Advertisement

Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 323–332 | Cite as

Beyond Power and Control: Clinical Interventions with Men Engaged in Partner Abuse

  • Samuel R. AymerEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Within the context of agency practice, most programs for abusive men are informed by the Duluth Model, suggesting that male violence against women is influenced by the dictates of patriarchy and sexism. Accordingly, this model promotes the importance of educational groups, which aim to debunk men’s stereotypical beliefs about women. Thus, men’s early abuse history, which also contributes to the use of violence, is omitted from service delivery. In contrast, this article explores the use of clinical interventions with men engaged in partner abuse with particular emphasis on a psychodynamic approach. The premise is that exposure to partner abuse during childhood as well as being the target of child abuse both shape the histories of these men in varying degrees, often manifesting in shame, depression, anxiety, and fear of abandonment, resulting in a poor self-image. Since environmental and socio-cultural influences inhibit them from expressing feelings associated with their experiences, clinical work, in contrast, encourages the development of insight and helps build skills that facilitate adaptive psychosocial functioning. This process unlocks suppression of affect by giving them ways to examine how certain events that occurred earlier in their lives contribute to the ways in which they treat their partners. Attachment, social learning and object relations theories all provide the theoretical frameworks. The case of Tom addresses partner abuse in the context of heterosexual relationships, demonstrating how psychodynamically informed psychotherapy can benefit abusive men.

Keywords

Child abuse Domestic violence Partner abuse Batterers Psychodynamic therapy 

References

  1. Adams, D. (1989). Feminist-based interventions for battering. In L. P. Caesar & L. K. Hamberg (Eds.), Treating men who batter (pp. 3–23). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Addis, M., & Cohane, G. (2005). Social scientific paradigms of masculinity and their implications for research and practice in men’s mental health. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 633–647.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aymer, S. R. (2005). Exposure: An exploratory study of adolescent males’ coping responses to domestic violence. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ehrenkranz School of Social Work-New York University, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  4. Balint, M. (1979). The basic fault. New York: Bruner Maazel.Google Scholar
  5. Bateman, A. W., & Fonagy, P. (2004). Mentalization-based treatment of BPD. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18, 36–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blos, P. (1962). On adolescence: A psychoanalytic interpretation. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Attachment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Bowlby, J. (1983). Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 30, 556–664.Google Scholar
  9. Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Carden, A. D. (1994). Wife abuse and the wife abusers: Review and recommendation. The Counseling Psychologist, 22, 539–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carney, M., & Buttell, R. (2006). Exploring the relevance of interpersonal dependency as a treatment issue in batterer intervention. Research on Social Work Practice, 16, 276–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Celani, D. P. (1994). The illusion of love: Why the battered woman returns to her abuser. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, N. L., Ford, M. B., Guichard, A. C., & Allard, L. M. (2006). Working models of attachment and attribution processes in intimate relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 201–219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corcoran, J. (2006). Cognitive behavioral methods for social workers: A workbook. Virginia Commonwealth University, Allyn and Bacon, Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Corvo, K. (2006). Violence, separation, and loss in the family of origin of domestically violent men. Journal of Family Violence, 21, 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (1994). Marital conflict and child adjustment: An emotional security hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 387–411.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davis, D. (1991). Intervention with male toddlers who have witnessed parental violence. Families in Society, 72, 515–524.Google Scholar
  18. Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. (1979). Violence against wives: A case against the patriarchy. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  19. Dutton, D. C., & Golant, S. K. (1995). The batterer: A psychological profile. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Ehrensaft, M. K., Cohen, P., & Brown, P. (2003). Intergenerational transmission of partner violence: A 20-year prospective study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 741–753.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1983). Object relations in psychoanalytic theory. In J. R. Greenberg & S. A. Mitchell (Eds.), Object relations in psychoanalytical theory (pp. 151–187). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fantuzzo, J. W., & Mohr, W. K. (1999). Prevalence and effects of child exposure to domestic violence. Future of Children, 9, 21–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fosco, G. M., DeBoard, R. I., & Grych, J. H. (2007). Making sense of family violence: Implications of children appraisal of interparental aggression for their short- and long-term functioning. European Psychologist, 12, 6–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ganley, A. L. (1981). Counseling programs for men who batter: Elements of effective programs. Response to Victimization of Women and Children, 4, 3–4.Google Scholar
  25. Garfield, G. (2005). Knowing what we know: African American women’s experiences of violence and violation. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Gartner, R. B. (1999). Betrayal as boys: Psychodynamic treatment of sexually abused men. New York: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  27. Goldberg, C. (1991). Understanding shame. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.Google Scholar
  28. Goldstein, E. (1995). Ego psychology and social work practice (2nd ed.). New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gondolf, E. W., & Russell, D. (1986). The case against anger management control treatment programs for batterers. Response to Victimization of Women and Children, 9, 2–5.Google Scholar
  30. Good, G. E., Thomson, D. A., & Brathwaite, A. D. (2005). Men and therapy: Critical concepts, theoretical frameworks and research recommendations. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 699–711.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Henderson, A. (1990). Children of abused wives: Their influences on their mother’s decision. Canada’s Mental Health, 38, 10–13.Google Scholar
  32. Henning, K., & Holdford, R. (2006). Minimization, denial, and victim blaming by batterers. Criminal Justice Behavior, 33, 110–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Herman, J. (1992). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence–from domestic violence abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. Holden, G. W., & Ritchie, K. L. (1991). Linking extreme martial discord, child rearing, and child behavior problems: Evidence from battered women. Child Development, 62, 311–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Holmes, J. (2001). The search for the secure base: Attachment theory and psychotherapy. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Jaffe, P., Wolfe, D., Wilson, S., & Zak, D. (1990). Children of battered women. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Kernsmith, P. (2006). Gender differences in the impact of family of origin violence on perpetrators of domestic violence. Journal of Family Violence, 21, 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Konig, K. (1991). Projective identification: Transference-type and defense-type. Group Analysis, 24, 323–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Krane, J., & Davis, L. (2007). Mothering under difficult circumstances: Challenges to working with battered women. Journal of Women and Social Work, 22, 23–38.Google Scholar
  40. Kurz, D. (1996). Separation, divorce, and wife abuse. Violence Against Women, 2, 63–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levendosky, A. A., & Graham-Bermann, S. A. (2000). Behavioral observations of parenting in battered women. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 80–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Marrone, M. (1998). Attachment and interaction. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kinsley Publisher.Google Scholar
  43. Mills, L. G. (2003). Insult to injury: Rethinking our response to intimate abuse. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Montgomery, A. (2002). Converging perspectives of dynamic theory and evolving neurobiological knowledge. Smith Studies in Social Work, 72, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pence, E., & Paymar, M. (1993). Education groups for men who batter: The duluth model. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Pine, F. (1990). Drive, ego, object and self: A synthesis for clinical work. New York: Basic Books, Inc.Google Scholar
  47. Ronel, N., & Tim, R. (2003). Grace therapy: The challenge of group therapy for male batterers. Clinical Social Work Journal, 31, 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rosenbaum, A., & O’Leary, K. D. (1981). Children: The unintended victims of martial violence. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 51, 629–699.Google Scholar
  49. Rosenberger, E. W., & Hayes, J. A. (2002). Origins, consequences and management of countertransference: A case study. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 49, 221–232.Google Scholar
  50. Sutherland, J. D. (1994). The autonomous self. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  51. Tutty, L. M., Bidgood, B. A., Rothery, M. A., & Bidgood, P. (2001). An evaluation of men’s batterer treatment groups. Research in Social Work, 11, 643–670.Google Scholar
  52. Twemlow, S. T., Fonagy, P., & Sacco, F. C. (2005). A developmental approach to mentalizating communities: A model for social change. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 69, 265–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tyagi, S. V. (2006). Female counselors and males perpetrators of violence against women. Women and Therapy, 29, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Von Steen, P. G. (1997). Adults with witnessing histories: The overlooked victims of domestic violence. Psychotherapy, 34, 478–484.Google Scholar
  55. Whatule, L. (2000). Communication as an aid to resocialization: A case study of a men’s anger management group. Small Group Research, 31, 424–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wilson, D. B., Bouffard, L. A., & Mackenzie, D. L. (2005). A quantitative review of structured, group-oriented, cognitive-behavioral programs for offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32, 172–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Winnicott, D. W. (1965). The maturational processes and the facilitating environment: Studies in the theory of emotional development. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  58. Zosky, D. (1999). The application of object relations theory to domestic violence. Clinical Social Work Journal, 27, 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zosky, D. (2003). Projective identification as a contributor to domestic violence. Clinical Social Work Journal, 31, 419–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hunter School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations