Healthcare Training Institute - Quality Education since 1979
CE for Psychologist, Social Worker, Counselor, & MFT!!
In the last section, I asked you to assess a client in the two areas: loss of power and disintegration of self image. In this section, I will discuss ways in which victims of the power imbalance, caused by feeling they have hooked their abusive partner, come to increase their awareness to recognize the fact that controlling abusive behavior is taking place.
As you know, there are many reasons women accept verbal psychological abuse from their "abusive partner." And just to recap a point made at the beginning of section #1, for purposes of brevity, I am using the pronoun her and female names for cases of the recipient of the psychological abuse. However, I like you, have treated many males involved in abusive relationships and same-sex relationships.
was married... for eight years to Jerry. She described how small things could ignite
Jerry's temper. When she stated her negative feelings about his outbursts, Jerry
refused to speak to her for hours or even days. Tina felt rejected and frustrated,
because she didn't know how to calm him down without causing further retaliation.
Tina said, "There was never any give and take in the relationship. I felt
I was doing all the giving.
♦ Psychological Abuse - Name-Calling
you have a client whom you feel you may have overlooked this basic step of client-awareness?
Perhaps you are trying to focus your session on actions to change, and the real
focus should be on first increasing your client's awareness of the abusive-controlling
the course of several sessions, I discussed with Sandra and Tina two questions
they might consider in evaluating whether they felt they were experiencing abusive
controlling behavior in the relationship, where the felt they had gotten the abusive partner.
#1. Increases awareness of the instant-replay syndrome.
#2. Increases awareness of the guilt trip strategy.
♦ Relationship Power - Labeling
Heres how I initiated this labeling technique in a session with Sandra. I asked her to be an objective observer of her thoughts. Have you found, like I, this thought-observing-method especially helpful when clients have negative self comparisons? I find three benefits of thought-monitoring or observation: the separation from the thought process, reduction of the attachment to the thoughts, and objectifying the psychological abuse.
I stated to Sandra, "Examine your thoughts objectively, the way you would study someone elses thoughts, as if you had no emotional attachment to them." For example, Sandras significant other, James, would say, "Our house is never as clean as my mother's" or, "Your Polish sausages never taste as good as Moms." After practicing this thought-observing-method, Sandy was able to recognize the source of these psychological abuse as being her partner's controlling behaviors.
The next section will describe three tactics I used to initiate this labeling technique with Sandra.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
DePrince, A. P., Labus, J., Belknap, J., Buckingham, S., & Gover, A. (Apr 2012). The impact of community-based outreach on psychological distress and victim safety in women exposed to intimate partner abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(2), 211-221.
Karakurt. G. and Silver, K. E. (2013). Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships: The Role of Gender and Age. Violence Victim, 28(5), 804-821.
Marshall, Amy D., Holtzworth-Munroe, Amy (2010) Recognition of wives’ emotional expressions: A mechanism in the relationship between psychopathology and intimate partner violence perpetration. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(1), 21-30.
Sullivan, T. P., McPartland, T. S., Armeli, S., Jaquier, V., & Tennen, H. (Apr 2012). Is it the exception or the rule? Daily co-occurrence of physical, sexual, and psychological partner violence in a 90-day study of substance-using, community women. Psychology of Violence, 2(2), 154-164.