Can Rolf Harris Be Rehabilitated?

Rolf Harris leaves behind gilded lifestyle for vulnerable prison unit

Extracted from The Observer, July 6th 2014 – article by Jamie Doward and Gaby Bissett – – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/06/rolf-harris-prison-unit

Article discusses how the entertainer and convicted sex offender should be treated while in prison.

…Some, however, might feel Harris is too old to benefit from any rehabilitation programme. But Phillip Hodson, of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, said it was important for society as a whole that Harris should be encouraged to confront his actions. “A client came to see me, a famous man who had a famous daughter,” Hodson said. “He said: ‘My problem is my life is screwed up, it’s an enormous mess but I’ve only got eight months left to live.’ So I said: ‘We’d better get on with it then.’

Whatever time we’ve got we have to use it. What we are saying as a society is that we understand that Harris is not wholly evil. It’s important to get him to realise the damage he has done. We aren’t talking about changing the person. We are talking about having more insight, not about building a new self.”

Hodson said there were probably multiple reasons why Harris behaved the way he had. “He had a distant father, he was emotionally tied up in his art, he suffered from intense loneliness and depression. People who want to be celebrities are people who need excessive praise. If you seek excessive attention and behave as if the laws don’t apply then that says an enormous amount of where you have come from and the connection between your background and what you’ve done. If you don’t agree with that view then you have to invent categories of evil and that’s not helpful.”

Hodson suggested Harris would be able to find some respite in his final years if he confronted his actions. “If you want to gain some sort of peace or resolution, to move forward, you need to realise what you have done,” Hodson said. “If you can behave better and make amends you have a better death. And the goal of old age is to have a good death.”

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