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DeBora4BobbyL 03-14-2009 10:21 AM

Needs ideas and opinions for marriage group counseling?
I am a clinical psychology student currently in practicum. This means I see clients and work with them as a student therapist. I am thinking about starting a support group for clients who are needing help in their marriage--a marriage support group. However, I am wanting to also have a support group for spouses who physically, mentally, and/or psychologically abuse their spouses and need help working through that. I am wondering what everyone else's opinions are about that type of support/help group?

I think that there are many couples who have one in the relationship who have trouble with their self-esteems and they deal with it by taking it out on their spouse. How should I advertise it or what should I call it? I haven't decided whether or not to even have it and there may not even be a demand for it. If I do it, I definitely would have to get approval from my advisor as to whether or not I can even do this. Groups are great because clients can relate to each other and they can be great sources for guidance.

I got to thinking about this when everyone was telling me that I have a talent for marriage counseling and I have dealt with abusive men and found that many counselors are so down on them that they can't see past the underlying reason for the abuse. In order for the abuse to stop, the abusive partner needs to be able to have a safe environment to work through the fears and problems that bring him/her to abuse.

Sammi1961 03-20-2009 06:22 AM

DeBora, Be careful with starting a Batterer's group. It can be dangerous. (I have worked for a Rape Crisis/Domestic Violence center for 18 years and several of the therapists have Batterer's groups and I also worked for a visitation program for parents who were court ordered to have supervised visits with their children). Couples marriage counseling does not work for domestic violence because often women are afraid to speak or say the wrong thing because the batterer will take it out on her once they get home. That can be extremely dangerous. Unless it is court ordered, most batterers would not attend a support group because they don't believe that what they are doing is wrong (among other reasons) They are also good at playing the victim and are master manipulators. I am not saying they can't change because they can but they have to want to change. There is so much more I could say on this but my advice would be to talk to your advisor first. Learn as much as you can about domestic violence and the cycle of violence (if you haven't already done that). Women can also be batterers and this is also a group that often not acknowledged as needing support groups. Good luck and i will be interested to know what your advisor thinks. If anyone can do this and handle it well, you can.

Deidra 03-20-2009 06:55 AM

Good Luck!
I think those are wonderful ideas. So many people are getting seperated and/or divorced. Good luck, I do agree about the being careful part. But think of the differences you may be able to make in many peoples lifes. :rainb:

DeBora4BobbyL 03-20-2009 11:22 PM

Sammi, thanks for the suggestions. Of course, I have to discuss anything with my advisor first. I have dealt with the battered women, battered men, and the batterers who were all males. I know this sounds weird, but the batterers have always been easier for me to deal with. I am learning that I need patience when dealing with certain individuals. It may be better to just have regular marriage groups. I think most couples enter marriage with no clue of what it will take. I enjoy giving couples tools, have them use them at home, and then come back telling me things are much better.

Again, thanks!

Sammi1961 03-21-2009 09:01 AM

DeBora, you are so right, so many people enter into marriage without a clue as to what marriage is really about. It seems so many young couples stay married long enough to have a child but when the going gets tough, rather than stay and work through it, they decide to divorce. Many young couples who marry have such unrealistic expectations. Marriage is never 50/50. Sometimes it is 70/30 one way, and other times 60/40 the other way but it is never the same. Learning to work through and support each other through the tough times is so important and every marriage will have tough times as well as good times. there are some days you wake up in the morning and absolutely love the person in bed next to you and other days you wake up, look over and think "what the heck was I thinking???" but as long as you both don't wake up thinking that on the same day you're ok. Dh and I joke about that all the time. Batterers are a tough group to deal with on many levels. I think what ever you decide to do, you will be successful at it, especially as you have patience!

DeBora4BobbyL 03-21-2009 09:14 AM

Sammi, that is what I tell my clients. Marriage may be 50/50, but not usually all at the same time. Sometimes it's 70/30 but later it's 30/70. Sometimes one partner may become an invalid and then the other has to pull the entire load. So, it isn't a matter of how much you give but how much you are willing to give when you can.

I've been trying to get ahold of my friend who is visiting her kids here locally. I called her DD and she is in Austin. She said that her brother lost his phone and she gave me her cousin's phone number. Nobody answers there either. So, I will have to wait until she gets back home as she does not have a cell phone.

Anyway, she handed me Mark Gungor's Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. I guess it's a DVD collection of one of his marriage seminars. This guy is good. You can find some of his stuff on YouTube and he has a Facebook page. I think he appeals mostly to men, which is good because men are the last to enter marriage counseling or go to a marriage seminar unless they are taken kicking and screaming. lol However, I have had 2 couples in which the counseling was the husband's idea. Maybe times are changing. lol

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