Assessment and treatment of fire-setters
Date of this Version
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.