EMDR and family therapy in the treatment of domestic violence



Domestic violence (DV) has been defined as a pattern of verbal and physical behavior intended to control another person in an existing, former, or desired intimate relationship (Walker, 1979). Although DV is not confined to heterosexual unions or to males as abusers, this chapter focuses on heterosexual males as offenders because 85% of DV is directed by men toward women (Rennison & Welchans, 2000). This chapter discusses integrating Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR; Shapiro, 1995, 2001) and Therapy of Social Action (TSA) in the treatment of couples with domestic violence issues. A case example is then presented. The concluding discussion asserts that TSA and EMDR appear to be a powerful combination for the treatment of DV. When used with carefully selected couples, EMDR and TSA can repair the damage caused to the victims, strengthen relationships, inhibit abuser and victim tendencies in children, eliminate posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), increase personal responsibility, develop nonviolent conflict resolution skills, and increase empathy for self and others.


Book Section




Julie E. Stowasser

Original Work Citation

Stowasser, J. E. (2007). EMDR and family therapy in the treatment of domestic violence. In F. Shapiro, F. W. Kaslow, & L. Maxfield (Eds.), Handbook of EMDR and family therapy processes (pp. 243-261). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc



“EMDR and family therapy in the treatment of domestic violence,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 27, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17768.

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