It is unclear how many of these women suffering from abuse trauma seek and accept therapeutic aid or even have access to psychotherapeutic assistance that might provide relief. It is also questionable if any psychological assistance can be successful given that treatment protocols for trauma and PTSD typically require the establishment of a safe and reassuring environment, conditions that are difficult to meet within the context of a shelter. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943), for instance, claims that treatment for psychological problems can hardly be addressed as long as the basic needs of nutrition and safety are pressing.
In traditional treatment, individual therapy for victims of domestic violence begins with a primary focus on safety, particularly if the woman is coming from an abusive relationship. In addition to assessing the danger, in many shelters it is also the role of the therapist together with the client to develop a safety plan which contains a strategy for how to keep away from a dangerous situation. Shelters provide an important resource for abused women in that they offer emergency shelter, support, and access to community resources that can aid in establishing long-term safety for women and their children. The metaphor of “ therapist as host” can shape therapeutic alliance with the victims because it ascribes a range of ways in which those seeking relief can be welcomed to the experience of therapy. Treating someone as a cherished guest addresses the power differential undisputable in a therapeutic relationship by elevating the status of a person who comes to consult the therapist. ( Jodi Aman, 2006 )
A woman's entry into a shelter may mean that she is no longer in immediate danger but safety still remains a concern. As such a woman may be ready to seek relief and that the longer-term goals of any necessary psychological treatment for the woman can be addressed. These goals include helping the woman identify the impact of abuse on her life and helping her work toward empowering herself. The treatment of survivors of chronic abuse presents many challenges, including complex diagnosis, 3
treatment staging, and...