New Hope Seminars on Domestic Violence with Suggested Holistic Counseling

By Helm, David Jay | Education, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

New Hope Seminars on Domestic Violence with Suggested Holistic Counseling


Helm, David Jay, Education


"A woman, a Spaniel and a Walnut Tree

The More They Are Beaten

The Better They Be"

Traditional Gloucester Ditty (Landes,

et al, 1995, 2) About four

million American women are physically

abused by husbands or

boyfriends each year.

Each year, approximately 572,032

acts of victimization are perpetrated

against women.

Fourteen percent of American

women detail having been violently

abused by a husband or boyfriend.

More than 50 percent of all married

women will experience some form

of violence during their marriage

(Landers, et al, 1995, 11).

Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon. During the Middle Ages, the woman's subservient role was established through a law that stated a man could legally beat his spouse for failing to obey his "reasonable" commands as long as he didn't kill or maim her (Landers, et al, 1995, 2). Focus on the issue of domestic violence in the United States did not materialize until the 1970's (Heise, et al, 1994, 8).

Lori L. Heise in Violence Against Women: The Hidden Health Burden defines abuse as:

Any act of verbal or physical force,

coercion, or life-threatening deprivation,

directed at an individual

woman or girl, that causes physical

or psychological harm, humiliation

or arbitrary deprivation of liberty

and that perpetuates female subordination

(1994, 9).

When the healthy balance of the mental and the physical is destroyed by an abusive significant other and one is forced to acknowledge the hurt, humiliation, and the grief over losing everything of value in one's life, a negative emotional and psychological apex is reached; and one must be freed from the abuse (Blaken, 1988, pp. 149-150). At this moment, the abused experiences a depressive state. Klein suggests depression is "a pervasive impairment of the capacity to experience pleasure or to respond affectively to the anticipation of pleasure" (Klein, 1976, 23). In order to have the abused experience pleasure once again and rise up against the depressive state forced upon her by the abuse, it is suggested that an appropriate holistic treatment program that addresses the whole person be devised.

Dr. Richard Firshein states in Psychology Today that his guiding belief is "mental and physical health are intimately interwoven" (May/June 1997, 26). Might it be suggested that a holistic counseling treatment program composed of the triad of neuro-linguistic programming, holistic wellness balance, and hypnotherapy be implemented (Helm, 1997,552).

The first component of the triad is utilizing the counseling technique of neuro-linguistic programming-determining which communication modality kinesthetic, visual, or auditory; vocalizing the appropriate linguistics-verbs and predicates; and approximating non-verbal postures-to expedite the counselor-client rapport (Helm, 1991, pp. 255-257).

As rapport is being established between the counselor and the client, the second component of the triad being holistic wellness balance (areas of relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and love) should be addressed (Helm, 1988, pp. 74-75). The wellness balance of clients is all but ignored by counselors, but it must be reinforced that the healthy mind and body go hand-in-hand.

The final component of the triad is the hypnotherapeutic approach which helps the abused confront the issues of letting go, eliminating the victim status, building independence, self trust, accountability, and creating the life perspective of how all the parts create the whole life experience (Watkins, 1986, 298) and is considered by Dr. Dan C. Overlade to be "first aid for depression" and quite valuable as an approach for treatment (Dowd and Heely, 1986, pp. 23-24). …

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