Help for Abusers
In some communities there are batterers intervention programs, some are court ordered and some are volunteer. To find out more resources in your community regarding these programs call your local domestic violence/sexual assault agency or contact us.
Questions to Think About, If You’re Considering Couples Counseling
Whether or not you and your partner seek couples counseling is a choice that only you and your partner can make. However, if there has been any abuse, controlling behaviors, and/or violence in your relationship, there are some specific things you may want to consider in making your decision because couples counseling could put you at an increased risk of further abuse or control from your partner.
Counselors have different recommendations for individuals in controlling or abusive relationships in regards to couples counseling including; seeking individual counseling first or instead, living separately while in couples counseling, waiting 6 months to a year after the last abusive or controlling incident to start counseling, waiting until the partner has successfully completed a batterer’s intervention program, and/or the victim being in a safe place during couples counseling. Some counselors and most domestic abuse advocates caution that couples counseling always has the potential of putting survivors of abuse at increased risk for escalated control, abuse, and violence.
For your safety, there are some questions you may want to ask yourself before starting counseling with your partner.
Questions about the relationship
- How long has it been since the last incident of abuse and/or control/power struggle in the relationship?
- How long has the abuse or control issues occurred in the relationship?
- Who is responsible for the abuse in the relationship?
- Who has the power to stop the abuse? Who is responsible for ending the abuse in the relationship?
- Do you and your partner have equal say in the relationship?
- How long do you think it will take to see change in yourself, your partner, and the relationship?
Questions about yourself
- What are your goals and motivation for couple’s counseling?
- Do you minimize the abuse that has occurred in the relationship?
- Can you share honestly in couple’s counseling about the abuse that has occurred in the relationship without fear of retaliation from your partner?
- Do you feel safe to tell the truth about your feelings in front of your partner?
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Are you currently safe from/with your partner?
- Have you healed from the past abuse or received individual counseling regarding past abuse?
Questions about your partner
- Does your partner recognize that there are problems in the relationship?
- Does your partner want couples counseling?
- What is your partner’s motivation for couple’s counseling?
- Does your partner take responsibility for past abusive and/or controlling behaviors?
- Does your partner minimize, deny, or blame you for past/current abuse?
- Does your partner acknowledge that abuse, controlling behaviors, and violence are wrong and should not occur in your relationship?
- Has your partner agreed to stop their abusive, controlling, and/or violent behavior?
- Is your partner willing to change? Have you seen evidence of change in your partner?
- Has your partner abused others in their life? Has your partner abused other partners in the past?
- Does your partner care about your feelings, thoughts, and ideas?
- Has your partner had individual counseling or mental health assessments?
- Has your partner attended batterer intervention program or groups?
Questions about the Counselor or Therapist
- What kind of training, understanding of, and experience with controlling and abusive relationships does the therapist or counselor have?
- Does the counselor have knowledge in assessing safety and lethality risks in controlling and/or abusive relationships?
- Does the counselor have a full knowledge of the abuse history of your partner and of the relationship?
- Does the counselor believe that abuse and violence are wrong and should not be tolerated in relationships?
- Who does the counselor believe is responsible for the abuse? Who does the counselor believe is responsible for ending the abuse?
- Do you feel comfortable with the counselor?
For more information or to talk to someone about ways to stay safe and heal from abuse please call an advocate at New Horizons. We are here to provide you with information and support!