previous track talked about learned helplessness.
As I review the Powerhouse
Three mentioned at the end of track 6, think of a battered client you are treating.
Where is she at regarding implementation of this primal behavior modification genre?
3 Helplessness Powerhouse Stages
1. Acquiring Information About
What Will Happen.
Maryann stated, "When Matt came home he got angry
because the rice was cold. So he flipped rice in my face. Now the first thing
I do when he walks through the door is look at his face to see what kind of mood
2. Thinking About What
Maryann stated, "But after he flipped rice in my face,
I couldn't stop replaying this humiliating event in my mind over and over again.
Even though no one else was there to see it, I knew it happened!"
3. New Behavior Towards What Happened.
stated, "I started keeping a small notebook of the amount of time it takes
to microwave each food so they would be the right temperature when Matt got home."
Maryann felt helpless to control Matt's tantrums. Maryann then experienced a loss of agency. She felt she lost her ability to make decisions about their life.
As you are aware,
once a battered woman believes that she cannot control what happens, it is
hard for her to believe that she can ever influence the battering. A failure expectancy
is created. This failure expectation becomes fertile soil for the growth of the
idea that she must not attempt to free herself from the abuse.
had enough one day, she stated, "I picked up a hammer in self defense. Matt
got nuts when he saw the hammer. I ended up losing 2 teeth, had a broken arm,
and 3 broken ribs." Maryann thought that simply picking up the hammer was
success. But the resulting beating only reinforced her failure expectancy.
How do you change your Maryann's Failure Expectancy? As you know, failure
expectancy is at the core of the psyche as to why women stay. Building a battered
woman's self-esteem and confidence is essential in changing her Failure Expectancy.
With Maryann I felt she might benefit by being taught to understand what success
is, to raise her motivation and aspiration levels, and to be able to initiate
new and effective responses to control her life.
As you are know, battered
women have a hard time being aware of and giving credit to their own feelings.
To better help Maryann understand her feelings of helplessness, I used the "symptom
Exercise: Symptom Discovery
Here's how "symptom discovery" works. I
explained to Maryann that it is helpful to look for physical signs as indicators
of her feelings. As the abuse continued, a clear pattern of symptoms and feelings
emerged. First, I asked Maryann to list three physical signs of her specific feelings.
3 Behaviors of Feelings
As you listen to these behaviors, think of which ones you have seen in your Maryann
and how her underlying depression and helplessness has surfaced:
1: A constant state of being tired.
When Maryann complained of always
feeling tired, it often pointed to feelings of sadness or depression. Maryann
stated, "After I talk or think about the beatings I have gotten from Matt,
oftentimes, I immediately feel like I really need to take a nap."
2: Snapping at the children for no apparent reason.
Do you agree that
when battered women punish their children without reason, this over-punishing
may often show that they feel underappreciated. It can also point to resentment
at the good times of others, feeling resentful as she sees her children playing
happily in the corner.
Behavior 3: Excessive or restrained eating.
Battered women often exhibit the symptom of depression by compensating for loneliness
or lack of affection with extreme eating patterns. Maryann stated, "When
I begin to feel alone, I will eat anything sweet that I can find in the house."
the "symptom discovery" method, Maryann was able to better understand
her own feelings and why these feelings emerged.
This track covers the Powerhouse
Three that occur once learned helplessness is firmly entrenched, and the intervention
of Symptom Discovery. Do you consider this information important enough to replay
track 7 either now or later? If you plan to play track 7 later, what do you think
about writing yourself a note in your planner?
In the next track we will
look at six Building Blocks in the battered woman's Pyramid of Self-Hate.
- Dichter, M. E., Thomas, K. A., Crits-Christoph, P., Ogden, S. N., & Rhodes, K. V. (2018). Coercive control in intimate partner violence: Relationship with women’s experience of violence, use of violence, and danger. Psychology of Violence, 8(5), 596–604.
- LaMotte, A. D., Gower, T., Miles-McLean, H., Farzan-Kashani, J., & Murphy, C. M. (Oct 2019). Trauma's Influence on Relationships: Clients' Perspectives at an Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Program. Journal of Family Violence, 34(7), 655-662.
- Pallini, S., Alfani, A., Marech, L., & Laghi, F. (Jun 2017). Unresolved Attachment and Agency in Women Victims of Intimate Partner Violence: A Case-Control Study. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 90(2), 177-192. DOI: 10.1111/papt.12106.
- Salcioglu, E., Urhan, S., Pirinccioglu, T., & Aydin, S. (2017). Anticipatory fear and helplessness predict PTSD and depression in domestic violence survivors. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(1), 117–125.
- Ursa, M., & Koehn, C. (Jul 2015). Young Women's Experiences of Coping with Violence in Intimate Relationships. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 37(3), 250-267. DOI: 10.17744/1040-2861-37.3.250.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Frey, L. L., Beesley, D., Abbott, D., & Kendrick, E. (2017). Vicarious resilience in sexual assault and domestic violence advocates. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(1), 44–51.
Howell, K. H., Thurston, I. B., Schwartz, L. E., Jamison, L. E., & Hasselle, A. J. (2018). Protective factors associated with resilience in women exposed to intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence, 8(4), 438–447.
López-Fuentes, I., & Calvete, E. (2015). Building resilience: A qualitative study of Spanish women who have suffered intimate partner violence. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(4), 339–351.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION
What are the power house three of learned helplessness that results
in failure expectancy? To select and enter your answer go to .