Psychological Self-Help

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participants reported gaining more positive attitudes towards women and
33% of their wives reported their husbands had become more respectful and
had “changed a great deal.” With a lot more research, perhaps domestic
violence can be markedly reduced, but we have a long way to go with a tough
problem.
The long-term effects of abuse within a family
There is ample evidence that psychological abuse and physical abuse
by a partner are both associated with developing mental health and physical
health problems (Coker, 2002). Using the National Violence Against Women
Survey of 16,000 American adults, these University of Texas researchers
found that 29% of women and 23% of men had been abused by a partner
(more psychological abuse than physical or sexual). The abused partners
(both men and women) had developed more chronic physical or mental health
illness and had poorer general health, more depression, more anxiety, more
injuries, and more drug/alcohol addiction than partners who had not
experienced abuse. This study draws special attention to the heretofore
neglected effects of psychological abuse on men and underscores that a good
diagnostician will investigate these historical factors in both sexes.
Domestic violence affects perhaps 8% to 14% of our population.
However, less than 20% of physicians screen new patients for it, while 98%
ask patients about smoking, 90% about alcohol use, and even 47% inquire
about HIV and STD. This is partly because doctors know less about screening
for abuse. We don’t expect primary care physicians to treat domestic violence
but they should ask about it and make appropriate and quick referrals. 
Books and websites about domestic violence
No person should ever physically hit, slap, or shove another person,
certainly not a person you are supposed to love. Physical threats should not
be made either. Yet, the frequency of physical/emotional aggression (see
statistics given above) is horrible. Lenore Walker (1979, 1993) described the
victim as traumatized and cruelly dominated to the point “she” feels helpless
and, often, worthless. The abused may become so unable to confront the
abuser that “she” can not walk out. The most dangerous time is when “she” is
walking out. Walker's work is regarded as one of the best self-help books for
battered women (Santrock, Minnett & Campbell, 1994; Norcross, et al, 2000
and 2003). The two reference books just cited about self-help resources,
along with many other sources, suggest many pre-2000 helpful books:
(Ackerman & Pickering, 1995; Geller, 1992; Martin, 1989; Strube, 1988;
Follingstad, Neckerman, & Vormbrock, 1988; Deschner, 1984; Fleming, 1979;
NiCarthy, 1982, 1987, 1997). NiCarthy is especially good for women still in
the abusive situation.
There are many very recent additional books about domestic violence
(look up the reviews on Amazon): David Wexler (2004), When good
men behave badly: Change your behavior, change your relationship; Cook,
P. W. (1997). Abused men: The hidden side of domestic violence (the
female side); Gentry, W. D. (2004), When someone you love is angry
(spouse, parent, relative, or child); Weiss, E. (2003). Family and friends’
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