Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group

Intimate Partner Violence Among Women

Intimate partner violence is a common issue occurring to many women worldwide. Women are susceptible to abuse either by their husbands, their partners, or their ex-husbands throughout the world. Apart from the immediate physical harm, this violence can affect women’s mental and psychological health in one way or another. From National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports, there are approximately 20 people who are abused by their intimate partners every 20 minutes in the United States (Kimerling et al., 2016).

Approximately 1 out of 4 women have reported being abused by their intimate partners in their lifetime and 1 out of 7 men also get abused (Kimerling et al., 2016). In addition, there is approximately 16% of women who experience sexual violence in their life from intimate partners (Kimerling et al., 2016). This paper looks at intimate partner violence among women and different therapy approaches applicable for counseling the group.

The National Coalition against domestic violence report shows that these violent acts persist and may worsen during adverse conditions such as pregnancy, and in most cases, the violence starts when they get pregnant.

Women who experience violence from their intimate partners are likely to suffer from a lack of self-worth and low self-esteem, experience more anxiety, and depression, or engage in destructive behaviors such as self-harm, tobacco, alcohol, or hard drugs. In addition, those who experience sexual violence are likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and exposure to other gynecological problems. Often, health workers are the first to talk about these violent actions as most people are not ready to talk about them. Physical violence from intimate partners constitutes the largest part of domestic violence.

It happens in many forms, such as women being raped, slapped, pushed, kicked, or having their hair pulled. These are issues we witness daily in our lives, homes, and communities. Some acts of domestic violence happen from intimate partners like husbands, sexual partners, or ex-husbands. The actions are accompanied by physical violence, but most people chose to hide these issues. Though the law does not recognize rape in marriages, many women are forced into having sex when they do not want and these are some of the violent acts that are hidden.

Domestic violence among women can also come in form of controlled behaviors where a man does not allow a woman to get out of home, seek health care without permission, or even to see a friend. These forms of domestic violence among women contribute to changes in victims’ conditions, which can lead to severe consequences if not addressed (Kimerling et al., 2016). Apart from sexual violence and physical assaults, other women experience financial and emotional abuses through actions like being called names, being criticized repeatedly, being told they are stupid or ugly, being isolated from friends and family, or being left without money to run household chores when their partners are misusing money with issues like drugs and alcohol.

Some dynamics of intimate partner violence that make it different from other forms of violence is that they occur in the context of relationships that are expected to be trusting and intimate. When such violence happens, there is a strong feeling of helplessness and betrayal (Kimerling et al., 2016).

Secondly, men have a higher social status and power over women in most communities. Most of them exercise these powers and feel they have the authority to punish their wives through the use of violence. Though some women experience violence when they are starting relationships than ends, others experience violence throughout their relationships, and their husbands demand constant obedience and submission from them. Men show violence which ends after some time, and they become tender. These women are forced to stay thinking these acts of kindness will continue only to realize they were lured by a kind act and live in cycles of violence throughout their lives.

Due to the consequences of these violent acts among the partners, the role of counseling and psychotherapy is essential. Counseling helps violent victims change from the habits they have developed due to violence and live a normal life. Counselors also strive to help these victims revoke psychological and mental conditions such as depressions, stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Several theories try to explain the role of the counselor in providing therapies to women who have experienced gender-based violence.

Liberal Feminism Theory

Liberal feminism theory maintains that domestic violence sometimes occurs because of stereotyped social roles, making the victims behave contrary to their feelings. If society believed that a man could be vulnerable just like a woman is, and a woman can be like a man, this could minimize intimate partner’s violent acts. Liberal feminism theory insists that women’s blind submission to authority hinders their political and social freedom and limits their developmental reasoning.

The theory proposes that all people, both men, and women, are created equal hence have the same faculties. They further argue that men and women have the same mental capabilities; hence, men’s rights should be extended to women and vice versa. When counselors apply this theory in counseling victims of domestic violence, they should emphasize equal education of both sexes and not devalue women’s work. In addition, both men and women should be given equal work opportunities, which will significantly reduce domestic violence.

Social Feminist Theory

Social feminist theorists believe the inferior position of women and the unpaid work they do as homemakers make them victims of oppression and violation. since men provide everything, they retain the power while women stay dependent and stagnated. As a result of men being more educated, having an improved career, and having a high status in society, women’s status does not compare to the status of their husbands. Therefore, they become prone to the violation at work and other social contexts. The theorists, therefore, argue that women should become empowered, be given more education opportunities, and enhance their careers. This will make them less prone to violence as it will interfere with men’s status quo.

Client-Centered Theory

This theory is centered on client therapy and self-treatment where the counselor will help the client identify her problem. The theory emphasizes enhancing and enabling the client to perceive and realize her problem by creating an atmosphere of self-evolvement that makes the client realize the inherent potential within her. The theorists believe that when a person can determine his destiny, he can guide, regulate, and control his actions (Pitonyak et al., 2015).

They also argue that individuals are in the state of progression and towards self-actualization and developing a positive, constructive self-regard. If a counselor can offer empathic understanding to the client, he can create and emphasize the client’s feelings, and consequently, the client will be able to interpret his feelings and make a decision. The uniqueness of the theory is that a counselor treats the client as a worthy person and emphasizes the client’s feelings. The primary aim of this therapy is to provide a conducive environment to the client where they can become fully functional.

Behavioral Counseling

According to the theorist, the primary aim of counseling is to help the client change behavior to live a satisfying and productive life. The theory focuses on addressing the trauma caused by domestic violence through addressing the main psychotherapies and psychoanalytic, cognitive behaviors, and human behavioral groups. This theory is based on a learning perspective called behaviorism, whose primary focus is to overturn a specific behavior.

Behavioral therapists focus on the behavior that is causing distress to their clients and help them replace that behavior with an appropriate one. Examples of behaviors treated with this therapy are phobia, anxiety, and drug addiction (Krist et al., 2015). The theory can work through nonverbal means, and it is appropriate where other therapies have failed. Its primary focus is to replace undesirable behavior with desirable ones. Several techniques like systematic desensitization, exposure and response prevention, relaxation training, social skills training, and aversive conditioning are applied.

Group Therapies

In this theory, victims of domestic violence gather together and discuss their problems. In their discussions, they realize their problems are not unique and hence receive emotional support and means of coping with them. In this type of counseling, participants act on stage out of emotional conflicts, with the primary goals of understanding their behaviors and resolving conflicts. These types of therapies are less costly compared to individual therapies (Orang, 2018). Counselors apply group interaction to facilitate individual behavior change and self-understanding. The theorists point out that the counseling group is society’s primary representative. They provide an opportunity for all participants to experience and feel like part of the society through a group counseling experience.

When it comes to counseling, group therapies are less costly than specific individual therapies, and therefore most people would go for group therapies. However, the individual-specific approaches are essential since the therapist can focus on individual problems, analyses them, and solve them individually (Al’Uqdah et al., 2016). It gives the therapist the exact problem that is distressing the client hence being able to address it completely. Specific approaches are more advantageous than group therapies.

Specific ethical and diversity issues are relevant to this group of women. Some ethical and diversities prefer such issues not to be brought to public notice, and therefore many cases are not reported. Only 1 out of 4 women report intimate partner violence because of the fear and phobia put into them by the community. Other ethical standards that apply to this group include protecting and maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the victim. Once a person has reported a case, counselors and researchers are supposed to maintain the client’s privacy. Maintaining privacy protects them from reprisal (Fraga, 2016). The ethical standards require the client’s privacy to be protected before, during, and after the interview and counseling.

Intimate partner violence is the most prevalent form of domestic violence in most communities. Since women are the vulnerable groups, they are exposed to secondary consequences like depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth, and low self-esteem. Living with such conditions is detrimental and harmful to their health. Therefore, the role of counselors and therapies is vital to help these groups realize their self-worth and come to self-actualization. The counseling theories such as social feminist theories, client-centered theories, group therapies, and liberal feminist approaches will help these individuals live productive and self-worth life and acquire more positive behaviors.


Al’Uqdah, S. N., Maxwell, C., & Hill, N. (2016). Intimate partner violence in the African American community: Risk, theory, and interventions. Journal of Family Violence, 31(7), 877-884. Web.

Fraga, S. (2016). Methodological and ethical challenges in violence research. Porto Biomedical Journal, 1(2), 77-80. Web.

Kimerling, R., Iverson, K. M., Dichter, M. E., Rodriguez, A. L., Wong, A., & Pavao, J. (2016). Prevalence of intimate partner violence among women veterans who utilize Veterans Health Administration primary care. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 31(8), 888-894. Web.

Krist, A. H., Baumann, L. J., Holtrop, J. S., Wasserman, M. R., Stange, K. C., & Woo, M. (2015). Evaluating feasible and referable behavioral counseling interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(3), 138-149. Web.

Orang, T., Ayoughi, S., Moran, J. K., Ghaffari, H., Mostafavi, S., Rasoulian, M., & Elbert, T. (2018). The efficacy of narrative exposure therapy in a sample of Iranian women exposed to ongoing intimate partner violence—a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 25(6), 827-841. Web.

Pitonyak, J. S., Mroz, T. M., & Fogelberg, D. (2015). Expanding client-centred thinking to include social determinants: a practical scenario based on the occupation of breastfeeding. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 22(4), 277-282. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2022, December 1). Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, December 1). Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group.

Work Cited

"Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group." PsychologyWriting, 1 Dec. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group'. 1 December.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group." December 1, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group." December 1, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group." December 1, 2022.