Domestic Abuse Counseling Seminar

page-banner-help-topic-domestic-violenceOur second of three Counseling workshops is quickly approaching. On April 25th we will be hosting our workshop on Biblical Counseling for those Suffering from Domestic Abuse. This is an incredibly important, and far too often neglected, subject. Our workshop will help us to validate a victim’s trauma, confront an abuser, utilize a safety plan, and give spiritual direction to both abuser and victim.

1 in 4 women, the current research states, are victims of intimate partner abuse. In a church our size that means there’s roughly 125 women who have in the past or are presently suffering from domestic abuse. Statistics also suggest that roughly 75 of our men have or are presently suffering from this kind of personal violence. We as a church need to be ready to respond. In particular we need to be able to encourage victims to reach out for help, that begins by inviting their trust. There are many reasons why someone might not reach out, but among the top reasons is fear that they will not be believed. In our workshop we are going to talk about ways that we can validate a victim’s pain, fear, and trauma. We are going to discuss the ways that we can, by our responses to their story, either unintentionally increase their trauma or encourage their trust. This will be a huge part of our discussion.

We will also discuss the appropriate ways to confront an abuser. Since abusers are desperately trying to avoid exposure, and because we can unintentionally put their victims in the way of more harm if we are not careful, we must be strategic when we seek to confront them. We will discuss the appropriate ways to handle this, both within the church and outside the church. We will talk about how to identify abusers (looking at common characteristics), we will how to ensure the safety of victims before we confront their abuser, and finally we will discuss the priority of involving the police.

One of the most overlooked areas in counseling victims of abuse seems to be the importance of developing a safety plan. A great deal of harm and risk is involved in trying to leave or just trying to get help. One of the most vital things a church can do is to develop a safety plan for victims. We will discuss specifics, look at sample plans, and begin to put together a church plan. This will offer some very practical things we can do in the immediate revelations of abuse to offer safety to those at risk.

Finally, we will explore the path forward. Confrontation and safety are not the only issues involved in this type of counseling. Those are just the first, necessary, steps. Long-term care for victims requires helping them to deal with PTSD, learning to trust, and most of all helping them to heal by means of growing relationship with God. Many victims of abuse confess to distrust God, or be confused about God, or even to fear God because of the trauma they have suffered. Counselors must be prepared to help victims work through these challenges long-term. Providing spiritual direction is a must. The same is true of oppressors too. They do not merely need anger management and/or confrontation. They will not stop abuse without long-term counseling and accountability. We will discuss what a spiritual direction plan for them looks like as well.

Part of this course will involve a case study. Pastor Chris Moles, a leading Biblical counselor in the are of domestic violence, has graciously provided us with a case study to examine and discuss. In this regard participants will get some practice in doing this kind of counseling. We will also have lots of discussion around the literature, the various scenarios, and the spiritual nature of these problems.

The registration for this class is closed, but even if you didn’t sign up you can still sit in and quietly observe the workshop. We will have packets and other materials available for all participants, and the seminar will run from 9 am until noon. Please join us for this important discussion and learn how to better serve those who suffer from domestic violence, and how to better counsel those who abuse. Your church needs you to be equipped.

Comments

  1. Thank you for hosting this seminar. As 1 of 4 women there has been such bad advice and lack of understanding on this issue. The church often send women back into the swinging fists of their husbands, physically and mentally.
    When they disclose to you they are in a point of despair, they have done many things to try and make it better. They will not overstate the abuse in fact they will understate it. They are embarrassed that someone that should care for them treats them so horribly and they have bought in that it is their fault.
    There should be information in the bathrooms where the abuser does not have access and the victims can access information without fear of retaliation. A safety plan needs to be part of the information in the restroom.
    Please never ask someone you suspect is being abused the question in front of the spouse, there can be dire results to that and they are not free to speak their mind.
    A gal that is part of one of our support groups was taken to the emergency room by her abusive spouse because he had pushed her into something and she fell and hit the ground. He of course denied pushing her and was answering most of the questions at the ER and she felt like she could not disclose what went on with him present over her while they were stitching her up. Of course they knew what went on but she wasn’t offered any help, remove the abuser and ask the questions and leave them with access to information for later.

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