Shame and domestic violence: Treatment perspectives for perpetrators from self psychology and affect theory

Jac Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Perpetrators of domestic violence have traditionally been seen as an undeserving client group when considered in relation to the victims of their violence. Apart from anger management and psycho-educational groups for male perpetrators, very few other treatment options have been suggested. In treating couples, Goldner (1998) has advocated holding men accountable for their violence while at the same time utilizing concepts from attachment theory to provide treatment for them. This paper draws mainly upon self psychology and the affect theory literature to better understand the underlying dynamics of violent behaviour in intimate relationships, with particular reference to the role of shame as a precursor of violence. Qualitative data linking shame and violence were drawn from interviews with men attending a group for their violent behaviour. I argue that treatment may focus at the level of shame and its connection to violence, and that this may require working with the individual perpetrator, rather than the couple, in order to adequately address the issue of violence. I suggest some general guidelines for working with violent men that incorporate aspects of shame.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-56
    Number of pages18
    JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
    Volume19
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

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