As any victim of relationship-based abuse can attest, overcoming the traumatic fallout of domestic violence is never easy, but it is possible. The right therapeutic approach to dealing with conditions such as PTSD can be genuinely life-changing.
It may not feel like it at times, but there is help out there. There’s also a brighter and better future to be found in the right treatment plan. Here are just a few tremendous psychological therapies for those who have dealt with domestic violence.
Unquestionably, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be of enormous help to survivors of domestic violence. Domestic violence tends to have many long-term effects because it changes the way that we think about ourselves.
For example, we may come to believe that, in some way, we deserved the abuse that we received at the hands of our abuser. We may feel as though it was our job to “change” our abuser’s behavior. These kinds of underlying thoughts are what psychologists often refer to as “distorted beliefs.” Fortunately, CBT can help us to challenge these modes of thinking and regain our sense of self-esteem.
In recent years, the practice of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has been revolutionary for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related conditions. Essentially replicating the kind of rapid eye movement that occurs when we are dreaming, EMDR is a focused exercise that allows the brain to “rewrite” traumatic events to no longer associate them with painful feelings.
Many people see significant improvement in their response to traumatic memories after only a few EMDR sessions. They’re an excellent resource for survivors of domestic violence.
- Exposure Therapy
Closely related to treatments like EMDR, exposure therapy involves placing ourselves in mental states or situations that approximate those found during painful experiences. The thinking goes that exposure therapy retrains the mind to see that we are no longer in danger. For example, a person who has experienced domestic violence may bring up painful memories from a traumatic experience.
In a safe environment, in other words, the feelings and thoughts associated with the experience will tend to fade after several minutes. With enough of these exercises, the brain will begin to protect itself against negative associations that can trigger anxious feelings or negative memories.