Statistics show that much of family violence goes unreported. Family violence can occur in many forms, including physical, verbal, and emotional acts. All of them should be assessed. It is essential for marriage and family therapists and all counseling professionals to understand the context of family violence, including how to recognize and assess it, and how to support families through effective treatment interventions.
Angela and Andy have been married for five years. Angela is 30 years old, and Andy is 33. Angela is a lawyer and Andy is an accountant. They live in a small Southern city and are expecting their first child in five months. They live about three miles from Angela’s parents and five miles from Andy’s parents. Angela is an only child and has always been close to her parents.
Angela’s mother was a stay-at-home mom, and her father was a lawyer in one of the big firms in the area. Angela currently works in the same firm as her father. Andy is the youngest of three children and was close to his mother. His mother was a stay-at-home mom, and his father owned the local car dealership. The family struggled financially through the years, depending on how well the dealership was performing.
Angela and Andy met in graduate school and married when they both completed their graduate degrees. Both would agree that they had an exciting courtship. They recall romantic dates planned by Andy and exciting travel adventures. They decided to begin a family after marrying and starting their careers.
Recently, Andy lost his job and has been drinking more than he used to. Angela has been working more hours to make up for the loss of income, and she does not want to be home, because Andy has not been nice to be around.
One night, she came home and found Andy very angry. As she walked in the door, he yelled, “Where have you been?!” When Angela explained that she was at work, like she has been all the other nights, Andy continued to yell at Angela, questioning why she was later than usual. Andy’s anger scared Angela, and she wanted to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible. She apologized multiple times for being late. Andy stormed out of the house and did not come back until later that night. When he came back, Angela was in the bedroom reading. Andy was apologetic, saying, “I don’t know why I got so angry. It just has been hard being unemployed for two months, and we have a baby on the way.” Angela told Andy that she understood and agreed it has been hard, but said she is working hard to make up for the missing income. Andy promised to work on his temper, and Angela said that she will call if she will be late.
A month later, Andy still is unemployed and became angry again when Angela forgot to call and came home late. When Angela walked in the front door, Andy began to yell, and Angela yelled right back at him. Andy then pushed Angela, knocking her backward into the table and onto the floor. Angela was stunned and hurt. Her hip was bruised, and she thought that her finger might have been broken. Angela got up off the floor and quietly told Andy that she needed a doctor to check on her and the baby. Andy was alarmed and drove her to the hospital, apologizing the whole way. Andy repeatedly told Angela that he loves her and suggested that they tell the doctor she fell down. Angela was embarrassed about the situation, so she agreed.
The next day at work, Angela called your office to make an appointment for her and Andy, telling you about the incident.
Based on the assigned readings for this week pertaining to violence, address the following:
Describe the role of gender with regard to violence and how Andy and Angela may experience violence differently.
What are important couples’ issues to be aware of as a therapist working with Andy and Angela?
How does the fact that Andy and Angela are about to have a child impact how you are conceptualizing your work with them?
#2 Common Challenges
Describe two key points from each chapter that will help you as a therapist when working with couples dealing with these issues.
As part of your self-of-the-therapist exploration, describe which of these issues will be most challenging for you to work with, and why. Include three strategies that you can utilize that will help you to increase your comfort and confidence in working with couples that are dealing with this issue.
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