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Counseling and Battered Women

Violence against women in society causes trauma, depression, stress and other psychological-related disorders. So as to alleviate the symptoms related to the trauma, buttered women have to seek counseling services where they are given support and life skills. This paper explores the literature that has been done so far concerning battered women and counseling services. This has been looked at with relation to the Post Trauma Stress Disorder,(PTSD), from which buttered women have shown symptoms. Women in the society have become vulnerable to conflict and domestic violence. Violence and other forms of abuse against women have become so common that out of three women in America, one has been subjected to physical assault by the intimate partner. This is according to the American Psychological Association Task Force On Violence and the Family. As the cases of violence against women continue manifesting themselves, the need for counseling and other related social services is also on the increase. Most women are seeking these services to cope with the challenge of living a better life after the unfortunate situations. (Dean et al, 2007)

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Counseling off buttered women is concerned with prevention measures especially concerning revictimization and managing other complications that may arise after the incidences of domestic violence. For instance the development of Post-trauma stress is an issue that has been tackled by studies in an effort to find answers for women suffering after going through domestic violence. (McWilliams et al, 2005)Research has continued to explore the role parental guidance and care can play in preventing cases of revictimization in women. This is especially important after some studies indicating that most adolescents who are subjected to sexual assault tend to be subjected to domestic violence in their adulthood.Counseling amongst other objectives aims at exploring the variables that exist in the way towards preventing children who have been subjected to sexual assault from experiencing similar incidences in their adulthood especially from their partners. (Astin,1993)

Researchers have continued to emphasize the need for victims of domestic violence to undergo PTSD treatment. Various programs that offer shelter to buttered women have achieved great results and endeavor to prevent the recurrence of violence and assault to the participants. It has been known through research that domestic violence is associated with high-level depression in the affected women. This is one of the reasons that have been cited for the need for counseling services in the shelter areas. (Houskamp,1991)

Battered women depict several symptoms of PTSD. Kelly et al, (2005) mention that the nature of these symptoms is also vital for care providers and the healing process of the victims. Women have been sexually and physically assaulted for a long time and the majority of the cases involve rape. In cases where women were incarcerated for killing their spouses, it was found they were meeting the criteria for being diagnosed with PTSD.This indicates that this condition is not only on the battered women but also can refer to those women who have been involved in violence against their male partners.

It is vital to underscore that counseling is a cognitive process hence the therapy for helping battered women must have a cognitive backing. As outline by Kubany&Watson (2002), the therapy for treating battered women is a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy with relaxation training and psychoeducation. Battered women have been known to have experienced prolonged and repeated trauma in their lives. Apart from the associated trauma these women have also been exposed to other forms of interpersonal violence such as childhood assault. Research has maintained that this prolonged trauma can lead to severe problems that can be in the form of collateral complications evident in the lack of assertiveness and tolerance to forms of physical violence by other people.

Buttered women have often felt attached to their assailants due to the children factor. The children have been an obstacle towards the women coming out to reveal their cases. This has resulted in severe symptoms of PTSD. Subsequent partners can also cause revictimization of the buttered women in some cases. Most buttered women suffer from guilt and shame. This has been a very common symptom of the trauma associated with domestic violence against women. (Karin et al, 1998)

Longitudinal studies have been carried out on the way towards coping with trauma associated with domestic violence in women. These studies tend to emphasize the stressors themselves and mechanisms that can be adopted to get along with them. Avoidant coping has been described to be problematic in the attempt to deal with PTSD.Avoidant coping strategies comprise conscious thought processes and specific behaviors that can be utilized to manage stressors within an individual’s system.

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Recent research concerning intimate partner violence indicates that battered women have a high risk of developing PTSD.However it is vital to note that not all the women show symptoms of PTSD. This is because there are factors that contribute towards the resistance of women who have experienced Intimate partner violence. These include social support and individual characteristics.

In terms of social support, it has been realized that women who are given social support immediately after going through domestic violence have a low risk of showing symptoms of PTSD. As indicated by Goodman, (2005), social support helps women to cope with the situation and manage it properly without interfering with the brain processes. Social support has been known to have a direct impact on mental health of buttered women and can also moderate the reactions between domestic violence and poor mental outcomes. In the case of incarcerated women with victimization history, social support has proved to be quite useful in improving the capacity of resilience over the PTSD symptoms.

As indicated by Kathryn et al (2006), individual characteristics have also been known to increase resistance to the PTSD symptoms. This is according to studies that have demonstrated that a number of characteristics in women who had been experiencing domestic violence, were responsible for their achievement of better mental health. These characteristics include self-esteem, personal commitment, adaptability, social skills and humor. In a study that was carried out on low-income African American women there was a revelation that the women who contemplated suicide were actually using coping strategies. It is as a result of the coping strategies that they accommodated their abusive partners who ended up victimizing them more and more to the level of thinking about committing suicide.

According to the results of the study, those who did not contemplate suicide used strategies that enabled them to move away from the relationship hence avoiding the looming harm. Such strategies are the most important during the counseling of buttered women so as to help them prevent the symptoms of PTSD. This study was significant in illustrating the existence of both solution-oriented engagement coping and disengagement coping. The research indicates that disengagement coping tends to predict better results than the avoidance coping strategy. (Elizabeth et al, 2008)

Cognitive behaviors are also instrumental in improving resilience to symptoms of PTSD. They are also referred to as cognitive styles in the prevention of Intimate partner violence. Cognitive behaviors of rejection and disconnection acted as a medium between violence and depression. In the survivors of early childhood violence the persistence of symptoms of PTSD can be attributed to perceptions of the severity and intensity of negative emotions and the resulting fear of the negative emotions. Most of the women who went through sexual violence in their adolescence tend to have fear of such situations and this can cause PTSD. (John et al, 2001)

In the treatment of PTSD several approaches have received empirical support. Among the approaches, exposure therapy has been put under the category of probable efficacious treatment by the American Psychological Association in the division of clinical psychology.

However there is development of new approaches that aim at helping women who have been victims of domestic violence. Evidence-based cognitive therapy has been designed to assist women who have suffered rape and sexual assault and other forms of trauma. In this therapy, the victims are required to write about the experiences they had which were traumatic and the effect of such experiences on their lives. It is on the basis of such revelations that change can be initiated concerning their guilt, depression and other associated characteristics. During the treatment sessions the experiences recorded by the victims are read aloud to the everybody in an effort to challenge the distorted cognitions that lead to guilt, depression and anger. (McWilliams et al, 2005)

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Women seeking therapy after physical abuse by their husbands should be taken through a process that can support and help them overcome the fear. In a study carried out in a support facility for women suffering from abuse a woman came to seek assistance after being buttered by her husband. She wanted to be divorced but her husband threatened to take her baby if it went through. In this particular case, the woman had to be supported, all the necessary information had to be provided to her and psychological education had to be started. The education that is supposed to be provided to such victims concerns the effect of the traumatic experiences. Still on the case, the woman went through the divorce process and managed to secure the custody of the child. After some time, she started experiencing trauma and depression. (Elizabeth et al, 2008)

A good therapy for such a patient would involve first of all set out the goals with the involvement of the patient. She has to bring out what she would like to come to terms with. This has to be followed with a self-evaluation process and learning to leave with the traumatic past. During the treatment phases the first step concerns the stabilization of the patient by making her feel secure enough and eliminating the source of the violence. It is clear that such a patient can have preoccupations about her present situation that tend to impact her mental processes. At this point in time the role of counseling is to eliminate negative behaviors such as too many thoughts and aggression towards other people. Examples of negative behaviors include suicidal thoughts, isolation and anger. When a patient is left to go through such negative behaviors, it becomes difficult to treat the case of trauma associated with domestic violence. Houskamp, B. M.. & Foy. D. W. (1991).

Cognitive trauma therapy

Cognitive trauma therapy has shown hope in the treatment of trauma associated with battered women. It is an issue that has to be looked at critically with those offering counseling services to the buttered women. This therapy is multi-component in nature and aims at tackling the issues of battered women from an all-inclusive approach towards helping them overcome trauma. (Elizabeth et al, 2008)

Cognitive trauma therapy involves several components that have been tailored to treat PTSD in battered women.

These components include:

  • Psychoeducation about PTSD.
  • Stress management
  • Self-monitoring maladaptive speech and thought process
  • Talking about trauma and exposure

This therapy is on record in having systematic processes that lead to the identification of dysfunctional behaviors and believes that are associated with symptoms of PTSD. Indeed it is from this identification that measures can be put in place to assist the battered women in eliminating such beliefs and overcoming the consequences of the trauma.Counselors have to emphasize the need for their clients to facilitate the process of correctly identifying the believes they hold about the experiences they went through that account for the physical or sexual abuse by their husbands. It is from this basis that proper efforts towards correcting the dysfunctional belief can be instituted in the cognitive trauma therapy. (John et al, 2001)

Cognitive trauma therapy also focuses on eliminating the negative talk about self-image shame and the feeling of guilt. It is vital to mention that research has indicated that such negative can be fundamental in worsening the situation of PTSD.Most women that have suffered physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by their husbands tend to feel bad about themselves and would often talk negatively about themselves. This can be viewed as to be contributing towards the said negative talk. Care providers have adopted the strategy of curtailing negative speech in their clients. This can be achieved in a self-monitoring process that is included in the homework for the battered women. From this perspective it is clear that the buttered women from a personal level play a very crucial role in eliminating bad talk and hence preventing worse effects of trauma. (McWilliams et al, 2005)

Apart from just concentrating on the individual efforts towards trauma, cognitive trauma therapy has also been noted to engage in addressing issues that affect women in the male-dominated society. This is very important because the battered women are part of this wider society in which the perpetrators of violence against women are still dominating. From this basis the buttered women become more knowledgeable in terms of handling issues in such a society and knowing how to adapt future strategies that can prevent revitalization. Skills that empower battered women to take control over their lives and escape being trapped by their partners because of financial or some other social-related issues that further put them at the risk of being abused again. Self-advocacy and empowerment strategies are very essential in a male-dominated society to protect the battered women and the rest in general from being prey to undeserving husbands who would want to take advantage of their inferior position to abuse and physically assault them.

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In conclusion it is important to mention that cognitive trauma therapy is critical in alleviating the symptoms of PTSD in battered women. It forms the basis for counseling women who have been buttered and are manifesting the symptoms of PTSD. As demonstrated by studies, exposure to anxiety-triggering and non-harmful reminders of the experiences in physical and sexual abuse can be an important aspect of alleviating the stress and trauma associated with domestic violence. All efforts in addressing the issues of battered women should be focused on these experiences to prevent revictimization incidences and symptoms of PTSD.

Cognitive trauma therapy being a source of hope in helping women emphasizes psychoeducation. This is a very important aspect of counseling in the sense that self-respect is a very critical element of one’s personality. Restoring self-respect in the buttered women is the beginning of earning respect from the rest of the society. On this basis psychoeducation in the therapy aims at making buttered women realize that negative self-talk and thought have to be stopped if they are to overcome the symptoms of PTSD. For buttered women to gain from counseling services emphasis has to be put on eliminating negative evaluative language and the survivors distorted meaning of their role in the trauma. This is so because these factors influence the chronicity of depression and stress that is associated with domestic violence. For counseling services to be of benefit to buttered women, alleviating the symptoms of trauma has to be given top priority by the social services providers.

Reference

Astin. M. C., Lawrence, K. J., & Foy. D. W. (1993). Posttraumatic stress disorder among battered women: Risk and resiliency factors. Violence and Victims, 8,17-28.

Dean Lauterbach, Christina Bak, Sarah Reiland, Shawn Mason,Michael R. Lute, and Lauren Earls, Quality of Parental Relationships Among PersonsWith a Lifetime History of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 2007, pp. 161–172

Elizabeth D. Krause and Stacey Kaltman, Lisa A. Goodman and Mary Ann Dutton, Avoidant Coping and PTSD Symptoms Related toDomestic Violence Exposure: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 21, No. 1, February 2008, pp. 83–90.

Goodman, L. A., Dutton, M. A., Weinfurt, K., & Cook, S. (2003). The Intimate Partner Violence Strategics, Index Development and application Violence Against Women, 9, 163–186.

Houskamp, B. M.. & Foy. D. W. (1991). The assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder in battered women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 6.367-375.

John S. Morrell and Linda J. Rubin, The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Women Domestic Violence Survivors, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 2001, Vol. 32, No. 2, 151-156.

Kubany&Watson, (2005), Cognitive Trauma Therapy for formerly Buttered women with PTSD; Coceptual bases and treatment Outlines. Cognitive Bahavioral practice 9, 111-127.

Karin A. Schlee, Richard E. Heyman, and K. Daniel O’Learyi, Group Tteatment for Spouse Abuse, Joumal of Family Violence, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1998.

Kelly L. Jarvis, Erin E. Gordon, and RaymondW. Novaco, Psychological Distress of Children and Mothers in Domestic Violence Emergency Shelters Journal of Family Violence, Vol. 20, No. 6.

Kathryn E. Phillips · Gerald M. Rosen · Lori A. Zoellner · Norah C. Feeny, A Cross-Cultural Assessment of Posttrauma Reactions Among Malaysian and US Women Reporting Partner Abuse. J Fam Viol (2006) 21:259–262.

McWilliams, L. A., Cox, B. J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2005).Symptom structure of posttraumatic stress disorder in a nationally representative sample. Journal of AnxietyDisorders, 19, 626–641.

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