It may not be something that everyone is talking about, but domestic violence is a very real issue for many people. Studies estimate that as many as 10 million people in the United States experience some form of domestic violence every year.
Despite being coined domestic violence, the term is actually used to describe all manner of abusive behaviors including verbal, emotional, economic, physical, and sexual. The goal of any type of domestic violence is to gain and maintain control over the victim, and the perpetrator can and will use a wide range of techniques in order to establish this. These include dominance, humiliation, isolation, intimidation/threat, blame, and more. In most cases, victims of domestic violence find it incredibly difficult to leave their partners and secure their safety. This means it often takes years before they find the strength to get away from their abusive family member.
The effects of being subjected to such abuse, particularly over a prolonged period, can be devastating. Studies show that domestic violence survivors are at a much higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, stress-related mental health conditions, and even issues with substance abuse. They may find it difficult to trust other people and may struggle to cope with the residual emotional pain from their past experiences.
Fortunately, therapy can help survivors to break the isolation that they may be feeling, learn to manage their emotions, and move forward with their lives.
Domestic violence is a form of violence that occurs within a domestic relationship. Many people think that this means that the violence only has taken place between partners, but the term can also be used to describe violence against a child, or by a child against siblings or parents.
One of the most important concepts that are often overlooked is that domestic violence transcends the boundaries of both gender and sexual orientation. Despite the fact that women in heterosexual relationships are more often the victims of domestic violence, a significant number of incidences do occur against males by females, and in LGBTQ relationships. Many men who are survivors of domestic violence struggle to speak out for fear that their situation emasculates them, and this can make it even harder to receive the support that they need.
Domestic violence also transcends socioeconomic divides.
When you leave an abusive relationship, it can take you a long time to come to terms with what has happened. In some cases, the victim continues to suffer from harassment even after they have left, and many more end up living in fear of running into their abuser or experiencing further problems in the future. Fortunately, therapy can help victims to manage their emotions and behaviors so that they can go on to embrace a positive future.
Domestic violence therapy for survivors offers a safe and confidential space where you will be heard, believed, and accepted. Your therapist will listen to what you have to say without judgment and in total confidence and they will help you to come to terms with what happened and why to help prevent you from falling into similar relationships in the future. They do this by asking questions and challenging you in ways that will help you to understand yourself better and what you can do to ensure that you can work towards living in a way that is more fulfilling for you. They will also work to build on your confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth that may have previously been eroded by your abuser.
Therapy for domestic violence survivors can take place in private, individual sessions or in a group setting, depending on which you feel most comfortable with. Some survivors combine the two, talking privately with their therapist about their most private issues, but using group therapy sessions to connect with others who have been through similar situations. This is beneficial in overcoming the isolation that is often created by abusers, and that the victim may feel when they break away from their situation, particularly if their abuser has caused their other supportive personal relationships to break down.
If you would like to find out more about therapy for domestic violence survivors, please don’t hesitate to contact us in complete confidence by calling Dr. Allison Brownlee and Associates in San Diego, CA.