Proposal for a Group Research Proposal

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Group Dynamics in Treating Domestic Violence Offenders

Domestic violence affects the lives of many families. Research has demonstrated that the dynamics of a group therapy is effective in assisting domestic violence offenders to change their behaviors associated with domestic violence and furthermore, research has demonstrated that group therapy is particularly effective among domestic violence offenders who are men in providing these individuals with the support needed to modify negative behaviors that result in domestic violence offenses.

The purpose of the research proposed herein is to test the effectiveness of group therapy for male domestic violence offenders.

The significance of this study is the knowledge that will be added to the already existing knowledge-base relating to effective group counseling for male domestic violence offenders.

METHODOLOGY

The methodology of the study proposed herein is qualitative in nature and is a method that is interpretive and one that utilizes observation and participation of individuals in a group therapy setting.

LITERATURE REVIEW

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The work of Pandya and Gingerich (2002) entitled: "Group Therapy Intervention for Male Batterers: A Microethnographic Study" states that "treatment of male batterers has been a controversial issue for study and practice in the field of behavioral health care. Empirical evidence of success of treatment of male abusers is mixed." (p.1) Pandya and Gingerich report an micro-ethnographic study of the effectiveness of group intervention for men who are batterers and state that "knowledge of how batterers learn and change in therapy and how they apply this learning is their day-to-day lives can be useful in designing successful treatments." (2002, p. 1)

Research Proposal on Proposal for a Group Assignment

Pandya and Gingerich state that the work of Edieson and Syers (1990) reported "the education model (using cognitive-behavior therapy, social skills training, and problem-solving skills training, by themselves or in combination) was more effective that a self-help approach. An education model combined with a self-help approach was most successful in brining about long-lasting change in violent behavior. (Edieson & Syers, 1991; as cited in Pandya and Gingerich, 2002, p.1) it is also stated by Pandya and Gingerich (2002) that Edison and Syers (1991) reported "12-week study groups were more effective in immediate reduction and elimination of violence, whereas long-term open-ended, self-help groups were needed to sustain nonviolent behavior over a period of time." (p.1)

Ellen Bowen, NOVA Non-Violent Alternatives group facilitator, and private practitioner, states in the work entitled: "Intimate Partner Abuse: Understanding and Treating Domestic Violence" that when she and two other colleagues founded NOVA Non-Violent Alternatives in 1997 "the Duluth Model was considered to be the best approach for treating abusers. This model strives to re-educate men in their use of power, male privilege and male entitlement in their relationships with women. It is based on a socio-cultural feminist perspective of male patriarchy and relationship violence." (nd, p.2) However, Bowen states that a new treatment, found to be even more effective is "a model that blends Attachment Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" in a group setting. Bowen states a belief that "the most effective change comes from the group experience with other abusers." (nd, p.2) Bowen states that this is extremely difficult for those in the treatment group in the beginning "this setting provides the most powerful experience for healing shame: a supportive community where abusers are able to acknowledge and examine the painful, long-buried wounds from childhood, experience acceptance and healing and yet hold each other accountable for their behavior." (nd, p.1)

Bowen states that a therapist is required to "navigate two very difficult roles: holding the abuser fully responsible for his/her violent behavior, and at the same time providing an empathetic alliance." (nd, p. 3) as pointed out in the work of David Wexler and stated in the work of Bowen "When the clinician can maintain an empathetic stance, he or she can relate to the batterer not as some disturbed social freak but rather as one more wounded man who has suffered narcissistic injuries and disappointments in his love relationships and at times find this state unbearable - which leads to acting out at the perceived source of frustration. Who among us does not know this experience?" (nd, p. 3)

The work of Cramwell et al. entitled: "Short-Term Change in Attitude and Motivating Factors to Change Abusive Behavior of Male Batterers after Participating in a Group Intervention Program based on the Pro-Feminist and Cognitive-Behavioral Approach" states that the "emergence of batterer intervention programs (BIPs) occurred in the late 1970's and corresponded with the increase of services for victims of domestic abuse. The development of BIPs acknowledged that men should and could change their abusive behavior in a relationship. The most prominent BIP has been the Domestic Abuse Prevention Project in Duluth, Minnesota, which follows a pro-feminist, cognitive-behavioral approach through group intervention with batterers." (nd, p.2)

The Duluth model's curriculum provides encouragement for those participating to adopt responsibility for their abuse as well as teaching them how they can "interrupt and avoid abuse, and helps them to change the sexist attitudes and beliefs that underlie their rationale for abuse." (Cramwell, et al., nd, p.2) Cramwell, et al. reports that the 'Domestic Abuse Education Project' (DAEP) in one that is also rooted din the pro-feminist, cognitive behavioral approach and has a model that adheres to the curriculum contained within the Duluth model.

The objective of DAEP is to "give the participant the information he needs in order to eliminate abusive and violent behavior in his relationships and life" (State of Vermont, 1996, p. 51; as cited in Cramwell, et al., nd, p.2) the DAEP curriculum is based on the following seven primary assumptions:

1) Domestic violence is a choice;

2) Domestic violence is supported by sexism and homophobia;

3) Men who batter continue to abuse because of the benefits they receive from their abuse;

4) Domestic violence is a wide range of behaviors aimed at maintaining an imbalance of power within a relationship;

5) Domestic violence has significant negative impacts on partners, children, extended family and the community;

6) Domestic violence is a violation of a woman's human rights; and 7) Men who batter can change their behavior is they are motivated to. (Cramwell, et al., nd, p.3)

Stated as objectives of DAEP are:

1) Expansion of understanding of men concerning the wide range of behaviors used to control partners;

2) Increasing men's awareness of the intentions and thinking that support their choices to abuse;

3) Increasing men's understanding of the impact of their abuse on themselves, their partners, children and others;

4) Challenging men's efforts to deny or justify their abuse and attempts to minimize or shift responsibility;

5) Increasing men's motivation to engage in a process of change that supports safe, equitable and respectful relationships; and 6) Supporting men in creasing specific plans for ensuring their partners' safety. (Cramwell, et al., nd, p. 4)

Stated as the goals of cognitive-behavioral and pro-feminists BIPs is the resocialization of men through assisting them in the following:

1) Identifying and examining the attitudes and beliefs that reinforce their abusive and violent behavior;

2) Identifying and examining controlling behaviors;

3) Recognizing the effects of violence; and 4) Learning non-violent and non-controlling behaviors. (Cramwell, et al., nd, p. 4)

Research findings on battering provides an indication that men who are batterers hold two components within their belief system that are supportive of abuse:

1) Sexist beliefs that denigrate women, determine men to be superior, and entitle men to have control over women; and 2) the belief that abuse is an acceptable tool to use against family members. (Cramwell, et al., nd, p. 8) report published by the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse entitled: "Intervention for Men Who Batter: A Review of Research" states that measures of Success in Batterer Intervention include the following:

1) Intervention should reduce or prevention:

a) Injury to the victim;

b) Rearrest or other types of official recidivism;

Physical abuse;

d) Psychological maltreatment;

e) Sexual abuse;

f) Separation abuse; and g) Violence supporting attitudes and beliefs held by the batterer. (Tolman and Edleson, 1995, p. 1)

2) Intervention should increase batterers':

a) Egalitarian partnership b) Positive behaviors;

Social skills;

d) Prosocial, antiviolence attitudes; and e) Psychological and social functioning. (Tolman and Edleson, 1995, p. 1)

3) Batterer intervention should improve:

a) survivor's well-being; and i. reduction of fear; and ii. improved psychosocial functioning and reduction of traumatic stress symptoms.

A b) Children's well-being. (Tolman and Edleson, 1995, p. 1)

The Duluth model is reported in the work of Pence and Paymar (1993) and is a model that was created in Duluth Minnesota and the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). The Duluth model is a batterer intervention curriculum, which was developed with the assistance "of a small group of activists in the battered women's movement." (Pence and Paymar, 1995, p. xiii.)the following labeled Figure 1 illustrate the 'Power and Control Wheel' and the 'Equality Wheel' which is related in the work of Pence and Paymar (1993)

The 'Power and Control Wheel' and the "Equality Wheel' of the Duluth Model

Source: Pence and Paymar (1995)

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