Couples Therapy for Domestic Violence: Finding Safe Solutions

Article excerpt

Couples Therapy for Domestic Violence: Finding Safe Solutions By Sandra M. Stith, Eric E. McCollum, and Karen H. Rosen. Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 2011. Hardcover, ISBN 1433809826, $50.00

I have worked with victims of domestic violence for years. Many of these victims requested that they be allowed to attend couples therapy, however, this is not allowed by the court. Even more often, victims explain that they intend to remain in the relationship, despite the abuse. These victims beg the judge and often cry as they detail a good life with their partner, barring a few exceptions. In South Carolina, where I work, the solution is to send the offender to a Batterer Treatment Program, which is the prevailing model for treating domestic violence. This format most likely treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause, as couples are not permitted to attend the program together. Since I am accustomed to the dynamics of domestic violence in the courtroom, I was quite eager to review this book. It presents and supports the merits of couple's focused therapy, which is an alternative to the current types of therapies that are utilized in most court systems today.

The authors explain in detail, domestic violence focused couples therapy (DVFCT), a safety focused approach based on solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). The book is divided into thirteen chapters explaining various therapeutic modalities and clients (male and female) who experienced some form of domestic violence, but are considering remaining in the relationship. …