Having worked with domestic violence survivors in shelters and support groups, and with offenders willing to get help and change their abusive behavior, I have learned that while there are definite patterns to the “cycle of abuse,” there are also considerable differences in these patterns depending on the couple or family. I prefer to evaluate each individual or family’s unique history of abuse and violence in their lives in order to determine the level and type of intervention that is most likely to help them be safe and stop the cycle of abuse.
I often work with individuals who are contemplating whether to leave an abusive relationship or who have left and are trying to heal. I also work with individuals who have been abusive to their partners and want to stop their behavior and lead healthier, happier lives.
I do not work jointly with couples who have had incidences of physical violence in the recent past, or when the survivor is intimidated or afraid of his or her partner, as this is counterproductive and potentially dangerous. In these cases, I refer each individual to their own therapy or intervention groups prior to engaging in couple or family therapy.