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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99379 Find in a Library
Title: What Counselors Should Know About the Battered Woman (From Male Batterer, P 150-165, 1985, Daniel J Sonkin et al - See NCJ-99377)
Author(s): L E A Walker
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Springer Publishing Co
New York, NY 10036
Sale Source: Springer Publishing Co
11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10036
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Topics discussed in this review of issues that counselors of battered women should address include psychological injuries, coping skills for psychological survival, the theory of learned helplessness, assessing the impact of abuse, the focus of therapy, and confidentiality.
Abstract: Historical attitudes toward battered women have portrayed them as meek victims, manipulative masochists, or mentally ill. Thus, counselors must scrutinize all mental health problems to differentiate which come from within the person and which come from living in a sexist society. Perception of loss of control is a critical factor causing psychological injury to battered women. Others include feeling betrayed, recognizing the violation of love and trust, and myths about sex role standards expected for women. To minimize these injuries, battered women may adopt behaviors which protect them but frustrate others. The most common coping skills are manipulation, indirect expression of anger, splitting of mind and body, denial, and a willingness to please. The inability of a battered woman to predict whether her behavior will successfully protect her from further abuse creates a perception of no voluntary control over her life, or learned helplessness. Battered women tend to rely on a small repertory of responsive behaviors and become socially isolated. Consequently, the family therapy approach is dangerous with couples in a battering relationship because therapists tend to get enmeshed in their dysfunctional, but powerful system. The article details emotional and behavioral signs of the battered women's syndrome and suggests ways to deal with the question of why the woman stays with the batterer. The author emphasizes that the therapist should focus on the battered woman's personal growth rather than the relationship and discusses the potential for violence in child custody and visitation decisions. Brief mention is made of situations in which confidentiality may have to be broken and a mechanism to combat counselor burnout.
Index Term(s): Battered wives treatment; Battered woman syndrome; Counseling techniques; Crime Prevention International Inc; Psychological victimization effects
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