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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you believe the myths about domestic violence, you will not be
effective with her. Refer her to another agency or counselor.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.