Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence can be subtle or strong in the form that it takes, and includes various forms of abuse.  Many people do not view themselves as having experienced domestic violence because they have not been hit or physically assaulted.  However, the range of behaviours deemed as domestic violence and/or abuse, are extensive and include the following:

Physical violence:  behaviour where physical force is used, such as hitting, pushing, shoving, shaking, punching, kicking, slapping, choking, the use of weapons, being forced into sexual activity against your will, or damaging objects (punching holes in walls or doors, or breaking furniture).

Emotional and verbal abuse:  behaviour aimed at eroding your confidence and making you fearful – can include threats, intimidation, manipulation, control, put downs, yelling and screaming, blaming, fault-finding, belittling, humiliating, and name calling.

Financial abuse:  behaviour where the finances are controlled and you are kept financially dependent – you are constantly having to account for what you have spent, the money you are given is insufficient to make ends meet, or your money is taken from you.

Social abuse:  behaviours which include:  being kept isolated;  your social interactions and movements are monitored and controlled;  your partner is jealous and controls who you talk to and where you go; your partner constantly criticises your family members and friends, or does not make them feel welcome;  your partner makes verbal attacks on you when you are socialising or in public; or, your partner smothers you (always wanting to be together), and you are not permitted to be independent.

The above outline of the various forms of domestic violence or abuse can assist you in determining the relevance of the following questions to your specific situation.

  • Have you experienced domestic violence or abuse (past or present), from a partner,  a boyfriend, girlfriend, or a family member?
  • Do you feel that you are being controlled by a partner or family member, that you are not permitted to make your own decisions, or live your own life?
  • Has your partner or a family member been violent towards you, which has left you fearing for your safety?
  • Have you experienced repeated episodes of violent or abusive behaviour, with the person who perpetrated the domestic violence or abuse promising each time that they would never do it again, only to be let down each time?
  • Have you been blaming yourself for the domestic violence or abuse and taking responsibility for the violent and/or abusive behaviour, and trying hard to please the abuser so that it does not happen again?
  • Have you left an abusive situation, and found yourself struggling to cope due to all the effects of the abuse you suffered?

As a consequence of past or present domestic violence or abuse, do you feel any of the following?

  • confused that someone who is supposed to love you is causing you so much suffering
  • overwhelmed by distressing feelings and/or intrusive memories of the abuse
  • numb and detached
  • powerless or trapped
  • fearful or angry
  • insecure and unsafe
  • guilt or shame
  • worthless, or think that you are a bad person

As a consequence of past or present domestic violence or abuse, do you experience any of the following?

  • Are your reactions to the domestic violence or abuse adversely impacting on you?
  • Do you suppress distressing memories and feelings of the abuse?
  • Have you had a pattern of becoming involved with abusive and controlling people?
  • Do you remain in an abusive relationship because of a strong desire to keep the family unit together?
  • Are you constantly excusing abuse because it is perpetrated by a ‘loved’ one?
  • Do you stay in an abusive relationship due to a fear of being alone, believing that you could not cope on your own, or thinking you would never meet anyone else with whom to have a loving relationship?
  • Are you are terrified that if you leave the abusive relationship you will be harmed, or that wherever you go, your abuser will find you?
  • Do you avoid committing to a new relationship due to a lack of trust and a fear of being controlled and abused again?

Psychological Treatment for Domestic Violence and Abuse

If you believe that you are in a domestic violence or abuse situation and want to discuss the issues, or have left an abusive relationship, assistance is available.  With extensive experience in working with domestic violence and abuse, we can assist you in reducing or overcoming the effects of the abuse or domestic violence which you have endured. Psychological therapy and treatment for domestic violence and abuse is provided in a safe and supportive manner, utilising a range of therapeutic interventions.  An approach is used drawing on interventions from therapy modes such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and interpersonal therapy (amongst others).

Benefits of Psychological Treatment for Domestic Violence and Abuse

We can help you in the following ways:

  • Talk about what you have been experiencing and feeling, understand your reactions to the domestic violence and  abuse, and provide you with emotional support and understanding.
  • Provide information about domestic violence and abuse, learn about strategies that abusers use to maintain control, and the long term effects of living through domestic violence and abuse.  This can enable you to make a well-informed decision as to whether to stay or leave a relationship based on knowledge about the cycle of domestic violence and how abusers behave.
  • Strengthen your coping skills
  • Learn how to keep yourself safe, and strengthen your personal boundaries if you are not wanting to leave the relationship.
  • Learn how to remove yourself from the situation in a safe and supported way if you are wanting to leave a violent and/or abusive relationship.
  • Change faulty thinking and bad feelings about yourself, which might include:  that you are to blame for the abuse, that you are a bad person, that the abuser is so nice to everyone else that it must be your fault, that you can change the person who is abusing you, that they are not all bad and are really loving (except for the abusive episodes), that if they have promised to change that they will, or excusing the abuse.
  • Process the effects of the domestic violence – reduce or eliminate the distressing symptoms you have been experiencing so that memories are no longer as distressing or overwhelming.
  • Process your emotions due to being in, or having lived through, an abusive relationship.
  • Learn what constitutes healthy relationships based on mutual respect and equality, as opposed to abusive relationships characterised by domination, power and control, and overcome patterns of becoming involved with abusive people.
  • Rebuild your trust and restore your sense of safety.

How we can help

Psychological Treatment

  • become empowered
  • enhance feelings of self-worth (affected by the abuse)
  • learn how abusers exercise and maintain control, and about the cycle of domestic violence and abuse
  • process the effects of being abused and reduce distressing symptoms
  • overcome feelings of shame and self-blame
  • change faulty thinking
  • regain a sense of safety, control, and trust

Call 0409 415 323

Domestic Violence – Psychologist Adelaide

Contact us to commence effective treatment, so that you can overcome the effects of domestic violence and abuse.