You are the women we dread. Some do their best to screen you out because we know that we have little to offer you to ease your suffering.
Couples Therapy is not going to help you.
I went to school with many of the kind of people who can; specialists in Domestic Violence (DV) and the brave MFT’s that conduct individual and group therapy with abusive husbands.
Patriarchy is kind of a fault line in Couples Therapy. All models of Couple Therapy struggle with it.
But few therapists believe that there is a reliable, evidence-based model to successfully work with both partners in DV cases.
DV is a complex topic, but the question is when to leave a marriage with children? A better question is….when are you are so afraid that you need a safety plan?
Google “DV Safety plans” and see what I mean.
A Safety plan tries to cover all sources for risk. It forces you to think through questions like where will you be? What will you need? And Where shall you go? A safety plan empowers you because it compels you to assess the circumstances, threats, and deficits that you will negotiate in a DV assault.
Women who suffer under DV household patriarchy often have Complex Trauma and are at terrible risk when they take action to leave.
Here is what a Safety Plan looks like. I wrote this one just for you:
These steps are my plan for safety and to get ready for how future violence may happen. Because I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I can choose how to get my kids and myself to safety.
STEP 1: Safety during a violent incident. Victims cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, battered partners may use a variety of strategies.
I can use some of the following strategies:
STEP 2: Safety when preparing to leave. I may have to leave my home to be safe. I will leave with a good plan in order to be safe. My partner may want to hit back at me if he/she thinks I want to leave her/him.
I can use some or all of these strategies:
Telephone numbers I need to know:
Police Department Local: 911
Police Department where I work: 911 or______________________________________________________________________
Police department at my kid’s school: 911
Battered Women’s Program (local) _____________________________________________________________________ _
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7223)
WomensLaw.org info on important laws I should know.
800-787-3224 (TTY) 787
County Registry of Protection Orders: _____________________________________________________________________
State registry of protection orders: _______________________________________________________________________
I WILL PRINT OUT COPIES OF THIS SAFETY PLAN TODAY AND GIVE IT TO FRIENDS/FAMILY I TRUST
I will keep this PLAN in a SAFE place and out of the reach of my abuser.
Review date: _________________________
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.
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