(2011). Couples Treatment for Domestic Violence.

Finding Safe Solutions

Sandra Stith, Primary Author | More books by this author

E.E. McCollum

K.H. Rosen

Published: 2011
Published by: American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.
204 pages


This book describes process for working with situationally violent couples who have experienced intimate partner violence


While couples treatment is controversial, and while we agree that not all couples between whom there has been violence should be seen conjointly, we also are convinced that a specific group of violent couples can use and benefit from a thoughtful couples counseling approach. That group includes couples who have experienced mild-to- moderate violence, who want to stay in their relationship, and who want to end the violence between them. This book presents a safety-oriented, domestic-violence focused approach to working with such couples that is the result of ten years of development and testing, in part funded by a grant from the National Institute for Mental Health.
Regular couples therapy approaches are generally not appropriate for addressing domestic violence. Extra safeguards need to be incorporated into the work to manage the risks. Recognizing limitations of most models of couples therapy in clarifying these safeguards, we developed a solution-oriented program for treating couples who choose to remain together after experiencing mild-to-moderate relationship violence (Rosen, Matheson, Stith, & McCollum, 2003; Stith, McCollum, Rosen, Locke, & Goldberg, 2005; Stith, Rosen, & McCollum, 1999; Stith, Rosen & McCollum, 2002; Tucker, Stith, Howell, McCollum, & Rosen, 2000). We developed and tested the manualized treatment program in two different formats: a co-therapy team with individual couples and a co-therapy team with a multi-couple group. This book describes the ways the treatment is similar and/or different with the two different modalities. Quotes from interviews that were conducted as part of the research used to develop the treatment manual are interspersed throughout the book. In addition, all sessions have been taped and excerpts from sessions are used to illustrate concepts throughout the book. Of course, names and identifying information about clients have been changed.