A PSYCHOLOGIST who talks to the UK's most brutal sex offenders has told how their sick crimes haunt her as she sleeps.
Dr Rebecca Myers spends her life visiting rapists and abusers in maximum security prisons in a bid to change the way they think.
But the tough job takes its toll when she returns home each day, often giving her horrific nightmares.
It also means she frequently gets suspicious of men when out with her kids like "an overactive smoke alarm".
Mum-of-two Rebecca told The Mirror: "I have heard about the most awful degrading things that human beings do to each other, so it’s normal that it would affect me.
"I have learned to have a scientific detachment from work, to keep it separate.
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"But of course it spills over into my dreams and occasionally I get triggered by everyday things when I’m not expecting it.
"It’s particularly bad when cases relate to the age or gender of my own children and it becomes much more personal.
"You have to stop yourself from saying, ‘What if that was my child?’
"I get suspicious of men with children, even in a normal environment like a supermarket or a park."
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The 48-year-old, from North Yorkshire, launched her career in the field at the age of 22.
She then started working on a flagship sex offender rehabilitation programme designed to alter the minds of criminals.
Over the last 25 years, Rebecca has had to deal with having a bloodied headless pigeon being thrown at her, watching a female prison officer being held at knifepoint, and hearing the most graphic details of the cases she has worked on.
This has included a rapist who broke into the homes of single women and attacked them while wearing an animal mask – which made Rebecca vomit.
She has also come face-to-face with a man who parked up in laybys pretending his car had broken down only to kidnap his female victims.
But ultimately, her work as a prison psychologist has been rewarding as it's "all about stopping repeat offenders".
Rebecca, who now works in a different role in criminology, said: "What I hold in my head is that the ultimate goal is to stop this from happening again.
"I like to believe I have prevented further sexual abuse."
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Rebecca shares further insight into her harrowing career in her new memoir.
Inside Job: Treating Murderers and Sex Offenders – the Life of a Prison Psychologist, published by HarperCollins, is out now.
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