Views of Females Participating in Strength Based Couples Therapy for Domestic Violence
Anderson, Elizabeth Maie
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This study is a two part study of the experiences of women participating in conjoint treatment for domestic violence. The participants in the first part of the study included 11 clients, from whom information was gathered in 25 interviews. The second part of the study focused on three women. Their opinions were garnered in five interviews. Five of the women were in multi-couple group therapy and nine participated in from four to twelve sessions of conjoint couple therapy with their partners. This study focused on how female partners of male batterers experienced strength-based focused couples therapy as part of a research and development project for couples treatment of domestic violence. The concepts of safety, responsibility for the violence, power and control, validation and empowerment guided the researcher. The women related that having two therapists and pre- and post-session check-ins contributed to their sense of safety. Although the women reported that their mate taking responsibility for the violence was important, they thought the therapy's focus on their strengths kept their mates committed to attending therapy sessions. Women, who reported that their mates were taking more responsibility for their actions, attributed the change to their therapists being persistent in discussing the various forms of abusive behavior and in stressing accountability for individual behavior. Most of the women indicated that talking about what they had experienced and that gaining support from therapists and group members increased their power and ability to focus on their own needs. Women in the study stressed the importance of having some form of follow-up support to be able to practicing new skills with their partners. Based on the recommendations of the women in this study, the treatment of domestic violence should provide women safe outlets for expressing their feelings, acknowledgment of their experience and tools for resolving the conflicts in their relationship.
- Masters Theses