12 Chapters
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CHAPTER FOUR: From ill-behaviour to relational behaviour

Groen, Martine; Van Lawick, Justine Karnac Books ePub

Justine van Lawick

Systemic psychotherapy regarding physical violence within relationships

This chapter is a sequel to Chapter Three. The time-out programme depicted therein is summarized briefly here. Subsequently, the effectiveness is analysed. The time-out programme seems to work as a regulating programme in which clients learn to calm themselves in situations that conjure up fierce emotions. The time-out programme is not a miracle cure for violence, but a tool for clients to learn to calm themselves, which in turn will lead to increased self-control. It can easily be mastered to break through escalations; not only does it prevent physical violence, but it can also be used to prevent psychological violence. Clients feel more empowered through self-control than through intimidating and humiliating the spouse. This creates a foundation on which the development of reflection can be built. When the capacity to calm and control oneself merges with the capacity to reflect, violent behaviour will be channelled into relational behaviour. Recent publications about attachment, attitude, and neurobio-logical processes cast a new light on the effectiveness of this model.

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CHAPTER TEN: Of young rulers and the terror at home

Groen, Martine; Van Lawick, Justine Karnac Books ePub

Justine van Lawick

Introduction

This chapter deals with another form of violence within families: that perpetrated by children against their parents. Increasingly, there is mention of children, teenagers, and adolescents who treat their parents with violence. This goes so much against all expectations regarding normal family life that many may find it hard to believe that it occurs on a regular basis. Society's acceptance of children hitting their parents is even less than that of parents who hit. Because the abuse of parents goes against the prevailing norms, parents are often deeply ashamed when it does happen and try to hide it in every possible way. Therefore, it is a group that hardly ever has been studied. A study in the USA (Harbin & Madden, 1979) into fifteen families wherein an adolescent between fourteen and twenty years old abused the parents, shows that these parents suffer from fear, depression, and a strong sense of guilt. They try to trivialize and to gloss over their children's behaviour, and desperately try to keep up the image of a harmonious family. This denial leads to the adolescents not being sanctioned for the abuse they have committed and to the parents not seeking help. In a study by Cornell and Gelles (1982), during a representative random test of American families with a teenager between ten and seventeen years old, 9% of the parents reported at least one violent act perpetrated by the teenager against them.

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CHAPTER TWELVE: Apprehensive heroes

Groen, Martine; Van Lawick, Justine Karnac Books ePub

Martine Groen

The emphasis in this book is particularly placed on border-crossing behaviour within families and the consequences for children who grow up in violent, quarrelling families. The scale and size of this behaviour demand reflection. What is going on? In this chapter, different views are discussed surrounding the authority crisis within the primary living system and its consequences on the regulation of aggression of our youth, the future generation. This process of undermining was been set in motion immediately after the Second World War, and it has consequences for the manner in which we relate to the aggression we encounter every day on the streets, in public transport, and in the therapy room.

The manner in which aggression is regulated between people differs through time and history and is linked to the then ruling values, norms, and developed systems of punishment (Berlin, 1990). Nowadays, there is a growing “zero-tolerance” towards violent behaviour. The debate on norms and values has found its way into the political agenda once again. One has become aware that boundaries are crossed at all levels, and that no one has an answer at the ready.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: The coherence between shame and violence

Groen, Martine; Van Lawick, Justine Karnac Books ePub

Martine Groen

Shame is an important emotion in couples who use violence during conflicts in their relationship. The abuser—in most cases the male—is ashamed of his deeds, the one who is abused—mostly the female—feels ashamed about what is happening to her. While the often unrecognized sense of shame in the male can lead to new violent eruptions after some time, the shame in the female causes her to retreat into herself and to humiliate herself. This dynamic strengthens the downward spiral of violence with couples (see Chapter Three) and maintains it. Shame is an issue that needs to be dealt with explicitly in therapies with couples who are seeking help regarding violence in the relationship, in order to breach the downward spiral of violence.

In this chapter, we deal with the question of in which manner there is coherence between shame and violence and how this coherence can be treated in therapeutic situations. After investigating the layers of shame and the coherence with shame as a regulating and debilitating emotion, further research is done to find feasible therapeutic interventions to breach the downward spiral of violence. At the end of this chapter, some pitfalls that the therapist may encounter while discussing shame-inducing and violent episodes during the course of relationship therapy are discussed briefly.

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CHAPTER TWO: Together you will progress

Groen, Martine; Van Lawick, Justine Karnac Books ePub

Justine van Lawick

Most issues on violence within partner relationships only come to light when a woman seeks help within the framework of individual care, from either the GP, A & E departments, social services, the police force, lawyers, Victim Aid, Child Care, primary health care psychologists, addiction care, psychotherapy, or psychiatry. In this chapter, we will discuss the possibility of engaging partners in therapy in order to enhance its effectiveness and speed. In most cases, the woman, categorized as victim, is the one who starts talking, either willingly or because a therapist asks the right questions. Sharing the secret of abuse with a therapist offers relief, but it often comes with the client's injunction not to mention the abuse to others, including the abusive partner. The help given will focus mainly on survival strategies for the woman and ways to leave the abusive partner. Shelters for abused women and their children can be a temporary refuge.

This individual approach can create a stand-off, and sometimes even take a turn for the worse. If the spouse grows more confident and shows more resistance, either on her own or through a group for abused women, this could prove threatening for the husband and, in turn, increase the violence. This could lead to even more control over the spouse and to increased isolation, thus leading to the cancellation of appointments. When the spouse threatens divorce, the situation can escalate even more, because the husband's violence will increase when his fear of abandonment grows. In some cases, an abused spouse will receive help from social services over a long period of time without any noticeable change in her situation. Whenever the social worker insists on a joint interview with the husband, the request will be repudiated for whatever reason, while, during the course of every interview, the spouse will mention the unbearable situation at home. Thus, the social worker gets sucked into the victim's helplessness and contributes to the status quo. The one most likely to need to change, the partner, remains scot-free of having to take any responsibility, and therefore does not receive any support in any process of change. The spouse is in a position where she takes responsibility by asking for help, but, more often than not, she is incapable of changing the situation at home.

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