Myths and Truths

Domestic Abuse, Myths and Truths, Columbia Treatment Center

Here are three myths and truths about an effective program to help men and domestic abuse.

Myth #1

  Marital counseling can help the couple improve their relationship.

Domestic Abuse, Myths and Truths, Columbia Treatment CenterThe Truth:

Offering marital counseling gives the offender a rationalization for his behavior. Couples counseling should only be provided after the offender has successfully completed a reputable domestic violence program, the person who is abused feels safe, and there is no fear that the counseling will invite violence. Marriage counseling is not an appropriate alternative to a domestic violence program.

Myth #2

  An anger management framework can teach the offender anger management techniques within the relationship.

The Truth:

The assumption in anger management counseling is that the offender’s stress and anger builds until an incident triggers a violent outburst. Anger management is designed to work with perpetrators of stranger or non-intimate anger problems. Anger management techniques can be an effective component of therapy, but only a part of a domestic violence program. These are two very different clinical approaches.

Myth #3

  The dangers of the psychological framework:

Domestic Abuse, Myths and Truths, Columbia Treatment CenterMany mental health professionals believe offenders batter because they have psychological problems, and/or family of origin issues, diagnosing them with a variety of disorders. Likewise, they often label battered women with poor self image, co-dependency, or “learned” helplessness.

The Truth:

Focusing on individual psychological problems of an offender at the expense of challenging a male’s beliefs and attitudes about women and male entitlement will not produce significant changes in behavior.

At CTC, we believe in the following truths:

  • Offenders have the capacity to change.
  • Our therapists are compassionate without colluding.
  • Our job is to provide a structured, evidence based approach that teaches innovative skills, techniques, options, and plans for a better relationship, such as:

  Sexual respect
  Effects of abuse on partners and families
  Letting go of anger
  Masculinity traps
  Destructive and defensive responses

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