Should deceitful women be locked up
Offender therapy: "It's not just about the money for fraudsters"
In this case you can safely say: Sure, he received the salary of the clinic and got rich with it. But other motives seem to me to guide the action: narcissistic needs, the desire to secretly pull the cord, the desire for superiority and triumph. I have met fraudsters who committed their deeds out of revenge or as a kind of self-therapy for depressive states. So it is by no means just about material enrichment. That's what makes it so exciting to deal with fraud and the perpetrators.
"Fraudsters often experience that if they are someone else, they are much more likely to get recognition and social contact."
Can you give an example?
One of my test subjects kept selling the grand piano of Sisi, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary. Yet he never owned it. The man suffered from a physical impairment, which he skillfully used as a compassion bonus to instill confidence. He spun the legend that he was really the one who owned the piano and could sell it. This self-portrayal to his potential customers made him feel elated and made him significant. But of course the triumph never lasted long. At some point the curve went down again. A depressive mood awaited him and the act began all over again.
Because he could never really claim the success he had as a con man for himself?
Exactly. Fraudsters often experience that if they are someone else, they are much more likely to get recognition and social contact. They think they have to offer something special in order to be noticed. The problem with that is, of course, that you are not who you claim to be. In prison it can happen that they ask themselves the question: If I am not who everyone thought I was: Who am I then?
Is that your motivation for taking advantage of the therapeutic offers?
The perpetrators do not come to the conversation because they no longer want to be fraudsters. They are more likely to come because they can no longer stand the negative feelings. Others also hope for certain benefits. A perpetrator rarely thinks: "If I don't stop, I'll be back in five years", but rather: "I won't be back because I will definitely not be caught the next time." . It is important that they even get into a personal conversation. A motivation for change can then be built up there.
Are there guidelines for working with fraudsters?
Fraud is not a diagnosis. As far as I know, there are still no therapeutic offers that are specially tailored to fraudsters. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the damage is only financial, unlike, for example, violence or sexual offenses. The other reason is: They have a reputation for only trying to deceive anyway. In fact, they could use the contents of the therapy to become more socially engaging or to learn the therapeutic language. This is often well received in court. The work with the perpetrators can therefore backfire.
"I don't look so much at why he carried out the deed, but rather what for"
How do you prevent that?
Most people who commit fraud are not just simply unscrupulous and antisocial. They have an inner need that can be compensated for in some other way. I give them the same chance as other perpetrators who come to me. In return, I grant them their initial motivation: They hope that the conversations will make them feel better in some way. I look less at why the perpetrator committed the fraud and more at what for. What did he want to achieve with it? It's about building a golden bridge and letting those affected see that the actions don't really make me feel better in the long term.
So behind the fraud is in reality self-deception?
Exactly. After all, he is in jail for his actions. So he is making a mistake if he continues to act. When he adds up the years he has spent in prison, he will ask himself: was it really worth it? In the discussions we look together at what possible alternatives to delinquency could look like. That sounds very simple now, of course. In reality, this development takes an enormous amount of time.
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