Can Sociopathy Be Treated?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My husband has APD. I have 2 questions please. Could u give me a good contact for the specific psychotherapist which do specialize in sociopathy in Las Vegas? Nobody is able to help me and regular psychiatrist is not able to understand sociopathy issues here.

Second question: I am already desperate as I love the one I had married,he is my life and reason to live. I left my country for him. Is there any therapy-POSSIBLE CHANGE AT ALL- for this particular type of the sociopath issues when he- humiliates me, compares me with other women, go to immoral places, calls me the most painful names, disrespect my needs and wishes ( beyond the fact of domestic violence, rage, paranoia, lying,threats,manipulating me, no remorse when physically and mentally hurting me-my fault according him).

I mean, can any-and which one- therapy make him stop to call me names, him stop to lowering my self confidence, and keep his promises and truly show me truly love(which he says) and stop the evilness of hurting me anyhow? Stop his nonsense revenges as well?

He was not like that in first stage of our marriage at all.After all, I would not leave my country and family if he had been that way before. PS excuse my English, I am from Europe, have married an American. I am desperate as have nobody in this country. His life is now in my hands .He is facing jail at the moment, I am not able to send him there. I cannot be with him either without him. Right now we are separate and he is trying to get back with me w all the promises as he is facing jail I think, not that he loves me. But I have doubts, I think he really loves me in his way.

A. As for your first question, I do not know anyone personally who deals with sociopathy in Las Vegas. I would encourage you to use Psychcentral’s therapist locator feature that can be found by clicking here.

It is difficult to know if therapy could help your husband’s sociopathy problem. Many scholars have debated this issue (can sociopathy be treated?) for decades. Until recently, the answer was in short “no,” many did not think it was possible to rehabilitate a person who was labeled as a “sociopath.” More recently however there are many different views on the subject and some researchers and clinicians say “yes,” it is possible for individuals who display sociopathic traits to be helped with therapy. The true answer is that whether or not an individual with anti-social personality disorder (ASPD) can be helped depends on many factors.

For instance, it can depend on how willing an individual is to engage in therapy or if he or she sees his behavior as a problem. Part of ASPD is the tendency to blame others for their problems, something you said that your husband does with you. If someone does not believe that he or she has a problem then it is unlikely that they will seek help for that “problem.” And why would they, they have no problem, from their perspective. You did not write in your letter if your husband wanted help and was willing to go to treatment or if he felt that his behavior toward you was problematic. If he does not think that he needs help and feels there is no reason to attend treatment then he probably would not go.

Whether or not your husband can be helped, assuming he’d agree to attend therapy, might also depend on the skill of the therapist. Individuals with ASPD are known to lie and might try to trick the therapist. In therapy, a person with ASPD might be argumentative, get easily angry or upset or may be noncompliant or resistant to change. Working with individuals who have ASPD can be challenging and not all therapists are trained to work with this population.

If you are not able to convince your husband to seek treatment then you should strongly consider therapy for yourself and a domestic violence shelter. You seem all too willing to stay with your husband despite his very aggressive and physically abusive nature. I know that you moved from another country and may not have many supportive friends or family nearby (if any) but this does not mean you have to surrender your life to your abusive husband. He does not “own” you nor does he have the right to harm you. If he does go to jail this might give you a prime opportunity to seek help for yourself from either a mental health professional or a domestic violence shelter. Even if he does not go to jail, you should still try to find a way to seek help for yourself. I am worried about your safety and so should you be. You’re isolated, have few or no supports and you are living with someone who physically harms you.

You can also try calling the domestic violence national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website here. This organization may be able to help you.

Please consider writing back to let me know how you are doing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Aug 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Can Sociopathy Be Treated?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/08/25/can-sociopathy-be-treated/