Assessment and treatment of fire-setters

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Book Chapter

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Interim status: Citation only.

Doley, R., & Fritzon, K. (2008). Assessment and treatment of fire-setters. In K. Fritzon, & P. Wilson (Eds.), Forensic psychology and criminology: An Australasian perspective (pp. 101-109). North Ryde, New South Wales: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd. ISBN: 9780070134928

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2008 HERDC submission. FoR: 1701

© Copyright McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd., 2008



I am malicious because I am miserable. -Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Within clinical literature there has been an assumption that the above quote typifies a large proportion of individuals who deliberately commit arson. In other words, that psychological disorders of some kind can be found in the majority of such persons (Geller, Fisher, & Moynihan, 1992). For example, early conceptualisations of the condition pyromania meant that any individual who set more than one fire was considered to suffer from an 'irresistible impulse'- merely for the fact that they did not resist the impulse to set a fire. Now, however, a more sophisticated definition means that pyromania is a very rare diagnosis for arsonists.

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