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Self-Efficacy in Partner Violence
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previous section, dealt with a three-tiered method of constructing affirmations from
a content-based impersonal affirmation, to a content-based personal affirmation
statement, and finally constructing a visualization with Rhonda. I would like
once again bring up the concept of B-A-D questions discussed in section 9 to show
you how I connected this into resistance for Rhonda.
you found, like I, that when a client is in the midst of an abusive relationship,
she is trying to figure out what's best for herself and her children? Rhonda was
always taking stock and re-evaluating her options. If you recall, Rhonda, the 41
year-old school teacher, had two children. Rhonda had been married for twenty
years to Jeffrey.
The B-A-D Questions
In Section 9, we discussed how I had used the B-A-D questions with
her. If you recall the B-A-D questions were:
1. "Do you think that
you can bear this type of treatment for the rest of your life?"
"A" stands for acceptable. I asked Rhonda, "You stated your husband
is not behaving the way that a man in love with you, committed to his wife, behaves.
Is that acceptable to you?"
3. The "D" stands for deserve.
I then stated, "I'm sure there have been good times between you two, but
that's not what I'm hearing about. You sound unhappy. Do you think you deserve
♦ Demoting the 'Great Catch'
addition to this, in the previous section, section 13, we talked about use of affirmations
with Rhonda. Both the B-A-D questions and the three-tiered affirmations combined
to be steps towards resistance to Jeffrey's controlling, abusive behavior. The
result? This resistance repositioned him out of the status of being the "Great
an example of how this resistance and repositioning evolved in one session following
Rhonda's use of the BAD questions and the affirmations. She triumphantly stated
as she took her usual seat in my office, "I refused to do Jeffrey's laundry.
I am sick of his criticism. He kept telling me that I was doing it wrong, so I
told him that if I couldn't do it right he should take his dirty shorts somewhere
else and get it done professionally." This was the method Rhonda chose to
show resistance to Jeffrey's extreme verbal abuse. Obviously, when your client
who is in an abusive relationship begins to see a therapist, she has already taken
steps to resist her partner's control.
resistance to Jeffrey's control helped Rhonda start to regain her strength in
the relationship. She also regained a certain level of pride, rather than feeling
like, as she stated, "the door mat." By not doing Jeffrey's laundry,
she clearly was challenging or resisting the control he had in the relationship.
But, in looking at the bigger picture, this action challenged the balance of power
in their relationship.
Rhonda's big announcement that she was not doing Jeffrey's laundry, what would
have been your next step in her session? Here's what I stated in a supportive
manner, "Some actions are more effective than others, and sometimes they
may even be counter-productive. But, you never know what will happen until you
try. I admire your courage. How is it going now? How do you feel now about it?
How is Jeffrey reacting?"
a basic that bears repeating. When a woman in an abusive relationship comes to
me, I recommend that she finds a support network, which will be stressed through
the following sections. Ask yourself, when your client is resisting control and
repositioning the balance of power in the relationship, do you need to assist
her in assessing her sources of support? This is a basic I can easily overlook
when caught up in the drama of my client's current trauma.
my mind it took a lot of courage on Rhonda's part to refuse to do Jeffrey's laundry.
I feel she was able to gather the courage to do this, because we had talked about
her creation of a support network.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Lambert, J. E., Benight, C. C., Wong, T., & Johnson, L. E. (2013). Cognitive bias in the interpretation of physiological sensations, coping self-efficacy, and psychological distress after intimate partner violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(5), 494–500.
Rhatigan, D. L., Shorey, R. C., & Nathanson, A. M. (2011). The impact of posttraumatic symptoms on women's commitment to a hypothetical violent relationship: A path analytic test of posttraumatic stress, depression, shame, and self-efficacy on investment model factors. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 3(2), 181–191.
Sullivan, T. P., McPartland, T., Price, C., Cruza-Guet, M. C., & Swan, S. C. (2013).
Relationship self-efficacy protects against mental health problems among women in bidirectionally aggressive intimate relationships with men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60
Resistance against an abuser in a relationship challenges what? To select and enter your answer go to .