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Module 12. Building a good life

This module will help you to build a fulfilling life where you no longer feel the need to offend!


Changing your lifestyle

Many abusers and potential abusers describe lifestyles in which much of the exciting, fun and self-indulgent things in their lives are associated with the inappropriate/harmful behaviour. By contrast, other aspects of their lives are about duty, responsibility and routine.

If you recognise this as being a feature of your life you can still go for long periods without engaging in any unhealthy behaviour, but if there is an imbalance in terms of fun and duty e.g. the things you ought/need/should do vs the things you want to do and enjoy for enjoyment’s sake, you may begin to feel resentful. Such feelings can feed into negative self-talk and cognitive distortions which could trigger unhealthy/offending behaviour, e.g. ‘I work really hard and I deserve to enjoy myself, it’s not hurting anyone.’

It is important to achieve a balance between the things you know you are responsible for and have to do (e.g. going to work to provide for your family) and engaging in activities which you enjoy because you want to and they are fun. If you want to avoid abusive behaviour then your healthy abuse-free life needs to be important and valuable to you. In other words the lifestyle has to be more rewarding to you than the negative behaviour.

It is important to identify what you want from your new life. These can be things based on your previous experience, but also based on new ideas. Once you have identified these you will need to outline how you will achieve this - this will involve goal setting and planning. It can be helpful to think of planning as being like a ladder taking one rung at a time. It is important that your goals are SMART- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound for you to have the best chance of success. Goals can involve activities, relationships, employment, education, training, changes in behaviour and attitudes.


Good Lives Model

A really good approach uses the Good Lives Model developed by Tony Ward (a psychologist) and his colleagues. The model breaks down the states of mind, personal characteristics, activities or experiences that are sought by people and, if achieved, they are likely to increase psychological well-being.

He calls these needs that people try to achieve primary goods. The primary goods are personal to the individual and therefore will differ according to the kind of person the individual would like to be.

The diagram to the right shows the primary goods Ward has outlined.

Here are the full descriptions of each box:


You can find out more about the Good Lives Model from the following book: Ward, T., Laws, D.R., & Hudson, S.M. (2004) (Eds.). Sexual Deviance: Issues and Controversies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Alternatively, you can go to (a website that Tony Ward has created to provide information on the model).


Continue to Understanding your needs