So, how is the Good Lives Model relevant to harmful sexual behaviour?
You might have already made the link yourself.
Sometimes, a person’s harmful sexual behaviour is their way of trying to feel better about parts of their life. But they’re trying to do it in a way that’s unhealthy, unsafe and harmful.
This could be because of…
- things about themselves
- their situation
- things that have happened to them
All of these things can make it hard for a person to meet their needs in healthier and more helpful ways.
Sam is a young person who feels lonely and wants to have more friends. Sam meets someone online who is friendly to him. This “friend” then asks Sam to find images that show children involved in sexual activity. Sam thinks that the only way he can keep the friendship is to do what he’s asked to do. So, Sam searches for these images and sends them to his online contact.
Understanding Sam’s behaviour
Sam’s behaviour was illegal and harmful. It also put him at risk. Through his behaviour he was trying to meet his need for having people in his life. This might have been because Sam didn’t have good friendships and felt lonely, so his online relationship felt really important to him.
Setting goals to live a good life
Setting goals to meet his need to have people in his life in a healthy way will help Sam to stop his harmful and risky behaviour. This could include reconnecting with old friends or joining a group where he can meet new friends. Sam may also need support to help him understand how to be safe online.
If you think you may have harmed yourself or others through any of your sexual actions, think about what needs you might have been trying to meet through your behaviour.
Once you’ve know what needs you were trying to meet, you can use that knowledge to help you find healthy and appropriate ways to meet those needs.
Some questions you could try to answer:
- What needs have I been trying to meet?
- Are these needs that it’s okay to have?
- What stopped me from getting these needs met in healthier ways?
- How can I get these needs met in ways that don’t harm me or anyone else? (see the next page in this series on setting goals)
- What strengths do I have to help me do this? (see the last page in this series on working out what your strengths are)
- What new skills might I need to build up?
- Who can help me do this?
Perhaps you could explore these questions with an adult you can trust? It could also help to complete a Good Lives Plan to help you set goals to live a good life.