Can Psychopaths Be Rehabilitated or Are They Incurable?


Many people have often wondered why psychopaths do what they do, or what caused them to be that way in the first place. There is no sure answer for either one of those questions. It is true that different factors play a role in why psychopaths are the way that they are, but nothing is 100 percent. According to Real Clear Science, studies have shown that there is no cure for psychopaths, but this has not stopped scientists and doctors from trying to find a solution for those who can be deemed incurable, including using methods of rehabilitation, which are believed to be helpful in some instances.

CNN reported that psychopaths can perform such heinous crimes because they feel no guilt or remorse, or at least that is what scientists and doctors have stated. New studies that have come out as recently as 2012, show that these people may not be as nonredeemable as once thought. Psychology Today said that psychopaths can be treated and managed but not really cured. The article mentioned that the issue is that they do not fear punishment or the potential pain involved. They are not worried about the expectations of society, they are indifferent to it. Many of them do not respond to punishment the way that normal people do and the article added that adult psychopaths in prison are harder to rehabilitate than criminals with milder disorders.

The article did say that a reward-based treatment plan seems to work best with most psychopathic individuals. They do not respond in the same manner as regular people, so more extreme measures are necessary. According to the article, the reward-based strategy has been effective in treating some individuals. In this type of strategy, psychopathic prisoners are rewarded with things that they enjoy, especially as a result of good behavior. Some of the perks may include watching television, listening to music, playing games or other fun activities. This method works for some because they become fixated on the rewards that they may receive for positive behavior. Dennis Radar is an example of a convicted serial killer who has responded positively to the rewards-based system, according to the article.

CNN did state that even though researchers continue to search for effective treatment plans for different individuals, there is no easy fix for the situation. There is no pill that can cure it 100 percent. Attempts at therapy do have to be carefully monitored and structured. Any person who tries to rehabilitate a psychopath has to be mindful that these individuals can identify weaknesses in their therapists and prey on them. They will do all that they can to shorten their treatment. The article said that they do not think that they have an issue, so they see no need for treatment. They also do not seek out treatment on their own because they do not believe that they need to be fixed. Real Clear Science said that psychopaths can not be rehabilitated and that they are incurable people. Psychopaths

The article stated that you cannot instill empathy in these types of people and that therapy will not change an uncaring mind. According to the article, there is no cure for psychopaths and researchers and medical professionals can try all they want to fix them, but there is no solution. CNN added that genetics and the environment that people are brought up in plays a role. These types of people have minds that are different from an average person and others cannot undo what has already been done, according to CNN.

CNN did say that early intervention has proven to be one of the most effective ways of treating psychopaths. Children are not specifically labeled psychopaths, but they can display or develop psychopathic symptoms such as lack of empathy, guilt, or concern. They also tend to be shallow and have insincere emotions. According to the article, early detection is key in preventing these behaviors from escalating. As the article mentioned, regular and long-term intervention that is intensive from parents and teachers is essential. Just like adult psychopaths, children with these tendencies are said to respond well to reward-based programs and positive reinforcement.

Researchers and medical professionals continue to search for a cure for psychopaths, who seem to be helped when they are possibly rehabilitated, as some have responded to treatment, but ultimately they can be incurable. Psychopathy can be treated and managed for some, but not everyone responds positively to treatment. These people are seemingly incurable based on research. This could always change as research continues every day, but for now rehabilitation for psychopaths is limited.

By Heather Granruth


Psychology Today: Psychopathic Criminals Cannot be Cured

CNN: The birth of a psychopath

Real Clear Science: Can Psychopaths Be Cured?

The Huffington Post: Psychopaths’ Brains Just Don’t Work Like The Rest Of Us: Study

Photo Courtesy of S.T.’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

Photo Courtesy of Dean812’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

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