Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, income, occupation and family status. Although domestic violence victims are often portrayed a certain way in media and pop culture, the truth is that anyone can fall victim to an abuser. Not only is this upsetting and traumatic for victims in the moment, but it can leave lasting emotional and mental scars. CBT—cognitive behavioral therapy—may help. Read on to learn what it entails and how CBT can help domestic violence victims.
What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy. This approach helps the patient identify the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and how they affect a person’s life situations. CBT is used for a number of different mental health problems and situations, from bipolar disorder to domestic violence.
CBT is backed by science and has been shown to be incredibly successful in treating pervasive thoughts and behaviors. When it comes to domestic abuse, it’s particularly useful in breaking the cycle of behaviors: abusers groom their victims to believe they deserve their treatment and cannot find anything better outside of the relationship or home.
CBT helps the victim identify distorted thoughts and use problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations. It also helps the victim better understand why other people are behaving the way they do, and to develop a better sense of themselves and their ability to handle these difficult situations.
Benefits of CBT for domestic violence victims
If you’ve been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, CBT can be very useful. First and foremost, CBT helps victims break the cycle of believing they deserve the abusive treatment. Domestic abuse victims have been groomed to accept abuse because of supposed deficits in their own behavior, financial status, health or other areas. If they don’t understand that their thoughts are distorted, they might be able to leave the relationship—but they’re more likely to get sucked back in or perpetuate the cycle with another partner or family member.
CBT isn’t about “feeling better” so much as learning to identify unhealthy behaviors, thoughts and actions so you can take steps to change them. For example, if your spouse makes you feel “less than” because you don’t earn as much money—even if you pull your weight in other areas, like childcare or home improvements—CBT can help you identify your triggers and give you tools to handle those situations in an emotionally and mentally healthy way. While your new healthy behaviors might not stop your abuser from trying to abuse you, it will give you the confidence and power to deal with your situation in the best way possible.
Keep in mind that domestic abuse victims are most at risk when leaving their situation. While CBT can help domestic violence victims by making them feel more empowered, make sure to talk to your therapist about your plan to leave. They’ll help you get the support you need to take those first important steps.
For more information about CBT, call Apple Valley Counseling Services LLC for help today.
Categorised in: Domestic Abuse
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