What's Not Helpful

While there are many ways to show support for a survivor, some common therapeutic practices are not recommended for survivors of domestic violence.

  • Beware of couples counseling. It is generally not helpful, and can be dangerous, when one of the partners is abusive. The non-abusive partner may reveal things in the therapy session and the abuser uses this to attack her/him after leaving the therapist. Also, the power imbalance in the relationship often plays out in counseling.
  • Mediation does not work with abusers. Mediation requires that both parties are motivated to reach a fair and equitable resolution to an issue. Most abusers do not want to mediate – they want to maintain control at all times, yet appear to be reasonable.
  • Alcohol or drug programs do not generally help an abuser stop being abusive. They may help with the alcohol usage but even when an abuser is no longer abusing alcohol or drugs they continue to be abusive – emotionally and/or physically.