Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Grant Smith


Female sexual offending is a complex topic largely ignored within scholarly literature and among society. Therapeutic treatment providers with experience in the behavioral health care of the female sexual offender population provide the opportunity for additional awareness, insight, and understanding related to the phenomenon of female sexual offending through their distinct provider lens. This phenomenological research study used the lens of therapeutic provider experiences to build a succinct foundational overview of the topic of female sexual offending, expand knowledge related to the field, and develop insight into the providers who treat this complex population. This study was guided by the following research question: What are the experiences of treatment providers working with female sexual offenders? In-depth, semi-structured interviews were completed with 10 therapeutic behavioral health treatment providers with experience in providing direct mental health treatment services to females who have perpetrated sexual crimes. Through the unique provider lens, four core themes emerged which captured the essence of the experiences encountered by therapeutic treatment providers when delivering behavioral health care services to the female sexual offender population: (1) Experiences- Cyclical, (2) Experiences- Female Sexual Recidivists, (3) Experiences- Coping Skills, and (4) Experiences- Professional Need. Findings are addressed in relation to social exchange theory, reflective practice, the theoretical model of communal coping, and self-authorship. The study concludes with an examination of implications for future research and recommendations to inform and guide clinical practice.