Domestic Violence Awareness Month

If you or someone you know are seeking support for domestic violence or other family struggles, call the Family Paths 24-hour Parent Support & Resource Hotline at 800-829-3777 or the La Casa de las Madres 24-hour Crisis Support Hotline at 877-\0xAD503-1850.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One in four Americans is directly affected by family violence, and sexual harassment and assault are common (as was highlighted by the recent #metoo campaign). At the Wright Institute, we believe that a strong Marriage and Family Therapist must have a solid understanding of how to attend to and support clients who are impacted by domestic violence.

That's why all students in the Counseling Psychology program take a Family Violence & Protection course in the fall trimester of their second year.

The focus of the Family Violence & Protection course in the Counseling Psychology program is on understanding abuse - emotional, physical, sexual, neglect - within a cultural context and applying this awareness to the prevention, detection, and treatment of child, partner, and elder abuse. The course addresses legal and ethical issues related to abuse, including reporting laws, and educates students about crisis management strategies and community resources.

Some students choose to augment this coursework by completing their field placement at a community mental health agency that works with clients who present issues related to domestic abuse, such as La Casa de las Madres, Bay Area Community Resources, and Family Paths.

Teague Craig is one such student.

"In my practicum at Family Paths I work with families, including kids, who are impacted by domestic violence. It can be really tricky to navigate. As their therapist, you need to figure out how to best support the child and the family as a whole," says Teague.

Teague has a background working with children, young adults, and families at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco, and began a field placement at Family Paths in August.

"When working with families coping with domestic violence, it's important to build relationships with every member of the family, barring extreme circumstances. This means you have to develop empathy for everyone, including people who may have perpetrated violence. You have to work to understand them as a whole person and avoid putting them in a box based on this one facet of their identity."

Another student, Juliana Capetillo, says of her practicum work: "My experience as a trainee at La Casa de las Madres has been exceptional since day one. As a prerequisite for working at La Casa I completed their 40-hour Domestic Violence Training. What became clear through this experience was that the programs at La Casa not only support the unique needs of survivors by giving them tools to transform their lives and break the cycle of violence, but also the tremendous importance of the work they dedicate to preventing future violence through community education, and helping redefine the public perceptions of Domestic Violence."

Juliana is conscious of the prevalence of domestic violence, noting "One third of American women report physical or sexual abuse from an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Domestic violence affects all of us; it knows no boundaries of race, nationality, economic class, education level or age. For over 40 years La Casa de las Madres has been fighting to break the cycle of violence through its dynamic program of empowerment. Many times the first step in that fight is breaking the silence. This is something that can happen to anyone. If you are a victim or survivor of abuse, you are not alone. Call for help: 1-877-503-1850."

Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute's Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program.
Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute's Master of Counseling Psychology program.