Spousal Abuse Counseling Program - Rankin Inlet Manual for Counselors

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This report is made possible through a contribution by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

The views expressed in this report are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

This report is intended as an aid or additional resource material and not as replacement for training. The material is site specific and will need to be adapted to be utilized in other communities

APC-TS 4 CA (2006)

Aboriginal Peoples Collection

Single copies of this report may be obtained by writing to:

Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit
Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada
340 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P8

If more than one copy is required, please feel free to photocopy any or all of this report.

Cat. No.: PS4-29/2006E
ISBN No.: 0-662-43945-7

Table of Contents

Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre logo

About the Manual

Production of the manual

This manual is used as a guide for group counselling under the Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program. It was produced during the first year of the program, in 2002, and has been revised in 2005 based on recommendations from the two counselors, an external evaluator, and Government of Canada representatives, and the Steering Committee for the program.

Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre is a non-profit society registered under the Nunavut Societies Act. This manual has been created for the benefit of the people of Nunavut. It cannot be sold for profit. However, any portion of it can be photocopied and distributed.

To produce this manual the writers have, on occasion, adapted material or quoted directly from other publications. The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre has made every effort to obtain the authorization to do so and in all cases these publications have been acknowledged. The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre apologizes if material has been adapted or quoted without the permission of the author, and will add any missing references to authors or publications in the next printing, or remove copyrighted material if requested by its author in writing.

The views and opinions expressed in this manual are those of the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre and do not necessarily reflect those of organizations who provided contributions or assistance.

As the vast majority of spousal abuse offences reported to the police involve men as offenders, and as men usually make up the majority of participants in the group for abusers, we have used the masculine “he”, “him” or “his” throughout the manual when referring to members of the abusers' group, and the feminine when referring to participants in the victims' group. However, it is important to realize that those involved in the delivery of this program strongly feel that the issue of spousal abuse is not gender-specific – that women also can abuse. The material is simply easier to understand if we do not continually have to use the words “the abuser” or “the victim”, or “they”, but can replace it with the shorter “he” or “she”. As much as possible, we have used the words “group members” or “participant” or “client”.

Finally, this manual should be considered a tool to be used to guide the counselor in the delivery of group counseling. It does not replace proper training for a counselor, nor does it replace good judgment or common sense. Counselors must be able to modify the material in the manual to suit their own methods of delivering the program and to suit the group with which they are working.

Acknowledgments

The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre acknowledges the publications that have been used, referred to or quoted from to produce this manual:

The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre acknowledges the generous contribution of the Department of the Solicitor General Canada (now Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada), which made this project possible, and of Justice Canada, which has provided the funding for the revisions of the manual.

Credits

Project Team, original manual:

Page Burt, Outcrop Communications; David Mablick, Rankin Counseling Program Coordinator/Counselor; Iona Maksagak, Rankin Counseling Program, Counselor; Isabelle Parizeau, Consultant, Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre; Greg Sim, Executive Director Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre.

Project Team, revisions, 2005:

Emiline Kowmuk, Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program Coordinator/Counselor; James Howard, Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program Counselor; Page Burt, Outcrop Communications; Mireille Provost, Justice Canada.

Community Consultants:

Moses Aliyak, Mariano Aupilardjuk, Aline Kabvitok, Jack Kabvitok, Bernadette Patterk, Maryanne Taparti, Jerome Tattuinee, Marianne Tattuinee, Robert Tatty, Annie Tatty, Fabienne Theyaz, Mike Turner, Monica Ugyuk, Nowyah Williams, Paul Williams, Teena Thorne, Valerie Stubbs.

Resources

Organizations:

Aqsaaraq Addictions Project, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Health and Social Services, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
JP Court/Community Justice Committee, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Katauyaq (Women shelter), Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Department of Justice, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Legal Services Board of Nunavut, Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
Pauktuutit Inuit Women's Association, Ottawa, Ontario
Status of Women Council of the N.W.T., Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Tupiq, the Inuit Program, Fenbrook, Ontario
Yukon Justice, Family Violence Prevention Unit, Whitehorse, Yukon

Videos being used in the program:

Abusive Relationships” (Canadian Learning Company Inc., English, 17 minutes)

This video is about Lynn, a nineteen-year old abused by her boyfriend. The video is designed to show what it means to be abused in a relationship and to learn more about physical, and emotional and verbal abuse. It also shows warning signs of potential abuse. To purchase this video call Canadian Learning Company Inc, Woodstock, Ontario, (800) 267-2977

Summer in the Life of Louisa” (Health Canada, Inuktitut, English subtitles, 25 minutes)

This video is about an Inuk woman named Louisa, who lives with an abusive husband. It shows how she tries to deal with the violence and how they work out a solution. To purchase this video, send a fax (613) 954-8107 to Health Canada, Health Programs Support Division, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Ottawa, Ontario, or order online from: The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch Publication Resource Centre, at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fnihb/bpm/prc/prc_orderform.htm

Reflections from the Heart of a Child” #3766/0795 (Hazelden Foundation, English, 30 minutes)

This video portrays the impact of abuse on a family as the lives of three children are ravaged by a father's alcoholism and abuse and a mother's inability to cope.*

One Hit Leads to Another” #8317/2130 (Victoria Women's Transition House Society, English, 15 minutes)

This video combines “real life” interviews with dramatized scenarios comprised of many actual stories told by abused women, their partners and counselors. Designed to destroy the myths surrounding the issue of wife assault. *

Time to Change” #8425/2140 (Victoria Family Violence Prevention Society, English, 26 minutes)

This video continues the story of characters John and Sylvia introduced in One hit leads to another. Time to change focuses on John's story – his anguish, treatment and his taking responsibility. *

* To purchase these videos #3766/0795, #8317/2130 and #8425/2140), call Kineticvideo, Toronto, Ontario, (800) 263-6910 or order online from www.kineticvideo.com.

Description of the Program and of the Groups for Abusers and Victims

What is the Spousal Abuse Counseling Program?

The Spousal Abuse Counseling Program is designed to provide counseling to people who are in the initial stages of developing an abusive lifestyle and who wish to change. The main counseling program is for abusers (Court-mandated), there is a parallel program for victims of abuse and in some cases family members, as well as an educational outreach program.

What are the goals of the program?

What are the principles of the program?

What makes this program unique?

What is the group for abusers?

It is the main part of the program for abusers. The full program includes individual counseling before the abuser joins the group and between group sessions, as well as exit interviews and concluding counseling after the abuser has completed all the group sessions.

When can a person join the group?

After the acceptance process in the program is completed and when a new group begins. A person could have to wait a few weeks until a new group begins, and, in such case, will be provided with individual counselling during the interim time.

Can a person's participation in the group be prematurely terminated?

Yes, for reasons such as:

What happens if a person fails to attend a session(s)?

The counselor must inform the Prosecutor in writing of the fact that the client is not attending. A person who misses 3 sessions will be referred back to the Court.

What is the group for victims?

It is the main part of the program for victims, which is a separate program running parallel to the abusers counseling program. The victims' program offers individual emergency counseling before the victim joins the group, an intake interview, individual counseling as needed between group sessions, as well as exit interviews and concluding counseling after the participant has completed all the group sessions.

Who can be accepted in the program for victims?

A man or a woman:

When can a person join the group?

A person can join the counseling group for victims at any time. Everything works best if the person joins as close to the beginning of the program as possible. In this way, not much is missed.

What if a person does not attend a session(s)?

The Victims' program is voluntary. There are no penalties if a person does not attend a session of the program for victims.

The counselor will encourage attendance of all sessions, but the extent of a person's involvement will depend on the strength of personal commitment, the resolve to explore and deal with the abuse and change the effect violence has had on the life of the family. To some extent, it also depends on the reaction of the partner. If the situation degenerates, and a person is not able to attend a session or sessions, we fully understand. However it is extremely important to keep us informed so that appropriate steps can be taken regarding the abuser.

What are the group sessions like?

Originally there were 36 group sessions in the program for both abusers and victims, which lasts approximately 18 weeks. (We use the term “approximately” because of the severe weather so characteristic of Rankin Inlet, sessions occasionally have to be cancelled due to several-day storms in winter.)

This revision provides for the combination of several of the original sessions to allow the addition of at least four sessions of couples counseling for each participant during the group program. Because these sessions usually can be offered (at different times of day) during the same weeks that the groups are meeting, it is possible that the overall length of each cycle can be shortened, thus allowing for more cycles during a year. We will need to experiment with this to see if it is feasible.

The following table provides an approximate summary of the counseling contact hours involved in this program.
Type of Session Intake Individual (Emergency or solo) Group Couples Exit counseling Total counseling
      Counselors Elders      
# of sessions 2 3-4 25 2-4 4-5 2-4 38-43
# of hours 2 hr. 3-4 hr. 50 4-8 8-10 hr. 2-4 71-78

The schedule may vary by the program cycle, however, as there are many considerations that go into scheduling. The total amount of counselling time per participant remains about the same as in the original plan.

The sessions:

Each session follows this general plan:

* There is a 10-minute break at a convenient time during the session.

Home Visits as a part of the Victims' Program

The Victims' program counselor often does home visits. These are not surprise visits, but are arranged in advance by discussing at the group session or arranged by phone call and take place at scheduled time that is convenient.

The reason for the visits is to have a chance to talk to the client in private, and to interact with the client in her/his own home. We try to do these visits while school age children are at school.

If an individual has any fear or hesitation about these visits, they are not done.

Involvement of Elders in the Counseling program.

The role of the Elders in this program is an important one, as they can affect the attitudes and behaviour of the participants over a longer period than that of the counseling sessions.

Elders are not trained as professional counselors, but are expected to support the work of the counselors in contributing their wisdom.

A workshop held once per year will help ensure that participating Elders know the principles behind the program, understand the intake protocols, their own roles in delivering the program, and will follow the general rules under which the program is run.

Couples Counseling

It is the opinion of both counselors, confirmed by interviews with participants during the external evaluation late in 2004, that couples counseling in some cases would be a useful addition to the Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program. Both partners must agree that the couples counselling would be beneficial to their relationship and would not be threatening to either person.

In most cases, this counseling needs to be done with individual couples, not in a group setting. Both counselors will attend, and strict rules will be adhered to in order to reduce the risk to either member of the couple. Occasionally, couples counselling is done in a group.

The setting will be a bit more formal than individual counseling in that it will be held in the counseling room, at the table, and the meeting will be chaired by one or both of the counselors. Elders may occasionally help with the couples' counselling, at the request of the clients and at the discretion of the counsellors.

Adding these sessions to the already crowded schedule will not work, so we have decided to combine several sessions of the group program, and to offer the sessions on couples counseling as Sessions 12-13 and 24-25 for the abusers group and as sessions 12-13 and 23-24 for the victims group. This should clear the schedule enough to allow the counselors to schedule these sessions during two one-week periods.

Additional couples counseling may need to be done, but will be done as part of the individual counseling, on an “as needed” basis.

Couples counseling will likely deal mostly with:

It is impossible to create a manual for this, as it really has to come from the counselors and the couples.

Personal Notebooks or folders

If both counsellors and participants feel it is safe to do so, participants may be provided with a small notebook or binder which will be theirs alone and which they will use throughout the program. They can write notes in this notebook, record information specific to their own situation, and carry out specific assignments.

As many people are not comfortable with writing, the use of these notebooks needs to be carefully handled so that the clients do not see them as some thing that will be “turned in” or will in any way affect their success in the program. They are just tools to help the client remember and a place to record personal thoughts.

The notebooks can be left at the counseling office if participants do not want to take them home, but they are the property of the individual participant and will be shared only as desired.

They can be kept in a locked file drawer and provided by the counselor upon request from the owner of the notebook.

At the end of the program, the notebook could be destroyed by the owner or retained as a “tool” to indicate a change of life. Or, at the completion of the program, the participant could destroy any “negative” parts of the notebook, keeping the positive parts to show that they now understand the cycle of violence and are ready to move forward in their relationships with their spouses, their children, and others.

What is the content of the sessions in the Victim's group and their order?

Some of the sessions are very similar or identical to those of the group for abusers, but offered in a slightly different order. For example, knowing more about the different types of abuse, ways to communicate, understanding conflict, jealousy, sex role stereotyping, the grief and loss process and the means to achieve a healthy relationship can be beneficial for both partners.

As it is possible that an individual may join the group after the sessions started, the counselor can decide to repeat some sessions (ex: staying safe), change their order or skip some of sessions to adjust to the group's needs and dynamics.

What happens after a person completes the sessions for Abusers?

The person will spend 2 to 4 hours in individual exit interviews and concluding counseling. Then the person will appear again before the Court for sentencing. The Court can ask the opinion of the counselor as to how the person did in the group sessions as well as during individual counseling.

What happens after a person completes the sessions for Victims?

Depending on needs, a person can spend 2 to 4 hours on individual exit interviews and concluding counseling.

Intake Protocol

Who can be accepted in the program for abusers?

A man or a woman that:

The input of the victim as to whether the program may be of assistance needs to be obtained.

This protocol was negotiated taking into account the reality about spousal abuse in Rankin Inlet, after a period of community consultation and once the initial program concept was developed. The protocol was signed by Justice Canada, representing the Crown, the commanding officer of the RCMP for Nunavut and the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre.

Topics of sessions for Abuser's Group
Topics Session Details Handouts/Videos Page #
Group rules
What is spousal
abuse?
1 Group rules
Definition of spousal abuse
Triggers
Intro to Time Outs
Video:
Abusive
Relationships
21
Knowing
yourself
2 Warning signs and lines
Safety plan review
2.1, 2.2
2.3
29
Kinds of spousal
abuse and forms
of behaviour
3

Kinds of spousal abuse and impact
on victims

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional, verbal and spiritual
    abuse
  • Financial and sexual abuse

Analysis of past behaviours

Video: “One Hit
Leads to
Another”
3.1


RR#1 Rules 1-5

36
Understanding violence 4 Excuses and truths
Cycle of violence
4.1
Video: “Time to
Change”
4.2
44
5

Abusive behaviour, power and control
Breaking the cycle of violence (Survivors share experiences)

5.1
5.2
51
Anger control 6

Stressors
Signs of coming violence (indicators)

Video: “Summer
in the Life of
Louisa”
55
7 Dealing with stressful events
How to use a “time out”
7.1
RR#2 Rules 6-10
60
8 Elders' session: Input from Elders.   65
Changing beliefs and behaviour 9

Equality and balance:

An Elder's perspective on equality and balance in relationships

9.1
RR#3 Rules 11-
16
67
Communications 10 Understanding communications
Communications skills
(If time runs out, this session can run over into Session 12.)
  71
11 Expressing feelings   79
12 Couples counselling (individual sessions)   81
13 Couples counselling (individual sessions)   82
Conflict 14 Beliefs and sources   83
  15 Fair fighting   85
Jealousy 16 Causes of jealousy
Insecurity and trust
RR#4 Rules 17-
21
88
17 A couples perspective on jealousy   93
Sex role stereotyping 18 Characteristics and roles   95
19 Dominance in a relationship 19.1 97
20 Sexual beliefs   100
Self-talk 21 Positive and negative self-talk 21.1 103
Journey to health through grief and loss 22 Family dynamics
Types of losses
   
23 Grieving tasks: accepting and feeling, denying
Grieving tasks: adjusting and relocating, moving on
  112
24 & 25 Couples counselling (individual sessions)   118
Healthy relationships 26 What to do to have a healthy relationship RR#5 Rules 22-
25
119
  27 Healthy relationships; an elderly couple's perspective   122
Toward the future 28 Planning for the future; Elders' perspectives, expectations   124
Closure 29 Maintaining the gains; planning for the future   125
Optional units   Why a Victim Stays   128
Handouts   List of Handouts   132

Typical Agenda for Sessions

Set-ups for Sessions:

First session:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Middle sessions:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Last session:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Session 1

Purpose:

To agree on rules that will allow the group to work well and know what to expect.

How to do the activity:

Keep to yourself what happens during sessions.
(Talking about what you learn is okay, talking about who and what is not OK.)

Talk about your own actions.
(Not about other people's actions)

Don't interrupt when another person is talking, listen to what a person is
saying.

Treat each other with respect
(Even when you don't agree with what a person is saying….)

Speak for yourself
(Use “I”)

Don't put people down
(Bad language makes people seem worthless)

When you talk about your partner use her first name
(Not “she” or “the wife”, or a negative term.)

Be honest
(With yourself and each other)

Be sober and free from drugs
(If you have been drinking or have taken drugs you will be told to leave)

Be on time for sessions

Attend all sessions

Smoke and drinks only during breaks

Purpose:

To understand that spousal abuse is any behaviour used to gain or maintain control and power over another person.

How to do the activity:

Spousal abuse is any verbal or physical act intended to harm, injure or inflict pain on another person in order to establish dominance and control over that person.

Spousal abuse comes in many forms and comes from both men and women against their partners.

Go over this definition and explain each element of it.

Discuss examples if these have been brought forth.

Many people can't define “spousal abuse” as a whole, but will provide examples of it.

Introductory video:

Show the video “Abusive Relationships” * as an introduction to the subject.

Discussion:

Ask the participants to tell you what examples of abuse they saw in the video. List these on a flip chart, and keep for use in Session 3. Leave space (a second column) to add additional material in that session.

Stress that abuse is a matter of choice, that:

“You choose to abuse, and you can choose NOT to abuse.”

Emphasize that a person can decide not to be abusive and not to establish dominance and control over another person. Emphasize that abuse is not ingrained and that a person does not have to be abusive.

We will cover the different types of abuse in a session next week, but need to cover a few more urgent concepts first.

Purpose:

To understand what sets off (“triggers”) an incident of abuse.

Exercise:

What “sets off” abuse?

Usually, there is something, maybe something done by either partner, or some outside influence, that sets off an incident of abuse. Sometimes this is said to “trigger” abuse. It's just a short way of saying “this starts off the event”.

The word “trigger” can be used as either a term (noun) to describe something that starts off an event of violence, or as a verb to say that something (an event, a memory, an external stimulus, comment, behaviour) tends to start an episode of abuse.

If an abuser can identify this, he can watch for it and try to head off the incident by taking a time out, by mentally dealing with it, or by discussing it before anger builds up.

Ask the group to mention a few of their own “triggers” and list them on the flip chart. (You can start with the chart below and add to this, or start with an empty chart.)

Ask the question:

“How often is booze (or drugs) involved?

Draw their attention to the fact that some of the events that trigger abuse do so only when one or both partners are impaired, and that controlling drinking or drug use may diminish the number of times abuse occurs.

Possible “triggers” for abusive behaviour:

Impairment due to drinking or drugs; usually loss of self control.

Disagreement: spouse disagrees, argues, things get out of hand.

External stresses: something happens at work, and person comes home angry and takes anger out on spouse.

Feeling of lack of control or loss of dominance: if a person has been heavily “into” controlling all those in the family, any apparent loss of this control can trigger abuse.

Possible “triggers” for abusive behaviour:
Trigger Possible results
Impairment due to alcohol or drugs Loss of self control, inhibitions removed, situation gets violent
Disagreement Spouse disagrees, argues, anger develops, and things get out of hand.
External stresses Something happens at work or away from home; person comes home angry; takes anger out on spouse.
Perception of lack of control If person has had total control, loss of this control can trigger abuse.
Loss of dominance Dominant person feels threat and reacts by fighting it.

Purpose:

To provide an introduction to using Time Outs.

Note to Counselor: Although you may have introduced the concept of the Time Out in the individual counselling sessions, it will be introduced again here. The concept is so vital that it is important to keep repeating information about it and its use.

You want the use of a Time Out to become second nature. And, you want to make sure that all group members have exactly the same info about it, so when you refer to this, they have a common background.

More details will be supplied later in a longer session on Time Outs.

Using these notes, go over this information with the participants:

Ask the clients:

Warn them: This sounds simple, but it might be difficult to do if you are getting angry.

They need to understand the following:

  1. A Time Out is NOT a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength, and rational thinking.
  2. It is leadership by example, NOT leadership by controlling. (This is important to emphasize when there are control issues in your clients, and there always are!)
  3. It can't be a surprise. If you have not told your partner about Time Outs, then you have to do that, tonight, not later. Your partner MUST understand what this is, and how important it is to your relationship. Do not discuss this with your partner while you are angry.
  4. Nobody will tell you when to use this. You have to understand yourself well enough to know when to do this for yourself and your partner.
  5. You have to know what to do in a Time Out, and you have to follow the rules. Otherwise, it will not work.
  6. You have to lose the thought that a partner might take advantage of you if you don't respond aggressively to conflict. They can't – you won't be there until you cool off. That gives your partner time to cool off, too.

How to call a Time Out:

  1. When you experience tension building, say, “I need a Time Out”. Do this calmly, but firmly.
  2. Tell your partner you will be back in about an hour.
  3. Leave the house.
  4. Walk or go someplace where you can calm down and think about what to do to avoid abusing.
  5. Concentrate on getting control of your emotions, defining the problem that needs solving, and resolving to deal with it without fighting.
  6. Do not do anything that raises your level of tension, like driving a car or playing contact sports or violent video games.
  7. If you need to talk to someone, make sure it is someone who knows just what a Time Out is and what it is meant to do. This person should be someone you have discussed with the Counselor, a professional counselor, someone from your church, or even another member of your group. Don't just go to a relative or a friend.
  8. If you need to do so, write down what approach you think you should take to deal with this without your anger getting out of control.
  9. Take an hour.
  10. When you've calmed down, either return or check with your partner to see if you both can agree to resume the discussion without anger.
  11. Then go home.

Make sure the participants know that the group will be discussing Time Outs and how to use them, over and over, and that you will be coming back to this in another session, soon.

Homework:

Ask group members to:

Session 2

Purpose:

To increase the sensitivity to Warning Signs and “Lines” that must not be crossed. Instructions to counselor:

Go over the following notes in detail. This is one of the most important things people will learn in the course. You can repeat this handout and material later in the course if you wish. Repetition helps. There are two handouts with this section.

What are warning signs?

Warning signs are behavioural, physiological or mental indicators that show you that you are about to express anger in an abusive and destructive way. They show you that you are about to act out of anger, rather than good judgment. They indicate that anger is running the show. You are about to not be doing much thinking at all, and will have lost sight of the original problem. Problem solving has stopped, and you are about to attack your partner rather than the problem. When you first see your warning signs you MUST stop, and call a time out.

How do you do this?

There are 3 types of warning signs: (See Handout 2.1, Finding Your Warning Signs)

  1. Behavioral Warning Signs: aggressive words and ugly behaviors that start as tension rises. (WHAT YOU DO)
  2. Mental Warning Signs: thoughts that run through your mind as the tension rises (WHAT YOU THINK)
  3. Physiological Warning Signs: changes that take place in your body when the tension level rises. (HOW YOUR BODY FEELS)

Ask clients to list some of their own behavioural warning signs, and list these on a flip chart.

If they don't cover all those on the handout 2.1, then you read those out as well or probe to get more. It helps to look at these by what they do, what they think, and what they feel in their bodies.

Distribute Handout 2.1 (Finding Your Warning Signs) and ask participants to consider all and see which they know they experience. If they experience some that are not on the list (becoming unnaturally quiet or calm, starting to cry, muscle in face jumping), they should write their OWN signs into the list.

Make sure you cover the following:

Warning Signs and Time-out flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above is a two-part depiction of how to recognize warning signs that trigger anger and the different stages that you could go through in the process. On the right side of the graphic is a box that contains Ok at the top followed by the word Problem that has a black arrow with. It then moves toward the middle right section of the box that contains the word Tension and it is at this stage it indicates that you should be looking for your warning signs. A black arrow moves down to the bottom, middle section of the box where the word Argument which has and a black arrow that splits in two directions with one arrow that stays within the box and moves to the top right of the box to Problem Solving and the other arrow moves outside the box to a stop sign. At the stop sign there is a notice that states "you are getting out of the box" and that the steps ahead will lead to verbal abuse and domestic violence so recognize your warning signs so STOP and take a TIME-OUT.

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

When do you start looking? Tension is a cue. Start watching yourself as soon as you feel tense.

Then what? Call a time-out and THINK. You have to get the tension down and think rationally rather than emotionally before you become abusive.

Instructions to Counselor:

There are two further useful ways to think about warning signs, as lines one does NOT want to cross.

Provide Handout 2.2 (Warning Signs and Lines), which provides useful diagrams to help with understanding.

Go over these notes in detail and make sure each participant understands the handouts. They can put the handouts in their notebooks.

The “I Don't Care” Lines

Sometimes you fail in your efforts to call a time-out because you wait too long before calling it. You IGNORE your/their warning signs.

Anger grows, and at some point you no longer think or care about the results.

There are two critical points, which Dr. William Adams terms, the “I don't care what I say” line, and the “I don't care what I do” line.

As anger increases, the abuser crosses the “I don't care what I say” line. It grows more and they cross the “I don't care what I do” line.

Crossing the “I don't care what I say” line: You get verbally abusive. People call this “flipping out”, “losing it”, or “blowing my stack”.

Crossing the “I don't care what I do” line: When you reach this line, the hitting starts.

Ignoring warning signs is like running stop signs in heavy traffic. You might get away with running a couple, but eventually you will get into a wreck. Or, it's like skidooing on weak ice – you might get by for a while, but pretty soon you are in the water.

Crossing the line graphic
Image Description

The graphic above is of a cone that starts in a small circular pattern at the bottom that gets progressively wider as it reaches the top to show how anger can escalate and it has two intersecting points (lines that get crossed) in the spectrum that show where abuse and violence occur. The intersection near the bottom shows the point at which verbal abuse starts and warning signs are ignored and the intersections near the top of the cone is where the physical acts of abuse begin with no regard to consequences.

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

So, what can be done?

Purpose:

To formalize a Safety Plan

Early in the individual counseling phase, the subject of warning signs and the need for a safety plan is introduced to each participant.

Provide Handout 2.3 (Basic Safety Plan for Abusers) to all participants.

During individual counseling, each person is asked to think out their warning signs and prepare a safety plan based on their own situation. For most, this will involve calling a Time Out and leaving the house until the emotions of both partners are under control. However, this works best when a person has thought it through clearly and has concrete plans. (More on Time Outs in Session 7, but be sure to cover it well enough in this session to be sure people know how to use this tool.)

The counselor should ask to see a written version of the participant's individual plan, and will urge the client to record it in his personal notebook.

Exercise:

Safety Plan

Discuss with the whole group the importance of the safety plan that each person may have established during individual counseling. As they learn more about themselves through the group sessions, they should review their plan to check if:

Throughout the rest of the counselling program, ask the group to keep track of:

  1. When they used their safety plan (date, how problem started, if either partner was impaired when the problem occurred).
  2. If using the timeout or a safety plan helped them.
  3. How it helped.
  4. Was it long enough to allow both partners to cool down?
  5. Did they do the right activity to help them calm down?
  6. Did they manage to talk to their “support” people?
  7. Was this talking helpful?

Also, if a participant has not noted his safety plan previously, should be asked to develop a written plan before the next session. Emphasize that it does not need to be long or involved, just a few words will be fine.

Session 3

Purpose:

To identity the different kinds of spousal abuse: physical, emotional and verbal, spiritual, financial, sexual. To look at how each kind of abuse can hurt a person.

How to do the activity:

Exercise:

Analysis of past kinds of spousal abuse, forms of behaviour, and ways to change.

This exercise is to be done between this and the next two sessions, as the group learns more about the different kinds of abuse and forms of behaviour.

Provide “Defining Abuse” form, Handout 3.1. (Give each person 3 copies of form.)

Ask the group to write about specific past events which involved abuse. They can use their personal notebooks for this or can use the handout form and insert this in their notebooks. (Use “Defining Abuse” form.)

For each event, they should describe:

Tell the group that what they will have written will be for their own use. Mention that during a later session, each person will be asked to share what he has learned from this exercise.

Purpose:

To understand what physical abuse is or can be:

Material:

VCR and TV, video “One Hit Leads to Another”.

How to do the activity:

Forms of physical abuse not mentioned by the group
Slapping Scratching Spanking Biting
Wrestling Poking Choking Grabbing
Restraining (gripping, tying a person, preventing a person from leaving the house, etc.) Punching Burning Pulling hair
Pinching Pushing Kicking  
Throwing a person bodily or throwing things at a person Refusing to get a person medical help Forcing a person do something she does not want to do Using objects or weapons against a person
Keeping a person from eating, sleeping or other basic needs.      

Exercise:

Follow-up on analysis of past abuse, forms of behaviour and ways to change (from earlier in session)

Provide additional copies of Handout 3.1 “Defining Abuse” if needed.

Remind the group to further consider the forms of abuse learned in this session in analyzing their own past behaviours in order to identify abusive behaviours and therefore understand themselves better.

Ask them to list three (or more) specific examples of abuse they have done.

They can list these in their notebooks, on flipcharts, or can continue to use the handout form “Defining Abuse”.

Purpose:

To understand what emotional and verbal abuse involve:

What spiritual abuse is:

How to do the activity:

Emotional and verbal abuse

Forms of emotional and verbal abuse not mentioned by the group
Insulting Harassing Criticizing Making cruel comments
Threatening to punch, hit, kick, slap, hurt or act like it will be done Shaming or embarrassing a person in private or public, by making remarks about them or calling them names Putting-down a person or the person's family or friends Making unfair comments

IMPORTANT: When physical abuse decreases, emotional abuse often increases. This can be less obvious to outsiders, but terribly powerful, and just as harmful as physical abuse. People should be aware of this.

Spiritual abuse:

Forms of spiritual abuse not mentioned by the group
Putting-down or making fun of a person's religious beliefs, race, language, culture, traditions Pressuring a person to choose between family and beliefs or culture Threatening a person because of her beliefs, traditions or culture Preventing a person from practicing her religion, speaking her language, or learning more about her culture

Exercise:

Follow-up on personal analysis of past abuse, forms of behaviour and ways to change (from earlier in the session). Ask participants to add notes on personal examples of emotional, verbal and/or spiritual abuse to their notebooks for future discussion.

This will help them to better identify past abusive behaviours and therefore understand themselves better.

Tell them that in the next session, they will be asked to discuss some of the types of abuse they have personally been involved with, and will need to be able to describe some of the effects this may have on their partners and children, and how it has affected their relationships. They will need the notes in their notebooks or their “Defining Abuse” forms to do this.

Purpose:

To understand what is involved in financial abuse:

And what sexual abuse is or can be:

How to do the activity:

Financial abuse

Forms of financial abuse not mentioned by the group
Making a person ask for any thing or every thing she wants or needs Preventing a person from doing things with others because of the costs even if these are small Making a person anxious about the capability of providing for basic needs (rent, food, clothes)
Taking all the money from the family bank account to gamble Making fun of or putting-down a person because she does not have money Requiring a person to do something she does not want to do in order to have money

Sexual abuse:

Forms of sexual abuse not mentioned by the group
Forcing sexual activity when the person says no, is asleep, drunk, high, cannot say no or is afraid to Demanding sex and demanding sex after a violent incident Physically attacking sexual parts and demanding and/or performing sexual acts that a person does not want to

Exercise:

Follow-up on analysis of past abuse, forms of behaviour and ways to change.

Ask the group members to write notes in their notebooks or use the “Defining Abuse” forms, listing examples of financial or sexual abuse they have done in the past. They can keep these private, but should have them for future sessions.

Purpose:

To talk about one's past abusive behaviours and their impact on one's partner and family in order to better understand oneself and how to change.

How to do the activity:

Handout:

Relationships Rules (RR)#1, Rules 1-5

Introduce this concept by telling the group that, luckily, people have worked out some rules for relationships that usually work to improve things. These have been defined by Psychology Today magazine, and posted on a website. Pass the handouts around.

You will be providing these as handouts, one at a time. Suggest that people take these home and put them on the refrigerator, and then discuss them, not only with their partner, but also with their children if they are old enough.

Read through the first handout, discussing the rules as you go. Ask for comments. At this point, participants may not be able to say much about these, but that should change. There are 25 rules, and you will provide them one section at a time, over several weeks.

If their partners are in the victims program, they will be getting these as well.

Session 4

Purpose 1:

To review types and forms of abuse and identify these in a video.

Materials:

VCR, TV and video “Time to Change”.

Ask participants to look for these factors in the following video, and to try to identify them as they watch it.

Watch the video “Time to Change” (26 minutes). Follow this with a group discussion.

Some of the questions to address could be:

Purpose 2:

To learn about excuses for abusive behaviour and how these are used.

How to do the activity:

Are there other excuses you have used? Anyone want to add to this list?

“Relationship Rules” (RR)#1, handed out in Session 3.

Ask what they felt about these, and how they were received at home.

Don't supply the second one yet. It's important that the first one stay up in their homes for a couple weeks, to give them time to discuss this with their families.

Try to encourage discussion of these rules. Much of what the abusers hear is negative and “don't do” type material. This takes the opposite approach, and tells them “Do THIS!”

Purpose:

To show how excuses can cause more violence.

How to do the activity:

Draw the Circle of Violence chart below on a flipchart and go over each phase of it to show how beliefs are part of the circle of violence.

Circle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The circle above outlines the stages that occur in a circle of violence and starts with faulty beliefs or outdated approach to relationships at the top and has an arrow that moves around to the top right. At this stage is has looking at the problem in the wrong way, using dominance to control and then the arrow moves down to actions that hurt, not help. The arrow moves further down and to the bottom with further violence or an increase in violence. Moving to the left it goes to frustration and anger at self and partner then moves left and up to more blaming and excuses for the abuser with the partner closing down communications and becoming more withdrawn. Further up on the upper left side of the circle is reinforcement of faulty beliefs which then leads back to the top of the circle and the cycle continues.

*Deborah Sinclair, Understanding Wife Assault: A Training Manual for Counselors and Advocates, Publications Ontario, Toronto, 1985

Provide handout of this diagram, Handout 4.1, Circle of Violence.

Purpose:

To show how the cycle of violence works (it goes in circles and repeats itself).

How to do the activity:

Can use:

What happens to YOU in:

How do they intend to get away from this cycle? (May want to ask them to make notes about this in their notebooks.)

Communications are the key, there must be better, and less emotional, communications to deal with stresses and to break the cycle.

Distribute Handout 4.2 to all participants.

Cycle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above outlines how the cycle of violence is perpetuated when nothing is done to change it. It starts at the top with the word denial and shows how the abuser makes excuses for their behaviour and down and to the right it shows how the victim then blames themselves. An arrow moves down and to the right to the apology phase where the abuser apologizes and says it will never happen again and the victim feels hopeful and loved. The arrow then moves to the bottom of the graphic where it shows tension builds with the abuser showing more anger and violent behaviour and the victim being afraid. Moving further up on the right is where there is an explosion and fight and the victim feels pain, fear, despair and humiliation. The arrow then moves back up the top where denial is and the cycle repeats itself.

The cycle can cover a long or short period of time

The violence usually gets worse

The apology or “honeymoon” phase, will eventually disappear

Session 5

Purpose:

To understand that abusive behaviour is often used to control other people.

How to do the activity:

  1. Ask each person to identify the ones he has or has had and if he considers himself controlling.
  2. Discuss and correct any comment tending to blame the behaviour on one's partner or on a particular situation.
  3. Stress how honesty about oneself is essential to change and that denial and lies will bring them back to the cycle of violence (handout 4.2).

Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is of a circle that has power and control at its centre with eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of physical and sexual violence that are used to maintain power. The first section outlines how intimidation is used to make the victim afraid by using looks actions and gestures. The second section is about using emotional abuse to put the victim down and make them feel bad about themselves. Section three outlines how the abuser will use isolation to control the actions of their victim and use jealousy as an excuse to justify their actions. Section four shows how the abuser minimizes the extent of their abusive behaviour even shift responsibility for the abuse to the victim. Section five shows how the abuser may use the children to make the victim feel guilty or even threaten to take the children away. Section six is about how the abuser uses the "male privilege" to treat the victim like a servant and not allowing the victim to take part in big decisions. Section seven is about economic abuse by preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and making her ask for money and section eight is about using threats and coercion as a means of control.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Purpose:

To show that it's possible to break the cycle of violence.

A person from the community who broke away from the cycle of violence will share his experience with the group.

How to do the activity:

Session 6

Purpose:

To learn about one's stressors (individual events or thoughts that add stress to one's life).

How to do the activity:

Explain that a person can experience many stressors or stressful events and that what is stressful for one person will not necessarily be stressful for another. As stressful events that are not dealt with can lead to violence, it's important to understand what is stressful for oneself.

Ask each person to think of events that are stressful for him as an individual and to write them down. Allow 10 minutes. Ask each person to list the stressful events he has identified, write them on a flipchart and ask him to explain why they are stressful for him.

Add to the flipchart examples of stressful events not mentioned by the group. They could be:

Examples of stressful events not mentioned by the group
Death of a spouse Disciplinary action at work
Trouble with superiors at work Financial problems, debts or gambling (oneself or partner)
Trouble with other people at work Serious sickness or injury
Divorce or marital separation Serious health problem of close family member
Death of close friend or family member Sexual difficulties
Marriage or marital reconciliation Moving to different neighbourhood or town
Changes in hours or working conditions Child in trouble at school or with the law
Minor law violation (traffic tickets, disturbing the peace, etc.) Change in number of family get-togethers
Pregnancy (or partner's pregnancy) Change in sleeping habits
Quarrel with neighbours Major change in type of amount of recreation
Involvement in a fight outside the house Separation from a partner due to work or travel
Increase in number of arguments with a partner Partner beginning or ending work
Increase in arguments or problems with other family members (in-laws, children) Poor fitness report or evaluation
Overbearing in-laws Children in home under age 3
Arrest or charge for something serious New baby
Problems with alcohol or drugs (oneself or partner) Not being able to get cigarettes when I have run out.

Have the group discuss each stressful event to see if it is stressful for them and why.

Using the complete list of stressful events, have each person identify three or four that they personally consider most stressful. They should record these in their notebooks.

Activity:

View the video, “Summer in the Life of Louisa”.

Discussion:

Using the flip chart, ask the participants to:

  1. Identify the types or forms of abuse seen in this video.
  2. Identify some of the “excuses” used to justify the abuse.
  3. Try to identify some of the “stressors” that affect both Louisa and her partner.

Record these on the flip chart and encourage discussion of what could have been done differently.

Purpose:

To identify what happens before violence and the warning signs to look for.

How to do the activity:

Example of build-up towards violence.

Explain that abusive behaviour often does not result from one thing; it's an accumulation of different things. As things happen, nothing is done, anger builds, and eventually there is abuse.

Before the session, make up a story that shows the build-up before violence. Read it slowly to the group. Here is an example of a story illustrating the build-up before violence:

Ask the group what things the abusive person could have done before becoming violent. Write all the things mentioned on a flipchart.

Signs before violence?

Ask people to think about the times they were violent and list their answers on different flipcharts:

Review:

Warning Signs and Time Outs. (From Session 2)

Do a quick review of how to assess your warning signs and how to call a Time Out.

Note to Counselor: Might be better not to leave this one hanging, follow up with a retelling of the story, sentence by sentence, and ask participants to stop you at several points with ideas as to what they could do to prevent this from developing into an abuse situation.

A man wants to leave early to go hunting for the day, his wife is listening to the radio.

TRY THIS: PLAN: Make sure he has told her his plans the day before, collected his gear and bought food for the trip (or asked his wife if she could get some), and asked her if she would mind cooking breakfast. Make sure she knows this is a hunting trip to obtain food for the family.

There is no breakfast, he's looking for his boots but can't find them, he wants some food for the day but there's none. He is getting angry. Nothing is going his way.

TRY THIS: Sit down, collect his thoughts, and ask her if she's seen his boots. Ask if there's some food (name items wanted) he could take for the trip. Use a TIME OUT.

He yells at his wife to help find his boots and to start breakfast but she doesn't move.

TRY THIS: Don't yell. Start breakfast yourself, and ask her if she wants any. This should defuse the situation. OR: Use a TIME OUT.

He yells that she is lazy and no good. She says that he didn't ask her to buy food and she didn't touch his boots, so it's not her fault.

TRY THIS: No yelling. Apologize for not asking and see if there is anything that could substitute. Or, delay departure until the store opens and he can buy food. Call a TIME OUT, go to store and get food.

The radio is loud, the baby is crying, she tells him that for once he could help. He loses control and slaps her.”

TRY THIS: Eat breakfast, sharing with the baby if possible, and ask if there is some reason she does not want him to go out hunting that day.

The approach in the beginning, with some advance planning, should defuse this situation. If you do everything possible to be kind, understanding, and helpful, and she is still surly or angry, then there are additional problems to deal with. If a Time Out doesn't work, then get your stuff together and go hunting, but DO NOT slap her around.

Note to Counselor: If you don't really get through this don't worry; it will be covered in additional sessions.

Session 7

Purpose:

To find ways to deal with stressful events.

How to do the activity:

Explain that failing to deal with repetitive stressful events can make someone mask them with alcohol or drugs or adapt to them, not take any action and continue the cycle of violence.

Discuss the importance, after having recognized that an event is having stressful effects, of finding ways to deal with it. This can be done by:

Give the group 5 minutes to think about a recent stressful event.

Ask:

What was the most stressful recent event for you? (These don't have to be events in the home, they can be at work, or in a competition, etc.)

Use the ways to deal with stress mentioned above to show other more appropriate ways to deal with the events.

Repeat this exercise a few times so the group can see that a person can face a variety of stressful events and deal with them in a lot of different ways.

IMPORTANT: hiding what you do to a person doesn't make the problem go away.

Not dealing with stress can contribute to a build-up of tension leading to more violence.

TRY THIS: When you feel like you are getting stressed out, PUT YOUR HANDS IN YOUR POCKETS. You can't hit this way, and it will remind you of your resolution to avoid violence. Then go ahead with plans for a Time Out, etc.

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#2, Rules 6 - 10.
Ask for comments. What do they think about sharing these with their kids?

Purpose:

To learn more about Time Outs and show how this can be used to avoid violence.

How to do the activity:

Through individual counseling, each person should have already learned about how to use a time out and should have made a time out or safety plan. This tool is essential to avoiding violence, so we'll spend more time on it at this point.

Explain what a time out is (even though you have explained it before). It's like walking away from potential violence, taking a break in order to avoid violence.

It's like a stop sign. It implies leaving the situation in which the conflict is occurring, getting away from one's partner until both settle down.

A Time Out takes at least one hour.

Describe the various steps of a time out:

Explain how important it is to tell a partner what a Time Out is (but tell her when things are calm, not during a fight), so she will understand you are doing this to help avoid violence. A time out will not resolve the problem you are having with a partner. It is a tool to help you avoid violence. If the partner is in the victim's program, the time out will have been introduced there.

At first, it will be difficult to take a time out but that this will become easier with time. The difficulties can come from a person's personality or habits. The person:

Ask each participant: What kind of time out will you do? Where will you go? Who will you see? Who will you avoid seeing? What kind of activities will you do?

Exercise:

Review Safety Plans

Ask each person to review his time out or safety plan during or after this session.

He should look at the signals or warnings listed in his plan and make sure they correspond to what he has learned about himself in the preceding sessions and decide if the time out plan he made is adequate. If not, he should revise it.

Bonus idea:

Time Outs work well with kids, too.

If kids are getting too wild, too rough, or bullying one of their group, a Time Out for everybody can work wonders and can keep you in control of the situation without bringing anger into it.

Just split them up, send each to a different part of the house or different chair, and insist on a time out of one minute per year of age (age 6 gets 6 minutes). Then, let them up, but repeat the time out if the inappropriate behaviour continues. No anger, no emotion about it, just insist.

Just be sure you do not use this technique out of anger.

The card (Handout 7.1) below can be copied and handed out to all participants if they want one. (We suggest translating this card.)

TIME OUT CARD

Your warning signs mean, “I need a time out.” Leave for a minimum of one hour, then return. If you will be away longer, call partner and advise.

No alcohol, no drugs, no driving, no weapons.

Walk, breath deeply, and self-talk (self-calming, decide what you will say to deal with the problem without anger).

Check your own warning signs before returning. If you are ok, return home or call partner to see how she is feeling. If she is ok, return home. If she's not, ask if she wants a further time out.

When you return, check in, let partner know you are back.
If all is ok, resume discussion like adults.

If it escalates, take another time out.

Session 8

Purpose:

To allow constructive input from Elders at this point in the program.

In the Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program, the wisdom and skills of the Elders are valued and deeply appreciated.

The Elders who work with this program are not formally trained as counselors, but have life skills and philosophies that make their input valuable to the participants. By the time they work in the program structure, the Elders have participated in several workshops that are designed to help them understand the principles of the program. The Counselors also have interviewed them and determined that they are in favour of equality in relationships, and that they are not of the opinion that a woman is the property of a man.

Communication with the Elders within this program fosters communication with and among the group members and provides a chance for group members to bond with and learn from Elders they may not have known well previously. These bonds extend beyond the time and confines of the program and the Elders offer their help on an ongoing basis, beneficial on a long-term basis. They encourage the clients to keep visiting the Elders after they are finished with the program, advising them that they are always available if they need someone to talk to about any concerns.

The content of this session will depend on how the previous seven sessions have gone, and on the assessment of the group by the counselor. Since this session falls into the section of the program on “Anger Control”, the Elders will be told this, but no attempt made to confine their input to only the control of emotions.

Elders teach by telling their life stories and by making examples of situations they have seen or lived themselves. Many of the people who end up in this program have lost contact with the Elders, and being exposed to them in the context of a program that is helping the clients establishes a special bonding that is very important to both clients and to the Elders as well. It is a special synergy that appears to have developed out of this program, not entirely understandable or describable, but certainly welcome.

The main benefit of the exposure to Elders is that the clients see that they are not alone, that others have had some of the same problems and that it is possible to change and work through problems to the benefit of themselves, their partners, and their families.

Procedure:

This session will be moderated by the Counselor to some extent, but in many cases it is more effective for the Counselor to step back and let the Elders take over, even leaving the room to allow communication to flow naturally. Since all Elders are briefed ahead of time, the Counselor has trust and confidence in their ability to not contravene the principles of the program.

The Counselor sets everything up, introduces the topic and the Elder(s), and then withdraws to the background or leaves the room, but stays within reach should there be questions or need of their input.

At the end of the session, the Counselor returns, asks a few questions to determine if there is any follow-up needed, and with the clients, thanks the Elder(s) for their assistance.

Session 9

Purpose:

To learn both partners can be equal, that power can be shared.

How to do the activity:

Hang the copy of handout 9.1 that is on the flipchart (keep it for all other sessions as you will probably often refer to it).

Give each person a copy of Handout 9.1 (Equality Wheel)

Explain the wheel:

Read the text in each section of the wheel.

Using the behaviours mentioned in each section of the wheel, ask people to identify which one of them he has experienced or has displayed.

Ask if he considers his partner an equal with him. Be alert for denial or lack of honesty from individuals in the group, and question this if it occurs. Praise honesty in assessment of themselves.

Ask each person to talk about the things he could change to achieve equality in his relationship and how he would do it.

Ask them to record this in their notebooks.

Equality Wheel

Equality Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is a circle that has equality at its centre and eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of nonviolence. Section one is about using non-threating behaviour to talk things out, section two shows respect by listening and valuing opinions. Section three is about trust, support and respect; section four is about honesty and accountability and accepting responsibility for self. Section five is about responsible parenting by being a positive role model. Section six is about shared responsibility by making family decisions together. Section seven is about economic partnership by making financial decisions together. Section eight shows negotiation and fairness as a way of seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Purpose:

To show how equality and balance was achieved in the old days. An Elder from the community will share his experience with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session, meet with the Elder (Make sure this person has been identified and briefed as to his role and your expectations before the group sessions started) and provide some background information on how the group is doing. In order to assist this Elder, go over a list of questions that he could address with the group. If he is more comfortable with a guided discussion in which you ask the questions, then do it that way. If any member of the group does not understand Inuktitut, ensure that a translator is on hand to assist.

Examples of questions:

Have the Elder present at the beginning of the session and introduce him to the group. Being present at the beginning of the session could help the Elder have an idea of the group's dynamics.

The group can ask questions as the Elder talks about his experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#3, Rules 11 – 16.
Pass out the next “Relationship Rules” handout. Ask for comments on how this is working at home. Are they in general agreement with these ideas?

At this point, you should be seeing a change in attitude, more acceptance of this type of suggestion.

Session 10

Purpose:

Understanding communication.

How to do the activity:

Write the principles mentioned below on a flipchart. Go over each principle and explain how important it is to understand it in order to communicate effectively with someone and be sure that the message corresponds to one's intention.

Ask the group to talk about personal experiences that involved these principles. The examples below can help the group identify these experiences.

The message sent is not always the message received.

We usually think that if a person doesn't understand what we said it's that person's fault. In fact, the person who sends the message can do it in such a way that the message doesn't correspond to his/her intention and the person who receives it gets entirely the wrong message. Example:

Q. You're home late today!

Intention: Did you have a tough day?

A. I had to finish something for work, is that a problem?*

Reaction: she always wants to control me.

It is impossible not to communicate. Body language speaks loudly.

Whatever we do, we communicate. Slamming a door, being silent, glaring at someone… all are communications. Non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstanding and a build-up of emotions. Just take the Inuit “yes” and “no” as a perfect example, and even these tiny movements can express far more than a simple “yes” or “no”, just in the way they are done and the expression that accompanies the eyebrow or nose movement.

It is always better to clarify, by speaking, your feelings of displeasure, annoyance, frustration, or irritation rather than expressing them in body language. However, it is important to do this in a constructive way rather than just lashing out. If your concerns are spoken, there is less chance you will be misunderstood.

Every message has content and feeling.

If the content of the message is different from the feeling expressed, the person who receives the message will be confused.

Example: A mother lectures her son about how bad it is not to listen to a teacher or to skip school. At the same time she smiles at him and pats his head. The son will inevitably be confused as to what his mother really means. She's telling him it's not ok to skip school, but giving him clues that it IS ok or that she doesn't mean this.

*It's not so much the answer “I had to finish…”, but the aggressive “Is that a problem?” that can cause anger to start. Even stopping, and making this into two different sentences, with a pause between, can help, and body language can speak volumes. Just insert an “I'm sorry” before “is that a problem” and most concerns would be met.

Non-verbal cues are more believable than verbal ones.
(“Gestures speak louder than words.”)

The inflection of the voice, body language, and nonverbal cues can give a totally different meaning to the content of a message.

Example: Saying to a partner who arrives home late after a meeting “You're so late!” could mean: “What happened to you, I was afraid for you” or “I have been waiting for you and you didn't care”. Under certain circumstances and with certain body language, it can even seem to mean you thought she was with another man.

Take care not only how you say something, but how you look when you say it. The looks exchanged definitely matter; a hug could make all the difference.

And, you can sometimes head off the problem.

And, if you are the one that's late, there's a lot of difference if you come in and explain your lateness before your partner asks, especially if your being late has caused them to delay something they are doing.

Here's where a little apology, which doesn't cost you much, can save a lot of grief! How about: “Hey, I'm sorry I'm late, but Don's skidoo wouldn't start, and we had to tow it.”

It is truly simple, just a matter of looking at things from the viewpoint of the other person as well as from your own viewpoint.

Session 10-11

Purpose:

To develop or improve your communication skills.
(Lack of these skills can definitely contribute to abusive behaviour).

How to do the activity:

Basic concept: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Generally, we learn this concept early in life, but many fail to understand or apply it.

Key to this is the concept of trying to look at things from the other person's point of view before acting. Then, to try to treat everyone as you would like to be treated. People crave respect, approval of others, friendship, and love. If you keep this constantly in mind, it can change the way you act to everyone. Mutual respect is very important in a relationship.

Discuss each skill listed below (expressing feelings will be dealt specifically in session 19).

Listening:

Example of a sentence that could be used: “James' wife went to the health centre to see if she was pregnant, she met Keith on the way.”

Lesson learned: Rumours are easy to start, usually end up totally different, changing many times along the way. Talking to people one by one usually results in separation and lack of understanding of the original problem, and almost always in misunderstanding and untruths.

Validation: (“Checking up”)

Validation means that a person shows that he does not necessarily agree with another person's opinion but still respects it. It's a way to check to see if you are understood or understanding or to open a door for the person to talk.

Example:

Sometimes it is as simple as: “You seem kind of quiet – is everything OK? Any way I can help?”

Positive expression: (“Good feelings”)

This works both ways, and will also be covered in detail in the victims' counselling program.

When was the last time you said something nice to your partner?

Positive expressions between partners are very important, like affection and caring, praise and compliments, and expression of appreciation. Every person needs to feel appreciated, to be complimented and to receive affection. If you think that your partner knows how you feel so you don't have to say anything, you are dead wrong! This does not make the partner appreciated.

If it is sincere, praising, complimenting and showing one's appreciation will almost always lead a partner to respond with similar expressions.

Expression of negative feelings: (“Bad feelings”)

It's not easy to express negative feelings but it's always better than not expressing them. Think about how you usually express negative feelings.

As you get angry, don't let the negative feeling get bigger than it needs to.

Focus on your partner's behaviour and what is upsetting you about that behaviour and NOT on her personality (Never say “You are stupid/it was a stupid thing to do!”, but express how you feel: “I'm upset, because ...”).

“Never, never, NEVER use “You always……” This will always increase the emotion and negative feelings on the part of the person to whom it is directed.

With children, you may find this helps: “We always love you, but we don't always like some of the things you do. You just can't keep hitting your little brother like this.”

Counselor: Ask the group how they would express negative feelings. Search for the following answers: don't hold on your feelings, focus on how the message is being sent and express how you feel: “I feel …because you…” or “I feel upset because…can we discuss this when we are calmer”.

How to ask: (Making requests)

Each of us asks many things from each other every day. The way the request is made can convey authority and control, or it can convey cooperation, respect and love.

How do you request something from your partner?

TRY THIS:

Exercise: (Role-playing)

Set up some little scenarios and ask participants to pair off and figure out ways to ask kindly. Everyone gets a written note with their “scene”, and has 3 minutes to figure it out. One person plays the male partner and the other the female. Female partner should respond as that person thinks she would. Ask each pair to go through their scene and then switch roles and take another scene.

Reality Check:

Afterwards, ask participants what they thought of the role-playing. Did it make things seem more “real” to them?

Did playing the role of the partner make them think about this from another point of view?

Session 11

Purpose:

Expressing Feelings

To help put feelings into words and to understand how to express them in order to reduce the build-up of negative emotions and conflict (it can be more difficult for men as generally they were socialized not to express feelings).

How to do the activity:

Putting feelings into words

Write each different type of feeling on a flipchart, or use the wall chart.

Choose one type of feeling, have each person think of a recent situation and match it with one of the words listed for that type. Have each person describe the situation and the feeling.

Do this exercise for as many types of feelings as possible.

Putting feelings into words
Sad Happy Scared Confused Hurt Ashamed Guilty Angry
Unhappy
Lonely
Depressed
Helpless
Powerless
Excited
Upbeat
Glad
Joyful
Content
Relaxed
Satisfied
Peaceful
Calm
Confident
Fearful
Anxious
Frightened
Worried
Defensive
Unsafe
Nervous
Timid
Cautious
Unsure
Puzzled
Troubled
Unsettled
Disappointed
Distrustful
In pain
Suffering
Shameful
Embarrassed
Worthless
Inadequate
Regretful
Remorseful
Apologetic
Furious
Mad
Annoyed
Bitter
Upset
Hateful
Resentful

Expressing feelings (20 minutes)

Discuss the following rules to express feelings:

Identifying feelings and expressing them is not easy and needs practice. Stress to the group how important it is to practice this, AND to discuss it with their partners.

Session 12

COUPLES COUNSELING SESSION

At this point, two sessions on couples counselling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counselling program.

Individual sessions for couples will run about an hour per session.

If the sessions are for two or more couples, they will likely be longer, up to two hours.

This counselling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples. It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counselling without suspending the group meetings. The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Session 13

COUPLES COUNSELING SESSIONS (Second of 2 sessions)

At this point, two sessions on couples counselling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counselling program.

Individual sessions for couples will run about an hour per session.

If the sessions are for two or more couples, they will likely be longer, up to two hours.

This counselling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples. It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counselling without suspending the group meetings. The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Session 14

Purpose:

To show that conflict is normal and is to be expected in a relationship and to deal with some of the beliefs about conflict.

How to do the activity:

Write the following statements on a flipchart. Have the group vote true or false to each statement, and discuss their answers.

Conflict is normal
Statements True or False
Conflict means something is wrong with me or with my partner False
Conflict is normal and predictable True
Conflict comes from difference in perceptions, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes True
Conflict is not good/bad/right/wrong - it “just is” True
Conflicts occur because at least one person is “right” and one person is “wrong” False
Conflicts provide an opportunity to learn and grow True
Anger is a bad emotion False
People always get hurt during a conflict False
It's okay to have a different opinion, as do others True
All my emotions are okay True
I have the right to my own opinion, as do others True
My beliefs and perceptions about conflict do not influence how I deal with conflict False
Each person is responsible for how he decides to deal with conflict True
Changing patterns of behaviour can be done in a few weeks False

Have the group brainstorm as to the main sources of conflicts between partners and write them on a flipchart. They could be:

Ask the group for other examples of conflicts. Then ask them to think for 5 minutes of ways they could deal with these. Discuss these different ways.

Session 15

Purpose:

To learn ways to handle arguments, sometimes called “fair fighting” rules.

How to do the activity:

Write on a flipchart the rules for fair fighting and discuss each rule:

Physical violence goes against all rules of fair fighting. Before you start, make a pact with yourself NOT to be violent. Take a time out if you feel your resolve slipping.

Write on a flipchart the words to use and the ones not to use in fair fighting.

Fair fighting
“No” words – DON'T USE THESE “Yes” words – YOU CAN USE THESE
“You never” “I'm sorry”
“I told you so” “Please help me”
“You always” “I did wrong”
“I don't want to discuss it” “Thank you”
“When will you ever learn?” “I love you”
“How many times do I have to tell you?” “I appreciate you”
“You always….” “I respect you”

When there is conflict between you and your partner and a “fight” happens, the objective is to clear the air and express deep feelings in order to build a more unified life together.

Share a recent experience of conflict and describe how they handled them, and how they now feel they should have handled it.

Role-playing activities:

Counselor will set up a role-playing scenario and participants will take different parts and play this out.

How do you handle these conflicts?

Example: There's hockey practice twice a week. Two kids are in hockey, in different teams, so different practice times. The mother is the one who takes the kids 90% of the time. She feels the father needs to be involved.

Example: Parent teacher conferences are coming up. The mother has been to these on a regular basis, and the father has never gone. One child is having problems in school and is skipping school. Both parents know this, and know it will be discussed. The mother feels the father should attend the parent-teacher conference. The father doesn't want to go.

Example: Hockey tournament for kids. Your kids are playing. Unfortunately, you are a rabid hockey fan and good hockey player. And, you are super competitive. One kid is good, the other is not. You go to the game and end up overreacting, yelling at the “not so good” player and making a scene. Your spouse is upset and embarrassed and your child is crying.

Afterward, discuss what people learned about communication and reactions to what people say.

Session 16

Purpose:

To understand how jealousy undermines trust and feeds feelings of insecurity.

How to do the activity:

Explain what jealousy is. It's the suspicion that one's partner is unfaithful. It can also be the fear of being replaced or diminished in importance in the affection of one's partner. Jealousy is one of the leading causes of spousal abuse.

Mention the difference between jealousy and envy. Envy is a feeling of discontent aroused by another's better fortune (feeling anger that someone else has more money, better hunting equipment, or handles kids, parents, friends better, etc).

Explain that:

Talk about what jealousy does. Jealousy undermines trust and feeds the feelings of insecurity and fear. A jealous feeling usually isn't logical, and doesn't respond to reasoning. A jealous person usually doesn't readily accept explanations, and constantly seeks evidence of faithfulness. It's usually a fear that comes from one's own insecurity or lack of confidence.

Envy and jealousy can occur together, and this often happens when your partner seems to be flirting with an attractive rival. Since jealousy involves the loss of a relationship, it is usually more intense than envy. The following table may help. Discuss the differences between jealousy and envy.

Differences between jealousy and envy
Envy Jealousy
Feelings of inferiority, worthlessness Low self-esteem
Longing or wanting something Fear of loss of something you have
Resentment of circumstances Suspicion or anger about betrayal
Ill-will towards envied person plus guilt Distrust
Disapproval of feelings Sadness and loneliness
Motivation to improve or change one's own circumstances Uncertainty
Desire to possess attractive qualities of another Fear of losing an important person to another

Discuss the following with the group:

If you are the one exhibiting jealousy:

Ask each member of the group: Do you think your partner would make a decision in favour of your relationship or a decision to benefit himself alone? Then ask if he would make a decision in favour of the relationship or to benefit his partner. If either answer is “No”, there is a need for both partners to talk and to try to resolve doubts or conflicts. Doubts enhance insecurity and affect trust, creating all sorts of consequences.

Ask each person: What is the percentage of problems that have occurred in your relationship that were related to jealousy? Ask each to describe events that made him jealous and to explain how he dealt with them in the past. Ask the person to describe how he would deal with them today. Would it be in the same way?

This question can also be reversed, asking each member of the group what percentage of their problems have their roots in a partner's jealousy? How did he deal with this in the past? How would he deal with this today?

If your partner is the one that is constantly jealous:

If in your heart, you feel there is no real reason for your partner to be jealous, then you may be involved in a situation of irrational jealousy. A common cause for irrational jealousy is childhood emotional neglect or abuse. If your spouse was abused, and especially if your spouse was sexually abused, you may find chronic mistrust, jealousy, and often addictions.

In the current situation that faces you, as an abuser (who has caused distrust) yourself, you can do little about this aspect of your spouse's life. You can encourage her to participate in the victims' program, as coping strategies are discussed there.

Do NOT try to deal with her past abuse problems yourself. There's already a lack of trust and this will make it worse.

Handout: Relationship Rules (RR)#4, Rules 17 – 21.

Pass out the next Relationship Rules handout. Probe for how the clients and their families feel about these. Do they make sense? Are they helpful?

Session 17

Purpose:

To show that feelings of jealousy can be overcome. A couple from the community will share their experience with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session, meet with the couple (such a couple should have been identified and briefed as to your expectations and as to their role before the group sessions started, or should have participated in the training workshops for those helping with the group) and provide some background information on how the group is doing. In order to assist the couple, you can provide them with a list of questions that they could address with the group, or can use these questions to guide their presentation.

This couple can be Elders, or can be younger people if that works out better. It's not essential that they be Elders.

Examples of questions:

Have the Elders come at the beginning of the session and introduce them to the group. Being present at the beginning could help the couple understand the group's dynamics.

The group can ask questions as the Elders talk about their experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Everyone has a right to a healthy relationship: “People don't have to be abusers or abused.”

Session 18

Purpose:

To discuss men's and women's stereotypical characteristics and roles.
To show how believing in rigid and traditional roles of the sexes can lead to conflict in today's world.

How to do the activity:

List what you think are stereotypical characteristics and roles of men and women.
Use one flipchart to list characteristics and roles of men and another to list those of women.

Expect something like:

Ask for examples: Some of these might be….

Stereotypical characteristics and roles also can define a relationship based on the tasks each partner is “supposed” to do: the men go hunting and fishing, the women stay home and clean the house.

When a partner hasn't done the task he/she is supposed to do (ex: the man didn't catch anything, the woman didn't clean the house), it's easy to blame and to compare who is doing more than the other, bringing on conflict. Ask the group to think of similar situations they have experienced or witnessed and talk about them.

See the equality wheel to show that an equal relationship is not based on tasks each partner has to do but on sharing them and being flexible in the way you consider roles. There's nothing wrong with a man helping cook supper, or with a woman helping care for a dog team.

Serving each other out of love rather than expectations due to sexual stereotypes or being harassed or forced. How much better the relationship could be if people thought about each other and did things because they wanted to make their partner happier or to surprise and please them.

Session 19

Purpose:

To help the group see how decisions are made in their relationships.

To learn how dominance in a relationship often leads to violence.

Time and material needed: One hour and 20 minutes – Handout 19.1, flipchart, marker and pencils

How to do the activity:

Explain how important it is for both partners to understand their roles in their relationship in order to understand the effect of changes.

Ask each participant how he sees his relationship as a couple:

Have each person complete handout 19.1. Discuss how perception is similar or different from the reality.

Examples:

Losing dominance (control) can lead to resentment and violence. A person who has acted as head of the household or believes he has to be “in charge” can resort to abuse if he feels he is no longer in charge.

Delegating decisions unwillingly can also lead to violence. For example, a man who has asked his partner to handle their finances may resent it when he has to ask for money or is told that they can't afford to buy something that he wants.

Discuss the expectations and experiences or participants in the group: (the equality wheel, handout 15.1, could be useful during the exchange).

Handout 19.1: Decision-making and dominance.

Make an X in the column that describes the way decisions are currently made in your relationship. Add other decisions if you wish.

Decision-making and dominance
Decisions Almost always me Shared equally Almost always my partner
Where to live      
Whether my partner should work      
Whether I should work, or not      
What job my partner should take      
What job I should take      
Whether/when to have children      
Whether I can attend church and which church I attend      
How to handle finances      
What major purchases to make      
What to do for fun      
Who I can socialize with      
When to have sex      
How to discipline children      
What family activities to do      
Whether and when to go hunting/fishing, etc.      
When to visit relatives      

Session 20

Purpose:

To learn more about beliefs regarding sexuality and understand how they can cause problems in a relationship.

How to do the activity:

Explain that beliefs about sexuality can cause problems in a relationship. When things don't happen the way one thinks they should, a person can become anxious, frustrated, insecure, and jealous and could resort to abusive behaviour.

Write the following beliefs on a flipchart and show how each of them can create problems between partners:

Can you think of other beliefs that might cause problems in a relationship? Why do these beliefs create problems? Do you talk about sex and sexuality with your partner? How do you discuss it? Are your discussions always based on conflict over sex? Just talking about sex and sexuality in a positive way can help you understand each other and can help solve some problems in this area.

What happens regarding family planning in your relationship?

In many cases, partners do not talk this out in advance of living together, nor after they begin having children. If they have different opinions as to how many children to have, whether to space them out, or how to do this, then serious conflicts can arise. It is extremely important to know what you and your partner believe and want to do regarding this most important part of any relationship. You MUST communicate about this.

Reality check:

How did you feel about discussing sex and sexuality in the group? Did it bother you to discuss this with a woman present? Do you feel it might be a little bit easier to discuss this with your partner, now?

Session 21

Purpose:

To introduce the idea of positive and negative self-talk and how purposely using positive self-talk can help.

Definitions:

Review these with the group.

You can control what you say to yourself, and if what you say to yourself is positive, it can help you control your emotions, and can defuse a situation that is rapidly going bad. You must know your warning signs, and you should start positive self-talk as early as possible when a conflict seems to be developing. The more you use positive self-talk, the easier it becomes to use it, and the easier it is to stop a situation from developing into violence.

Example:

Positive and negative self-talk
Negative Positive
Your partner works for a govt. dept, and calls to tell you she needs to have lunch with a co-worker to discuss an upcoming project.
Self-talk: She's got a thing for this guy. What's going on? Did I miss something? She must be involved with this guy. I've got to keep my eyes on her all the time. I better check up on her; I'll go by the restaurant and see what's going on. I'll let her see me so she knows she can't get away with this. Self-talk: Gosh, she must have more responsibility in this job than I thought. Hey, maybe they are giving her more responsibility. We need for her to work, and she has to work with both men and women. If she has any responsibility, she has to be able to meet with whomever.
Beliefs: You just can't trust women. I should have more power and control over her. Otherwise, she might leave me, get out of control, sleep with other men, or do something else I can't stand. Beliefs: I can't blame all women just because I had a bad experience with one. I married this one because I love and trust her. I can have power and control only over myself, not my partner. I've got all kinds of reasons to respect, love and trust her.
Feelings: fear, mistrust, anger, hurt, suspicion, jealousy Feelings: trustful, secure, comfortable, happy, respective supportive, relaxed.
Actions: You show up at the restaurant to see who she's with. You ask questions after work that day. You keep checking up on her at work. You start physical abuse at home when she gets angry at you for asking so many questions. Actions: You do nothing, go home, have lunch, and return to work. You welcome her home with gladness. If you ask about her project, it is from genuine caring and interest, not because you are checking up on her.

Unrealistic beliefs vs. realistic beliefs and positive self-talk.

Go through this list with the group, listing the unrealistic beliefs on one flip chart and asking the group to contribute positive beliefs or self-talk on another flip chart. Ask if any have been in this situation and urge them to write down important thoughts in their notebooks.

Group members should feel free to add other beliefs. Write them into the manual if they do.

Unrealistic beliefs vs. realistic beliefs and positive self-talk
Unrealistic or unhelpful beliefs Positive beliefs or self-talk
My past experience makes me what I am. It decides my feelings and behaviour today. What happened in the past can't be changed.
I can be influenced by the past, but I CAN change my thoughts, feelings, and behaviour NOW.
My partner has to love and approve of all I do, all the time. It's not possible to always please my partner, or to be approved of all the time.
Sometimes my partner may love me but not like what I do.
It'd be nice to always be liked and approved of by my partner, but I don't NEED to be.
My partner should obey me because I'm the man. If she doesn't, I have the right to punish her.

My partner is not perfect and might do some things I don't approve of, but I can't help that. I can't change her behaviour.

Even thinking about punishing her can make me violent and may push me into abuse, so I'd better change my thoughts right now.

I can tell her (or anyone) what they are doing that hurts me, but I don't have the right to punish them.

She should know what my needs are, and try to help me.

My partner isn't a mind reader.
She can't know what my needs are, all the time.
I need to communicate better.
Even though I communicate my needs, sometimes she may not always meet them. And THAT'S OK.

I'm older so I must be right, I should not make mistakes. No one is perfect.
I would like to be best at what I do, but I don't need to be.
Older doesn't automatically mean I'm right.

Handout: 21.1: Self-Talk

Exercise: Here's a scenario. Fill in the negative self-talk part with what you would have said to yourself in the past. Then fill in the positive column with what you think will work if you use positive self-talk. We've omitted the “beliefs” section to make this quicker to do.

Handout: 21.1: Self-Talk
Negative Positive
Your partner leaves at 6 pm to go to the Northern. It closes at 7 pm, but by 8 she is still not home. She comes home at 8:30 PM, and says she ran into a friend from Iqaluit who was in town, and they went for a coffee. Your partner leaves at 6 pm to go to the Northern. It closes at 7 pm, but by 8 she is still not home. She comes home at 8:30 PM, and says she ran into a friend from Iqaluit who was in town, and they went for a coffee.
Self-talk: Self-talk:
Feelings:

Feelings:

Actions:

Actions:

Session 22

Purpose:

To show that one's family dynamics about loss and grief can affect one's future behaviour.

To learn that not going through a grieving process after a loss can lead to violence and abuse.

How to do the activity:

Write the following sentences on a flipchart. Keep the flipchart on a wall during the four sessions on grief and loss:

Define “family dynamics”: How a family acts or reacts to an event, characteristic actions or lack of actions, how all people in the family interact together.

Define loss: something that is taken away or disappears from one's life.

Define grief or grieving: emotional, physical and spiritual response to loss, a process that allows healing from the pain.

Explain that:

This situation can easily lead a person to become depressed, anxious, angry, violent, abusive, resort to alcohol or drugs to escape thinking or to try having an illusion of happiness, etc.

Ask people to think for 5 minutes of a loss suffered when they were young.

This could be the death of a brother, a sister, a parent, a friend; it could be having been abused, moving to another community, etc. They should make some notes in their notebooks so they can tell the story.

Ask each person to tell of his experiences when this happened:

Think for a few minutes about a loss for which you did not grieve, for whatever reason, or grief you did not resolve, due to circumstances, denial, or being unable to face it.

Does anyone want to share this with the group? Take care with this, as it can lead into some very emotional situations. If you want, just ask people to write about this in their notebooks and discuss it in the next session or in individual sessions.

Few people realize that grieving is part of getting closure, getting on with life, and healing. It needs to be done.

Exercise:

Writing one's life story.

During the next two weeks, we'd like you to develop your life story.

Writing one's life story means writing about events, relationships and related feelings. If there is someone you lost, but feel you failed to grieve for, you can concentrate on this.

The life story you will write will be yours alone, and you will decide what to do with it (keep it, get rid of it, share it with someone, etc.). It does not have to be “turned in”. We do want you to make the effort to do this, however, but we will not read it unless you want us to do so.

It might be easier to deal with this by separating your life into sections, perhaps:

Or, it may be easier to do this as a “lifeline”.

Using the form (Handout 22.1 (Lifeline Form), group members can write in life events above and below a line. Tell them to put events they feel were “good” above the line, and those they believe were “bad” below the line. (Note to Counselors: this form has to be run out in “Landscape” orientation, so there is space to write.)

Purpose:

To learn about the different types of losses.

How to do the activity:

Write on a flipchart the different types of losses and explain each of them.

Ask the group to add any other losses they can think of. Discuss the losses added by the group.

Life stories: Ask how the group is getting along with doing their life stories.

Answer any questions they may have about this and offer individual counselling if you perceive that someone is having real emotional problems with this exercise. If they need new forms, provide copies of Handout 22.1 again.

Session 23

Purpose:

To learn more about grieving through understanding the tasks of accepting reality and feeling the pain, and the more common reasons for denial.

How to do the activity:

View this session as an opportunity for group members to share stories and feelings. Therefore, during the explanations on grieving tasks, the counselor should allow for interruption and pause in order for the group to think of past experiences and talk about them.

The grieving process is unpredictable. Draw on a flipchart a horizontal line interrupted by spirals that go up and down the line to show that a grieving process has interruptions and setbacks.

Grief comes in stages or tasks. List on a flipchart the four grieving tasks:

Talk about the first two tasks.

Feeling the pain.

The natural response to pain is to refuse it. No one wants to place a hand on a hot stove because they know it will hurt. Moreover, people are influenced by society's approach to pain: an unnecessary experience that should be blocked.

Most people try not to feel the pain. They will:

Exercise:

Homework

After this session, as part of your life story, take some time to think about a loss in your life, and these two tasks.

In your notebook, make some notes:

How long did it take you to accept that your loss was real, was permanent?

Did you try to avoid the pain? Did the ways of avoiding pain listed above apply to you and your loss? In what way?

Keep these notes as a part of your own “life story”. You do not have to share them with the group, or with the counselors unless you want to.

Purpose:

To continue learning about the grieving tasks of adjusting and moving on with life.

How to do the activity:

This is an opportunity for the group members to share stories and feelings. Therefore, during the explanations on grieving tasks, the counselor should allow for interruption and pause in order for the group to think of past experiences and talk about them.

List on a flipchart the four grieving tasks: accepting reality, feeling the pain, adjusting to the environment, moving on with life.

Talk about the last two tasks.

Adjusting, or understanding how one's life is different.

This requires:

Moving on with life: This task completes the cycle of grief and addresses the healing process. It's where a person, after going through the grieving process, chooses to start focusing on new priorities. It includes:

Moving on (emotional relocation): expresses the fact that the loss, after having been thought of, talked about in detail and grieved, loses intensity on a day-to-day basis and talking about it gradually doesn't hurt as much.

Re-involvement: besides the necessity to think in order to grieve, it also requires getting involved again at an emotional, physical, spiritual and social level.

Reinvesting: getting on with one's life. There are a number of problems that one can face during this task:

Length and signs of decreasing grief and healing:

Food for thought:

"Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift — which is why they call it the present." Bill Keane

Learning from the past, living in the present:

Exercise:

Homework

As for the previous session, make notes in your notebook about how you applied the concepts of adjusting to the situation and emotionally relocating and moving on with life to your own loss(es). Again, these are for you, and do not have to be shared.

Session 24 & 25 COUPLES COUNSELING SESSION

At this point, two sessions on couples counselling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counselling program:

This counselling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples.

It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counselling without suspending the group meetings.

The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Session 26

Purpose:

Defining a healthy relationship

To help each person identify behavioural changes needed for his relationship to be healthier.

How to do the activity:

Provide the group with paper and pencils. Or, they can use their notebooks. Think of behavioural changes you could make to have a healthier relationship.

Write them down. Allow 10 minutes.

Ask participants to share some of the changes they have recorded, and write these on the flipchart. Encourage them to talk about each change and explain how they think the change will better the relationship.

Review the following with the group:

Remember:

Qualities of a healthy relationship:

Thoughts to remember:

Abuse and violence are both unnecessary.
The quality of a relationship is the responsibility of both partners.
Neither partner can do this alone. They must work as a team.

Encourage participants to add any of the changes brought up by others to their own list in their notebook.

Next sessions:

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#5, Rules 22 – 25.
Pass out the last “Relationship Rules” handout. Ask how these are working, and if people like them.

Suggest they keep all of these, and offer additional copies to those who may have lost some of the ones they received earlier.

Participants could fold them and place in a family Bible if they want.

Session 27

Purpose:

To show that a healthy and lasting relationship can be achieved.

An elderly couple from the community will share their story and experiences with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session:

In order to assist the Elders, you can provide them with a list of questions that they could address with the group. If they would find it easier, you can use the questions to guide the presentation, in the style of an interview. Or, you can review the questions with the members of the group and each member can take a question to ask.

Examples of questions:

Have the Elders present at the beginning of the session and introduce them to the group. Being present at the beginning of the session could help the couple have an idea of the group's dynamics.

The group can ask additional questions as the Elders talk about their experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Session 28

Purpose:

To allow Elders to express their perspectives, and the group to express their expectations.

How to do the activity:

Before the session:

Have the Elders present at the beginning of session 28 and introduce them to the group. Being present at the beginning of the session could help the Elders have an idea of the group's dynamics.

The content of this session needs to be left up to the Counselors.

The instructions given to the Elders will be based almost entirely on what has transpired in the previous sessions, where the counselors perceive the group to be at the present time, and their feelings as to what issues need to be addressed.

The counselor will outline questions to guide the Elders prior to the session and will discuss these with the Elders before the session.

Session 29

Purpose:

To encourage the group to talk about what they have learned during the sessions and to acknowledge and reinforce their gains.

(All members of the Elders' Committee should be invited to this session).

How to do the activity:

Write some or all of the following questions on a flipchart and ask each person to answer them (50 minutes):

You can do this by the question, which is probably easier on the participants. Ask the first question and go through the group, getting input from each person in turn. Then ask the next one, and go through the group in a different order, again getting input. This engages people better than making one person do all the questions and then moving to the next.

Offer the Elders' Committee members the opportunity to interact or talk to the group (10-15 minutes).

Provide an opportunity for the group members to ask questions of the Elders Committee once more.

Make your final remarks (10 minutes). Most of this is up to the Counselor but you may wish to address the following:

Resources:

There are a number of resources that are still available to participants in this program.

Further counselling or assistance (these resources will differ from community to community):

How to ask questions:

Self study or research:

Pulaarvik Kablu offers access to computers and the Internet at two CAP sites, one at the friendship centre offices, and one in the Library. If you don't have access to a computer, you can go to either CAP site and surf the Internet for additional information, books, or other materials. There is a huge amount available on the Internet on healthy relationships, self esteem, insecurity, abuse, jealousy, addictions, family violence, spousal abuse, and more. Just go to www.google.ca

Counselors can make any remarks they wish about their personal availability (or the availability of Elders) to these group members. This is impossible to standardize in advance.

Personal notebooks: Remind people that the notebooks are theirs, and encourage them to continue to use them if they find them helpful.

They do not have to show these notebooks to anyone. If they are concerned about others reading what they have written, they can destroy the notebook or the parts which concern them.

Program evaluation: Ask for comments on how the participants felt this group counselling went, and ask for their input as to changes they think would make it more useful.

Likely both counselors will be present for this final session. One should ask questions and the other should take notes.

Optional material

This material can be used at the discretion of the Counselor.

Purpose:

To look at what keeps an abused person in an abusive relationship.

How to do the activity:

Think of reasons why you think an abused person might stay in an abusive relationship. More than 80% of victims of spousal abuse across North America have left five or more times.

Write answers given on a flipchart.

On a different flipchart, write several reasons not mentioned by the group. Reasons:

Situation-related factors

The victim:

Emotion-related factors

The victim:

Discuss all the reasons listed. Can you think of others? Place the Cycle of Violence diagram on the wall and talk again about how the cycle of violence affects a person who is abused.

Purpose:

To help group members understand the value of nurturing and protecting their selfesteem, and how a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence can undermine everything they do in life.

Note to Counselors: This material can be used as a handout or used as the core for a session. Take it point by point and encourage discussion as you proceed.

Understanding Self-Esteem:

Accepting who we are helps develop a healthy self-esteem and can make a huge impact on how we live our lives.

Someone with healthy self-esteem is aware of his/her potential, knows the many facets that make him/her unique, and values and respects himself or herself. He/She knows that his or her imperfections or inadequacies are not inherently bad; and, they do not become overwhelming to the point that they completely define him or her value as a person. He/She knows that no one's perfect, it's human to have limitations and make mistakes.

Regardless of self-esteem status, everyone doubts their own self-worth or value at one time or another during their lifetimes.

It can become all too easy to compare ourselves to others. When this selfcomparison is occasional, it can be beneficial. It can help us achieve goals and ideals that we admire and respect in other people.

However, when self-comparison becomes more frequent, and even allconsuming; and, when we, in our own estimation, do not measure up to our perception of others, it can become self-destructive. The quality of our lives is severely limited.

Although it may not be easy, it's not impossible to feel better about yourself. Here are some tips to help boost your self-esteem:

Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program

Handouts for Abuser's group

Handouts for Abuser's group
Handout # Session: Title of Handout
2.1 2 Finding Your Warning Signs (form)
2.2 2 Warning Signs & Lines (diagram)
2.3 2 Basic Safety Plan for Abusers (form)
3.1 3 Defining Abuse (form: make about 4 copies per participant)
RR #1 3 Relationship Rules #1 – Rules 1-5
4.1 4 Circle of Violence (diagram)
4.2 4 Cycle of Violence (diagram)
5.1 5 Power and Control Wheel (diagram)
7.1 5 Time Out Wallet Card
RR #2 9 Relationship Rules #2 – Rules 6-10
9.1 9 Equality Wheel (diagram)
RR #3 9 Relationship Rules #3 – Rules 11-16
RR #4 16 Relationship Rules #4 – Rules 17-21
19.1 19 How Decisions are Made in Your Family (form)
21.1 21 Self-talk
22.1 22 Lifeline Form (form)
RR #5 26 Relationship Rules #5 – Rules 22-25

Handout 2.1: Finding YOUR Warning signs

Go over these lists and think about each sign. Then, figure out if you do this or not. If not, write “NO” under “Do you do this?” If you do, write “Yes”. If you do something similar, write it in under “Do you do this?”

Add any other personal warning signs for yourself in the blanks.

Handout 2.1: Finding YOUR Warning signs
WHAT YOU DO (behaviour) Do YOU do this?
Start to yell  
Go closer to the person I'm talking to  
Curse
Glare
Start saying insulting things  
Threaten person I'm in conflict with  
Start saying hurtful things  
Slam door, punch wall or hit desk  
Throw something or break something  
Shake fist  
WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR BODY  
Tight stomach and/or muscles  
Increased heart rate  
Sweating palms  
Trembling hands, shakiness  
Flushed face, red neck  
Rapid breathing / tending to hold your breath  
Clenched teeth  
Vision seems to narrow/darken (tunnel vision)  
WHAT YOU THINK  
Mental images of violence  
Thinking,” You're such a _____” (name-calling)  
Thinking: “I ought to teach you a lesson….”  
Thinking: “I'll show you who's boss!”  
Thinking: “You asked for this!”  
Thinking: “You pushed me too far!”  
“Awfulizing” (labelling situation as “terrible”)  
Mentally labelling abusive behaviour as something else (self-defence, standing up for my rights, etc.)  
Constantly thinking that something offends you.  

Handout 2.2: Warning Signs

Warning Signs and Time-out flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above is a two-part depiction of how to recognize warning signs that trigger anger and the different stages that you could go through in the process. On the right side of the graphic is a box that contains Ok at the top followed by the word Problem that has a black arrow with. It then moves toward the middle right section of the box that contains the word Tension and it is at this stage it indicates that you should be looking for your warning signs. A black arrow moves down to the bottom, middle section of the box where the word Argument which has and a black arrow that splits in two directions with one arrow that stays within the box and moves to the top right of the box to Problem Solving and the other arrow moves outside the box to a stop sign. At the stop sign there is a notice that states "you are getting out of the box" and that the steps ahead will lead to verbal abuse and domestic violence so recognize your warning signs so STOP and take a TIME-OUT.

Crossing the Lines

Crossing the line graphic
Image Description

The graphic above is of a cone that starts in a small circular pattern at the bottom that gets progressively wider as it reaches the top to show how anger can escalate and it has two intersecting points (lines that get crossed) in the spectrum that show where abuse and violence occur. The intersection near the bottom shows the point at which verbal abuse starts and warning signs are ignored and the intersections near the top of the cone is where the physical acts of abuse begin with no regard to consequences.

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

Handout 2.3: A Basic Safety Plan for Abusers:

Avoid all use of alcohol or drugs in your home. This is possibly the single most useful thing you can do to decrease violence at home. Make an agreement with your partner to do this while both of you are sober and not fighting.

If possible, stop drinking (or drugs) entirely. In general, when there are marital problems it is best not to drink at all until those problems are reduced or solved. Know your own warning signs, and if you observe these, call a Time Out. Write your warning signs in this box:

My warning signs:

Know your partner's warning signs and monitor these if you are getting into a conflict and tensions are rising.

Use a Time Out before things get out of hand.

Memorize all the steps needed to do a Time Out.

Consider a place where you could go if things get out of hand. It is better for you to leave and go stay with a friend than to have violence take place, which will result in another charge against you.

Then, make sure you DO leave while you are still thinking rationally. This is really important if your partner is drinking.

Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor about how to handle an emergency call from you for help.

Decide ahead of time at what point you should leave. Discuss this issue with your counselor.

If your partner wants to leave, do not ever try to prevent it. Preventing someone from leaving is against the law (unlawful confinement) and you could be charged. Make absolutely sure all firearms are either removed from the home or make sure they are stored with bolts removed and ammo in an entirely separate place (this is legally required anyway and is a good idea for children's safety).

Emergency numbers (will vary by community):
Department of Social Services: 645-5064
Spousal Abuse Program: 645-3785
Additions to this plan: Write any additions in below.

Handout 3.1: Defining Abuse

Participants can use the form below to record their own observations about abuse in their families. Use a separate form for each event. This can be stuck into the participant's notebook.

Handout 3.1: Defining Abuse
Event: What happened, what form of abuse?

 

Examples:
beating, cursing, taking cheques
Kind of abuse: (circle one or more) -> Physical Emotional/verbal Spiritual
Financial Sexual Other:_________
What set off (triggered) this incident? Impaired during incident?
Circle one:
Impaired
Not impaired
Impact on Partner: Impact on kids or other family members:
How could this abuse be prevented or avoided? How could I change my behavior to keep this from happening again?

Questions for counselors:

 

Relationship Rules (RR)#1, Rules 1 - 5

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today

Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, the first of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

1. Choose a partner wisely and well.

We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they remind us of someone from our past, or may shower us with gifts and make us feel important. This can be deceiving. Evaluate a potential partner carefully. Look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, and especially their relationships with others. Don't rush. Make sure you would want this person as the mother/father of your children.

2. Know your partner's beliefs about relationships.

Different people have different beliefs about relationships. You don't want to fall in love with someone who is dishonest in their relationships. They will be dishonest with you, eventually. Communicate, and discuss this sort of thing.

3. Don't confuse sex with love.

In the beginning of a relationship, sexual attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love. Make sure there is more to your relationship than this.

4. Know your needs and speak up for them clearly.

A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, do this poorly. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader. Communicate with him/her.

5. View yourselves as a team.

Think of yourself and your partner as working together toward a goal you both share. This means you each bring different perspectives and strengths to make a team that is stronger than either of yourselves alone.

Handout 4.1: Circle of Violence.

This diagram explains how violence can become established in a relationship.

Circle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The circle above outlines the stages that occur in a circle of violence and starts with faulty beliefs or outdated approach to relationships at the top and has an arrow that moves around to the top right. At this stage is has looking at the problem in the wrong way, using dominance to control and then the arrow moves down to actions that hurt, not help. The arrow moves further down and to the bottom with further violence or an increase in violence. Moving to the left it goes to frustration and anger at self and partner then moves left and up to more blaming and excuses for the abuser with the partner closing down communications and becoming more withdrawn. Further up on the upper left side of the circle is reinforcement of faulty beliefs which then leads back to the top of the circle and the cycle continues.

*Deborah Sinclair, Understanding Wife Assault: A Training Manual for Counselors and Advocates, Publications Ontario, Toronto, 1985

Handout 4.2: Cycle of Abuse

Cycle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above outlines how the cycle of violence is perpetuated when nothing is done to change it. It starts at the top with the word denial and shows how the abuser makes excuses for their behaviour and down and to the right it shows how the victim then blames themselves. An arrow moves down and to the right to the apology phase where the abuser apologizes and says it will never happen again and the victim feels hopeful and loved. The arrow then moves to the bottom of the graphic where it shows tension builds with the abuser showing more anger and violent behaviour and the victim being afraid. Moving further up on the right is where there is an explosion and fight and the victim feels pain, fear, despair and humiliation. The arrow then moves back up the top where denial is and the cycle repeats itself.

The Cycle of Abuse

The cycle can cover a long or short period of time

The violence usually gets worse

The apology or “honeymoon” phase, will eventually disappear

Handout 5.1: Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is of a circle that has power and control at its centre with eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of physical and sexual violence that are used to maintain power. The first section outlines how intimidation is used to make the victim afraid by using looks actions and gestures. The second section is about using emotional abuse to put the victim down and make them feel bad about themselves. Section three outlines how the abuser will use isolation to control the actions of their victim and use jealousy as an excuse to justify their actions. Section four shows how the abuser minimizes the extent of their abusive behaviour even shift responsibility for the abuse to the victim. Section five shows how the abuser may use the children to make the victim feel guilty or even threaten to take the children away. Section six is about how the abuser uses the "male privilege" to treat the victim like a servant and not allowing the victim to take part in big decisions. Section seven is about economic abuse by preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and making her ask for money and section eight is about using threats and coercion as a means of control.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Handout 7.1: Time Out wallet card

Fold this and place it in your wallet.

TIME OUT CARD

Your warning signs mean, “I need a time out.” Leave for a minimum of one hour, then return. If you will be away longer, call partner and advise.

No alcohol, no drugs, no driving, no weapons.

Walk, breath deeply, and self-talk (self-calming, decide what you will say to deal with the problem without anger).

Check your own warning signs before returning. If you are ok, return home or call partner to see how she is feeling. If she is ok, return home. If she's not, ask if she wants a further time out.

When you return, check in, let partner know you are back.
If all is ok, resume discussion like adults.

If it escalates, take another time out.

Relationship Rules (RR)#2, Rules 6 - 10

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, second of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

6. Know how to respect and manage differences.

Disagreements don't sink relationships. Lack of respect and name-calling does. Learn how to handle negative feelings, as these will occur due to differences between two people. Avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them. Understanding this is essential.

7. Ask questions honestly, but don't threaten.

If you don't understand or like something your partner is doing, ask about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don't assume.

8. Solve problems as they arise.

Don't let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defenses against one another and to become strangers. Or enemies.

9. Learn to negotiate. And to re-negotiate.

Modern relationships no longer rely on cultural roles. Couples create their own roles, so almost every act requires negotiation. It works best when good will prevails. Because people's needs and life's demands change over time, good relationships are constantly negotiated and re-negotiated.

10. Listen, truly listen…and don't judge.

Listen to your partner's concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need. “Being there” and listening opens the door to confiding. Try hard to look at things from your partner's perspective as well as your own.

Equality Wheel

Equality Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is a circle that has equality at its centre and eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of nonviolence. Section one is about using non-threating behaviour to talk things out, section two shows respect by listening and valuing opinions. Section three is about trust, support and respect; section four is about honesty and accountability and accepting responsibility for self. Section five is about responsible parenting by being a positive role model. Section six is about shared responsibility by making family decisions together. Section seven is about economic partnership by making financial decisions together. Section eight shows negotiation and fairness as a way of seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Relationship Rules (RR)#3, Rules 11 - 16

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 6 basic rules for relationships, third of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

11. Work hard at maintaining closeness.

Closeness doesn't happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and are susceptible to affairs. A good relationship isn't an end goal; it's a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.

12. Take a long-range view.

A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you're both on the same path. Update your dreams regularly.

13. Never underestimate the power of good grooming.

Nothing says, “I don't care” like coming into an intimate relationship personally dirty. Keep yourself clean or make yourself clean for your partner.

14. Sex is good. Pillow talk is better.

Sex is easy; intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, and sharing concerns, fears, and sadness as well as hopes and dreams.

15. Never go to sleep angry. Try a little tenderness.

Try to live by this and your relationship will get easier. Even if you can't solve a problem by bedtime, call a truce, say how much you love each other and go to bed with respect, regard, and love.

16. Apologize, apologize, apologize.

Anyone can make a mistake. It's essential you try to repair these. Willingness to apologize is highly predictive of marital happiness. Your repair attempts can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic, but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every happy marriage.

Relationship Rules (RR)#4, Rules 17 – 21

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, fourth of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

17. Reduce dependency.

Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one's needs invites unhappiness. We're all dependent to a degree -- on friends, mentors, spouses….and men have just as many dependency needs as women. Just don't overwhelm your partner with neediness.

18. Maintain self-respect and self-esteem.

It's easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the better their self-esteem. Meaningful work -- paid or volunteer -- has long been one of the most important ways to exercise and fortify a sense of self.

19. Enrich your relationship

A relationship can be made richer by bringing into it new interests from outside the relationship. The more passions in life that you have, and share, the richer your relationship will be.

20. Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate.

Share responsibilities in life. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take. You should both spend time with the kids, don't leave all school duties to one parent. You should also share responsibilities around the house as this not only makes your spouse feel better, but it sets a good example for your children.

21. Be spontaneous.

You deserve to have fun with your partner, and good surprises add fun. If you are traveling, bring back a little treat. Invite him/her out for a dinner “date”. Greet him after a hunting trip with a good meal, including candles. Wake her up with a kiss. Praise your kids, especially when they don't expect it.

Handout 19.1: Decision-making and dominance.

Make an X in the column that describes the way decisions are currently made in your relationship. Add other decisions if you wish.

Handout 19.1: Decision-making and dominance
Decisions Almost always me Shared equally Almost always my partner
Where to live      
Whether my partner should work      
Whether I should work, or not    

 

What job my partner should take    

 

What job I should take      
Whether/when to have children      
Whether I can attend church and which church I attend      
How to handle finances      
What major purchases to make      
What to do for fun      
Who I can socialize with      
When to have sex      
How to discipline children      
What family activities to do      
Whether and when to go hunting/fishing, etc.      
When to visit relatives      

Handout: 21.1: Self-Talk

Exercise: Here's a scenario. Fill in the negative self-talk part with what you would have said to yourself in the past. Then fill in the positive column with what you think will work if you use positive self-talk. We've omitted the “beliefs” section to make this quicker to do.

Handout: 21.1: Self-Talk
Negative Positive
Your partner leaves at 6 pm to go to the Northern. It closes at 7 pm, but by 8 she is still not home. She comes home at 8:30 PM, and says she ran into a friend from Iqaluit who was in town, and they went for a coffee. Your partner leaves at 6 pm to go to the Northern. It closes at 7 pm, but by 8 she is still not home. She comes home at 8:30 PM, and says she ran into a friend from Iqaluit who was in town, and they went for a coffee.
Self-talk: Self-talk:
Feelings:

Feelings:

Actions:

Actions:

Handout 22.1 Life Story Form

Lifeline for _________________________

Write in events that affected your life. Events perceived as “good” go above the line.

Events perceived as “bad” go below the line.

Date: ____________________________________
The spaces (for years) are not exactly even as we've tried to give you more space to write in years when there may be more events.

Years: 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60

Relationship Rules (RR)#5, Rules 22 - 25

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 4 basic rules for relationships, last of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

22. Stay healthy.

Maintain your energy. Stay healthy. If at all possible, avoid things that erode your health. You know what these are…and you know this includes tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. If you are addicted, you may not be able to give up all of these, but maybe you can give up two out of three?

23. Work together through hard times.

Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. No relationship is perfect all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.

24. Examine and learn from a bad relationship.

Learn from a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don't just run away from a bad relationship; you'll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what part of you created the bad relationship, and what part of you can affect the current one. Change yourself before you change your relationship.

25. Understand love as a tide, ebbing and flowing.

Understand that love is not an absolute, not a limited commodity that you either have or don't have. “Love is a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you learn new ways to interact, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.” - Dianne Sollee, SmartMarriages

Feel free to add to these, developing your own rules. Share with the rest of the group if you wish.

Topics of Sessions for Victim's Group

Topics of Sessions for Victim's Group
Topics Session Details Handouts /Videos Page #
Group rules
Meeting the group
1 Agreement on group rules
Getting to know each other
Signs before violence (warning signs)
Making a safety plan
Understanding assignments that will be given to spouses
1.1, 1.2, 1.3
1.4, 1.5
154
What is spousal abuse?
Impacts of spousal abuse
2 Definition and kinds of abuse
How abuse hurts victims and children
How it increases bad feelings about oneself
How it increases anger
2.1
Video:“Reflections from the Heart of a
Child”
161
Practical Helps 3

Understanding Time Outs
Review of safety plan
Rules for Relationships (intro)

1.5 review
RR#1 1-5

169
Understanding violence 4 Excuses and Truths
An Elders' perspective
  175
5

Cycle of violence
Abusive behaviour

5.1, 5.2
5.3
179
Staying in an abusive relationship 6

Why a victim stays

  184
7 Surviving abuse:
A couples' perspective
Video: “Summer in the Life of Louisa” 186
8 Community influence
Elders' perspectives
  188
Changing beliefs and behaviour 9 Equality and balance: Equality Wheel
Self esteem
9.1
RR#2 6-10
9.2
190
10 Changing is possible   194
Communications 11 Principles of communication   196
Couples Counseling 12 Couples counseling (individual sessions) RR#3 11-16 199
13 Couples counseling (individual sessions)   200
Communications, cont'd 14 Communications skills   201
15 Expressing feelings safely   206
Conflict 16 Conflict is normal   208
17 Settle things fairly: “Fair fighting” rules RR#4: 17-21 210
Jealousy 18 Insecurity and trust   213
19 A Couples perspective   218
Sex roles stereotyping 20 Characteristics and Roles
Dominance & Decision-making
21.1 220
21 Sexual beliefs   224
Grief and Loss 22 Family Dynamics
Types of Losses
  227
Couples' Counseling sessions 23 & 24 Couples' Counseling (Individual sessions)   232
Journey to health through grief and loss 25

Grieving tasks:

  • Accepting and feeling
  • Adjusting and moving on
  233
Healthy relationships 26 The right to a healthy relationship
Hopes
Working toward one's hopes
27.1
RR#5: 22-25
240
27 An elderly couples' perspective   249
Closing 28 Time to reflect   251
Handouts   List of Handouts   255

Typical Agenda for Sessions

Set-ups for Sessions:

First session:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Middle sessions:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Last session:

* Break at a convenient time (10 minutes)

Session 1

Purpose:

To agree on rules that will allow the group to work well and know what to expect.

Materials:

Flipchart and marker (These are needed for all sessions, and will not be listed after this. Make sure you replace newsprint and markers as needed; keep a backup supply.)

How to do the activity:

Keep to yourself what happens during sessions
(Talking about what you learn is okay, talking about who and what is not OK.)

Talk about your own actions
(Not about other people's actions, except in the context of your partner.)

Don't interrupt when a person is talking, listen to what a person is saying

Treat each other with respect
(Even when you don't agree with what a person is saying……)

Speak for yourself
(Use “I”)

Don't put people down
(Bad language makes people seem worthless)

When you talk about your partner use his first name
(Not, “he”, or a negative term.)

Be honest
(With yourself and each other)

Be sober and free from drugs
(If you have been drinking or have taken drugs you will be told to leave)

Be on time for sessions

Make an effort to attend all sessions
(If you are having problems attending, talk to the counselor as soon as possible.)

Smoke and drinks only during breaks

Purpose:

To help people get to know each other.

How to do the activity:

(Counselor can abbreviate his/her own personal info from here on, or can share fully. Use your own judgement. You want to create an atmosphere of sharing, but you don't want to be in centre stage with your own life.)

Purpose:

To learn about warning signs before violence.

Material:

Handouts on Warning Signs and Warning Signs and Lines.

How to do the activity:

Exercise:

Reviewing the signs.

Ask the group to keep the handouts for this session and review them later, adding other signs that they may not have thought of during the session. They are building a “picture” of the signs (in themselves and their partners) that occur before violence. If they do not feel comfortable taking this home, they can keep it in their notebook and leave the notebook at the counseling office.

Stress how important it is to be able to identify these signs early so that they can use their safety plan or call a Time Out.

Be sure to tell them that the abusers' program is also discussing this topic and asking the abusers to identify their own signs in order to recognize escalation to violence so that THEY know when to call a Time Out.

Warning Signs and Time-out flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above is a two-part depiction of how to recognize warning signs that trigger anger and the different stages that you could go through in the process. On the right side of the graphic is a box that contains Ok at the top followed by the word Problem that has a black arrow with. It then moves toward the middle right section of the box that contains the word Tension and it is at this stage it indicates that you should be looking for your warning signs. A black arrow moves down to the bottom, middle section of the box where the word Argument which has and a black arrow that splits in two directions with one arrow that stays within the box and moves to the top right of the box to Problem Solving and the other arrow moves outside the box to a stop sign. At the stop sign there is a notice that states "you are getting out of the box" and that the steps ahead will lead to verbal abuse and domestic violence so recognize your warning signs so STOP and take a TIME-OUT.

Crossing the Lines

Crossing the line graphic
Image Description

The graphic above is of a cone that starts in a small circular pattern at the bottom that gets progressively wider as it reaches the top to show how anger can escalate and it has two intersecting points (lines that get crossed) in the spectrum that show where abuse and violence occur. The intersection near the bottom shows the point at which verbal abuse starts and warning signs are ignored and the intersections near the top of the cone is where the physical acts of abuse begin with no regard to consequences.

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

For handouts, see last section of this Manual.

Purpose:

To make a safety plan.

Material:

Handouts 1.4 (Safety Planning for Victims) and 1.5 (Basic Safety Strategy for Victims).

How to do the activity:

Session 2

Purpose:

To understand that spousal abuse is any behaviour used to gain or maintain control and power over another person.

To look at the different kinds of spousal abuse and forms of abusive behaviour.

How to do the activity:

Definition of spousal abuse

Spousal abuse is any verbal or physical act intended to harm, injure or inflict pain on another person to establish dominance and control over that person.

Spousal abuse comes in many forms and comes from both men and women against their partners.

Stress that abuse is a matter of choice; a person can decide not to be abusive and not establish dominance and control over another person. Emphasize that abuse is not ingrained and that a person does not have to be abusive.

“You choose to abuse, and you can choose NOT to abuse.”

Kinds of abuse:

Explain that spousal abuse can take many forms and is not limited to physical abuse. Stress that it is important to look at the different kinds of abuse and forms of behaviour in order to know when abuse is happening. Abusive behaviour can be hidden. Or, as is the case in much Elder abuse, the victim does not even realize it is abuse.

To get people thinking about this, just brainstorm – ask participants to come up with different kinds of abuse without “guiding” them. If they list forms or examples of abuse, write those down also. You are just trying to obtain input from the group and trying to get them to think about this. Try for a back and forth exchange.

You can go back and put the type of abuse (physical, emotional/verbal, spiritual, sexual, financial, etc. ) beside each example they suggest, but do that after the following activity.

List on different flipcharts (heading of the flipchart) the following kinds of abuse and explain each of them:

Ask people to mention specific behaviours (actions) they think are abusive and ask them to relate these to a kind of abuse (a behaviour can be put in more than one category).

You can either use your former list, provided by the participants, and put the kind of abuse next to the example, or create a new list under each specific kind.

Keep these flipcharts for future sessions of this group.

Exercise:

Defining Abuse

Provide Handout 2.1 (Defining Abuse)

Go through this handout so participants know what is expected of them and then allow time (10- 15 minutes) for them to think of at least one specific act of abuse, and take it apart, applying what they now know to help understand what has happened.

They should fill out the handout. They should not expect to understand WHY, just what has happened.

At this point, it is also unlikely that they will be able to say how it could be prevented or how they can protect themselves, but this is a start.

Using a flipchart, go over what they have written. You can ask for volunteers to offer their material, writing it on the chart. Once a couple of people have spoken, it gets easier for the others.

Purpose:

To show how spousal abuse can hurt a victim in very different ways.

How to do the activity:

You can help the group by writing the following on a flipchart:

“Bucket” analogy: Let's think of yourself as a bucket. Before anything bad happens in your life, your bucket is full of self-esteem, confidence, and positive things. (Note to Counselor, write all on the flipchart or board, then strike out (or erase) what you would “remove” in this analogy.)

Here are a few of the things in your bucket:
Love Trust Security Caring
Hate Lack of trust Uncertainty Indifference
Freedom Self confidence Delight Spirit
Sense of being in prison Lack of confidence Anger Self-hate
Courage Happiness    
Fear Sadness    

Someone (a person you trust) comes along and starts taking the positive things from your bucket, leaving only the negative things.

After a while, what is left? Can you function?

Open discussion:

Purpose:

To show how spousal abuse can hurt children.

Materials:

VCR, TV and video “Reflections from the heart of a child”.

How to do the activity:

Further open discussion:

Purpose:

To talk about the bad feelings that can result from spousal abuse.

How to do the activity:

  1. Explain that a person can have bad feelings about herself without knowing why and that some of these bad feelings can be the result of spousal abuse.
  2. Write the questions below on a flipchart:
    • Ask the questions one at a time.
    • Ask people to talk about what they think and how they feel about each question. Allow each person to express her feelings fully.
      • Do you feel like you're apologizing or saying “Sorry” all the time?
      • Do you feel that you can never do anything right?
      • Do you ever feel that you are dumb, stupid and a bad mother or wife?
      • Do you ever feel that you might be crazy?
      • Do you ever wish you were dead?
      • Do you ever feel afraid to give your own opinions?
      • Does it feel like you're always trying to figure out why he's so upset or angry?
      • Do you ever feel that if you were doing things differently, he would not be violent?
      • Do you feel bad for him and believe it's okay for him to take out his anger on you?
  3. Explore for other feelings related to abuse and the climate of abuse in the home.
  4. Add to list on flip chart.
  5. Let the group know these feelings are not unusual, and okay to have these feelings, as they are some of the effects of abuse.

You are not alone.
Others have gone before.
Some have gone through the darkness into light.
You can, too.
It takes a lot of work, but you can do it.

Purpose:

To talk about the feelings of anger that can result from spousal abuse.

How to do the activity:

Caution the group: the things that will be discussed are confidential and information should stay within the group. They would not like details about their relationship shared, so all must agree to keep all this in their hearts, not on their lips.

Encourage each person to express her feelings fully. It may also help to confirm with others – “Do you feel this way?” “Do you?”

Next session:

If you take your written safety plan home, bring it with you to the next session. If you have not developed one, please do so by the next session.

Session 3

Purpose:

To introduce the concept of a Time Out, how it is used and what it can do.

The Counselor introduces the subject:

In the abusers' program, participants have spent quite a bit of time discussing the use of a Time Out. You may have heard about this, and it may have already been used, but you need more details.

Time Outs are introduced as a tool for abusers to stop them from escalating to violence and to provide both partners a chance to cool off and think out the problem. Here's what is taught in the Abusers' Program:

How to call a Time Out: (Abuser's Program):

  1. When you experience tension building, say, “I need a Time Out”. Do this calmly, but firmly.
  2. Tell your partner you will be back in about an hour.
  3. Leave the house.
  4. Walk or go someplace where you can calm down and think about what to do to avoid abusing.
  5. Concentrate on getting control of your emotions, defining the problem that needs solving, and resolving to deal with it without fighting.
  6. Do not do anything that raises your level of tension, like driving a car or playing contact sports or violent video games.
  7. If you need to talk to someone, make sure it is someone who knows just what a Time Out is and what it is meant to do. This person should be someone you have discussed with the Counselor. Don't just go to a relative or a friend.
  8. If you need to do so, write down what approach you think you should take to deal with this without your anger getting out of control.
  9. Take an hour.
  10. When you've calmed down, either return or check with your partner to see if you both can agree to resume the discussion without anger.
  11. Then go home.

To the Counselor: Suggestions for how to discuss the concept with the participants in the Victims' Program:

Ask the group members:

The Counselor's summary can be: “No, anyone can call it.” But, the rules need to be discussed between both partners BEFORE they are angry.”

And: “If you have not discussed Time Outs with your partner, do so now. Make sure that all is peaceful, and say something like, 'We learned about Time Outs in group. This sounds like a good idea – what did they tell you about it?'”

Then tell the participants: “Once the subject is opened, you can go ahead and discuss how the Time Out should work.”

  1. When to call a Time Out? Call it when you see that tensions are growing and when you start to see warning signs in yourself or your partner. Either can call it, both should honor it.
  2. Distinguish Time Out from “Storming Out” –
    • When you take a Time Out, you say that is what you need, you get acceptance or at least awareness from your partner, and you leave in a very controlled fashion.
    • “Storming out” involves slammed doors, angry words, no planning.
    • They are VERY different. One helps solve problems, and the other adds to them.
      TIME OUT CARD

      Your warning signs mean, “I need a time out.” Leave for a minimum of one hour, then return. If you will be away longer, call partner and advise.No alcohol, no drugs, no driving, no weapons.Walk, breath deeply, and self-talk (self-calming, decide what you will say to deal with the problem without anger).Check your own warning signs before returning. If you are ok, return home or call partner to see how she is feeling. If she is ok, return home. If she's not, ask if she wants a further time out.When you return, check in, let partner know you are back.

      If all is ok, resume discussion like adults.If it escalates, take another time out.

  3. What are the rules of a Time Out? See box above for what is taught in the abusers program.
  4. How does it apply to me?
    • You can call a Time Out, but it is best if your partner does, as that means he has assessed his warning signs. However, if he doesn't call one, you do it.
    • If he calls one, honor it gracefully. Say, “Ok, I could use one, too. About an hour, hey?”
  5. Use the time well:
    • Calm yourself (put on some soothing music)
    • Have tea.
    • Send the kids to a friend's home if they have been in the house.
    • Concentrate on controlling your emotions if they were getting out of hand.
    • Think about the problem, try to define it, think about solving it as a team, think about not blaming, and write down several solutions you think might work.
    • Be ready to compromise.
    • Greet your returning partner with a smile.

Suggestion: Tell participants to keep track of when the Time Out was used in their relationship. Keep notes as to:

If a Time Out is used, bring it up in the group the next time we meet.

Purpose:

Review and help participants further develop their safety plans. Make sure everyone has brought their safety plan, and has it in front of them.

Exercise:

Safety Plan review

You might think this is repetitious, but safety plans are so important that we need to make sure everyone is OK with their plan. (Review Handout 1.5, A Basic Safety Strategy)

Discuss with the whole group the importance of the safety plan that each person may have established during individual counseling. As they learn more about themselves through the group sessions, they should review their plan to check if:

Throughout the rest of the counseling program, ask the group to keep track of:

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#1, Rules 1 - 5

Introduce this concept by telling the group that, luckily, people have worked out some rules for relationships that usually work to improve things. These have been defined by Psychology Today magazine, and posted on a website. Pass the handouts around. Both groups will be getting these.

You will be providing these as handouts, one at a time. Suggest that people take these home and put them on the refrigerator, and then discuss them, not only with their partner, but also with their children if they are old enough.

Read through the first handout, discussing the rules as you go. Ask for comments. At this point, participants may not be able to say much about these, but that should change. There are 25 rules, and you will provide them one section at a time, over several weeks.

Session 4

Purpose:

To learn about myths: untrue beliefs shared by many people. These often appear as “excuses” for violent behaviour.

Materials:

VCR, TV and video “One Hit Leads to Another”.

Show the video “One Hit Leads to Another” before starting discussion of this topic. Tell the participants to look for examples of types of abusive behaviour and for “excuses” for violent behaviour in the video.

Discussion:

Ask the clients to:

Activity:

Myths or Excuses vs. Truths:

Are there other excuses you have heard? Used? Anyone want to add to this list?

“Relationships Rules” handouts:
Ask what they felt about these and how they were received at home. Don't supply the second one yet. It's important that the first stay up for a couple weeks so it gets discussed.

Session 5

Purpose:

To show how the cycle of violence works (it goes in circles and repeats itself).

How to do the activity:

Draw the following on a flipchart and explain the phases of violence: tension building, violence, and apology (sometimes called the “honeymoon phase” or “making up”). Explain that there can be a denial phase after the violence.

Cycle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above outlines how the cycle of violence is perpetuated when nothing is done to change it. It starts at the top with the word denial and shows how the abuser makes excuses for their behaviour and down and to the right it shows how the victim then blames themselves. An arrow moves down and to the right to the apology phase where the abuser apologizes and says it will never happen again and the victim feels hopeful and loved. The arrow then moves to the bottom of the graphic where it shows tension builds with the abuser showing more anger and violent behaviour and the victim being afraid. Moving further up on the right is where there is an explosion and fight and the victim feels pain, fear, despair and humiliation. The arrow then moves back up the top where denial is and the cycle repeats itself.

The cycle can cover a long or short period of time
The violence usually gets worse
The apology or “honeymoon” phase will eventually disappear

Distribute Handout 5.1, which is the graphic above.

Stories:

Phases of the Cycle of Violence (Handout 5.2)

Read the following stories and see if you can determine which stage applies to each. The stages are: Apology (“honeymoon”) phase, Tension-building phase, Violence (explosive) phase, Denial phase.

First story

A family is at home. The husband comes in with candy for the kids. He makes tea for his wife and is telling her he loves her and is sorry for hitting her. He says he will never do it again. He says he is going to quit drinking. He gives his wife some money to go to the bingo. He tells the kids he is never going to hit their mom again.

Second story

The family is at Grandma's for dinner. The husband is pacing up and down. He is very restless. He tells the kids to shut up or go outside. The wife is with her mother in the kitchen and is very nervous. The husband goes into the kitchen and yells at his wife, “When is that damn dinner going to be ready?” Grandma says, “It's almost ready”. The husband says, “I wasn't talking to you.” He stomps back into the living room and sits on the couch looking very angry.

Third story

The family is walking home from Grandma's. The husband says, “How come you can't cook like your mother?” The wife is walking with her head down, the kids are getting nervous. The husband says, “I asked you a question, bitch, you're too stupid to learn how to cook, aren't you? Say it! Say, “I'm too stupid to learn.” The wife says very quietly under her breath, “I'm not stupid.” The husband says, “What did you say?” He grabs her by the hair and slaps her face. The kids run home so they can hide before their parents get there.

Fourth story

The family is at home. The wife sits at the table with her head in her hands. The husband stands over his wife and says, “Why do you always talk back? You know it makes me mad.” Grandma comes in and sends the kids outside. The husband leaves and Grandma sits down at the table. She takes her daughter's hand and says, “That's the way men are, just try not to make him mad. Here, I brought over some dry fish he likes that. You're lucky he has a job. Lots of the other people in town are on welfare.”

Purpose:

To understand that abusive behaviour is used to control other people.

How to do the activity:

Read the text in each section of the wheel.

Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is of a circle that has power and control at its centre with eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of physical and sexual violence that are used to maintain power. The first section outlines how intimidation is used to make the victim afraid by using looks actions and gestures. The second section is about using emotional abuse to put the victim down and make them feel bad about themselves. Section three outlines how the abuser will use isolation to control the actions of their victim and use jealousy as an excuse to justify their actions. Section four shows how the abuser minimizes the extent of their abusive behaviour even shift responsibility for the abuse to the victim. Section five shows how the abuser may use the children to make the victim feel guilty or even threaten to take the children away. Section six is about how the abuser uses the "male privilege" to treat the victim like a servant and not allowing the victim to take part in big decisions. Section seven is about economic abuse by preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and making her ask for money and section eight is about using threats and coercion as a means of control.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Session 6

Purpose:

To look at what keeps an abused person in a relationship.

How to do the activity:

Ask each person to give one reason why she (or someone she knows) might stay in an abusive relationship. Write the answers on a flipchart. Allow time for reflection and discussion and encourage discussion.

You can add on the flipchart reasons not mentioned by the group. These could be:
Situation-related factors
The victim:

Emotion-related factors

The victim:

Have a group discussion. You can begin with these questions:

Explain that there is always more than one reason and that each case is different.

Session 7

Purpose:

To look at how the community, and one's family, friends and Elders can influence a relationship.

Materials:

VCR, TV and video “Summer in the life of Louisa”.

How to do the activity:

Invite a couple to come in and share….

This should be a couple who have gone through difficult times in their relationship, preferably a couple whose relationship has survived abuse. Emphasize that they need to share only what they want to share with the group, and that they should not feel pressured.

Provide questions ahead of time, and use these questions to guide their discussion with the group.

Suggestions as to how to maintain a NON-abusive relationship?

If the couple are OK with it, allow the group to ask questions. Make sure the couple is reassured that they can say, “We don't want to “go there” with questions if they feel that way.

Session 8

Purpose:

To help with understanding of an Elder's perspective on relationships and how to handle problems.

How to do the exercise:

An Elder from the community will come in during this session and will share insights on the role of the Elders in the community and as advisors to the young people. Plan things out with the Elder in advance so there are no surprises.

(NOTE TO COUNSELOR: Be very careful in picking your Elder, as some still believe a woman should submit to a man in all ways. You do not want to use someone who believes this.)

You want the Elder to talk about how he/she sees the Elders fitting into the community and you would like this person to share some of his/her advice that applies to young people and couples in particular.

The following questions can guide the Elder's part:

Discussion and dialogue:

The participants in the program should take about 30 minutes to ask their own questions of the Elder. Counselor should take notes on the questions asked, and the responses. You may have to go back later and sort this out.

Session 9

Purpose:

To learn that equality and balance can be achieved between partners.

How to do the activity:

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#2, Rules 6 - 10.
Pass out the next “Relationship Rules” handout. Ask for comments on how this is working at home. Is anything being discussed? What is their spouse's attitude toward these ideas?

Equality Wheel

Equality Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is a circle that has equality at its centre and eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of nonviolence. Section one is about using non-threating behaviour to talk things out, section two shows respect by listening and valuing opinions. Section three is about trust, support and respect; section four is about honesty and accountability and accepting responsibility for self. Section five is about responsible parenting by being a positive role model. Section six is about shared responsibility by making family decisions together. Section seven is about economic partnership by making financial decisions together. Section eight shows negotiation and fairness as a way of seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Purpose:

Understanding self-esteem, to help people feel good about themselves and see their own strengths.

How to do the activity:

Have the group sit in a circle.

First part (allow 20 minutes)

Second part (allow 30 minutes)

Third part (allow 30 minutes)

Homework:

Pass out the handout 9.2 Understanding Self-esteem.

Review with participants. Tell them to try to follow at least two of the “tips” before the next session.

Session 10

Purpose:

To show that it is possible to move from an abusive relationship to a healthy one. A woman from the community who has managed this change will share her experience with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session, meet the resource person (such a person must have been identified and briefed as to your expectations and as to her role before the group sessions started) and provide some background information on how the group is doing. In order to assist this person, provide her with this list of questions that she could address with the group.

It may work best to tell her you will ask the questions to help guide her if she wishes.

Examples of questions:

Try to have the person present at the beginning of the session and introduce her to the group. Being present at the beginning of the session could help the person have an idea of the group's dynamics.

The group can ask questions as the resource person talks about her experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Encourage a dialogue, and don't hurry this session. Let the resource person talk freely with participants.

Session 11

Purpose:

To understand basic principles of communication.

How to do the activity:

Write the principles mentioned below on a flipchart. Go over each principle and explain how important it is to understand it in order to communicate effectively with someone and be sure that the message corresponds to one's intention.

Ask the group to talk about personal experiences that involved these principles. You can use the examples mentioned below to help the group identify these experiences.

The message sent is not always the message received.

We usually think that if someone doesn't understand what we say that it is that person's fault. In fact, the one who sends the message can do it in such a way that the message doesn't correspond to his/her intention. If this happens, the person who receives it can get mixed messages, and becomes confused. Example:

Q. You're home late today!

Intention: Did you have a tough day?

A. I had to finish something for work, is that a problem?*

Reaction: she always wants to control me

*In this case, it's not so much the answer “I had to finish something…”, but the aggressive “Is that a problem?” that can cause anger to start. Even stopping, and making this into two different sentences, with a pause between, can help, and body language can speak volumes. Just insert an “I'm sorry” before “is that a problem” and most concerns would be met.

It is impossible NOT to communicate. Body language speaks loudly.

Whatever a person does, communication happens. Being silent, snorting, turning away, glaring at someone -- all these are examples of communication. Just take the Inuit “yes” and “no” as a perfect example, and even these tiny movements can express far more than a simple “yes” or “no”, just in the way they are done and the expression that accompanies the eyebrow or nose movement. It is always better to clarify, by speaking your feelings of displeasure, annoyance, frustration, or irritation rather than expressing them only in body language. However, it is important to do this in a constructive way rather than just lashing out. If your concerns are spoken, there is less chance you will be misunderstood.

Every message has content, and it has feeling.

If the content is different from the feeling expressed, the person who receives the message will be confused.

Example: A mother lectures her son about how bad it is not to listen to a teacher or to skip school. At the same time she smiles at him and pats his head. The son will inevitably be confused as to what his mother really means. She's telling him it's not ok to skip school, but giving him clues that it IS ok or that she doesn't mean this.

Non-verbal cues are more believable than verbal ones.

The inflection of the voice, body language, and nonverbal cues can give a totally different meaning to the content of a message.

Example: Saying to a partner who arrives home late after a hockey game, “How come you are late?” could mean: “I wonder if you were having fun and stayed a little longer with friends” or “I have been waiting for you and you didn't care”, or, it can even convey that you thought he was with another woman. It all depends on body language and emphasis on words.

Take care not only how you say something, but how you look when you say it.

Example 2: Saying to a partner who arrives home late after a day on the land “You're so late!” could mean: “What happened to you, I was afraid for you” or “I have been waiting for you and you didn't care”.

The looks exchanged definitely matter; a hug could make all the difference.

And, you can head off the problem.

And, if you are the one that's late, there's a lot of difference if you come in and explain your lateness before your partner asks. Here's where a little apology, which doesn't cost you much, can save a lot of grief! How about: “Hey, I'm sorry I'm late, but Ann's skidoo wouldn't start, and we had to walk.”

Session 12

COUPLES COUNSELING SESSIONS

At this point, two sessions on couples counseling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counseling program.

This counseling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples. It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counseling without suspending the group meetings. The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Session 13

COUPLES COUNSELING SESSIONS (Second set of sessions)

At this point, two sessions on couples counseling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counseling program.

This counseling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples. It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counseling without suspending the group meetings. The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#3, Rules 11 – 16.

Ask how this is going over at home. Probe for whether the partner has brought any of these home and if they are indeed displayed. (If the partner has NOT brought these home or discussed them, be sure to mention this to the Counselor dealing with the abusers' group.

Ask if members of the group have questions, whether people disagree, concerns.

Session 14

Purpose:

To learn some communication skills to work toward a healthier relationship.

How to do the activity:

Basic concept: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Generally, we learn this concept early in life, but many fail to understand or apply it.

Key to this is the concept of trying to look at things from the other person's point of view before acting. Then, to try to treat everyone as you would like to be treated. People crave respect, approval of others, friendship, and love. If you keep this constantly in mind, it can change the way you act towards everyone. Mutual respect is very important in a relationship.

Discuss each skill listed below (expressing feelings will be dealt specifically in session 16).

Listening:

Example of a sentence that could be used: “James' wife went to the health centre to see if she was pregnant, she met Keith on the way.”

Lesson learned: Rumours are easy to start, usually end up totally different, changing many times along the way. Talking to people one by one usually results in separation and lack of understanding of the original problem, and almost always in misunderstanding and untruths.

Validation: (Checking up)

Validation means that a person shows that he does not necessarily agree with another person's opinion but still respects it. It's a way to check to see if you are understood or understanding or to open a door for the person to talk.

Example:

Sometimes it is as simple as: “You seem kind of quiet – is everything OK? Any way I can help?”

Positive expressions: (Good feelings)

This works both ways, and will also be covered in detail in the abuser's counseling program.

When was the last time you said something nice to your partner?

Positive expressions between partners are very important, like affection and caring, praise and compliments, and expression of appreciation. Every person needs to feel appreciated, to be complimented and to receive affection. If you think that your partner knows how you feel so you don't have to say anything, you are dead wrong! This does not make the partner appreciated. If it is sincere, praising, complimenting and showing one's appreciation will almost always lead a partner to respond with similar expressions.

Expression of negative feelings: (Bad feelings)

It's not easy to express negative feelings but it's always better than not expressing them. Think about how you usually express negative feelings.

As you get angry, don't let the negative feeling get bigger than it needs to.

Focus on your partner's behaviour and what is upsetting you about that behaviour and NOT on his personality (Never say “You are stupid/it was a stupid thing to do!”, but express how you feel: “I'm upset, because ...”).

“Never, never, NEVER use “You always……” This will always increase the emotion and negative feelings on the part of the person to whom it is directed.

With children, you may find this helps: “We always love you, but we don't always like some of the things you do. You just can't keep hitting your little brother like this.”

Counselor: Ask the group how they would express negative feelings. Search for the following answers: don't hold on to your feelings, focus on how the message is being sent and express how you feel: “I feel …because you…” or “I feel upset because…can we discuss this when we are calmer”.

How to ask: (Making requests)

Each of us asks many things from each other every day. The way the request is made can convey authority and control, or it can convey cooperation, respect and love.

How do you request something from your partner?

TRY THIS:

Exercise: (Role-playing)

Set up some little scenarios and ask participants to pair off and figure out ways to ask kindly. Everyone gets a written note with their “scene”, and has 3 minutes to figure it out. One person plays the male partner and the other the female. The male partner should respond as that person thinks he would. Ask each pair to go through their scene and then switch roles and take another scene.

Reality Check:

Afterwards, ask participants what they thought of the role-playing. Did it make things seem more “real” to them?

Did playing the role of the partner make them think about this from another point of view?

Session 15

Purpose:

To help put feelings into words and to understand how to express them.

How to do the activity:

Putting feelings into words (one hour)

Write each different type of feeling and related words on a flipchart or use a wall chart. Choose one type of feeling, have each person think of a recent situation and match it with one of the words listed for that type. Have each person describe the situation and the feeling.

Do this exercise for as many types of feelings as possible.

Putting feelings into words
Sad Happy Scared Confused Hurt Ashamed Guilty Angry
Unhappy
Lonely
Depressed
Helpless
Powerless
Excited
Upbeat
Glad
Joyful
Content
Relaxed
Satisfied
Peaceful
Calm
Confident
Fearful
Anxious
Frightened
Worried
Defensive
Unsafe
Nervous
Timid
Cautious
Unsure
Puzzled
Troubled
Uneasy
Disappointed
Distrustful
In pain
Suffering
Shameful
Embarrassed
Worthless
Regretful
Remorseful
Apologetic
Furious
Mad
Annoyed
Bitter
Upset
Hateful
Resentful

Expressing feelings (20 minutes)

Discuss the following rules to express feelings:

Identifying feelings and expressing them is not easy and needs practice. Stress to the group how important it is to practice this, AND to discuss it with their partners.

Session 16

Purpose:

To show that conflict is normal and is to be expected in a relationship.

How to do the activity:

Write the following statements on a flipchart. Have the group vote true or false to each statement, and discuss answers.

Statements
Statement True or False
Conflict means something is wrong with me or with my partner False
Conflict is normal and predictable True
Conflict comes from difference in perceptions, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes True
Conflict is not good/bad/right/wrong - it “just is” True
Conflicts occur because at least one person is “right” and one person is “wrong” False
Conflicts provide an opportunity to learn and grow True
Anger is a bad emotion False
People always get hurt during a conflict False
It's okay to have a different opinion from my partner True
All my emotions are okay True
I have the right to my own opinion, as do others True
My beliefs and perceptions about conflict do not influence how I deal with conflict False
Each person is responsible for how he decides to deal with conflict True
Changing patterns of behaviour can be done in a few weeks False

Have the group brainstorm as to the main sources of conflicts between partners and write them on a flipchart. They could be:

Ask the group for other examples of conflict. Then ask them to think for 5 minutes of ways they could deal with these. Discuss these different ways.

Session 17

Purpose:

To learn ways to handle arguments. Sometimes known as “fair fighting” rules!

How to do the activity:

Write on a flipchart the rules for fair fighting and discuss each rule:

Physical violence goes against all rules of fair fighting. Before you start, make a pact with yourself NOT to be violent. Take a time out if you feel your resolve slipping.

Write on a flipchart the words to use and the ones not to use in fair fighting.

Fair fighting
“No” words – DON'T USE THESE “Yes” words – YOU CAN USE THESE
“You never” “I'm sorry”
“I told you so” “Please help me”
“You always” “I did wrong”
“I don't want to discuss it” “Thank you”
“When will you ever learn?” “I love you”
“How many times do I have to tell you?” “I appreciate you”
“You always….” “I respect you”

When there is conflict between you and your partner and a “fight” happens, the objective is to clear the air and express deep feelings in order to build a more unified life together.

Have the group talk about the most recent argument they had with their partners and the way they handled it. Now talk about the way they should have handled it.

Role-playing activities:

The Counselor will set up a role-playing scenario and participants will take different parts and play this out.

How do you handle these conflicts?

Example: There's hockey practice twice a week. Two kids are in hockey, in different teams, so different practice times. The mother is the one who takes the kids 90% of the time. She feels the father needs to be involved.

Example: Parent teacher conferences are coming up. The mother has been to these on a regular basis, and the father has never gone. One child is having problems in school and is skipping school. Both parents know this, and know it will be discussed. The mother feels the father should attend the parent-teacher conference. The father doesn't want to go.

Example: Your kids are playing at a Hockey tournament. Unfortunately, you are a rabid hockey fan and good hockey player. And, you are super competitive. One kid is good, the other is not. You go to the game and end up overreacting, yelling at the “not so good” player and making a scene. Your spouse is upset and embarrassed and your child is crying.

Afterward, discuss what people learned about communication and reactions to what people say.

Handout: Relationship Rules (RR)#4, Rules 17 – 21.
Pass out the next Relationship Rules sheet. Probe for how these are going over at home. If their children are old enough, are they taking any interest in these?

Session 18

Purpose:

To understand how jealousy undermines trust and feeds feelings of insecurity.

How to do the activity:

Explain what jealousy is. It's the suspicion that one's partner is unfaithful. It can also be the fear of being replaced or diminished in importance in the affection of one's partner. Jealousy is one of the leading causes of spousal abuse.

Mention the difference between jealousy and envy. Envy is a feeling of discontent aroused by another's better fortune (not accepting that a person has more money, better clothes, better hunting equipment, or handles kids, parents, or friends better, etc).

Explain that:

Talk about what jealousy does. Jealousy undermines trust and feeds the feelings of insecurity and fear. A jealous feeling usually isn't logical, and doesn't respond to reasoning. A jealous person usually doesn't readily accept explanations, and constantly seeks evidence of faithfulness. It's usually a fear that comes from one's own insecurity or lack of confidence.

Envy and jealousy can occur together, and this often happens when your partner seems to be flirting with an attractive rival. Since jealousy involves the loss of a relationship, it is usually more intense than envy. The following table may help.

Discuss the differences between jealousy and envy.

Differences between jealousy and envy
Envy Jealousy
Feelings of inferiority, worthlessness Low self-esteem
Longing or wanting something Fear of loss of something you have
Resentment of circumstances Suspicion or anger about betrayal
Ill-will towards envied person plus guilt Distrust
Disapproval of feelings Sadness and loneliness
Motivation to improve or change one's own circumstances Uncertainty
Desire to possess attractive qualities of another Fear of losing an important person to another

Discuss the following with the group:

If you are the one exhibiting jealousy:

Ask each member of the group: Do you think your partner would make a decision in favour of your relationship or a decision to benefit himself alone? Then ask if she would make a decision in favour of the relationship or to benefit her partner. If either answer is “No”, there is a need for both partners to talk and to try to resolve doubts or conflicts. Doubts enhance insecurity and affect trust, creating all sorts of consequences.

Ask each person: What is the percentage of problems that have occurred in your relationship that were related to jealousy? Ask each to describe events that made her jealous and to explain how she dealt with them in the past. Ask the person to describe how she would deal with them today. Would it be in the same way?

This question can also be reversed, asking each member of the group what percentage of their problems have their roots in a partner's jealousy? How did she deal with this in the past? How would she deal with this today?

If your partner is the one that is constantly jealous:

If, in your heart, you feel there is no real reason for your partner to be jealous, then you may be involved in a situation of irrational jealousy. A common cause for irrational jealousy is childhood emotional neglect or abuse. If your spouse was abused, and especially if your spouse was sexually abused, you may find chronic mistrust, jealousy, and often addictions.

In the current situation that faces you, as a victim of abuse who certainly has a lot of distrust, there is relatively little you can do. It's even worse if he has been unfaithful as well. Your spouse must come to the conclusion that he must regain your trust. You can encourage him to stay with the program and to do his best. When you feel you can do it, you can reassure him. But, the first steps must be his, and his alone.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT try to deal with your partner's past abuse problems yourself. There's already anger and a lack of trust and this may make it worse. Leave this to the professionals.

Session 19

Purpose:

To show that feelings of jealousy can be overcome. A couple from the community who have experienced feelings of jealousy will share their experience with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session, meet the couple (the couple must have been identified and briefed as to your expectations and as to their role before the group session started: if you cannot find a couple to participate, try to find a woman and adapt the questions for her) and provide some background information on how the group is doing. In order to assist the couple, you can provide a list of questions to be addressed with the group.

This couple can be Elders, or can be younger. This is not extremely important, as long as they have had the experience of dealing with jealousy and have come through the experience with their relationship intact.

Examples of questions:

Have the couple come at the beginning of the session and introduce them to the group. Being present at the beginning could help the couple understand the group's dynamics.

The group can ask questions as the couple talks about their experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Everyone has a right to a healthy relationship: “People don't have to be abusers or be abused.”

Session 20

Purpose:

To discuss men's and women's stereotypical characteristics and roles. To show how believing in rigid and traditional roles of the sexes can lead to conflict in today's very different world.

How to do the activity:

List what you think are stereotypical characteristics and roles of men and women. Use one flipchart to list characteristics and roles of men and another to list those of women. Expect something like:

Ask for examples: Some of these might be….

Stereotypical characteristics and roles also can define a relationship based on the tasks each partner is “supposed” to do: the men go hunting and fishing, the women stay home and clean the house.

When a partner hasn't done the task he/she is supposed to do (ex: the man didn't catch anything, the woman didn't clean the house), it's easy to blame and to compare who is doing more than the other, bringing on conflict. Ask the group to think of similar situations they have experienced or witnessed and talk about them.

Are you pressured by friends (or family) to behave in a certain way? How does this make you feel? What is your response when they do this?

Do you get unwanted pressure about having children? How do you respond?

Serving each other out of love rather than expectations due to sexual stereotypes or being harassed or forced. How much better the relationship could be if people thought about each other and did things because they wanted to make their partner happier or to surprise and please them…

Refer to the equality wheel to show that an equal relationship is not based on tasks each partner has to do but on sharing them and being flexible in the way you consider roles. There's nothing wrong with a man helping cook supper, or with a woman helping care for a dog team or hunting caribou.

Purpose:

To make people see how dominance affects their relationship, and how decisions are made in this relationship.

How to do the activity:

Give each person a copy of Handout 21.1 (How Decisions are Made in Your Family).

Ask each person to complete the handout. Allow 10 minutes.

Discuss how their perceptions might be similar or different from reality.

What they want to be true may not really be true. Ask them to try to be as an outsider looking in on their relationship.

If they are keeping a binder or notebook, they can put the handout in their binder, and should review it at the end of the program, and again in a year…., spending some time considering whether things have changed for the better.

Make an X in the column that describes the way decisions are currently made in your relationship. Add other decisions if you wish.

The way decisions are currently made in your relationship
Decisions Almost always me Shared equally by both of us Almost always my partner
"Where to live      
Whether my partner should work      
Whether I should work, or not      
What job my partner should take      
What job I should take      
Whether/when to have children      
Whether I can attend church and which church I attend      
How to handle finances      
What major purchases to make      
What to do for fun      
Who I can socialize with      
When to have sex      
How to discipline children      
What family activities to do      
Whether and when to go hunting/fishing, etc.      
When to visit relatives      

Session 21

Purpose:

To learn more about beliefs regarding sexuality and understand how these beliefs can cause problems in a relationship.

How to do the activity:

Explain that beliefs about sexuality can cause problems in a relationship. When things don't happen the way one thinks they should, a person can become anxious, frustrated, insecure, and jealous and could resort to abusive behaviour.

Write the following beliefs on a flipchart and show how each of them can create problems between partners:

Can you think of other beliefs that might cause problems in a relationship? Why do these beliefs create problems?

Do you talk about sex and sexuality with your partner? How do you discuss it? Are your discussions always based on conflict over sex?

Just talking about sex and sexuality in a positive way (when not angry) can help you understand each other and can help solve some problems in this area.

What happens regarding family planning in your relationship?

In many cases, partners do not talk this out. If they have different opinions as to how many children to have, whether to space them out, or how to do this, then serious conflicts can arise.

Is your sex life private? (This material is in the victim's manual only.) Once they have children, many people find it is difficult to have any time alone. Their sex life suffers from many interruptions and not being able to concentrate on each other. If this has been a problem in your relationship, discuss this with your partner. Maybe there need to be some rules in your house regarding closed doors and kids?

Reality check:

How did you feel about discussing sex and sexuality in the group? Did it bother you to discuss this with a woman present? Do you feel it might be a little bit easier to discuss this with your partner, now?

Ask whether they are finding the “Relationship Rules” helpful.

OPTIONAL:

If there is a feeling that the relationship rules are helpful, then invite participants to think about all of the rules (so far), and write some additional rules based on their experiences. Invite them to submit these and tell them that the group will review them and that there will be a prize for any that the group thinks should be added to the list for future groups to make the list more applicable to situations in the North.

Session 22

Purpose:

To show that one's family dynamics about loss and grief can affect one's future behaviour. To learn that not going through a grieving process after a loss can lead to violence and abuse.

How to do the activity:

Write the following sentences on a flipchart. Keep the flipchart on a wall during the four sessions on grief and loss:

Define family dynamics: How a family acts or reacts to an event, characteristic actions or lack of actions, how all people in the family interact together.

Define loss: something that is taken away or disappears from one's life, or, it can be an injury done personally to you by another, especially someone who is trusted.

Define grief or grieving: emotional, physical and spiritual response to loss, a process that allows healing from the pain.

Explain that:

This situation can easily lead a person to become depressed, anxious, angry, violent, abusive, resort to alcohol or drugs to escape thinking or to try having an illusion of happiness, etc.

Ask people to think for 5 minutes of a loss suffered in the past.

This could be the death of a brother, a sister, a parent, a friend; it could be having been abused, moving to another community, etc. They should make some notes in their notebooks so they can tell the story.

Ask each person to tell of her/his experiences when this happened.

Think for a few minutes about a loss for which you did not grieve, for whatever reason, or grief you did not resolve, due to circumstances, denial, or being unable to face it.

Does anyone want to share this with the group?

To the Counselor: Take care with this, as it can lead into some very emotional situations. If you want, just ask people to write about this in their notebooks and discuss it in the next session or in individual sessions.

Few people realize that grieving is part of getting closure, getting on with life, and healing. It needs to be done.

Exercise:

Writing one's life story.

During the next two weeks, we'd like you to develop your life story.

Writing one's life story means writing about events, relationships and related feelings. If there is someone you lost, but feel you failed to grieve for, you can concentrate on this.

The life story you will write will be yours alone, and you will decide what to do with it (keep it, get rid of it, share it with someone, etc.). It does not have to be “turned in”. We do want you to make the effort to do this, however, but we definitely will not read it unless you want us to do so.

It may be easier to deal with this by separating your life into sections, perhaps:

Or, it may be easier to do this as a “lifeline”.

Using the “Lifeline” form we have developed, you can write in life events above and below a line. Put events you feel were “good” above the line, and those you believe were “bad” below the line.

Purpose:

To learn about the different types of losses.

How to do the activity:

Ask the group to list major losses in their lives, starting with the biggest loss. Go around the table twice, and then ask if you need to go around again.

List these on a flipchart and leave space to write a category in next to each.

Write on a flipchart: the different types of losses below, and explain each of them.

Go back to the previous list and ask people what type of loss to write by each loss listed.

Ask the group to add any other losses they can think of. Discuss the losses added by the group and categorize each.

Life stories: Ask how the group is getting along with doing their life stories.

Answer any questions they may have about this and offer individual counseling if you perceive that someone is having serious emotional problems with this exercise.

Advise the group of couples' counseling for next two sessions.

Session 23 & 24 COUPLES COUNSELING SESSIONS

At this point, two additional sessions on couples counseling (conjoint therapy) will be incorporated into the counseling program:

This counseling may be done as individual couples with both counselors present, or as pairs of couples, or as a small group of couples. It may be done during the same week as group sessions (but at a different time from the groups) or may be done instead of group sessions for a week.

The decision on how to handle this must be left up to the counselors – if the group is large or problems are intense, it may make sense to suspend group sessions for a week and schedule all the couples' sessions into every available time slot. If holidays are approaching and the counselors are concerned about the stability of the group, it may make sense to offer couples counseling without suspending the group meetings. The important thing is that the Counselors feel free to deal with this based on their intuition and knowledge of the present group dynamics.

Session 25

Purpose:

To learn about the grieving tasks of accepting reality and feeling the pain, and the more common reasons for denial.

How to do the activity:

View this session as an opportunity for group members to share stories and feelings. Therefore, during the explanations on grieving tasks, the counselor should allow for interruption and pause in order for the group to think of past experiences and talk about them.

The grieving process is unpredictable. Draw on a flipchart a horizontal line interrupted by spirals that go up and down the line to show that a grieving process has interruptions and setbacks.

Grief comes in stages or tasks. List on a flipchart the four grieving tasks:

Talk about the first two tasks.

Feeling the pain. The natural response to pain is to refuse it. No one wants to place a hand on a hot stove because they know it will hurt. Moreover, people are influenced by society's approach to pain as an unnecessary experience that should be blocked

Anger as a stage of grief. Mention that anger is sometimes considered a stage of grief, and many people go through a period of anger, general anger, or anger directed at the one they see as “responsible” for their grief, and even for the one that has died. This is normal and people should understand it can happen. Anger is a part of feeling the pain.

Most people try not to feel the pain. They will:

Exercise:

Homework

After this session, as part of your life story, take some time to think about a loss in your life, and these two tasks.

In your notebook, make some notes:

How long did it take you to accept that your loss was real, was permanent?

Did you try to avoid the pain? Did the ways of avoiding pain listed above apply to you and your loss? In what way? Did you go through an anger stage? Are you still in that stage?

Keep these notes as a part of your own “life story”. You do not have to share them with the group, or with the counselors unless you want to.

Handout:

Relationship Rules (RR)#5, Rules 22 – 25.
Pass out the last “Relationship Rules” handout. Ask how these are working, and if people like them.

Suggest they keep all of these, and offer additional copies to those who may have lost some of the ones they received earlier. They could fold them and put them in a special place for future reference (such as in a family Bible).

Purpose:

To continue learning about the grieving tasks of moving on with life.

How to do the activity:

This is an opportunity for the group members to share stories and feelings. Therefore, during the explanations on grieving tasks, the counselor should allow for interruption and pause in order for the group to think of past experiences and talk about them.

List on a flipchart the four grieving tasks: accepting reality, feeling the pain, adjusting to the environment, moving on with life.

Talk about the last two tasks.

Adjusting, or understanding how one's life is different.

This requires:

Moving on with life: This task completes the cycle of grief and addresses the healing process. It's where a person, after going through the grieving process, chooses to start focusing on new priorities. It includes:

Moving on (emotional relocation): expresses the fact that the loss, after having been thought of, talked about in detail and grieved, loses intensity on a day-to-day basis and talking about it gradually doesn't hurt as much.

Re-involvement: besides the necessity to think in order to grieve, it also requires getting involved again at an emotional, physical, spiritual and social level.

Reinvesting: getting on with one's life. There are a number of problems that one can face during this task:

Length and signs of decreasing grief and healing:

Food for thought:

"Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift — which is why they call it the present." Bill Keane

Learning from the past, living in the present:

Exercise:

Homework

As for the previous session, make notes in your notebook about how you applied the concepts of adjusting to your own losses and emotionally relocating and moving on with life.

Again, these are for you, and do not have to be shared.

Session 26

Purpose:

To help people see that they have the right to a healthy relationship and control over their relationship. To look at what can be done if a person is in an unhealthy relationship.

How to do the activity: (team activity)

Ask people to think of relationships that were not good for them. It could be with a friend (most common one is a friend who does drugs or drinks heavily and entices you to join in), a partner, a relative, etc.

Write at the top of a flipchart: signs of an unhealthy relationship.

Ask people what signs tell them that they are in an unhealthy relationship. Write them on the flipchart.

Break the group in teams (2, 3 or 4 depending on the size of the group). Give each team a flipchart and a marker. Ask each team to talk about, and to write on the flipchart, what can be done if a person is in an unhealthy relationship. Allow 15 minutes for this discussion.

Ask a person from each team to report to the group. You want to collect as many ways as possible to deal with unhealthy relationships.

Ask if anyone in the group has ever ended a relationship. Invite the people who said “yes” to talk about how and why they ended the relationship. (This doesn't have to be a relationship with a partner; it can be a relationship with a friend, a relative, etc.)

Ask the group:

Stress that it's okay to let a relationship go or take a break from it when it's hurting you. Explain that keeping an abusive relationship going or staying in destructive relationships does not help abusive persons. It makes it possible for them to continue their hurtful habits.

To summarize:

Talk a bit about why partners stay together. Try to get the group to tell YOU why.

Possibilities:

VERY IMPORTANT: To Counselor: Use Handout 27.1 if you need it.

Warn the group that abusive people are often not pleased with a change in behaviour of someone they are used to pushing around. They often are threatened by any increase in assertive behaviour or confidence in a partner who has up until now been submissive.

Often, the dominant partner reacts (sometimes severely) with anger and accusations that can cause the person to doubt herself. This is a very dangerous time for someone who has been abused. The abuse can increase dramatically. It is absolutely essential to have a GOOD safety plan in hand before you make any major changes.

Tell people that if they are planning to face up to a partner and maybe end the relationship, they MUST make sure they have a supportive friend, family member, or health professional they can take into their confidence and can depend on.

You may need to offer separate individual counseling to a person in this situation. Handout 27.1 offers a good assessment of different levels of danger.

If you are counseling someone in this situation, spend time on their safety plan.

Purpose:

To talk about the hidden hopes people have about their relationships and allow them to see that other people have the same hopes.

How to do the activity:

Break the group in teams (2, 3 or 4 depending on the size of the group).

Give each team a flipchart and a marker. Ask each team to talk about what each member of the team wants from her relationship.

OR: How does a healthy relationship look to you? (Might help to tell them to think of someone they know who has a healthy relationship.)

OR: What can you put into your relationship to make it more healthy?

One person in each team should write the answers on the flipchart. Allow 20 minutes for this discussion.

Bring the teams together, hang each team's flipchart on a wall so everybody can see them. Ask a person from each team to report to the group on the findings of her group.

Ask the group:

Stress that our hopes usually come from what our family, Elders, teachers or preachers have told us.

However, today, many of these hopes come from what we see or hear in the media, especially in songs, movies and television shows. Unfortunately, most movies or TV shows depict relationships with internal problems or faced with tragedy, crises, or trauma, often miraculously solved in the last five minutes of the show. It is important to realize this so you don't have unrealistic hopes.

Many people still derive great hope from their faith. Sometimes we are able to get hope from our kids. Keep this in mind when you LACK hope – sometimes all it takes is talking to a child to renew your hopes. Keep in mind that you can kill your kids' hopes, so don't depend on them for your therapy.

Encourage open discussion to allow those who want to talk more about themselves and their lives the opportunity to do so.

IMPORTANT: If in the course of this program, you, as Counselor, senses that a participant is feeling endangered or that she should be considering ending the relationship, encourage her to meet for additional individual counseling.

Be very careful and advise her to be careful. Use Handout 27.1 and advise her to keep it private, perhaps read it only in the counseling office.

Purpose:

To look at how one can work toward one's hopes of a better relationship.

How to do the activity:

Provide the group with paper and pencils. Or, they can use their notebooks. Ask the group to think of changes they could make to have a healthier relationship.

Write them down. Allow 10 minutes.

Ask participants to share some of the changes they have recorded, and write these on the flipchart.

Encourage them to talk about each change and explain how they think the change will better the relationship.

Review the following with the group:

Remember:

Qualities of a healthy relationship:

Thoughts to remember:

Abuse and violence are both unnecessary.
The quality of a relationship is the responsibility of both partners.
Neither partner can do this alone. They must work as a team.

Encourage participants to add any of the changes brought up by others to their own list in their notebook.

Discussion:

What changes have YOU seen in your relationship since we started? These can be positive or negative. Encourage everyone to speak out. Hope for:

What do you think is responsible for any changes for the better? Hope for:

Next sessions:

During the next sessions, you will be meeting with Elders who have agreed to help with this program. They will be sharing their own life experiences with you.

Between now and next session, we would like you to write any questions you would like to ask of the Elders, or any issues you would like them to address on a sheet of paper and leave it with the Counselor. We will pass this on to the elders before the session.

Optional:

Relationship Rules Contest:

If you have decided to do your little contest, do it now. Ask participants if they have come up with any additional rules. If so, invite them to put the on a flipchart, and discuss.

Then, ask the group if they would like to see any of these added to the list to be handed out in future sessions. If so, distribute prizes to the authors of the rules.

Session 27

Purpose:

To show that a healthy and lasting relationship can be achieved.

An elderly couple from the community will share their story and experiences with the group.

How to do the activity:

Before the session, meet with the elderly couple (such a couple must have been identified and briefed as to your expectations and as to their role before the group sessions started) and provide some background information on how the group is doing.

In order to assist the Elders, you can provide them with a list of questions that they could address with the group. If they would find it easier, you can use the questions to guide the presentation, in the style of an interview. Or, you can review the questions with the members of the group and each member can take a question to ask.

Examples of questions:

Have the Elders present at the beginning of the session and introduce them to the group. Being present at the beginning of the session could help the couple have an idea of the group's dynamics.

The group can ask additional questions as the Elders talk about their experience or at the end of the presentation. Choose between these two ways and tell the group beforehand so everything goes smoothly.

Session 28

Purpose:

To allow the group to talk about what they have learned during the sessions and how they have healed.

How to do the activity:

Have the group sit in a circle.

Write some or all of the following questions on a flipchart and ask each person to answer them:

Make final remarks (10 minutes).

(All members of the Elders' Committee should be invited to this session).

How to do the activity:

Write some or all of the following questions on a flipchart and ask each person to answer them (50 minutes):

You can do this by the question, which is probably easier on the participants. Ask the first question and go through the group, getting input from each person in turn. Then ask the next one, and go through the group in a different order, again getting input. This engages people better than making one person do all the questions and then moving to the next.

Offer the Elders' Committee members the opportunity to interact with or talk to the group (10-15 minutes).

Provide an opportunity for the group members to ask questions of the Elders Committee once more.

Make your final remarks (10 minutes). Most of this is up to the Counselor but you may wish to address the following:

Resources:

There are a number of resources that are still available to participants in this program.

Further counseling or assistance (will vary by community):

How to ask questions:

Please do not be shy about asking questions. All these agencies are there to help, but you must be able to tell them what you want help with.

Self study or research:

Pulaarvik Kablu offers access to computers and the Internet at two CAP sites, one at the friendship centre offices, and one in the Library. If you don't have access to a computer, you can go to either CAP site and surf the Internet for additional information, books, or other materials. There is a huge amount available on the Internet on healthy relationships, self esteem, insecurity, abuse, jealousy, addictions, family violence, spousal abuse, and more. Just go to www.google.ca and type in the subject you want information on.

Counselors can make any remarks they wish about their personal availability (or the availability of Elders) to these group members. This is impossible to standardize in advance.

Personal notebooks: Remind people that the notebooks are theirs, and encourage them to continue to use them if they find them helpful.

They do not have to show these notebooks to anyone. If they are concerned about others reading what they have written, they can destroy the notebook or the parts which concern them.

Program evaluation: Ask for comments on how the participants felt this group counseling went, and ask for their input as to changes they think would make it more useful.

Likely both counselors will be present for this final session. One should ask questions and the other should take notes.

Rankin Inlet Spousal Abuse Counseling Program

Handouts for Victims Group

Handouts for Victims Group
Handout # Session: Title of Handout
1.1 1 Warning Signs and Lines (diagram)
1.2 1 Finding Your Partner's Warning Signs (form)
1.3 1 Signs Before Violence (form)
1.4 1 Safety Planning for Victims (short form)
1.5 1 A Basic Safety Strategy for Victims
2.1 2 Defining Abuse (form: make about 4 copies per participant)
1.5 3 A Basic Safety Strategy for Victims (reuse in this session, make copies)
RR #1 3 Relationship Rules #1 – Rules 1-5
5.1 5 The Cycle of Violence (diagram)
5.2 5 Cycle of Violence Stories
5.3 5 Power and Control Wheel (diagram)
9.1 9 Equality Wheel (diagram)
RR #2 9 Relationship Rules #2 – Rules 6-10
9.2 9 Understanding Self-esteem
RR #3 12 Relationship Rules #3 – Rules 11-16
RR #4 17 Relationship Rules #4 – Rules 17-21
21.1 21 How Decisions are Made in Your Family (form)
27.1 27 Leaving an Abusive Relationship: Toolkit for Leaving
RR #5 27 Relationship Rules #5 – Rules 22-25

Handout 1.1: Warning Signs

Warning Signs and Time-out flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above is a two-part depiction of how to recognize warning signs that trigger anger and the different stages that you could go through in the process. On the right side of the graphic is a box that contains Ok at the top followed by the word Problem that has a black arrow with. It then moves toward the middle right section of the box that contains the word Tension and it is at this stage it indicates that you should be looking for your warning signs. A black arrow moves down to the bottom, middle section of the box where the word Argument which has and a black arrow that splits in two directions with one arrow that stays within the box and moves to the top right of the box to Problem Solving and the other arrow moves outside the box to a stop sign. At the stop sign there is a notice that states "you are getting out of the box" and that the steps ahead will lead to verbal abuse and domestic violence so recognize your warning signs so STOP and take a TIME-OUT.

Crossing the Lines

Crossing the line graphic
Image Description

The graphic above is of a cone that starts in a small circular pattern at the bottom that gets progressively wider as it reaches the top to show how anger can escalate and it has two intersecting points (lines that get crossed) in the spectrum that show where abuse and violence occur. The intersection near the bottom shows the point at which verbal abuse starts and warning signs are ignored and the intersections near the top of the cone is where the physical acts of abuse begin with no regard to consequences.

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

From an on-line counseling course taught by Dr. Wm. E. Adams of Long Beach, CA., also in his book, The Choices Program: How to Stop Hurting the People Who Love You. (www.continuingedcourses.net/index.php)

Handout 1.2: Finding Your Partner's Warning signs

Go over these and think about each sign. Then, figure out if your partner does this or not. If not, write “NO” under “Does your partner do this?” If he does, write “Yes”. If he does something similar, write it in under “Does your partner do this?” Add other personal warning signs for your partner in the blanks.

Then, analyse how YOU feel and what YOU think. Add any additional signs for yourself.

WHAT YOUR PARTNER DOES (behaviour)
WHAT YOUR PARTNER DOES (behaviour) Does your partner do this?
Start to yell  
Go closer to the person I'm talking to  
Curse  
Glare  
Start saying insulting things  
Threaten person I'm in conflict with  
Start saying hurtful things  
Slam door, punch wall or hit desk  
Throw something or break something  
Shake fist  
WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR BODY
WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR BODY Do YOU feel this when tension builds?
Tight stomach and/or muscles  
Increased heart rate  
Sweating palms  
Trembling hands, shakiness  
Flushed face, red neck  
White face, feeling as though blood leaves your head, feeling faint  
Rapid breathing / tending to hold your breath  
Clenched teeth  
Vision seems to narrow/darken (tunnel vision)  
WHAT YOU THINK
WHAT YOU THINK What thoughts pass through your mind?
Mental images of wanting to flee  
Thinking,“He's such a _____” (name-calling)  
Thinking: “Why does he have to do this?”  
Thinking: “I hate him!”  
Thnking: “You pushed me too far!”  
“Awfulizing” (labeling situation as “terrible”)  
Mental images of wanting to fight, hurt him  

Handout 1.3: Signs Before Violence

Signs Before Violence
My signs My partner's signs
Situation
When, where, why do you feel stress?
Situation
When, where, why does your partner tend to
become stressed or violent?
Physical
How does your body show stress?
Physical
What is your partner's body language?
Emotions
What feelings do you experience when
stressed or in danger?
Actions/Behaviours
What does your partner do?
Self-talk and thoughts
What do you say to yourself?
What do you think?
Words
What does your partner say before becoming
abusive?

Handout 1.4: Safety Planning for Victims

You must be prepared! Start with some notes about planning what to do and where to go if you feel threatened (write it down below). A second handout will help you finalize this plan.

Safety Planning for Victims
What to do Where to go
   
   
   
   
   
   
Who can help?
Who can help? Telephone number
Caregivers  
Social Services  
Women's shelter  
Churches  
Others  
RCMP  

Think clearly

Get support. Don't be ashamed to talk about your problems with others who believe abuse is wrong. You need support. But, there are still many people who wrongly believe that it is okay for a man to abuse his partner and that it is her fault if he does. Be careful when choosing the people you talk to.

He is responsible for his actions. Remember his actions are NOT your responsibility. Do not be ashamed to tell someone if he abuses you again. It is not your fault.

You have choices. There are shelters, and there are people who will help if you reach out. You have the right to be angry about your problem. Use your anger to start taking care of yourself. Faith and trust in yourself are important to feeling good about yourself. Have faith in your future. You can learn from your life and you can change your life.

Take action

Beware of pills, drinking and drugs. Some women take pills, drink too much or take drugs to escape from pain and fear. This will not help in the long run. Alcohol and drugs keep you helpless and you can't think clearly.

Look after yourself. Take care of yourself. Eat well. Try to do fun activities. Get some rest. You have the right to be healthy and happy.

Believe in yourself

You are strong. You need to remind yourself that you are strong and can grow stronger. No one has the right to abuse you. Violence is not a private family affair. There's no excuse for abuse.

Handout 1.5: A Basic Safety Strategy for Victims

Avoid all use of alcohol or drugs in your home. This is possibly the single most useful thing you can do to decrease violence at home. Make an agreement with your partner to do this while both of you are sober and not fighting. If at all possible, consider stopping drinking (or drugs) entirely. When there are marital problems, it is best to stop entirely until those are resolved. Know your partner's warning signs and monitor these if you are getting into a conflict and tensions are rising.

Use a Time Out before things get out of hand. Keep a change of clothes for you and the children at a neighbour's house. Keep extra old parkas (with mitts in the pockets) and wind pants in your porch (or in a shed or neighbour's porch), along with boots you can put on quickly. Do this for all of your children if you think they are also at risk.

Keep some quarters in the pockets of your emergency clothing and about $40 somewhere in the clothing (slit lining and hide the paper money). Post emergency numbers in a place you can get to them quickly. By the phone, AND in the bathroom if you have a cordless phone. Teach your children how to use the phone to contact the police, fire department, or a trusted friend.

Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor about how to handle an emergency call from you for help. Create a code word to use when you need someone to call police for emergency assistance. Leave an emergency kit at a friend's house. Decide ahead of time at what point you should leave or call the police. If possible, discuss this issue with your counselor.

Use your best judgment. If the situation is serious, you may need to give your partner what is wanted or say what is wanted to defuse the situation and calm him down. Protect yourself and your kids until the danger is lessened or over.

Consider opening a separate savings account, perhaps in a separate bank, and have the receipts sent to a friend. This is emergency money on which you may have to live for a time.

If possible, have all firearms removed from the home or make sure they are stored with bolts removed and ammo in a separate place (this is legally required anyway and is a good idea for children's safety). If they are in a locked cabinet, know where the key is kept in case you need to take it with you. Take it to the police if you have to remove it.

My personal strategies:
In an emergency, I can call: __________________________________________
If I have to leave, I will go to: _________________________________________
In a serious emergency, I WILL call the police at: _________________________

Emergency kit contents (suggested), you add personal items:

If you have a restraining order or emergency protection order, make sure you keep a copy in your purse, a copy with a friend, and a copy with the RCMP. If you visit other communities, make sure the RCMP there also have a copy. Emergency assistance numbers (will vary by community):

Handout 2.1 Defining Abuse (Victims' Program)

Participants can use the form below to record their own observations about abuse in their families. Use a separate form for each event. This can be stuck into the participant's notebook.

Defining Abuse (Victims' Program)
Event: What happened, what form of abuse? Examples:
beating, cursing, taking cheques
Kind of abuse: (circle one or more) -> Physical Emotional/verbal Spiritual
Financial Sexual Other:_________
Impaired during incident? Circle one -> Impaired Not impaired
Impact on me: Impact on kids or other family members:
How could this abuse be prevented or avoided? What can I do to protect myself if this happens again?

Questions for counselors:

 

Relationship Rules (RR)#1, Rules 1 - 5

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, the first of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

1. Choose a partner wisely and well.

We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they remind us of someone from our past, or may shower us with gifts and make us feel important. This can be deceiving. Evaluate a potential partner carefully. Look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, and especially their relationships with others. Don't rush. Make sure you would want this person as the mother/father of your children.

2. Know your partner's beliefs about relationships.

Different people have different beliefs about relationships. You don't want to fall in love with someone who is dishonest in their relationships. They will be dishonest with you, eventually. Communicate, and discuss this sort of thing.

3. Don't confuse sex with love.

In the beginning of a relationship, sexual attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love. Make sure there is more to your relationship than this.

4. Know your needs and speak up for them clearly.

A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, do this poorly. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader. Communicate with him/her.

5. View yourselves as a team.

Think of yourself and your partner as working together toward a goal you both share. This means you each bring different perspectives and strengths to make a team that is stronger than either of yourselves alone.

Handout 5.1: The Cycle of Violence

Cycle of Violence flow chart
Image Description

The graphic above outlines how the cycle of violence is perpetuated when nothing is done to change it. It starts at the top with the word denial and shows how the abuser makes excuses for their behaviour and down and to the right it shows how the victim then blames themselves. An arrow moves down and to the right to the apology phase where the abuser apologizes and says it will never happen again and the victim feels hopeful and loved. The arrow then moves to the bottom of the graphic where it shows tension builds with the abuser showing more anger and violent behaviour and the victim being afraid. Moving further up on the right is where there is an explosion and fight and the victim feels pain, fear, despair and humiliation. The arrow then moves back up the top where denial is and the cycle repeats itself.

The Cycle of Violence can cover a long or short period of time
The violence usually gets worse
The apology or “honeymoon” phase will eventually disappear.
Denial persists in some people, and disappears in some.

Handout 5.2: Cycle of Violence Stories

Read the following stories and see if you can determine which stage applies to each. The stages are: Apology (“honeymoon”) phase, Tension-building phase, Violence (explosive) phase, Denial phase.

First story

A family is at home. The husband comes in with candy for the kids. He makes tea for his wife and is telling her he loves her and is sorry for hitting her. He says he will never do it again. He says he is going to quit drinking. He gives his wife some money to go to the bingo. He tells the kids he is never going to hit their mom again.

Second story

The family is at Grandma's for dinner. The husband is pacing up and down. He is very restless. He tells the kids to shut up or go outside. The wife is with her mother in the kitchen and is very nervous. The husband goes into the kitchen and yells at his wife, “When is that damn dinner going to be ready?” Grandma says, “It's almost ready”. The husband says, “I wasn't talking to you.” He stomps back into the living room and sits on the couch looking very angry.

Third story

The family is walking home from Grandma's. The husband says, “How come you can't cook like your mother?” The wife is walking with her head down, the kids are getting nervous. The husband says, “I asked you a question, bitch, you're too stupid to learn how to cook, aren't you? Say it! Say, “I'm too stupid to learn.” The wife says very quietly under her breath, “I'm not stupid.” The husband says, “What did you say?” He grabs her by the hair and slaps her face. The kids run home so they can hide before their parents get there.

Fourth story

The family is at home. The wife sits at the table with her head in her hands. The husband stands over his wife and says, “Why do you always talk back? You know it makes me mad.” Grandma comes in and sends the kids outside. The husband leaves and Grandma sits down at the table. She takes her daughter's hand and says, “That's the way men are, just try not to make him mad. Here, I brought over some dry fish he likes that. You're lucky he has a job. Lots of the other people in town are on welfare.”

Handout 5.3: Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is of a circle that has power and control at its centre with eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of physical and sexual violence that are used to maintain power. The first section outlines how intimidation is used to make the victim afraid by using looks actions and gestures. The second section is about using emotional abuse to put the victim down and make them feel bad about themselves. Section three outlines how the abuser will use isolation to control the actions of their victim and use jealousy as an excuse to justify their actions. Section four shows how the abuser minimizes the extent of their abusive behaviour even shift responsibility for the abuse to the victim. Section five shows how the abuser may use the children to make the victim feel guilty or even threaten to take the children away. Section six is about how the abuser uses the "male privilege" to treat the victim like a servant and not allowing the victim to take part in big decisions. Section seven is about economic abuse by preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and making her ask for money and section eight is about using threats and coercion as a means of control.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Handout 9.1: Equality Wheel

Equality Wheel
Image Description

The graphic above is a circle that has equality at its centre and eight different sections within it surrounded by an outer circle of nonviolence. Section one is about using non-threating behaviour to talk things out, section two shows respect by listening and valuing opinions. Section three is about trust, support and respect; section four is about honesty and accountability and accepting responsibility for self. Section five is about responsible parenting by being a positive role model. Section six is about shared responsibility by making family decisions together. Section seven is about economic partnership by making financial decisions together. Section eight shows negotiation and fairness as a way of seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict.

Minnesota Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55806

Relationship Rules (RR)#2, Rules 6 – 10

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, second of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

6. Know how to respect and manage differences.

Disagreements don't sink relationships. Lack of respect and name-calling does. Learn how to handle negative feelings, as these will occur due to differences between two people. Avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them. Understanding this is essential.

7. Ask questions honestly, but don't threaten.

If you don't understand or like something your partner is doing, ask about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don't assume.

8. Solve problems as they arise.

Don't let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defences against one another and to become strangers or enemies.

9. Learn to negotiate. And to re-negotiate.

Modern relationships no longer rely on cultural roles. Couples create their own roles, so almost every act requires negotiation. It works best when good will prevails. Because people's needs and life's demands change over time, good relationships are constantly negotiated and re-negotiated.

10. Listen, truly listen…and don't judge.

Listen to your partner's concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need. “Being there” and listening opens the door to confiding. Try hard to look at things from your partner's perspective as well as your own.

Handout 9.2: Understanding Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how good we feel about who we are. The impact of self-esteem, or the lack of it, is quite complicated and far-reaching.

Self-esteem affects just about everything we think, say, and do. It affects:

Linda Tschirhart Sanford, Mary Ellen Donovan, Women & Self-Esteem

Accepting who we are can make a huge impact on our lives.

Someone with healthy self-esteem:

She knows:

She knows:

Regardless of self-esteem status, everyone doubts their own self-worth at one time or another during their lifetimes. We tend to compare ourselves to others. When this self-comparison is occasional, it can be beneficial. It helps us reach goals and ideals that we admire and respect in other people. However, when self-comparison becomes all-consuming; and, when we think we do not measure up to our perception of others, it can become self-destructive. The quality of our lives can become severely limited. Although it may not be easy, it's not impossible to feel better about yourself.

Positive self-talk is the key to feeling better

>Positive self-talk is the key to feeling better

Tips to Boost Your Self-esteem

  • Accept who you are -- strengths and weaknesses, feelings, emotions. This doesn't mean you don't have to work on things.
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes -- see these as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Take alone time: read, play, walk, go fishing, write... to nurture yourself. Develop your talents and abilities.
  • Share quality time with your children: take them on a walk, take them fishing, teach them to make mikku or pipsi, let them make cookies, read to them. Their admiration will make YOU feel better.
  • Trust your thoughts and intuitions. Do what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
  • Take pride in your achievements. And your children are part of your achievements.
  • Set realistic goals. You may not be a Susan Aglukark, but can you share your talent in a church choir?
  • Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk and kind, loving statements.
  • When something goes wrong, instead of blaming yourself, feeling that you must have done something wrong, learn to accept that it may not have anything to do with you.
  • Don't depend on others to make you feel good, look inside yourself. This will help you deal with rejection, and rejection is a part of life.
  • Exercise, eat right, and get plenty of sleep. Being exhausted and out of shape can leave you feeling more vulnerable to insecurity, anxiety, and depression.
  • Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
  • Get involved in projects that help: church, scouts, athletics, literacy programs, community events.
  • Seek counseling or self-help/support groups. You may find these helpful or comforting as they tend to help guide your choices.
  • Make conscious, healthy choices. Make choices that leave you better rather than worse off. Make choices that mesh with your beliefs, values, and actions. Be honest.

Always remember you are not alone in feeling the way you do. Many, many people have felt this. It is what you do with the knowledge that really matters.

Relationship Rules (RR)#3, Rules 11 - 16

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 6 basic rules for relationships, third of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

11. Work hard at maintaining closeness.

Closeness doesn't happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and are susceptible to affairs. A good relationship isn't an end goal; it's a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.

12. Take a long-range view.

A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you're both on the same path. Update your dreams regularly.

13. Never underestimate the power of good grooming.

Nothing says, “I don't care” like coming into an intimate relationship personally dirty. Keep yourself clean or make yourself clean for your partner.

14. Sex is good. Pillow talk is better.

Sex is easy; intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, and sharing concerns, fears, and sadness as well as hopes and dreams.

15. Never go to sleep angry. Try a little tenderness.

Try to live by this and your relationship will get easier. Even if you can't solve a problem by bedtime, call a truce, say how much you love each other and go to bed with respect, regard, and love.

16. Apologize, apologize, apologize.

Anyone can make a mistake. It's essential you try to repair these. Willingness to apologize is highly predictive of marital happiness. Your repair attempts can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic, but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every happy marriage.

Relationship Rules (RR)#4, Rules 17 – 21

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 5 basic rules for relationships, fourth of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

17. Reduce dependency.

Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one's needs invites unhappiness. We're all dependent to a degree -- on friends, mentors, spouses….and men have just as many dependency needs as women. Just don't overwhelm your partner with neediness.

18. Maintain self-respect and self-esteem.

It's easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the better their self-esteem. Meaningful work -- paid or volunteer -- has long been one of the most important ways to exercise and fortify a sense of self.

19. Enrich your relationship

A relationship can be made richer by bringing into it new interests from outside the relationship. The more passions in life that you have, and share, the richer your relationship will be.

20. Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate.

Share responsibilities in life. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take. You should both spend time with the kids, don't leave all school duties to one parent. You should also share responsibilities around the house as this not only makes your spouse feel better, but it sets a good example for your children.

21. Be spontaneous.

You deserve to have fun with your partner, and good surprises add fun. If you are traveling, bring back a little treat. Invite him/her out for a dinner “date”. Greet him after a hunting trip with a good meal, including candles. Wake her up with a kiss. Praise your kids, especially when they don't expect it.

Handout 21.1: How decisions are made in your family

Make an X in the column that describes the way decisions are currently made in your relationship. Add other decisions if you wish.

How decisions are made in your family
Decisions Almost always me Shared equally by both of us Almost always my partner
Where to live      
Whether my partner should work      
Whether I should work, or not      
What job my partner should take      
What job I should take      
Whether/when to have children      
Whether I can attend church and which church I attend      
How to handle finances      
What major purchases to make      
How to spend leisure time      
Who I can socialize with      
When to have sex      
How to discipline children      
What family activities to do      
Whether and when to go hunting/fishing, etc.      
When to visit relatives      

Handout 27.1: Leaving an Abusive Relationship: A Toolkit for Leaving

If you think you may need to leave your relationship, review all the points in this handout, talk to the counselors, and follow their advice.

How to know where you stand: Profile of an Abusive Partner

This can get confusing for you. Don't let it. When you are in an abusive or dysfunctional relationship you may begin to act in ways you normally would not. That doesn't make it your fault. You have the right to talk to other people. You have the right to be angry in an argument and state your side without someone accusing you of "talking back."

Risk Assessment: Three levels of danger

Level 3 Risk: Warning Signs

  1. Does your partner call you names? Does your partner say things that will hurt you, and then act angry if you get upset?
  2. Does your partner tell you things your friends or family say about you?
  3. Would you describe him or her as more jealous than most people?
  4. Does your partner get mad if you have a good time without him or her?
  5. Does your partner talk about breaking up when you do something he or she doesn't like?
  6. Does he or she sometimes mimic you or ignore you when you're talking?
  7. Does your partner have sudden mood swings?

Abusive Behavior Low Risk

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions your partner may be emotionally abusive. Most abusive relationship begins with emotional abuse and escalates to physical abuse.

If you don't feel you can break up, set some guidelines or boundaries and see how they react. Call them on the emotional abuse. For example, tell them you will not tolerate name-calling. Then, the next time they call you a name, walk away. Let them know they owe you an apology.

Remember, if they restrain you when you try to walk away, they are being physically abuse. Tell them so. If they threaten to break up with you because you demand respect, let them. It may be difficult to do, but if you do not set limits now, their behavior will get worse.

Level 2 Risk: Danger Signs

  1. Does your partner say they trust you but still accuse you of flirting or fooling around?
  2. Does your partner check up on you? Does he or she surprise you by showing up somewhere you have said you will be?
  3. Does your partner track your time? Does he or she ask where you were for an hour if it only takes twenty minutes to get home from somewhere?
  4. Does your partner isolate you from your friends? Do they hate your best friend or say that your best friend has talked about you? Does your partner get mad if you have a good time without him or her?
  5. Has your partner pushed, shoved, slapped, kicked, or punched you? Have they grabbed you by the shoulders to "make you listen"?
  6. When you defend yourself, does your partner say you are "talking back"?
  7. Does your partner say he or she would not get so jealous if they did not love you so much? Do they say that you know what makes them mad and you do it anyway, so it is really your fault?
  8. Do you apologize to others for your partner's actions? "They didn't mean it. You don't know them. They were just upset."

Abusive Behavior Medium Risk

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in an abusive relationship.

It is not normal for someone to feel the need to check up on you. A classic sign of an abuser is dislike of the people closest to you. Typically, an abuser will try to separate you from your best friends by pointing out their faults. It starts with emotional abuse and moves to physical abuse. After a fight, during which they are abusive, abusers may become apologetic and contrite. They may be extremely loving and promise all kinds of things. At the same time, they may subtly blame you for the violence by saying you are making them jealous or that they love you so much they cannot help themselves.

If your partner is behaving like this, you need to get out. It will only get worse.

Chances are your self-esteem has already been affected and you are beginning to feel badly about yourself. Being in an abusive relationship is confusing. You are never really sure if it is your fault or theirs. You may be thinking, "He or she has a point with some of their arguments."

This may be true. You are probably not perfect. Nobody is. But often an abuser will take the truth and twist it so you do not know which way is up. You will find yourself trying harder and harder to please them and being less and less able to. This relationship could destroy you.

If your relationship continues in Level 2, seek counseling. You need to be very aware of increasing danger. Be particularly alert to any threats to your children, as well.

Level 1 Risk: Red Alert Red Alert Red Alert

  1. Has your partner become so jealous that you could describe him or her as paranoid?
  2. Do you often find yourself trying to convince them that you did not do anything wrong?
  3. Have they ever kept you somewhere against your will (car or house)?
  4. Have they ever repeatedly commanded that you "tell the truth" even when you were not lying?
  5. Does your partner say you are sneaky and do you feel sometimes that you do have to be sneaky to avoid fights or to see your friends?
  6. Do they say they will die if you leave them or that they cannot live without you?
  7. Have they ever talked about killing themselves?
  8. Have they ever threatened to kill you?
  9. Have they forced you to have sex when you did not want to?
  10. Do you have to justify your actions, activities, and time with your friends?
  11. Do you want to break up sometimes but feel afraid of what they might do? (hurt you, harm your family, tell others personal things about you?)

Abusive Behavior High Risk

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you are in danger. Seriously consider breaking up. Your partner is extremely abusive and could seriously hurt or even kill you. If your partner is behaving like this, it is no longer safe to date him or her. It is time to get help and end the relationship.

You will never convince them that you are innocent of their accusations. Until you break up, that is. Then they will say they realize that you are the best thing that has ever happened to them and they are sorry. But that means nothing. As soon as you go back, it will all start again.

Many abusers threaten to kill themselves when you try to break up. Will they? Usually not, but your partner needs help and it must be professional help. YOU CANNOT HELP THIS PERSON. You must tell someone you trust. In cases of dating/domestic violence murder, the abuser often kills her and then kills himself. That is why it is so risky when your partner is suicidal.

The most dangerous time for a female ending an abusive relationship is when she tries to leave. You must have a good safety plan done before you try to leave.

You need to show someone this risk assessment, preferably a health professional or counselor. They can advise you about protective orders and safety strategies. Do not minimize the danger in this situation. It could cost you your life!

Online at:
http://www.harperteen.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/book_xml.asp?isbn=0060518219&tc=ae

Relationship Rules (RR)#5, Rules 22 - 25

Author: Hara Marano, Psychology Today
Here are 4 basic rules for relationships, last of five sets. Print these out and put up on your refrigerator door. Talk about them with your partner, and with your children.

22. Stay healthy.

Maintain your energy. Stay healthy. If at all possible, avoid things that erode your health. You know what these are…and you know this includes tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. If you are addicted, you may not be able to give up all of these, but maybe you can give up two out of three?

23. Work together through hard times.

Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. No relationship is perfect all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.

24. Examine and learn from a bad relationship.

Learn from a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don't just run away from a bad relationship; you'll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what part of you created the bad relationship, and what part of you can affect the current one. Change yourself before you change your relationship.

25. Understand love as a tide, ebbing and flowing.

Understand that love is not an absolute, not a limited commodity that you either have or don't have. “Love is a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you learn new ways to interact, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.” - Dianne Sollee, SmartMarriages

Feel free to add to these, developing your own rules. Share with the rest of the group if you wish.

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