Identifying abusive behaviors and changing negative mindsets are vital parts of successful rehabilitation, and they are efforts that are of the utmost importance in batterer intervention programs. While many think that the underlying cause of abusive behavior is because of mental health issues or anger, this isn’t always the case. We’re here to help both victims of domestic violence and abusers recognize the warning signs and take action.
What Are Batterer Intervention Programs?
Batterer intervention programs (BIPs) are courses attended by batterers to help them change their behavior and mindset with regards to their abusive actions. When there is no underlying mental condition affecting their behavior, it’s assumed that abusive actions are learned – meaning that they can be unlearned.
For The Abuser
In order for a radical change in abusive behavior to take place, we put a heavy focus on empathy and understanding. BIP sessions aim to help abusers rethink the attitude they have towards their significant others, which means instilling respect for partners and working towards a greater level of empathy.
It’s necessary to assess where such violent or controlling behavior stems from and to help make the abuser aware of their actions so they can change their behavior in the long term. Some may attend the program voluntarily, while others may be present because of a court order. In either case, we emphasize that participants must take personal responsibility for their past and future actions, no matter how high their emotions may be running.
An increase in personal awareness of negative emotions and thoughts can help abusers recognize when their actions aren’t conducive to a healthy relationship. Becoming aware of this is an important first step in finding nonviolent and respectful alternatives to potential conflict.
For The Victim
The safety of those suffering from domestic abuse is of paramount importance. BIPs work on structures of community and accountability, keeping in mind the specific needs the victim may have going forward. We encourage individual counseling sessions to help equip domestic abuse survivors with the skills and resources they need to guide them in future relationships.
To increase accountability and transparency, those affected by domestic abuse are notified about the abuser’s enrollment and progress in the batterer intervention program. This serves to help them make informed decisions concerning their own contact with the significant other and the counseling they wish to have.
Seeking Help When You Need It Most
Whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator of domestic violence, making the choice to seek help is a monumental step forward. It’s our mission here at the Fifth Street Counseling Center to equip you with the skills you need to aid in your recovery and continued well-being.
Our batterer intervention programs use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to change the way you approach your emotions and your actions towards others, guiding you to assist in improving your relationships with your significant other and with your community at large. You’ll be undergoing sessions with others in a batterer intervention program, developing a level of personal and group accountability, but you’ll still be getting the personalized attention you need from our health care professionals.
If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse, seeking help can seem like an overwhelming step. If you have a significant other in a batterer intervention program at the Fifth Street Counseling Center, we are ready and prepared to facilitate contact or help you have your own space, whichever will be more beneficial to you. Know that there is always someone willing to help you and give you the counseling and advice you need to help keep yourself safe and make informed decisions about the steps you want to take in the future.