Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies

By Albert R. Roberts | Go to book overview

13
Mental Health Assessment Tools
and Techniques for Working
With Battered Women
THOMAS L. JACKSON
PATRICIA A. PETRETIC-JACKSON
TRICIA H. WITTE

This chapter provides mental health professionals with information regarding assessment strategies empirically demonstrated to be applicable to battered women. Although the tools and instruments presented are specific to battered women, many may be applicable to other trauma or victim populations. Additionally, since many battered women have experienced a variety of past and current life traumas and may show comorbid psychopathology, assessment concerns related to these compounding factors will be presented.


PHILOSOPHY

The philosophy underlying this chapter is threefold. First, we want to stress to the clinicians and researchers working with battered women that violence within the context of an intimate relationship cannot be viewed as simply another symptom of dysfunction. Second, we wish to state that, for essentially every case, violence is not caused by alcohol or substance abuse, and that treatment of the substance problem will not alleviate the violence. Dangerousness and the all-too-real risk of severe injury or death to a woman as a result of battering demand that violence be assessed directly and as an issue separate from that of the relationship. Third, from the outset it is necessary to clarify that many symptoms and, indeed, diagnosable disorders may be preexisting or, somewhat more likely, a reaction to the violence. The reactive conditions usually involve depressive, anxiety, and substance use

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