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counseling techniques for abused women and self-esteem
October 27, 1999
12:01 pm
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Jessica L.
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I am a MSW graduate student working with victims of domestic violence. Since victims of domestic violence generally suffer from low self-esteem, I am interested in finding out about any specific techniques/exercises to use with my clients to work on enhancing their self-esteem.

I would appreciate any feedback- from both skilled counselors and victims themselves.
If you are a victim, what specifically helped you rebuild your sense of self-worth?
Thank you.

You may e-mail me at [email protected].

Sincerely,
Jessica L. Held
Virginia Commonwealth University

October 27, 1999
1:18 pm
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Anonymous
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jessica read most of the codependent threads...abused women helping others, one of the main recovery techniques is to no longer look at yourself as a "victim" that helped for me, taking self responsibility.

November 3, 1999
8:10 am
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Brittainy
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Hello Jessica I was abused from a very young age and it has taken years to come to terms with what went on. I am now a lot better, but still suffer relapses at times. If you want to know more then please e-mail me.

November 3, 1999
11:16 pm
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gal-ff
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the best thing for my self esteem has been my kids. whe you look at yourself through their eyes it humbles you. they think that you know it all and can do it all and it gives me the confidance to try. i was abused from an early age(mentally, physically,& emotionally)

November 10, 1999
11:55 pm
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Jessica H.
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I appreciate everyone's responses. As the semester has progressed, one of the techniques I have found myself asking clients to do is to critique their support networks. Friends and family
can be a great source of love and nurturing. Through evaluating their supports, these women have often been able to recognize and utilize an important adjunct to their coping/recovery process. Also, as gal-ff implied, the unconditional love can also be very powerful.

To Brittainy, I would like to talk with you further about your recovery process. I am not sure how to find your e-mail. If you could, please e-mail me or post here (whichever you prefer). I think that your experiences could provide me with a great deal of insight.

My e-mail is : [email protected]

Thank you,
Jessica L. Held, Virginia Commonwealth University

November 11, 1999
6:06 am
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ruya
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hi jessica,
you can read my thread 'do i make or break up'. i'm well on the road to recovery. i agree completely that family and close friends' help is invaluable and the 'unconditional support' that goes with it. its a real rough ride this one; feels like a boatride on stormy waters... don't know if you're going to really make it or drown!! if you want anything specific from me ask on this thread.. i'll watch out for your questions. i've been a graduate student myself (i'm out of the academic circuit now though!)and i'll be interested to read your work as well. bye.
ruya.

November 11, 1999
8:10 am
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Brittainy
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Hi Jessica thanks for reading my message. I am more than willing to talk to you. My e-mail address is: [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.

November 11, 1999
6:21 pm
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gal-ff
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My husband thinks that no matter what happens in someone's past, you should be able to control yourself now. I have alot of trouble with that one. I was sexually abused at an early age and I find it very hard to trust..I can't stand someone to touch me or to hug me. So, I do believe that what happens to someone does shape them into what they are. You mentioned the support of a family. Well, I blame my mother for alot of what happened to me and also alot of the other family members because they knew what was going on but was afraid to do anything to help. As you can tell by my earlier statement, I get very little support from my husband. so, I learned early to rely on just myself. It's the only way...

November 11, 1999
8:22 pm
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Anonymous
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HI Jessica, I dont know where you are getting your info but most abused women HAVE NO SUPPORT NETWORKS AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE FILLED WITH THE ORIGINAL ABUSORS.

gal ff you shouldnt allow your husband to shame your woundedness, get help for your trust issues and strenthen your boundaries girl.

November 17, 1999
5:41 pm
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Jessica L
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To gall ff- I agree with tears that you should seek some help for your trust issues.

It also sounds like you have a lot of anger inside (and who can blame you). It might be helpful to find ways to let that anger out- like writing in a journal or writing poetry, finding ways to relax, and most importantly TALKING about it with a counselor. I've had one of my clients(a teenage girl who was abused by her step-father) write poetry, and it's been very helpful for her. She's been able to release a lot of her feelings this way, and she's also gained insight into her feelings.

Additionally, it sounds like your husband could also benefit from some type of education about the effects of abuse. Feelings are not to be ignored- they are there for a reason. His telling you that you should just get over it may only intensify any feelings- especially guilt and shame.

Also, have you ever considered a support group for survivors? As tears stated, many abused women do not have support- many may be fearful in reaching out to others due to guilt, shame, etc. In domestic violence situations women are also typically isolated by the abuser and outside connections are broken. Support from others who have been through similar experiences may therefore be very helpful.

November 17, 1999
5:51 pm
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Jessica L
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To tears-

I got information on the support-system exercise from
a licensed therapist in my program. The program I am working in only treats victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In my work with clients so far, all of them have had some type of support network (even if they are still living with an abuser). For example, several of my clients attend a church and find that environment supportive. Thus, the role of spirituality can be a support for many.

Additionally, gal-ff stated that her kids have helped for her. Many of these women do find strength and courage through the love of their children. Such
love is an important support to someone who has been subjected to abuse.

Several also have family members outside the home (parents, siblings, etc.) that can be part of the support system.

Through the support-system exercise I have done with many of my clients, I have also come to realize that
support may be found through other means- such as spirituality. Maybe this information can be helpful for others.

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