therapy with a qualified domestic abuse therapist is amazing.
just having someone there to listen to you without judgement, anger, dismissal, fear, condescension, sarcasm…it’s a wonderful thing.
but…the thought of my abusive husband going to see a therapist on his own terrifies me. what lies will he tell? what kind of unconscious validation will he get from a therapist that only sees his side of things?
the urge to go with him is powerful. but not recommended with an abusive relationship.
according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website,
“Therapy can be very effective for some couples who are working through difficult relationship issues. However, if abuse is present in the relationship, we do not recommend that couples seek counseling together.
The primary reason we don’t recommend couples counseling is that abuse is not a “relationship” problem. Couples counseling may imply that both partners contribute to the abusive behavior, when the choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner. Focusing on communication or other relationship issues distracts from the abusive behavior, and may actually reinforce it in some cases. Additionally, a therapist may not be aware that abuse is present and inadvertently encourage the abuse to continue or escalate.
A better option for abusive partners who want to change is a program designed specifically to address their abusive behaviors. These programs are often referred to as Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPPs), although what they are called can vary from state to state. BIPPs focus on teaching accountability and non-violent responses. These programs can be effective, but only if an abusive partner is truly committed, as real change is a difficult process that can take months or years.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, or if you are an abusive partner who wants to change, please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online everyday from 7am-2am CST. Our advocates are here to support you and talk through your options.”