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The Role of Self-Esteem and Well-Being
Life Traps continuing education psychologist CEUs

Section 10
Physical Violence in Relationships

CEU Question 10 | CEU Test | Table of Contents | Couples
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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The last track talked about interventions for clients who are on an emotional roller coaster of fear, guilt, feelings of going crazy, and anger. Healing and Recovery can be difficult processes for your clients. In the process of recovery, individuals are presented with many opportunities to recover themselves.

Marian, a 33 year old secretary, was in the Lifetrap of physical abuse. Marian recently separated from her physically-abusive husband. Marian stated, "Rob used to be so caring then all of the sudden, our honeymoon was over. About a year into our marriage, Rob turned on me and started hitting me whenever things didn't go his way. I thought it was my fault, so I constantly stayed on edge, trying to make sure that everything was perfect for him. When things weren't perfect, Rob was capable of torture. One time, he broke my arm and kept pulling on it saying it wasn't broken. Then he refused to let me go to the doctor to have it looked at."

Marian described to me the first time she tried to leave Rob. "He begged me to stay and said that things would change. I stayed but things only seemed to get worse. I was paralyzed with fear. When I finally had had enough, I left without warning while he was at work and moved in with a coworker. I've filed for divorce, and I'm only corresponding with him through lawyers now. Things are starting to get better, but I can't help but feel like this is my fault, because I'm not good enough."

Four Concepts for Acting on Your Own Behalf
There are, of course, many approaches for battered women. But, here are a few. I suggested that Marian think about what made her feel good about herself. I told Marian that she might keep four concepts in mind when acting on her own behalf:
1. She should protect herself.
-- 2. She should develop her talents with dedication and discipline.
-- 3. She should determine her needs and make plans on how she intends to meet them.
-- 4. She should build structure into every day of her life.

Through my work with Marian, I found that the more important part of the recovery process was "taking back." Marian needed to determine her needs and "take them back." One way that I recommended she do this was by making a list. Once Marian had written down her needs, she could think of things which she could do to begin to meet them. Writing her needs down brought acknowledgement to them, and validated Marian's feelings. For example, some needs Marian wrote down were finding a place on her own and making sure she has enough money to support herself.

I found, with Marian, that once she'd left Rob and decided to date again, she needed to recognize herself. By recognize herself I mean: I discussed with Marian about being her own choice-maker, discriminator, and action-taker in order to avoid being abused; by having her limits respected; and by affirming that, "Today, I must act on my own behavior."

Seven Things Every Survivor Needs to Remember
Here's a checklist of the Seven Things Every Survivor Needs to Remember. Ask yourself if you're currently treating an abuse survivor with which these need to be reviewed. I find I've dealt with these for so long that I can easily overlook providing my client with this basic information to help them grow past their physical-abuse lifetrap. Here is the checklist:
-- 1. Healing and recovery take time.
-- 2. The process of healing and recovery can be helped along but can't be rushed.
-- 3. Healing and recovery are processes, so one doesn't see a lot of hard physical evidence that one is recovering.
-- 4. Increased awareness is a result of healing and recovering.
-- 5. Healing and recovery lead one to the truth.
-- 6. In recovery, a woman's feelings inform her so she has more than just an intellectual understanding of what is or was going on.
-- 7. Healing means increasing self-esteem and awareness.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Brock, R. L., Barry, R. A., Lawrence, E., Rolffs, J., Cerretani, J., & Zarling, A. (2015). Online administration of questionnaires assessing psychological, physical, and sexual aggression: Establishing psychometric equivalence. Psychology of Violence, 5(3), 294–304.

Cross, E. J., Overall, N. C., Low, R. S. T., & McNulty, J. K. (2019). An interdependence account of sexism and power: Men’s hostile sexism, biased perceptions of low power, and relationship aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(2), 338–363.

Hammett, J. F., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2020). When does verbal aggression in relationships covary with physical violence? Psychology of Violence. 

Roberson, K., & Pieterse, A. L. (2021). Internalized racism and self-esteem: Do depressive symptoms matter? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 27(3), 531–536.

Testa, M., & Derrick, J. L. (2014). A daily process examination of the temporal association between alcohol use and verbal and physical aggression in community couples. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(1), 127–138.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 10
What is a key concept in dealing with your client who has experienced physical abuse? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Test.

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