Self-Determined Goals and Treatment of Domestic Violence Offenders: What If We Leave It Up to Them?

Lee, Uken, & Sebold (2014)

Abstract: Despite empirical evidence of self-determined goals and positive treatment outcomes, most conventional treatment programs of domestic violence offenders do not use self-determined goals as an integral part of their treatment efforts. The foundation for this article is a qualitative study that used data from 127 domestic violence offenders to explore the content and characteristics of goals that were self-determined by the offenders in a solution-focused, goal-directed treatment program. The emergent themes showed that the self-determined goals developed by offenders focused on self-focused and relational-focused attitudinal change and skills development. Three observed characteristics of these goals revolved around (a) emotional regulation versus cognitive understanding, (b) positively stated versus negatively stated goals, and (c) capacity building versus problem elimination. The implications of findings are discussed with the intention of generating useful dialogues among helping professionals to revisit treatment practices, orientations, and assumptions regarding treatment of domestic violence offenders.

 

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