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Response-Based Practice with Perpetrators and Victims

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1 Response-Based Practice with Perpetrators and Victims
Nick Todd, M.Ed., R. Psych. Cindy Ogden, M.S.W., R.S.W. Jill Weaver-Dunlop, M.S.W., R.S.W. Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Cindy: Hi, I’m Cindy, this is Jill . We’re from Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter in Calgary Alberta. I’m a therapist at Men’s Counselling Service. Jill is the Director of Prevention Services (she used to be manager of MCS.) We’d like to accomplish 2 things in our talk today: 1) Provide on overview of our key counselling assumptions when we’re working with perpetrators 3) Begin to give a sense of how these ideas have influenced our clinical practice. A note on terminology: We do use the terms ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’. They are not perfect, but they do get across the intentional aspects of abusive behaviour. So by ‘perpetrator’ we mean someone who has purposely done something to harm, oppress, and/or dominate another person. And by ‘victim’ we mean someone who has had something unwanted done to them, against their will and over their protests. The majority of the people that come to our shelter, are in heterosexual relationships in which the men are the perpetrators and women are being victimized by them. Finally, as we go along, it will become clear that it is important to get details from the men about their abusive behaviour—so we want to warn you in the beginning that the language we use as we’re talking about our work and providing case examples can be graphic. (Should we have this here or before JJ? Or both?)

2 Inspiration . . . Allan Wade Linda Coates Nick Todd Jill:
Allan and Linda you’ve met here. Nick used to be at Men’s and established how response-based ideas can be used in work with perpetrators. Cindy: For me these ideas changed not only the way I work, but entire worldview Book pages

3 Overview of Men’s Counselling Service
program of Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter provide individual and drop in group counselling for perpetrators individual counselling for women and partners of perpetrators free service long term counselling Jill: MCS has been in existence for 20 years—came out of the desire to increase women’s safety. Cindy: In our program we work with both victims and perpetrators. Today we’re focusing on the work we do with perpetrators. Because our time is short, we won’t be able to talk about how we use response-based ideas with victims. Instead, we’re going to narrow the focus to how we use the work we do with our guy’s partners to enhance and inform the work we do with the guys. If you’re interested in how we work with women, feel free to come up after our talk—we’ll be happy to talk

4 Therapy with Perpetrators: Assumptions
Abusive behaviour is deliberate Pre-existing ability-men already possess the ability to behave respectfully Men often portray their violence as an effect (something over which they have little control) Jill: So the following are six assumptions that underpin our work with perpetrators of violence. We’re going to outline the six assumptions that we use in our work with men, and then we’ll talk in detail about each assumption. Reads all 6 assumptions

5 Assumptions cont’d Violence as a response: Perpetrators also spontaneously use the language of responses to acknowledge they have acted poorly Excuses can be valuable sources of therapeutic material Self-correction is preferable to correction by others – we align with his self-correction Jill continued…

6 1. Abusive behaviour is deliberate
Men know when they have been abusive We try to elicit a lot of details from men – it is in the details the deliberateness of abuse is highlighted Cindy: This is a key underlying assumption in our work with perpetrators - that abusive behaviour is deliberate. Men know when they have been abusive In our experience, the guys know when they have crossed the line into abusive behaviour with their partners, they know and understand what abuse is, and they also know the impact this has had on their partners. We try to elicit a lot of details from men – it is in the details the deliberateness of abuse is highlighted In our discussions with the guys, we ask questions that encourage them to talk about the intention behind their actions. Their intention comes out in the details. A lot of guys will describe what begins as an argument with their partner. And they’ll often say they initially handled things well. Then she says something that pisses them off and then they change how they’re handling themselves. A lot of guys will describe tit for tat—but more, then going to one up her—she hurts their feelings—they’re going to devastate her. Or they just want to shut her up. Or they don’t want her to leave, or to scare her.

7 client who made clear decisions about what to throw….
Case example… client who made clear decisions about what to throw…. Jill: Case example: Example: I’m going to give a case example now, to highlight the deliberateness of abusive behaviour. I’ll call him Jim. Jim came in because he was throwing objects when he was angry and was scaring his partner. In our conversation, I got curious about the decisions he was making about the objects he threw. So I began asking him in detail about that. He started talking about how he was making quite a number of clear choices with respect to the objects he was throwing, even though he started out by saying he was out of control with his anger. So he would choose objects that only belonged to her not to him. He didn’t break his own stuff because that wouldn’t mean anything to her. And he only chose things that valued between $35 and $75 because he was always careful to replace the objects that he broke. He didn’t want to have to spend too much money replacing them. However, he also didn’t break things that were less than $35 because his destruction wouldn’t have meant anything to her if he had broken cheap stuff. He was also careful not to break anything that was of real sentimental value to her, for example, he said he’d not touch a picture of her grandma. The reason for this is that he was afraid that she would leave if he did this. For the same reason, he didn’t pick any objects that he knew were really valuable to her such as her ipod or cell phone. At the end of the session, he sat back in his chair, being quiet, and then he said, “Man, if I’m making that many decisions, I can just choose not to throw them all.”

8 Suppression of resistance – clear evidence of deliberate behaviour
Cindy: Finally, the deliberateness is also highlighted through all the things guys do to suppress women’s resistance. Whereas professionals might miss the suppression of resistance, perpetrators never do. For example, a man who lived on an isolated farm in rural Alberta ensured that his wife would have great difficulty escaping from him when he was away at work by leaving each morning with one shoe from every pair she owned as well as the distributor cap from her car. Taking just one shoe meant his wife could complete her farm chores wearing mismatched shoes, but made it difficult for her and the children to walk the long distance required to obtain help, and taking the distributor cap meant their only option for leaving would be to walk. Another man tried to stop his wife (who was at home with their baby) from reaching out to her family and friends by bringing the household phones with him to work. Jill: Men will often make deliberate decisions about where they hit their partners. For example, some men might only hit their partners on their bodies where clothing will hide the bruising. Other men, deliberately hit their partner’s in the face to increase her sense of humiliation, to make it clear to other people what a rotten wife she is, or to force her to stay home until some of the bruising heals. Another woman I worked with is a lead singer. He was very unhappy with her career, and very upset at her success. He repeatedly hit her in the vocal cords—so hard that she was unable to sing for several months.

9 2. Men already know how to behave respectfully
We try to maximize therapeutic use of the fact that men are often capable of responding skillfully and appropriately in various situations Cindy: Most therapeutic approaches to working with abusive men recognize that the guys are often capable of responding skillfully and appropriately in various situations. In a response-based approach, we really try to make therapeutic use of this. Jill: (Stewart aka George) George worked construction and he skillfully mediated conflict on site—in fact he had a reputation for being an expert at being able to handle himself well. He described himself as a person with exceptional people skills—just that he didn’t use them at home. Cindy: (Paul and Mary) handling an incident How a guy reacts—also can vary moment to moment, incident by incident with their partners. Important to remember—that most men do both, and we need to also respect this in our work with perpetrators Very few of our guys have no redeeming features—most guys also do lots of things well. It’s the unpredictable nature of their guys that often creates the dilemmas for their partners and others they are victimizing. Paul describes himself as jealous, possessive, and controlling of his partner, Mary. He says she’s a good looking woman so he often questioned what she was doing and frequently accused her of having affairs. He’d yelled and threatened other men when they were out “for looking too closely at Mary.” He really didn’t want Mary to go to work, but they were struggling financially and they needed the extra money. Mary got an office job which had a dress code—but Paul was often upset when she went to work, because he’d say she “looked too nice” and would be angry if she wore make-up to work. Mary had to work after hours for a series of evenings to meet a deadline. Paul picked her up each night because he said he was worried about her getting safely home so late in the evening. This one night, Paul went to pick her up, and something was clearly wrong when Mary got in the car. Mary didn’t want to tell him what was bothering her—but she was so rattled and upset—Paul said he kept saying “I know something is wrong. Tell me what’s going on.” Mary finally disclosed that her boss had been making a series of sexually inappropriate comments when they were working those evenings—and that night he had grabbed one of her breasts. Paul says he was shocked and outraged, but he knew that wouldn’t help Mary—he just focused on what she needed—what did she need right then. Mary says Paul responded absolutely appropriately—he said her boss had no right to do that, tried to comfort her. When she struggled about what do about work—go to HR, make a complaint; quit—he told her that it was entirely up to her. Paul said even though they needed the money, her well-being was more important.

10 Case example: Woman who described how her partner behaved respectfully for long periods of time, and became abusive whenever she was in a vulnerable position Jill: Another example that illustrates that men know how to behave respectfully comes from a partner of one of our guys, who told us that she had left her guy several years ago because of his abusive behavior. She said that she started dating somebody else, and that really scared him. At that point, he promised to change. She said that he did make significant changes and treated her very well for several years—up until she became pregnant with their first child. At that point he became very abusive again. She stayed with him after the birth of their child, hoping he would change, but he did not so she left and went to a shelter. She said that she realized in the shelter, that it was going to be too hard to manage as a single parent because her child had a severe disability. Her husband again promised to treat her better if she came home because it again scared him that she had fled. She said that he did initially treat her better, but she thinks that he realizes that she is trapped with having a disabled child to care for so he’s resumed his abusive behavior.

11 3. Men who have been abusive sometimes talk as if they have no choice – violence as an effect
The advantage of talking with men about the details of specific incidents of abuse, is that we can explore the choices he is making even when he presents his actions as involuntary Cindy: In our experience, another advantage of talking with guys about specific incidents, getting details, helps us look at the choices he is making even when he is presenting his actions as involuntary.

12 Language of Effects Means men are portraying their abusive actions as effects of impersonal forces that overwhelm their good intentions Just read

13 Language of Responses Men are portraying their actions as freely chosen, which could have been better or worse So to help clarify what we mean between language of effects and language of responses, we have part of a transcript. Our experience is that guys speak in both languages.

14 Dialogue between therapist and client illustrating “choice talk” even when client presents actions as involuntary: Client: I just black out when I’m angry–I see red and I have no control over what I do. This anger just takes over me. Therapist: Can you tell me about the last time you felt like you blacked out? C: Well, probably the time I threw a chair at my wife–I blacked out then–I don’t even remember it. T: Can you talk about what you do remember? C: I was just so mad at her–she really knows how to push my buttons. My wife is a petite little thing. I could really hurt her. Jill: Cindy and I are going to give an example of a dialogue between therapist and client, that illustrates how – even when clients present their actions as involuntary – they will still also present their actions as “choices”. Cindy will be the therapist, Jill the client.

15 Cont’d…. T: Did you hurt her?
C: No, no. I threw the chair at her but it didn’t connect with her. T: Can you tell me more about that? How was it that you didn’t hit her with it? C: Oh, I threw the chair beside her–at the wall. I didn’t want to hit her with it ‘cause I know that would have really hurt her. T: So it was important to you not to hurt her? What was important about that? C: I’m twice her size and I work out you know, so I know I could probably really hurt her. That scares me. I don’t want to hurt her. Cindy: (following up after above dialogue): Detailing the man’s choices in this way gives him the opportunity to decide which ones align with his stated intentions of “not hurting her.” This sets the stage for possible further discussion on how he is hurting his wife in other than physical ways. Also notable in this excerpt is how the client diffuses responsibility for his actions by suggesting that it was the chair itself that “didn’t connect with her.” Jill: I also wanted to say that we don’t normally point out to the men that they made a choice to be violent or abusive – they usually find this offensive. Instead, we take a position of curiosity about their decision-making and intentions, and how this is in line or out of line with who they want to be He also presents behaviour as an effect of blacking out—that’s language of effects….. (lead into next slide)

16 Treatment is thus not seen as a way to help men overcome personal deficits or learn to take responsibility – rather it is an opportunity to support them as they negotiate talking about themselves as being affected objects rather than responding subjects. We aim to amplify response-based talk, and to minimize effects-based talk Jill: We just try to amplify talk where they’re highlighting themselves as subjects in their own lives, amplify where they are highlighting their own agency and we’re wanting to minimize talk where men are presenting themselves as affected objects (a person overwhelmed by other forces). From original notes: (left in just in case we think we need it). This suggests that a focus on the subtleties of how clients position themselves with respect to their socially undesirable actions is likely to yield a greater sense of agency and social competence than pressuring them to take ownership of their abusive choices. Thus, we conceive of the treatment process not as a way to help men overcome personal deficits or learn to take responsibility, but rather as an opportunity to support them as they negotiate an exchange of object versus subject positions in relation to their own violent and non-violent actions.

17 4. Perpetrators also talk in ways in which they take responsibility for abusive conduct – violence as a response Reflexive frame-breaks Men’s talk contains many instances where they use the language of responses to represent themselves as competent social agents who could have made better choices (O’Connor, 2000) Cindy: Reflexive frame-breaks – is an idea discussed by Patricia O’Connor. Reflexive frame-breaks are defined as those moments when a speaker breaks from the frame of an account they are developing, to comment on what they are saying. In those moments when someone interrupts themselves. These moments present a natural opportunity for fruitful probing – a starting point for productive talk. They’ve interrupted themselves so they obviously have some thoughts about what they just said. An easy example of this is a guy I saw last week—talking about being abusive because he was stressed out and exhausted—he was telling me all about this but then he interrupted himself and said but “I know that’s just an excuse.” (Jill I just stuck this in because I thought the idea might make more sense if I gave a quick example and I thought provides a lead in for you) Jill: Men’s talk contains many instances…. Men often initially come in for counseling using primarily effects based language – however, their talk also contains many instances where they represent themselves in a language of responses as competent social agents who could have made better choices. This happens very frequently in sessions – and are prime moments for therapeutic intervention. The following interaction between client and therapist illustrates this idea. This time Jill will be the therapist, Cindy the client.

18 Illustrating reflexive frame-breaks
Case example: Illustrating reflexive frame-breaks Todd, Weaver-Dunlop, & Ogden, in press

19 Client: My wife is so messy
Client: My wife is so messy. I’d come through the house at the end of the day kicking everything out of the way. Like, why couldn’t she just put things away? I like a really clean floor, clean lines, everything tidy. When I came home, there’s the kids boots and snow pants in front of the door, backpacks on the floor, dishes from the day on the kitchen table. I’ve worked hard all day and I’m tired, and I don’t want to come home to a big mess and clutter everywhere. She knew this really bugged me, so why couldn’t she just put stuff away, you know? It would drive me crazy. But I probably shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, I shouldn’t have got so mad.

20 Therapist: What did you do that you weren’t comfortable with?
Client: Oh, when I came through the house kicking everything out of the way and yelling, I think I scared everybody. I don’t want that. Therapist: What don’t you like about scaring everybody? Client: I don’t want my family to be scared of me. That’s just not right. They should feel comfortable with me.

21 Not necessary to interrupt or confront client – rather we wait until he offers the spontaneous frame-break: e.g. “I probably shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.” Jill: We wait for those spontaneous frame-breaks—this is where we can joint with him. He doesn’t want to be abusive, we don’t want him to be abusive. Original note: It is important to note that it is not necessary for the counsellor to interrupt or confront the client on his aggressive behaviour, only to wait until he offers the spontaneous frame-break, “I probably shouldn’t have reacted the way I did” – and then take advantage of this opportunity for fruitful probing.

22 5. Excuses can be valuable sources of therapeutic material
Outcome research has been surprisingly unsupportive of the notion that men must “take responsibility” before we can expect change. Excuses can be valuable in that for some men they are indicating they know they have behaved badly—that these are not the actions of a reasonable person. i.e. “I was drunk.” It is clear these are actions a sober person ought not to do. Maruna, 2004; McKendy, 2006; Todd, 2010 Cindy: Outcome research has been surprisingly unsupportive of the notion that men must “take responsibility” before we can expect change. Counterintuitive, until we begin to think about the nature of excuses and justifications. (Maruna, 2004) In fact, excuses and denial sometimes associated with better outcomes.

23 Excuses as self-correction
Excuses can be understood as “a type of aligning action…indicating to the audience that the actor is aligned with the social order even though he or she has violated it.” (Felson & Ribner, 1981, p. 138) Cindy: (read) So again we turn to our work with the guys—and in this case I’m the client, Joe, and Jill’s the therapist.

24 Case Example Joe: I was really stressed—it was one of those days, my computer crashed, my neighbours were bugging me, I hadn’t had much sleep, and I was really stressed so I took it out on Debbie. When is all this bullshit going to end?! It just feels like every body is on my case. Therapist: So when all this is going on, how would you like to talk to Debbie? Joe: It just wasn’t okay that I blew up at her—it’s not okay. It’s not really about her. I know it really stresses Debbie when I’m like this and I don’t like that I’m stressing her. I don’t want to wreck my marriage. Jill: In this case Joe’s saying that he wouldn’t have behaved abusively if he weren’t so stressed—abuse is not the action of a calm, relaxed person. So he’s aligning with the social order—abuse isn’t okay—his circumstances are exceptional. Joe’s trying to provide us with context as to why he behaved badly—what was happening for him, the circumstances surrounding his decision to become abusive. In this way he’s aligning with normal social behaviour. And Joe’s also said that he doesn’t want to behave abusively.

25 6. Self versus Other Correction
Self-correction is preferable to correction by others. We seek to align with his small acts of self-correction, both overt and covert: goals, intentions, choices, frame- breaks, excuses, second thoughts, regrets, misgivings, apologies, etc. Jill: For example in this last example, Joe was clear that he doesn’t want to wreck is marriage, and that he’s aware that his abusive behaviour is ruining his marriage. So he’s self-correcting. We haven’t had to tell him—rather we join him on that.

26 Working with Women Men sign an agreement for counselling – enabling us to contact their partners Men know confidentiality is not absolute – we talk with women if we have safety concerns We are very careful to protect women’s confidentiality Our work with women informs our work with the men Cindy: When guys come to us for counselling, part of the agreement they sign when they first come is that we will try to contact their partners. After our first meeting with him, we will try to reach his partner and it is totally up to her whether or not she wants to talk with us. Our experience is that most women do but some women will choose only to talk to us about his progress. Other women will choose to come in for the counselling and support we offer. The guys therefore know that their confidentiality is not absolute – that if we have concerns about her safety, we are going to talk with her, and/ or inform whoever needs to be informed. However, we would never share with the guys what she says. She can tell him what she wants about our contact with her, but we would never disclose to him anything about our contact with her. She’s the best judge of her safety The work with the women is a critical aspect of our work with the men. We know from the guys what their concerns are about their behaviour. When we talk with her, we find out what her concerns about his behaviour. Sometimes they don’t match. i.e. guy who was working on how he was treating her. Talked to her—she said, “yeah, that’s nice, but I’m a grown up and I can handle the verbal crap he throws at me—what I’m really concerned about is how he’s treating the kids.” He hadn’t talked to me about this, and we want to protect her confidentiality—maintain her safety--- Looked for opportunities that I could naturally explore issues related to the children—and his views on how he was treating them Next session, he talked about taking his partner on a picnic over the weekend—opportunity explore. first picnic, how did that go? gee, my memory is that you have kids—where were they? Did they come? how was that decided? what was it like having them there? what are your kids like? how do you get on with them? what kind of dad are you? In the interest of her safety and protecting her confidentiality; there are also times that women raise concerns about their partner, and this isn’t something he’s interested in talking about. For example, some of the women we talk to are concerned about their guys’ use of substances—drugs or alcohol—but if he says “she’s overreacting, I don’t have an issue, no one but her things I have an issue—” there’s really no wiggle room. Again, if we take response-based ideas seriously—then he chooses what he wants to address and where he wants to put his energy for self-correction.

27 Interviewing Perpetrators
The practicalities Jill: For the remaining time, we’re going to shift gears and talk more specifically about what’s been helpful to us as counsellors in our work with the guys.

28 A Foundation of Safety in Counselling
SELF-CORRECTION AMBIVALENCE DISCLOSURE ENGAGEMENT/RAPPORT THERAPEUTIC SAFETY Jill: Nick came up with the Counselling Pyramid Useful as a blueprint for the process of counselling… Important to note that all five levels are often in play. Arbitrarily separated here for conceptual clarity. (Jill should you give a brief overview before we talk about each one in more detail?) Then say, we will now talk about each one of these ideas in more detail.

29 Establishing a Foundation of Therapeutic Safety
From our perspective, the key to change for those who have acted abusively is their own sense of having acting rightly or wrongly We want to be able to talk about this. Cindy: Our view is that when the guys feel safe and respected, not judged, they are more likely to work more seriously towards continuous, sustained self-correction. We want to respect the client’s pre-existing abilities—he knows his behaviour is wrong—we don’t have to teach him. (Jill I’m not sure if we should have this piece or not). Also want to mention the therapeutic safety that we’re talking about here is similar but different from the safety we’re talking about in the relationship pyramid. Guys have violated their partner’s safety—so they have to work at re-establishing. In counselling—there has been no violation—so we’re starting from a very different place.

30 Establishing Therapeutic Safety
Clarify boundaries and limits of confidentiality We attempt to minimize the client-counsellor hierarchy We try to avoid an “expert” stance Cindy: clarify boundaries and limits of confidentiality: As already mentioned, limits of confidentiality are clearly laid out beginning with the intake form, so the guys know from the get-go what the boundaries and limits are. we attempt to minimize the client-counsellor hierarchy We seek to position the client in the driver’s seat and respect him as the person best positioned to know his route consistently behaving respectfully and appropriately. In other words, clients identify what concerns them about their abusive behaviour, and we use this a basis for our work together. We try to avoid the expert stance We respect the client’s pre-existing abilities, he knows his abusive behaviour is wrong, we don’t have to teach him.

31 Establishing Therapeutic Safety
Slowly does is –talking about abuse is a difficult thing Avoid judgement and blame; create a safe place to talk Jill: Slowly does it – talking about abuse is a difficult thing. If we were to ask everyone here – which would each of us rather talk about – a time when we were hurt by someone else, or a time when we hurt someone that we love – most of us would want to warm up with the first. This is often how the men present to us – they talk about how they were hurt by their partners. Men will talk about what they have done wrong but not necessarily stay there, generally we see this as okay because they will come back to it. Avoid judgment and blame: create a safe place to talk: In our experience, avoiding judgment and being respectful enables men to talk about their abusive behaviour in a lot of detail. We find that comments along the judgmental or confrontational end of the continuum tend to create a situation in which men think that we are not understanding them. This tends to close down any discussion of their concerns about their behaviour. What tends to happen is they try to convince us that they had no choice except to be abusive. Conversely, if we are not judgmental or blaming, it tends to open space for men to talk about their ambivalence about their abusive behaviour and to explore self-correction. Cindy: One of the ways I can tell if I’m messing up in a session is if a guy starts digging into his position. If this starts to happen in a session it tells me I need to back up and approach the issues from a different perspective. In those circumstances and I feel like I have lost my way, it is a good indicator. I have stopped listening in the way I should I need to back up and really start paying attention to what he is saying.

32 Engagement/Rapport Clients have the right to tell their stories their way Welcome and explore “messy, realistic explanations” (Maruna & Mann, 2006, p. 166) the men offer for their behavioural choices We find taking an informal and relaxed approach as counsellors helps – i.e. using humour Cindy: Clients have the right to tell their stories their way. Establishing safety and respect leads to engagement and rapport, in which we establish a working alliance with the client around his desire not to be abusive. He doesn’t want to be abusive, and we don’t want him to be abusive. In this respect, we are allies. Engagement and rapport are enhanced by providing space for perpetrators to tell their stories their own way. Maruna and Mann’s point talks about how things are in real life—people often have more than one feeling, belief, thought about the same thing. For example (need an example here—the idea that he absolutely had to do what he did—but also absolutely sees himself in the wrong) Maruna and Mann point out that valuing of ALL the talk of clients is both engaging and therapeutically useful. Jill: Reads point: We find taking an informal and relaxed approach … Follow up on quote from a client in next slide- this quote I is from a client, who comments on this informal, relaxed approach in therapy

33 … it’s nice to just be able to come and smile and say a joke, or be loose, instead of always coming and feeling stressed out and feeling bad. It’s nice to be able to come in and say ‘hi (to the counsellors), ‘how the hell are you today?’, and tell a joke. They have that, that bond where you can come in and feel free to be who you are as well. It’s good to be able to come and be yourself as well where you can come and laugh with your counsellor and let them see that you’re a person and see that your counsellor is a person as well. Weaver, Samantaraya, & Todd, 2005 Jill reads

34 A Foundation of Safety In Relationships
CLOSENESS COMMUNICATION TRUST/RESPECT OPENNESS/HONESTY SAFETY Jill: We talk about following the guy’s lead—but we aren’t totally consistent—we tend to use one tool in our work with the guys. We affectionately call it the Relationship Pyramid. (Jill I couldn’t figure out how to move this around to get the acknowledgements on the slide) Originally, one of the counsellors, Frank McGrath, who worked at Men’s used these ideas—called the Change Map. Nick Todd got the idea of placing it within a pyramid—and safety is the foundation. We’ve found it to be a good engagement tool Guys generally come in when he’s seriously hurt his partner in someway—she’s gone to the shelter, he’s been arrested, she’s telling him she’ll leave unless he does something different. While most programs working with perpetrators work from that place of enhancing safety—it’s generally an there as an underlying assumption and not highlighted—we’ve found it useful to highlight and centre the safety piece. Explain pyramid. Originally we had a slide that said: Relationship pyramid offers a framework for negotiating mutual goals—not sure at this point what that was all about.

35 Disclosure The better the engagement with the client, the more likely they are to self disclose. Cindy: The better the engagement with the client, the more they are likely to self-disclose. We find that the men in our program actually will tell us a lot of details of their abusive behaviour. They let us know what they were thinking, their actions, what was important to them at the time (i.e. he just wanted her to shut up), their unhappiness and guilt about their behaviour. Cindy on 2nd and 3rd bullets: Since outcome research is not supportive of the need to take accountability for past choices, there’s no therapeutic significance to “exploring the past” to enhance accountability. That makes the Solution focused approach of detailing instead what an improved future seem like a valid way to proceed. Solution focused is not into the details—that the problem and solution are quite different. However, our experience is that the majority of men do want to talk about what happened. Plus, Jill and I differ from solution-focused ideas because for us, the details are key. For example, we went to a training by Sebold and Uken, in 2009, and they never spoke to the guys about their abusive behaviour but focused on how the guys could be better… Notes in book—at that point we were dealing with a number of men who were sexually abusive to their partners—the love notes etc. for the partners of these guys—those love notes wouldn’t be perceived as an appropriate solution—but a continuation of their abusive behaviour. For us context matters.

36 4) Ambivalence Go for the details.
The more detailed the account, the more likely to discover ambivalence Jill: And that brings us to the importance of ambivalence. When men are reviewing their abusive behaviour—they’re often talking about their guilt, shame and embarrassment—this is important. It’s getting at their values—why their abusive behaviour is not okay and their reasons for wanting to change. If we were to fully detail all the things you did today, we could of course find many “choice points” – situations in which you could have done things differently: the more detailed the account, the more apparent the range of possibilities. When guys feel safe, and not judged they are more likely to talk about their ambivalence—what they don’t like about they’re doing—and that can be a precursor to sustained change. That won’t happen if they don’t feel safe in the counselling relationship.

37 Ambivalence: Transcript example
Client: We weren't getting along and then she accepted this guy's phone number, you know. And I got really pissed off at her because, one, he's my friend, and two, you don't do stuff like that, you know. Like, that's wrong, it’s just morally wrong in my books. And she never told me about kissing this guy until we moved out here. And it was like, you know, I have a very hard time trusting women. I have yet to have a woman that's ... and ... it’s my own fault, maybe it’s because of me But, you know, I've yet to have a woman ... remain loyal. Therapist: What's got you thinking, maybe I had a hand in this, maybe it’s my own fault? Jill: Ambivalence often shows up as frame-breaks. Nick’s note: The frame-break -- a shift from OP (object position) claims to a SP (subject position) claim 37

38 Transcript Example Cont’d
C: Because I feel I push them away. I force them away. T: How? C: By being angry, being jealous. I'm a very jealous person. T: So you've been thinking over this problem, where the trust doesn't seem to be there, like, "I'm wondering if my anger ...” C: Yeah, I think it's got a lot to do with it. I push them away. I pushed Sue away, because I can't just let them just go and do what they want. I have a hard time. I want ... you know, I don't want to be a push-over ... but I don't want to be ... as aggressive as I have been. Jill: Frame breaks, his ambivalence show that we don’t need to convince him that what’s he’s doing is wrong. Speaks to pre-existing ability

39 Self-Correction Self-correction is preferable to correction by others
Jill:? For us, we want to relieve ourselves and our clients form the onerous notion that we must somehow guide them toward ideal ways of speaking and behaving. Aligning with his small acts of self-corrections is a way to do that that leave the credit and responsibility where it belongs – with the client. 39

40 Client Transcript Client: I was mad because she was insisting that we sell the house for less than I thought we should. We ended up in a big fight. Which is why I ended up here. Therapist: Do you mind if we slow things down a bit? Can I ask you more about the fight? C: Oh sure. T: Can you walk me through what happened – what did you say, what did she say … Jill: Final transcript, longer, summarizes our work with guys Warn people that transcript is graphic Cindy reads part of client, Jill reads part of therapist the client-therapist dialogue illustrates the self-disclosure, ambivalence, and self-correction that we see from the men in therapy. So we’ve taken excerpts from an intake interview with a guy worked with. lead in to talk about offensiveness: (I’m not sure what to say here Jill, ideas?) It is an actual transcript—so in other workshops we’ve had people who objected to the language—and we agree it is offensive. However, we kept it how he said it because this is a more accurate description of our work. Also, it also is important to think that if we find some of what he said or did as offensive—what must it be like for his partner, who is with him because she loves him?

41 Client Transcript Cont’d
C: Well like I said, she thought we should sell the house for 325, I thought we should sell it for She would not budge on this, and it was really pissing me off. We need the extra money – right? She can be so pig headed. T: So what did you say? C: I told her she was always a pigheaded bitch, and that made her mad. She said I was being an ass, which made me even madder. So I called her something pretty nasty and walked away - into the other room.

42 Client Transcript Cont’d
T: Do you remember what you called her? C: I called her a cunt. T: How did she respond to that? C: Oh, then she was really, really upset. She walked over and slapped me across the face. No one has ever been physical in our relationship before. That just kind of shocked me, and the next thing I knew my hands were around her throat. She said I lifted her up off the floor, I don’t remember that, but maybe I did. I remember her kicking me in the shins. T: Then what happened?

43 Client Transcript Cont’d
C: I suddenly realized I was choking her – that she couldn’t breathe. I let go right away (is quiet). This just seemed to come out of the blue – I never thought I would do something like that. T: How do you make sense of that – that you did this? It happened before I realized, and it really scared me. I’m completely ashamed of what I did. Of course I have now blown all the trust and safety I built up for the past 3 years. It is completely gone now that I did that. What I’ve come to realize is that by me calling her a cunt, it was as painful as a slap to her.

44 Debriefing therapeutic conversation
Nick interviews Cindy: What would be some unsafe ways you could have responded to her, that would not have opened up the space for self-correction? Cindy: Don’t you realize what you did to her is illegal? Another idea; what you both did is considered physical abuse, and is completely unacceptable. You need to both learn how to treat each other with respect. By hearing him tell his story his way, with open ended questions, this starts right away to open up space for him to talk about the details of his abusive behaviour. He knows it was not okay to call her a cunt. Cindy was thinking to herself “how do you choke someone by accident”, but did not need to say this because simply by asking him more about this – it gets at his prosocial values because he is basically saying it is not okay to choke someone on purpose – it is better to choke someone by accident rather than on purpose. Nick: Another idea as to how a therapist could respond: So if you were more in touch with your thinking process, you would not do this. …other different comments were mutualizing – making it a relationship issue, not unilateral

45 A Foundation of Safety in Counselling
SELF- CORRECTION AMBIVALENCE DISCLOSURE ENGAGEMENT/RAPPORT SAFETY Looking at 5 levels and how they factor in: Engaging: following what he is saying, looking for where I can join with him. Listening to where he is not okay with what he has done. Self – correction, not Cindy-correction. Nick: why did you get him to remember what he called her? Cindy: Because what he did was outside the social norm – it makes it clear that this is a place where they can talk about when they stepped over the line – a place where they can actually talk about that. Puts him in touch with his social embarrassment. Therapeutic safety, self-disclosure, talks in detail about his ambivalence. He said he really upped the ante. Nick: this conversation is a glimpse into the nature of response-based work – all 5 levels are at work. The nature of the conversation sets the stage for self-correction i.e. I know by calling her a cunt – this was as painful as a slap Do you have any questions?

46 Conclusions… Not the right way; not even the only way to apply response-based ideas Works for us because in our view: Collaboration increases dignity Assumes men can immediately stop their violence De-centers therapy and therapist: leaves credit and blame where it belongs – with those who have done the damage and have the opportunity to change Jill: I like this way of working because in my experience, the men that I have talked with come up with answers to my questions that often display a depth of understanding that I feel can’t be taught by counsellors. They often have never talked openly about their abusive behaviour, and I believe there is a lot of power in giving them the space to examine and explore their behaviours and thoughts in a safe place.

47 References Felson, R., & Ribner, S. (1981). An attributional approach to accounts and sanctions for criminal violence. Social Psychology Quarterly, 44(2), Lee, M. Y., Uken, A., & Sebold, J. (2004). Accountability for change: Solution-focused treatment with domestic violence offenders. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 85(4), Maruna, S. (2004). ‘Is rationalization good for the soul?’: Resisting “responsiblization” in corrections and the courts. In B. Arrigo (Ed.), Psychological jurisprudence: Critical explorations in law, crime, and society (pp ). Albany: State University of New York.

48 References cont’d Maruna, S. & Mann, R. (2006). Fundamental attribution errors? Re- thinking cognitive distortions. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 11(2), McKendy, J. (2006). ‘I’m very careful about that’: Narrative and agency of men in prison. Discourse and Society, 17(4), O’Connor, P. (2000). Speaking of crime: Narratives of prisoners. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Todd, N. (2010). The invitations of irresponsibility: Utilizing excuses in counselling with men who have been abusive. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 29(3),

49 References cont’d Todd, N., Wade, A., & Renoux, M. (2004). Coming to terms with violence and resistance: From a language of effects to a language of responses. In T. Strong & D. Paré (Eds.), Furthering talk: Advances in the discursive therapies (pp ). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum. Todd, N., Weaver-Dunlop, G., & Ogden, C. (in press). Approaching the subject of violence: A response-based approach to working with men who have abused others. Violence Against Women. (39 pages). Waldman, F. (1999). Violence or discipline? Working with multicultural court-ordered clients. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 25(4),

50 References cont’d Weaver, G, Samantaraya, L., & Todd, N. (2005). The response-based approach in working with perpetrators of violence: An evaluation. Calgary, AB: Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.

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