Blain Nelson's Abuse Pages
DV Resources from Academic Family Medicine Mail-list Archive
Counseling Battered Women

Be Aware Of Who She Is

  1. Allow her to tell her story. Let her know you believe her and want to hear about her experiences.
  2. Help her identify her feelings. Support her right to be angry. Don't deny any of her feelings.
  3. Be sensitive to the differences between women of other races, cultures, and classes. Realize that no woman is a stereotype and each has had different life experiences.
  4. Respect the cultural values and beliefs that affect her behavior. Know that these beliefs may have been a source of security for her in the past and their importance to her should not be minimized.
  5. Be aware of the differences between rural and urban women. Be aware of the physical isolation and cultural values of rural women.
  6. Know that she does not need rescuing. Help her assess her own resources and support system.

Remember, a battered woman is in a crisis that prevents her from using her coping skills and problem-solving abilities. Help her get in touch with her strengths and emotional resources, and the decision she makes will be her own.

Be Aware Of Who You Are ...

  1. Be aware of your own attitudes, experiences, and reactions to violence. Keep in mind the role that violence has had in your life.
  2. Know your own limits of time and energy. Be aware of your agency's policies and services so you can be realistic. Remember, you help define problems, not solve them.
  3. Beware of your own needs to be a powerful expert. Do not give advice. A battered woman has had countless people tell her what to do. She needs someone to care.
  4. Be conscious of your own cultural biases, beliefs, and prejudices when counseling women from different ethnic backgrounds. Realize that there may be biases against you and that these must be dealt with honesty.
  5. Do not diagnose. Focus on concrete problem solving and emotional support, not subjective interpretations of behavior.
  6. Do not convey disappointment if the woman elects to return to the violent relationship. Be honest and explain your fear, but let her know she can always come back and that you still care about her.

Remember, you may be one of the first people in her life to show respect and support at a time when she needs it most. What you get in return is the knowledge that you have been helpful to someone.

Texas Department of Human Services
Produced in cooperation with the Texas Council on Family Violence

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