Conjoint therapy for couples with a history of domestic violence

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Larocque, Noel Leigh
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The focus of the practicum was to provide conjoint therapy from a pro-feminist approach to couples with a history of domestic violence in their relationships. The pro-feminist approach addresses systemic issues in relationships and prioritizes the safety of women by providing therapy to couples where the risk for violence is minimal (Trute, 1998). A male/female co-therapy team was used to deliver the conjoint counselling to highlight the influence of gender in abusive relationships. Couples participated in individual and conjoint sessions. The purpose of the individual sessions was to assess safety concerns and to determine the feasibility of providing conjoint therapy. The total number of sessions that the clients attended ranged from eight to sixteen. One of the outcomes of the conjoint therapy was the identification of power, trust and closeness as universal themes for the couples who participated in the practicum. The experience of the couples in their family of origin appeared to be a variable that strongly shaped the dynamics of the relationships. Interventions that addressed issues related to safety planning, emotional abuse and relationship patterns were implemented with the couples.