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Domestic Abuse

Lewis Psychology Services For Domestic Abuse

What Is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse that takes place within a family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. Domestic abuse may, and often does, include a range of abusive behaviours that come from the abuser's desire for power and control over their family members or intimate partners.

Types of Domestic Abuse

Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship. Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse. This list can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship.

  • Criticism and verbal abuse such as shouting, accusing, name calling, mocking and verbal threats.
  • Pressure strategies: sulking, threatening to with hold money unless you comply with demands, threats to commit suicide, lying to friends and family about you.
  • Breaking trust: lying to you, having other relationships.
  • Isolation: telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
  • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your emails or post, checking to see who has telephoned you.
  • Threats: using physical size to intimidate, destroying your possessions, breaking things,  punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you.
  • Sexual violence: using threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don't want to have sex.
  • Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, and shoving.
  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn't happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.
  • Disrespect: putting you down in front of other people, not responding to you when you talk, taking money from your wallet/purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.

Domestic Abuse, Wolverhampton

Who Is Responsible For The Violence?

The abuser is always responsible for their behaviour. "Blaming the victim" is something that abusers will often do to make excuses for their behaviour. This is part of their pattern and is in itself abusive.

Counselling And Psychotherapy For Domestic Abuse

Individual counselling or psychotherapy helps you take time out from your situation and see it from a fresh perspective. Working with a therapist gives you a chance to think about what you can do to change your situation for the better. It can also give you a chance to explore complex or difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment.  Counselling and psychotherapy can also help you to:

  • Identify the early warning signs of abuse 
  • Identify if an abuser can change, is changing, or ever will
  • Find strategies to leave a relationship safely

EMDR For Domestic Abuse

The effects of domestic violence can sometimes lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach to therapy that is particularly helpful for people who have experienced something traumatic. That can be something we would normally think of as traumatizing (a sexual assault, an earthquake, a bank robbery) or an experience that was disturbing and personally traumatizing (an incident of bullying, humiliation, betrayal, complicated bereavement).

If you are involved in a distressing event such as domestic violence, you may feel overwhelmed and your brain may be unable to process what has happened. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When you recall that memory, you can re-experience what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, that the person affected tries to avoid thinking about the event to avoid experiencing the disturbing feelings.

The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, seems to stimulate the brain's frozen or blocked information processing system. This may be by helping to connect the cognitive/thinking areas of the brain with the more primitive emotional/feeling areas. As this processing takes place, the distressing memories of being bullied seem to lose their intensity, so that they are less disturbing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.

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Medical disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice by a qualified doctor.