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, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2011. Hardcover, ISBN 1433809826, $50.00

As a victim advocate in South Carolina, I have worked with victims of domestic violence for years. In court, many of the victims request couples therapy but this is not a current option. Often, victims explain that they intend to remain in the relationship despite the abuse. These victims describe a good life with their partner with the exception of the abuse. The current default is to send the offender to a batterer's treatment program, the prevailing model for treating domestic violence; this model treats the obvious symptoms but not the systemic causes since the couples don't have conjoint treatment. Accustomed to the dynamics of abuse, I was eager to review this book. It presents couples focused therapy as an alternative to current modes of treatment.

Domestic Violence Focused Couples Therapy has a primary emphasis on safety and is based on a solution-focused model. The 13 chapters present the various facets of treatment as well as the characteristics of clients who may benefit from this therapy. The reader is taken through each step of the program in great detail and with an emphasis on conjoint therapy with the couple and in groups. …