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Difficulties, Skills and Therapy Strategies in Interventions with Court-Ordered Batterers in Spain

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2013 Pages: 118-124
Pablo Carbajosa; Santiago Boira; Lucia Tomas-Aragones
Date Published
February 2013
7 pages
This article reviews the main international analyses of the difficulties produced by the coercive context for psychological interventions used in Spain with men convicted of intimate partner violence.
As an alternative to prison in Spain, men who commit violence against an intimate partner are given the option of mandatory, non-custodial treatment programs. Researchers who have studied rehabilitation techniques with such men have grouped the difficulties of this treatment design into three areas: the context in which the intervention program is conducted, the characteristics of the offender, and factors related to the therapist. Regarding the intervention context, the enforced nature of the program and the fact that the therapist is required to report to the court are significant and determinant factors that complicate the offender's commitment to treatment. Under a context in which offenders are threatened with imprisonment if they do not comply with all treatment requirements, the therapist must create minimum conditions that foster motivation and reduce resistance to the rehabilitation program. One of the challenges the therapist faces is the low level of offender motivation at the beginning of the program. Unlike other rehabilitation interventions, the offender does not usually begin the treatment with a genuine internal motivation to resolve problems underlying violence against his intimate partner. Complications faced by the therapist are the conflict between being an enforcer of the rules that frame the coercive context while nourishing a supportive interaction that requires honesty and trust. The skills and strategies of the therapist must provide a framework and definition of the limits of the intervention, improve motivation and participation, deal with offender resistance, and be introspective and reflective regarding a balance between the role of enforcer of the rule-based framework and a therapist genuinely interested in an offender's concerns and issues. 2 tables and 66 references