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In the last track we discussed working as a therapeutic team.
Now let's look at an
overview of three stages of abuse. I find that when I ask members of my
anger management group to talk about their abusive actions, they tend to describe
three stages of abuse. Stage one is "Something snaps." Stage two is
"Abuse isn't worth Jail Time." Stage three is "Stopping the Abuse."
As you listen to an overview of the interventions I used for each of these three
stages, think about whether you have used, or could use, the interventions with
a physically abusive client of yours.
Two Key Questions
As you know, it is difficult for many clients to pinpoint and verbalize the beginnings of their behavior. I found that when put on the spot by other group members during a session, Ian was better able to answer these questions. Thus, Ian began to think about what was causing him to snap. For instance, Ian began to realize that something snapped inside him when he lost his job. I suggested that the depression that resulted from being fired was a possible cause of his "Something Snaps" stage.
Stage # 2 - "Abuse
Isn't Worth Jail Time"
I asked Ian if he was beginning to realize that Abuse Isn't Worth Jail Time. As you know, batterers like Ian often realize, after the fact, that they are severely damaging their spouses and children. However, batterers like Ian fail to realize this fact while they are inflicting inerasable physical and emotional abuse onto their loved ones. I asked Ian if jail time is the outcome that he wanted. He stated emphatically, "No!"
Disputing Method for Intervention
Ian stated, "That would ruin my life. I mean, at least it
would ruin my life as I see it now. You know how some employers are. They run
a background check. With jail time on my record, no one would trust me in their
house to paint." I find that the use of Practical Disputing helps eliminate
the excuses that I consistently see my clients using.
After some group discussion, Ian stated, "I have control over smacking Heather. But I don't have control over when she starts to whine." Think of a client you are currently treating. Would the "Taking Responsibility" Examination be beneficial in your next session?
Stage # 3 - "Stopping the Abuse"
Are you currently treating a physically abusive client who is ready for the Stopping the Abuse stage? Would Ellis's Practical Disputing be of assistance in your next session?
this track, I discussed an overview of the three stages of abuse that batterers
experience during their abusive relationship and the therapy process. In the next
track, we will discuss red flags that a batterer might learn to recognize as preceding
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