic case of a resentful stalker. Also, in a fortunate few there is a paranoid disorder that responds at least partially, to antipsychotic medication.
Finally, the predator stalker also has no desire for a relationship with their victims, but a sense of power and control. Mullen explains that they find pleasure in gathering information about their victim and fantasizing about assaulting them physically, and most frequently sexually. Predatory stalkers should almost always be managed within a sex -offender program, with the main focus being on the management of the paraphilia that is the driving force behind the stalking behavior.
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Therapeutic interventions for stalkers are directed first at their mental disorders. Stalkers as a group, have an impressive capacity to rationalize, minimize and excuse their behaviors. Mullen explains that in almost all stalkers there is a need both to improve interpersonal and social skills, and to instill a more realistic understanding of the impact of their behaviors on victims.
Stalkers should be managed individually, with group work avoided. Like sex offenders, stalkers can readily establish networks of mutual support and information-sharing within the group, sustaining the behavior being treated. In those stalkers motivated by a vengeful resentment, there is often an acute sensitivity to the confusion, distress and fear produced by their activities.
Because of this sensitivity, programs developed to enhance victim empathy can be readily adapted for use with these individuals. It is uncommon to encounter a stalker with adequate interpersonal and social skills. Difficulties establishing or maintaining intimate relationships lie at the basis of many stalking episodes.
Improving this area of function can contribute not only to resolving the current stalking but also to reduce the chances of reoffending. Many stalkers have narrowed their daily activities to being entirely focused on the victim.
Encouraging even limited social activities can be helpful. The most important step in the management of stalkers is to see them as individuals in need of psychological help. Robert T. Muller, Ph. With greater support services, these individuals will be better able to cope. Back Psychology Today.
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