Domestic Violence – current and previously experienced
There are a number of forms of domestic violence, including physical, psychological, sexual and complex. These include the phenomenon known as gas lighting.
Domestic violence effects both men and women, gay, straight Bi and otherwise self designating.
Domestic violence often contains other forms of discrimination including against perceived mental acuity, body shape, ethnicity, sexuality and history.
Who suffers from domestic violence
The most commonly reported cases are usually male violence towards female partners. However this is not by any means the only model. There has been an increase in reporting of female violence towards men, and within the LGBT* community same sex and complex relationship violence is still probably under reported.
Domestic violence is wrong and a crime whoever is doing it to whoever. If you are currently experiencing domestic violence, you should contact a domestic violence helpline urgently. We can assist you for therapy support, but you will need practical and legal help as well.
Police Scotland have a website HERE with contact details and further information
Effects of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence has both specific effects such as trauma, anxiety and self esteem / self confidence issues, but also has long term effects on mental health that can result in the symptoms of, and often a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, borderline personality disorder (of the anxiety or mood management variety), PTSD, OCD or other conditions such as eating disorders.
As well as conditions with a clear label or diagnosis, gas lighting, manipulation and confusional abuse all lead to self doubt, confusion and cognitive and perceptual damage that often takes time and therapy to remedy.
As well as the direct effect on the “target” of abuse, other family members such as children are often effected, so that the “target” is left having to heal themselves, and others around them post abuse.
Moving on from abuse
It is very important to have support from a therapist with experience of dealing with this area as there are patterns of behaviour, perception and damage that are characteristic of domestic abuse. Also an experienced therapist will understand how the history of abuse can effect the therapy process itself. The therapist, if experienced, will be able to also sign post other services and support mechanisms that may be needed outside of therapy.
What to expect from therapy
Therapy is usually challenging for abuse survivors, since various maladaptive beliefs and self beliefs are usually created b the abuse, and these do not change easily or quickly. A gentle and trusting therapy relationship is required over regular sessions to help the survivor to not just survive, but to prosper.
Who to choose for therapy post abuse
- Picking a therapist the same gender as the abuser can actually be helpful, since it challenges any beliefs about that gender created by the abuser.
- Choose a therapist with experience of working with abuse survivors
- Choose a therapist with experience of working with your sexual identity since abuse in LGBT* and BDSM relationships have different characteristics
- Choose a therapist who can work with you regularly and long term as needed
- Obviously choose a qualified, accredited, registered and insured therapist
- Make sure you also take any legal advice and action needed alongside therapy and if you are in an acute state contact your GP for rapid support, and a helpline if needed.
Stuart is an experienced therapist with over 25 years of working with domestic violence cases. He is both LGBT*, BDSM, Kink, Queer friendly and knowledgeable and attends regular CPD training. He is PVG Scotland enhance disclosure checked.
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