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Coping with Domestic Violence
A family can be the heart of the human community, but a family can also be a source of anger, grief and betrayal. When love has become interwoven with violence, the nature of the family changes. It becomes no less powerful, but far less capable of supporting and nurturing, as the family becomes a vehicle for personal destruction and despair. In such a case, change is necessary. Whether you are a victim looking for help as you face or recover from domestic violence; an abuser determined to learn how to control impulses that betray your real desires and the trust of those you love; or a friend or associate trying to find support and healing for those close to you, counseling can offer hope.
Advantages of Counseling
- Restore hope to a family and individuals
- Teach all involved how to combat domestic violence, in the home and in the heart
- Provide practical guidance, methods, and techniques for dealing with violence
- Provide a secure process for coping with trauma after abuse
Help For the Helpless
Families trapped in violence often see no way out of the ongoing conflicts that plague the home. All members of a family tend to feel shame, guilt, insecurity, and a an alarming lack of trust towards each other and also toward the outside community, that could reject and betray the family members. In many instances, only a talented and capable professional can help a family embark upon the path to trust, security, and mutual respect, or help reintegrate them into a community long seen as a threat to what little security the family has experienced.
Learning Skills of Peace and Respect
For many people who have experienced domestic violence, the art of peaceful coexistence and respect has been buried by past experience. Both victim and abuser are likely to be suffering from low self-esteem, anger, insecurity, resentment, and an associated group of emotions that actively perpetuates the patterns of violence, rather than ending them. As a result, a counselor is often deeply involved in teaching family members new life patterns. The family must learn new ways to interact and to end interactions that are escalating toward violence. They must learn communication and negotiation skills, and be taught to view their own actions through the eyes of others. Often, the best guidance comes from a trained family counselor specializing in domestic violence.
The Great Challenge of Violence
A counselor can also help teach individuals from violent families how to avoid perpetuating the violence with others, such as new suitors, members of the community, coworkers, strangers – anyone who offers a target for rage and abuse. The habits of violence and the attitudes that foster violence are often deeply entrenched, and counseling can be a powerful tool in disengaging from these habits of thought and interaction.
PTS and Other Issues After Violence
In many instances, a patient can only get counseling after prolonged exposure to domestic violence followed by some break with the family. In these cases, a counselor can often provide help with lingering post-traumatic stress, fear, insecurity, and concern that the cycle not be started over in new relationships or in a new family unit.
Common Types of Counseling
The two most common approaches to counseling for domestic violence are family therapy and personal counseling. The first is strongly recommended in situations in which any fraction of the family remains intact and in contact. In many cases, the habits and fears generated by domestic violence remain, built into the very bones of the family, and counseling can help guide the family members into new habits and new ways of relating. For those cut off from a home with domestic violence in any way, personal therapy is often a route to acceptance, healing, and moving on. Growing past old violence is the ideal goal for anyone who has endured the complicated misfortune of