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Strategies for Battered Women
Battered Women continuing education counselor CEUs

Section 9
Impact of Intimate Partner Violence

Question 9 | Test | Table of Contents | Domestic Violence
Social Worker CEs, Counselor CEs, Psychologist CEs, MFT CEs

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On the last track we outlined the main Illusions battered women maintain about themselves.

Now let's look at ways to help your battered client uncover the illusions she holds.

Stacy, a 32-year-old housewife, described the most recent attack by her husband Logan in our first session. She stated, "The phone was for him, so I took it to the garage where he was working on his carpentry project. Then a few minutes later after he was off the phone I went back in to see if he wanted something to eat. He was furious with me for interrupting him again. He came at me with a board and just started hitting me in my side over and over."

Exercise: 5 'Illusions Inventory' Items
Stacy worked through an Illusion Inventory that I have found can often help a battered woman to explore myths that she may be holding to prevent her growth.

Stacy and I discussed the following 5 Inventory Items:
1. Illusions regarding emotional support: "What are some beliefs you have about emotional support? That you don't need it? That you can't live without it? That you must have it from a certain person?
2. Illusions regarding financial support: "What are some beliefs you hold about financial support? Have you looked into public assistance? Have you ever written down a sample budget for food and other expenses?
3. Illusions regarding housing: How much would housing cost if you lived on your own? Have you looked at ads in the paper?
4. Illusions regarding care of children: How much does child care cost? What subsidized programs are available?
5. Illusions regarding protection of herself and her children: What is the procedure for a restraining order? What is the effect of a restraining order?

Once the Stacy had categorized her list of illusions, we worked to uncover the unrealistic nature behind her illusions. After this reflection, Stacy stated, "If I had a job and had to put my kids in pre-school, then they would be safe from Logan's screaming. I guess my need for Logan to care about me doesn't hold water if the kids would be better off being out of harm's way. They have to walk on egg shells during the day for fear that any noise we make will wake him and he'll get out of bed screaming and hit me."

Stacy began to realize that staying at home with her kids was not bringing to pass her illusion of the happy, well-adjusted family, but was in fact contributing to its dysfunctionality.

Once a battered woman works through her illusions or myths of leaving, she often uncovers issues she has previously avoided dealing with. For example, as you will see, Susan's leaving Marty resulted in her having to face her fear of getting a job.

Case Study: Susan
Susan, a 28-year-old battered mother of two young children, came to see me because she wanted to leave her husband Marty. Susan was afraid she couldn't possibly make it on her own. She maintained the Illusion of Dependency.

During one session in which we were addressing Susan's Illusions or myths about Financial Dependency, she stated, "I actually can't think of a single reason why a woman with a Master's degree in Accounting would not be able to get a job, if she really set her mind to it. I guess I always just assumed I wasn't good enough. Marty always told me a woman like me would never make it!" Susan had postponed getting a job and leaving Marty because she believed she was dependent on him. By maintaining her Illusions of Dependency, Susan was able to avoid dealing with her fears of reality and getting a job.

We have also discussed the Illusion Inventory that can assist a battered woman to uncover the truth behind her illusions and move forward to face her fears, such as getting a job.

In the next track we will discuss Pains and Pluses Journaling.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Graham-Bermann, S., Sularz, A. R., & Howell, K. H. (2011). Additional adverse events among women exposed to intimate partner violence: Frequency and impact. Psychology of Violence, 1(2), 136–149.

Jouriles, E. N., & Kamata, A. (2016). Advancing measurement of intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence, 6(2), 347–351. 

Spangaro, J. M., Zwi, A. B., & Poulos, R. G. (2011). "Persist. persist.": A qualitative study of women's decisions to disclose and their perceptions of the impact of routine screening for intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence, 1(2), 150–162.

VanMeter, F., Nivison, M. D., Englund, M. M., Carlson, E. A., & Roisman, G. I. (2021). Childhood abuse and neglect and self-reported symptoms of psychopathology through midlife. Developmental Psychology, 57(5), 824–836.

Zarling, A., Bannon, S., Berta, M., & Russell, D. (2020). Acceptance and commitment therapy for individuals convicted of domestic violence: 5-year follow-up and time to reoffense. Psychology of Violence, 10(6), 667–675.

Zhang, X., Zeelenberg, M., & Breugelmans, S. M. (2021). Anticipated guilt and going against one’s self-interest. Emotion.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 9
What are the parts in a five-part inventory of illusions for a battered woman? To select and enter your answer go to Test.

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