Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know by Reverend Al Miles (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Fortress, 2000). The author explores the complex problem of domestic violence, offering guidance for ministering effectively with both perpetrators and victims. Warning of the dangers inherent in naïve and untrained approaches to such situations, Miles urges pastors to participate in domestic violence prevention training and to make referrals to trained professionals. Miles shows pastors how they may inadvertently blame the victims and encourage and excuse violent behavior. He also recommends specific strategies for ensuring the safety of victims and for holding abusers accountable.
Domestic Violence: What Churches Can Do, FaithTrust Institute, 2400 N 45th St., Suite 101, Seattle, WA 98103, www.faithtrustinstitute.org, 206-634-1903x23, 877-860-2255. This twenty-minute video provides an overview of the reality of domestic violence and raises awareness of its prevalence, dynamics, and the attitudes and false beliefs that underlie both abusive behavior and the fear of leaving an abusive relationship. The accompanying study guide suggests approaches for helping people caught in such relationships and steps for congregations to take to more effectively minister to such families. “Safety for the woman and her children has to be addressed first. After that has been ensured, ongoing support can best be accomplished by helping the victim find appropriate community resources and providing the support of her faith community as she starts the journey of healing and decision-making for the future. The most helpful support that the congregation can offer to the abuser is to hold him accountable, to support him in taking responsibility for his behavior and recognizing that he has a problem, and to stand by him as he seeks treatment from a specialized batterers’ counseling program.” (Study guide, pp.19-20)
Opening the Door: A Pastor’s Guide to Addressing Domestic Violence in Premarital Counseling by Susan Yarrow Morris (Seattle: Faithtrust Institute, 2006). The author defines domestic violence as “….a pattern of behavior used by one partner in an intimate relationship to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the use of or threat of violence” (p. 13). She provides a clear understanding of its dynamics and provides specific strategies, questions to ask, and information to share, not only in premarital counseling, but also in ongoing ministry and pastoral care, to prevent domestic violence and to intervene when abuse is suspected.
Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Back Your Life When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason, M.S. and Randi Kreger (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 1998). The authors explore the emotionally abusive and controlling behaviors of people with low self-esteem and fear of failure, as well as the impact of those behaviors on spouses, children, and others. This supportive guide shows readers how to make sense of their situations, take back control of their lives, heal their wounds, and protect themselves and others from further damage.
You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One by Steven Stosny, PhD (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2006). The author, acclaimed for his CompassionPower program for verbally and emotionally abusive people and their families, provides information for understanding the dynamics and impact of such abuse and for taking action to change and heal the relationships and people involved. This text, an excellent resource for individuals, couples, and small groups, provides instruction for healing the wounds from emotional abuse, for regulating feelings so as to avoid abusive words and behavior, and for reconnecting in a relationship – or for determining that a relationship is beyond repair. Visit www.compassionpower.com to learn more about the CompassionPower program and for schedules of upcoming events.
Resources for Youth
50 Things Everyone Should Know About Dating Violence (brochure), The Dibble Institute for Marriage Education, P.O. Box 7881, Berkeley, CA, 94707-0881, 800-695-7975, FAX: 972-226-2824, [email protected], http://www.DibbleInstitute.org.
The Dibble Institute for Marriage Education (see contact information above) offers teach-out-of the box highly interactive and engaging programs that can be used with youth in church or public settings.
The Connections Series and The Love U2 Series provide practical guidance for building healthy relationships by understanding attractions, infatuation, falling in love, emotions, how to gauge the health of relationships, and breaking up. Some sessions include dating violence prevention, assertiveness training, and skills training for communication and conflict management.
Resources for Developing Self-awareness, Communication, and Conflict Management Skills
Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way by Gary Chapman (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2007). The author states his belief that God designed human anger to motivate us to take action against injustice or wrongdoing. However, we often cause harm to others and ourselves by reacting without thinking through what has happened and how best to address our grievances — real or perceived. He offers a process for owning our anger and processing the situation in order to choose constructive, not destructive action. A study guide at the end provides suggestions for thirteen sessions.
Couple Communication, Interpersonal Communication Programs, Inc. (ICP), 30772 Southview Drive #200, Evergreen, CO 80439, 800-328-5099, [email protected], www.couplecommunication.com. This organization teaches couples and individuals to use an Awareness Wheel, Styles of Communication, The Listening Cycle, and a collaborative process called “Mapping an Issue.” This program requires certified leaders, who may be located at the website along with a schedule of events.
The Surprising Purpose of Anger. Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D (Encinitas, CA: PuddleDancer Press, 2005. Rosenberg, developer of the Nonviolent Communication program (www.nonviolentcommunication.com), challenges us to think of anger as a gift, pointing us to unmet needs, but often subverted by the judgments we make about others. He describes how to create strategies focused on meeting needs and to find solutions instead of just reacting. Visit www.cnvc.org/en/trainingcal to locate certified Nonviolent Communication trainers or events in your area or on the web.
Rodgers Christian Counseling, 1206 Jules Ct., Charlotte, NC 28226, 704-364-9176, FAX (704) 366-0729, www.soulhealinglove.com. This center presents a Soul Healers Workshop and publishes resources for engaged couples, married couples wishing to grow deeper in love, couples in crisis, and singles seeking a soul mate. Find events and resources at the website.
Jane P. Ives is a United Methodist Marriage and Family Ministries Consultant from Portland, ME