For many individuals who experience different forms of intimate partner violence, seeking out professional support through domestic violence counseling is crucial to recovery. Domestic violence can often take on many different forms- from physical abuse to psychological abuse to financial abuse. While many people commonly associate domestic violence with an intimate partner such as a spouse or significant other, it can also extend to other members of the household and include violence experienced at the hands of parents, siblings, or other relatives. Domestic violence itself is, unfortunately, a widespread occurrence and is experienced by over 10 million people every year in the United States. Luckily, however, many different types of professional support exist for those who have experienced it.
Types of Counseling Services
If you’re wondering what domestic violence counseling is- in actuality, the counseling practice can take on many forms. For someone who is recovering from intimate partner abuse, there are many types of counseling or therapies that might be effective. Some of those are including but are not limited to the following:
Perhaps the most common type of therapeutic support for survivors, one-on-one counseling sessions are a great way to develop a specialized support plan for the individual who has experienced domestic violence. In this instance, a person will work on an individual basis with a counselor or therapist to discuss the impacts of their experience on their everyday life, work through how it may have impacted behaviors and emotions, and find paths to move forward from the experience in a healthy and productive way. Counselors or therapists might use a variety of different techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Person-Centered Therapy to Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Integrative and Arts-Based Therapy
Often in concert with other types of therapy, integrative or arts-based therapeutic approaches are also used to help survivors in their healing journey. Integrative therapies might include techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, or mediation. Creative arts-based practices such as drawing, music, dancing, or writing are also often recommended as therapeutic outlets for survivors of domestic violence.
Many people also find support groups to be an incredibly therapeutic practice. Being in a structured environment of support with others who have shared experiences of abuse and trauma can help people see that they are not alone in their experiences or in the impacts of their experiences on their current life. So many individuals often keep the abuse or violence they have experienced a secret from others in their life, so being with a community of support to talk about your past and your challenges can be powerful and healing for many people.
Specialized Survivor Therapy
Given the prevalence of domestic violence, there are a number of therapeutic practices that have been developed specifically for survivors. One of these practices is “Helping to Overcome PTSD through Empowerment (HOPE) therapy. The goal of HOPE therapy is to support and empower survivors who have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Another specialized form of therapy developed specifically for individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence is RISE- Strength and Empowerment therapy.
Why Counseling is Important
For survivors of domestic violence, seeking out professional support can be incredibly beneficial to improving one’s health, wellbeing, and overall feelings of security. Many survivors of domestic violence have trouble forming relationships, fear for their physical or emotional safety, and suffer the various physical and psychological effects of PTSD. Professional support can not only help individuals process the violence they have experienced, but also work through the lingering impacts that are making daily life a challenge. Regardless of the type of counseling, seeking out some form of professional support will be extremely helpful to the recovery process.
Finding Professional Support
If you’re on the recovery journey and looking for some professional support, there are a few things it’s important to consider. First and foremost is your safety or the safety of the loved one experiencing domestic violence. If you or your loved one is currently in an unsafe environment, the first and most important step is to develop a safety plan and strategy to extricate yourself from the dangerous situation. Once you have your physical and psychological safety secured, therapy is the next step in supporting your recovery and long-term wellbeing.
While searching for a therapist, one important thing to take into account is experience and qualification. You want to ensure that your counselor or therapist has specific experience and training in supporting survivors of domestic violence. There are many different types of mental health practitioners out there who specialize in many different fields, so it’s extremely important to find someone for support who specializes in this area and has a thorough understanding of the challenges and common misconceptions around domestic violence cases. Research conducted by the American Counseling Association indicates that untrained therapists providing services to domestic violence survivors can often do more harm than good, so make sure you’ve thoroughly checked out your candidates’ backgrounds and potential areas of expertise.
Another final note is to remember that you’re looking for the right person, not just the first person. Getting in touch with a few different potential therapists is a great way to ensure that you connect with your mental health practitioner and feel comfortable speaking to them regularly. Don’t be afraid to have exploratory conversations with multiple therapists or counselors and be sure to ask about their therapeutic practices and what a session with them would look like. Often, we can learn the most about a person when we ask them questions- for example, are they answering respectfully, are they taking the time to provide thorough explanations, and are they approaching your potential relationship with care?
Reach Out for Domestic Violence Counseling
If you’re looking for caring and thoughtful mental health practitioners who will support you on your healing journey, get in touch with us today at ACT Teletherapy. We have trained mental health practitioners who specialize in the area of domestic violence and who will work with you to determine your personalized therapy goals. Get in touch with us today and let us support your mental health and wellbeing.