Breaking Destructive Patterns: Multiple Strategies for Treating Partner Abuse
The problem of partner abuse has received much attention from the national media recently, with several well-publicized cases illuminating some of the complicated issues that surround family violence. Statistics indicate that battering is the major cause of injury to women; more alarmingly, many authorities agree that the problem may loom even larger than we know, since many, if not most, women in violent relationships do not report their battering. Why do women keep silent about partner abuse? And why do the majority of women in violent relationships choose to remain with men who abuse them? Perhaps most importantly, how can women entangled in abusive relationships most effectively be helped? In this guide to the treatment of battering that addresses these baffling questions, Geller offers a range of treatment approaches that recognizes the diverse needs of battered women. She discusses clinical intervention to prevent immediate further injury, the individual and group treatment of women who leave their partners, safety plans, and client advocacy. For the first time, the many women who want to end the violence without ending their relationships can find help. Recently, a debate has arisen over the appropriate methods of treating battered women, which has complicated the efforts of practitioners to address the immediate needs of women in abusive relationships. Should women necessarily always work toward leaving their abusive partners, or can the focus of therapy and counseling ever be on improving the relations between the client and her partner? Geller answers--conditionally--yes, given certain circumstances, one can work to improve relations, and she provides a step-by-step guide tovarious approaches to ending the violence. Geller handles intelligently and clearly the issues involved in the controversy between advocates for battered women and professionals trying to treat couples in violent relationships. She then straightforwardly discusses the pros and cons of conjoint and couples therapy, and the group treatment of abusive men. Geller also addresses critically the odysseys through the legal and medical establishments that battered women often face, and provides information on negotiating the criminal justice system for the client and her advocate. A useful section reviews the medical issues battering raises. Substantive, comprehensive, and eminently practicable, Breaking Destructive Patterns is essential reading for any mental health practitioner involved in the treatment of abused women and abusive men. It is also a valuable resource for students of social work, psychology, and psychiatry, physicians, and law enforcement officials.
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