Type of services provided:
Two community-based group interventions for women and children exposed to domestic violence, a goal-oriented group intervention and an emotion-focus group intervention were compared.
The goal-oriented group intervention integrated cognitive behavioral approaches with components utilized in motivational interviewing. Women and children, in their separate groups, chose a goal to work on that related to decreasing non-adaptive coping strategies and/or increasing adaptive strategies.
The emotion-focused group intervention employed an integrated cognitive behavioral process to educate and empower mothers and children regarding relationships, emotions and coping and a gestalt approach to process information within the relational context of the group. The five-week educational curriculum focused on healthy and nonhealthy relationships and the influence of non-adaptive and adaptive strategies.
A parallel process was developed for the children’s group that helped children to identify emotions and express emotions, enhance their understanding of the behaviors of self and other related to wants, needs and feelings, develop coping strategies, understand what abuse is and learn strategies for staying safe.
The joint family group sessions, which followed the mothers’ and children’s groups after a brief break, continued the session theme of each respective intervention.
Women and children exposed to intimate partner violence (domestic violence) were recruited from family homeless shelters to participate in the community-based groups.
Length of program/number of sessions:
5 weeks; one session weekly; women-only groups met for 60 minutes and children-only groups met for 45 minutes; co-facilitated joint family sessions for women and children were 60 minutes
Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:
Non-adaptive coping strategies of mothers including substance abuse, family violence perpetration and self-isolation; posttraumatic stress and other frequently observed consequences of exposure to domestic violence for children
Education level of providers:
Master’s level therapists and counselors
This study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of two brief interventions for women and children in a shelter setting. Positive outcomes were demonstrated for children and mothers.