1. Be aware of your own attitudes.  Honestly evaluate your own attitudes, experiences and reactions to violence, your cultural biases, beliefs and prejudices.  Strive to be nonjudgmental and nondirective.

  2. Know the limits of your time and energy.  Be aware of agency policies and community services so you can be realistic and consistent.  Utilize community resources that may offer support to you as a counselor.

  3. Be aware of your own needs to be a powerful expert.  She has had enough countless people run her life and tell her what to do.

  4. If you believe the myths about domestic violence, you will not be effective with her.  Refer her to another agency or counselor.
  5. Realize your level of frustration.  Sometimes a client doesn’t make changes as fast as you would like — especially when she is not safe.  The help you give her today may be the seeds for change tomorrow.  She needs your support and patience, the reassurance that there are people who will believe and support her and the knowledge that help is available.
  6. Be aware of counseling methods that are not supportive of battered women.  Counseling theory and practice which is helpful with other clients may not be effective in dealing with domestic violence, specifically battered women.  Some reinforce myths, increase the level of danger for her or her children or deny her right to stay or leave the relationship.  Be cautious about theories that may subtly blame victims for the violence.  Review methods you are using with information in this handbook.  If they are inconsistent, you may want to make some changes.

  7. Become familiar with domestic violence.  The stories that battered women may tell you are sometimes overwhelming and frightening.  The more familiar you are with battering, the less likely you will get caught up in your own reaction.