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Webinar Description

Core Competencies in Domestic Violence: Treatment Struggles, Differential Assessment and the Self of the Therapist

6 Hour Recorded Webinar

By Lisa Goodman-Twerski, LCSW


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Core Competencies in Domestic Violence: Treatment Struggles, Differential Assessment and the Self of the Therapist


This course will provide a thorough training on the difficult and complex subject of domestic violence in two parts. Part one of the course will provide an overview of the problem, including defining domestic violence, understanding the various reasons victims don’t come forward, and how to assess for this in your practice. Before jumping into the work we will examine the response therapists have and explore how to be aware and contain responses that get in the way of treatment. The core struggles and clinical issues for therapists working with victims of domestic violence will be addressed, and fundamental tasks and common themes in treatment. Understanding the role of advocacy and when and if it becomes an appropriate role for the therapist.

When are abusive behaviors, not domestic abuse? Part two of this training will address the differential assessment when dealing with domestic violence. Abusive behaviors show up in many relationships. They are not always indicative of domestic violence. This is an essential part of our training and education to make the appropriate recommendation, provide the right treatment, and ensure safety. This training will go through the different possible etiologies of various abuses in marriage or intimate partnerships. We will also explore the ancillary issues in working with domestic violence such as being a help or resource to friends or family members as well as understanding the fundamental struggles when children are involved. 


Trainer, Lisa Goodman-Twerski, LCSW, has been working with victims of domestic violence for over 30 years, maintains a private practice in Brooklyn, NY and lectures locally, nationally and internationally on many subjects including domestic abuse, marriage, and dating. She has also published a book entitled, “I’m So Confused, Am I Being Abused: Guidance for the Orthodox Spouse and Those Who are Trying to Help”


In hour 1, we will be defining domestic violence and understand why victims don’t come forward, what might compel them to do so and how to recognize subtle attempts to let the therapist know what’s going on.

Hour 2 will cover a safe way to make an assessment for domestic violence and understanding our role(s) and possible goals when working with victims, and the self of the therapist.

Hour 3 will cover core struggles and clinical issues for therapists when treating domestic violence. This will include addressing: balancing our roles – the advocate versus the therapist;  safety planning – in a crisis, in planning to leave in the future, in the case of returning; and understanding the fundamentals of a plan for change.

Hour 4 will address complexities that arise and struggles faced by victims when children are involved; as well, as how to be a resource to friends and family members.

Hours 5 & 6 will address understanding when abusive behavior isn’t domestic abuse. We will explore the differential assessment using a key measures matrix. Case examples will be used to illustrate when abusive behaviors should be defined as a dysfunctional marriage or as mental illness

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