EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J., Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- New research on the experiences of intimate partner abuse survivors in therapy reveals that counselors who tell clients they are "codependent" or "chose the relationship" may be offending them and delivering harmful therapy. But counselors who understand antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy can effectively help survivors meet the challenges of recovery.
"Counseling Intimate Partner Abuse Survivors: Effective and Ineffective Interventions," by the Lovefraud Education and Recovery team of Liane J. Leedom, MD, Donna Andersen, Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW, and Meredith Barone, appears in the Journal of Counseling and Development. The study analyzes a therapy satisfaction survey completed by 104 survivors of intimate partner abuse.
Participants reported multiple types of abuse: emotional (99%), psychological (99%), financial (71%), sexual (62%) and physical (45%). Thirty-one percent experienced all five types of abuse.
Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they felt counselors blamed them for being abused. These survivors said counselors told them that they were codependent or chose the abusive partner.
Surprised that so many survivors reported feeling blamed, Dr. Liane Leedom, of the University of Bridgeport and the world's leading expert on psychopathy in the family, analyzed the scientific literature on codependency and self-defeating personality disorder. Both of these explanations for intimate partner abuse were rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, but still appear to be influencing therapists.
However, the symptoms of these disorders mirror those of traumatic bonding.
"The emotional, cognitive and behavioral manifestations of victimization may seem to indicate low self-esteem, codependency and self-defeating behavior, when in fact, these are normal human reactions to trauma," Dr. Leedom says.
Other survey respondents reported that when counselors understood antisocial and psychopathic personality disorders, and attributed the abuse to perpetrator characteristics, survivors were better able to understand their experiences and avoid self-blame.
"Survivors of intimate partner abuse have endured trauma, the loss of their dreams of life with a loving partner, and interpersonal subjugation," says Dr. Leedom. "When survivors present for treatment, they deserve clinicians who are knowledgeable about typical perpetrator characteristics and the abuse experience, and who are nonjudgmental and validating."
For a detailed summary of the research, visit "What counselors need to know when treating victims of abuse," on Education.Lovefraud.com.
Lovefraud Education and Recovery offers education to therapists and survivors about exploitative personality disorders and conducts original research. The nonprofit is affiliated with Lovefraud.com, founded by Donna Andersen in 2005, which teaches people to recognize and recover from sociopaths.
SOURCE Lovefraud Education and Recovery