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I have always been a person people have leaned on for help but I must admit, prior to the counseling program, advice seemed to be my middle name. In therapy, the counselor helps the client figure out what is blocking this person or to understand unhealthy patterns in order to embrace a healthier future. Through a line of supportive, delicate questioning, in a non-judgmental manner, this self-discovery process takes place.
I know, with my work in domestic violence, it can be discouraging to see someone continue to go back to a relationship that is dangerous and unhealthy but, until this person can figure it out and see the relationship through healthy eyes, support must continue.
In this scenario I might ask, “If your daughter was with someone who beat her, how would you help her? What might you say to her? Or, to your best friend?”
Many times the person suffering this abuse doesn’t feel good about herself and perhaps she grew up in this environment so it is familiar and feels like home to her, safety for this individual is a low priority. But, when kids are involved this might heighten the awareness.
Many times the survivor says, “He’s a good dad but not a good husband.” But, really a good father doesn’t hit or abuse the mother and create an unhealthy environment for the children. Questioning someone to find out if she saw abuse when she was a child and how this abuse made her feel can help her better understand that this is a form of child abuse even if the abuser doesn’t strike the child.
The message in the article is to first believe the person who is confiding “whatever experience” to you and secondly not to force your fix on them. Help them find their own way and be supportive of this.