Administrator

Administrator

Here is a case study done by Chiduzie Ezedebaego a student at UNBC, for his masters degree. 

you can downlodd the whole study here. 

pdfbw

Here are some quotes from some of the participants of the study:

"…. If there is one thing I have to say about this thing; I am grateful for the guy for 

referring me to this program. He did it and he said hey, this is one of the things I would 
refer to other people. I think this program should be expanded and made available in 
most communities, if we can find the skills and the financial resources to make it happen. 
I think the government really, my recommendation, my yearning is that the government 
of British Columbia should be financing this; I think it got such familiarity in our society. 
They use government finance and do all kinds of crazy stuff with public money. This 
should be an immeasurable service to the community."
 
 
"It's more than worth it, they should invest more. Maybe you can, like Tom said you can 
never deny someone, you might plant a seed, it might take years, but you can never say 
no I don’t think you should be suited for this, everybody should be given the opportunity 
to change."
 

 

 

 

 Facilitating Groups for Men Who Use Violence in Their Intimate Relationships

Client Group

                  The STOP program is designed for men who use violence or controlling behaviours within their intimate relationships these include physical, psychological, and sexual.  We often use Gandhi’s definition of violence, “Any attempt to impose your will on another is an act of violence”.  In other words, yelling, swearing at another person is considered violence, walking away and refusing to talk is also considered violence.  We focus on physical, sexual, financial and psychological violence.  Psychological violence includes verbal, mental, and emotional, violence.  Controlling behaviours such as financial control or isolation is also considered domestic violence.

There are generally two types of male abusers.  The first group is the bulling type, they get off on controlling and hurting others.  The threat of legal action or jail is usually the only way to control these men.  The second group is made up of men who don’t really want to use violence within their families. These men have usually grown up in an abusive environment where their caregivers have used anger and violence to resolve conflicts so they have not learned how to resolve issues in a healthy way.  Or, sometimes they have not learned healthy anger management and conflict resolution because their caregivers used techniques like the silent treatment or just ignoring issues.  Peer pressure as teen and adults also contributes to their use of violence to resolve issues within the immediate family.  These men, as a rule, desperately want to learn healthy new behaviours.  When feeling safe and respected, they tend to work hard at making positive changes in their behaviours.  This is the group of men we usually work with.   Men not willing to do the work or are not honest with themselves and us usually don’t complete the program.

Assisting these clients in feeling safe enough to take personal risks is an essential part the counsellors/facilitators job.  We do this by never judging the client as a person but at the same time being firm on his behaviours.  We encourage them to understand that they were doing the best they could with the limited tools and knowledge they were given while growing up.  We remind them that they are in the program to learn new tools and obtain new skills.  We find that most of our male clients respond well to this approach.  They tend to want to show us they can change and are proud of the work they do.  This approach is an important part of the program as it continually helps the clients develop feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.  Teaching and insisting on personal responsibility is essential to the program.  We teach the clients that they are responsible for all their behaviours, everything they do, feel, think, and say.  In the program, we will not accept that somebody or something making them angry.  They are taught that anger and other such behaviours are a choice.  Using respectful behaviours is also insisted upon.  For example, the men are encouraged to use other people’s names rather then “the wife” “the ex” or “the bitch”.  They don’t have to like them but during group they must talk about them in a respectful manner.

We have found that the male group participants do much better if their partners are involved in the program.  With this in mind, we have a group for the female partners the night before the men’s group.  We teach the same program as the men and offer additional support those who struggling in their relationship.  Often the women also use violence so this helps them understand and change those behaviours.  This also helps keep the men honest.  Some men have been known to use the program to further control or lie to their partners about what they are learning.  Women who may be struggling in their relationship but whose partners can’t or will not attend the men’s group are also allowed to sit in.  We also invite women whose partner’s are no longer not in the picture.

Program Outline

The STOP program is comprised of 12 three-hour sessions.  Each session is typically held once a week.  However, we often do one or two all day Saturday sessions.  Each Saturday counts for two sessions.  This shortens the overall length of the program.  It also helps bring the participants together as a group. 

Each session starts with a check-in.  Each member, including facilitators, is expected to briefly talk about challenges he may have experienced since last group and how he handled it.  Feedback and encouragement is given by the facilitator/counsellor.  Where appropriate, some feedback from other group member is allowed.  This is the part of the program that most men seem enjoy the most. They begin to see that they are not alone, that other men are experiencing similar problems as them.  This also gives the facilitators an opportunity to judge whether members of the group understand and are using the material taught to them.

After a brief break, the education part of the program starts.  Presentations by group facilitators are the main method used. We use a variety of presentation methods including videos; We watch Time for Change, to emphasise the importance of men getting help to make positive behaviour changes.  We also show, It’ Not Like I Hit Her, which shows the devastation of psychological and sexual abuse within an intimate relationship.  Many men are shocked and embarrassed to learn that some of their behaviours towards their partner are considered abusive/violent.  The video, The Crown Prince is presented to help the men understand how domestic abuse/violence is learned while growing up and what they may be teaching their sons.  Debriefing after each video is important as these films often trigger emotional responses in the participants.

We end each session with a checkout.  Each member then briefly shares how the evening went for him and speaks to something he learned in group today.  At this time the facilitators watch for any triggers that individual group members may have experienced.  Group members are encouraged to stay after the session and deal with any unresolved issue that may have come during the session with the counsellor.  Going home with unresolved issues can be dangerous to the man and/or his family. Time permitting; we often do a relaxation exercise at this time such as breathing exercises. 

Modules:

                  The program uses 12 units divided over 14 weeks. Some units can be covered in a single day while others are stretched over multiple days.           

Unit 12: Participant’s last session. In this unit we focus on any questions or concerns that participants may have from the program. An opportunity for bridging is presented, for example, what other support groups may the participants attend in order to maintain learning and there is also another group get together planned for the cohort to maintain connection. Certificates of completion are handed out.

Unit 11: This unit is provides a stage for participants to read their letters of accountability and receive feedback from their peer group. How shame impacts our lives is discussed and the difference between guilt and shame is established. Being able to accept and be responsible for actions and tools to develop more understanding of what aided participants in becoming who they are wraps up this unit. Expected outcomes are a deepened sense of self awareness and self empowerment.

Unit 10: This unit builds on the last and focuses on what makes up a true apology and how participants can be accountable for their actions. The key piece to this unit is writing a letter of accountability which includes an apology. Expected outcomes for participants in this unit are achieving a level of self empowerment in being accountable. 

Unit 9: This unit provides a foundation for an understanding of the victims perspective and developing empathy. Defining safety and making space for multiple perspectives are a key part of this unit and wraps up with a brief study of grief. A mindfulness tool to add to the tool box is a body pat down exercise that helps get individuals grounded and more aware of their own body. Expected outcomes are an increased sense of empathy and awareness of the experience of others who have been involved with domestic violence.

 

Unit 8: This unit guides participants through a process of understanding self esteem and self confidence and provides tools to build on each. Core beliefs and how they effect our well being are explored and if necessary built upon or challenged. This unit also highlights passive aggressive behaviours and what it means to be assertive.  Expected outcomes from this unit are an enhanced awareness of behaviours and one’s own outlook on self. A mindfulness tool to add to the toolbox is cultivating a gratitude attitude.

Unit 7: This unit introduces participants to one and two way communication and provides strategies for respectful communication and active listening techniques. Methods for conflict resolution are discussed and practiced. To add to the mindfulness toolbox, the awareness wheel is used to ground participants and is a portable tool to bring more awareness into the moment.

Unit 6: This unit is a keystone piece to the program linking emotional awareness, accountability to feelings and needs, and communication in what is known as non-violent communication. Participants work through an exercise that demonstrates how our brain fills in blanks and makes assumptions and tools are provided to clarify thoughts. Expected outcomes are a development of a new and effective way of being accountable and compassionate while communicating.

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