Approaches to Address Male Victimization by Intimate Female Perpetrators

The high prevalence of male victimization by female partners indicates the need to establish initiatives that provide a better understanding of the male issues to mental health care providers. Studies such as those conducted by Hines and Douglas (2010a; 2010b) indicate that men have increasingly severe forms of violence perpetrated by their female intimate partners. Such indications seek to enlighten the mental health care providers and the public on the experiences of men who are in relationships with abusive and or violent women. Although research has shown that men are at risk for sustaining partner violence, few studies have been dedicated to the investigations of the approaches that would better the treatment of such male victims (Hines & Douglas, 2010a). According to, Hines and Douglas (2010a) this arises due to the under-recognition of men victimization as a problem facing society especially in the United States. Further limitations on accessing approaches that would provide better intervention for male victims of IPV arise from the pre occupation of studies on the Caucasian male thus limiting the use of such studies’ results in other settings.

Despite the lack of adequate research on interventions that enhance treatment of male victims of IPV. Various psychotherapeutic aspects could alleviate the trauma that male victims of IPV face thus facilitate recovery from PSTD and depression. Wheeler (2007) for instance provide a background for psychotherapeutic strategies that would help in healing trauma. The study argues that the psychotherapeutic approach for treating trauma should “address the bewildering symptoms and deficits that result, particularly where there has been severe and prolonged trauma” for them to be effective (Wheeler, 2007, p. 134). In the case of male victims of IPV such prolonged trauma is a reality due to the barriers that the victims face in coming out to seek help for their victimization (Hines & Douglas, 2010a). According to Wheeler (2007), one of the effective approach for enhancing effect of therapeutic approach involves a two-phase model developed by clinicians and validated in prior literature.

The model (figure 1), involves a stabilization phase, the first phase of the model, and a future-visioning phase, the second phase. In the stabilization phase, the clinicians begins with assessment of the strengths and resources that the patient possesses that would help him in coping with the traumatic experience (Wheeler, 2007, pp 134-135). Such assessment is aided by the use of appropriate assessment tools such as Modified PSTD symptom: Self Report version thus enable the clinician to place the patient on the appropriate level on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Based on such assessment, patients who fall lower on the Maslow’s hierarchy need active intervention by the therapist (Wheeler, 2007). For the male victim of IPV, the type of victimization that one suffers may determine such needs. For instance, victims who suffer physical abuse would require a reassurance of their safety during the stabilization process (Wheeler, 2007). This partly explains why studies thus use samples from helpseeking male victims (e.g. Hines & Douglas 2010a; 2010b) do not validate the self-reports of the victims with external reports from their partners.

In the second phase of the two-phase model, patients are encouraged to enhance their future visioning to dissociate themselves from the traumatic experience (Wheeler, 2007). Such phase eventually results in the patient developing self-confidence thus freeing oneself from the psychological problems resulting from trauma (Wheeler, 2007). This phase is particularly relevant to the male victim of IPV since such victimization leads to the man losing the sense of self-worth (Hines & Douglas, 2011).strategies

The efficacy of psychotherapeutic approach in treating male victims of IPV could be enhanced by complementing the verbal approach with physical activity. The practice of Martial arts has been shown to offer effective complementary physical activity to verbal approach used in psychotherapy. For instance, Weiser, Kutz, Kutz and Weiser (1995) note that martial arts enable achievement of goals aimed at in psychotherapy by providing physical activity that facilitates reduction of hostility and aggression. Use of martial arts in male victims of IPV would for instance help in the stabilization face by providing a sense of safety where the victim was subject to physical abuse (Wheeler, 2007). However, the effect of engagement in martial arts also extends to the second phase since martial arts are argued to improve the self-esteem of the participants (Weiser, 1995) thus helping the victims to overcome the trauma resulting from their victimization.

Although studies that specifically address the treatment of male victims are lacking (Hines & Douglas, 2011), various psychotherapeutic approaches could better the mental outcomes for such victims. The studies reviewed in the preceding section offer insight into the psychotherapeutic interventions that may enhance treatment outcomes of for male victims of IPV. An intervention approach that uses verbal approach of psychotherapy reinforced by physical activity such as engagement in martial arts could help the victims to develop their self-esteem thus overcome the trauma resulting from victimization.

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