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Coda_Mom asked me a question
June 7, 2005
11:43 pm
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Worried_Dad
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September 24, 2010
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about how a counselor might be more effective in working with abusive relationships.

Specifically, I was asked about how can one detect or diagnose female abusers.

I apologize for taking so long to get back to this question. It is not a "trivial" question. The question evokes gender politics, it probes at mystery, it cuts to the core of what is the duty of a psychotherapist. I could not in good conscience answer this one with a "one-liner."

It is a a deeply philosophical question, an ethical question, a cultural question. IT is a counseling question, a social work question, a nursing question and a medical question. And I don't want to blow this question off.

I praise Coda_Mom for even asking the question. It is a question that an ethical therapist would ask. And in answering that question to the best of our abilities, I believe that we can make some small headway into addressing the enourmous medical and social problem that is family violence.

And now that I have your attention I will start a thread with a better title to work on this one.

For now, I observe that this "type" of question is asked here again and again. Almost everyone who has been touched by abuse asks themselves....

"does this count as abuse?"

"am I being abused?"

"am I being abusive?"

"Could my loved one, or relative or pastor or therapist or child really be an abuser?"

These are questions that can shake our foundational beliefs about ourselves, our loved ones, and human nature itself. What is called for is courage and honesty and also compassion.

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