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Male Batterer - A Treatment Approach

NCJ Number
D J Sonkin; D Martin; L E A Walker
Date Published
270 pages
This book examines social attitudes which condone domestic violence, outlines psychological characteristics of the typical batterer, and describes treatment methods -- principally therapeutic group sessions -- that have helped batterers stop their violent behavior.
The book first surveys the battered women's movement, feminist research on wife beating, the role of sexist stereotypes in domestic violence, and the response of the criminal justice system. An overview of the male batterer explores the following common characteristics: minimalization and denial of the violent behavior, dependency and jealousy, low self-esteem, and physical or sexual abuse during childhood. Also discussed are standardized tests to corroborate clinical observations, causes of battering, and domestic violence among military personnel. Methods used by the author to successfully help batterers establish and sustain relationships without violence are outlined, beginning with thought problems designed to help counselors examine their attitudes toward relationships, anger, and violence. Questioning styles and vocabularly conducive to working with batterers are presented. Other issues examined include identifying the batterer, assessing lethality and motivation for change, and determining the treatment plan. The central technique in this approach is the therapeutic group system to help violent men develop anger management and communication skills, decrease their isolation, and develop interpersonal support skills. The book discusses treatment goals, the group's structure, group leaders' roles, and problem areas. Also covered are the clinical handling of 17 special issues which regularly surface in treating batterers, along with legal and ethical concerns. Separate chapters focus on therapeutic approaches to battered women and a plan for developing counseling services for male batterers. A case study, forms used in the treatment program, approximately 200 references, and an index are supplied.


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