Canadian counsellors' experiences : exploring the effects of the de-gendering of domestic violence
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
This project examined the consequences of the de-gendering of domestic violence on counsellors who work with female survivors of heterosexual physical, emotional, and sexual violence. The de-gendering of domestic violence is defined as the systematic removal of gender and power concerns from the conceptualization and study of violence against women (Berns, 2001; Nixon, 2007). Recent research indicates that after working with high caseloads of trauma survivors, counsellors experienced cognitive shifts in the areas of gender, power, safety, and trust (Garrity, 2011; Iliffe & Steed, 2000). This project directly examined the consequences of the de-gendering of domestic violence on counsellors who work with survivors of violence against women. Five female counsellors with high caseloads of survivors of violence against women took part in one 100-minute focus group. The themes that emerged from the focus group indicate that each of the counsellors who participated in this project have experienced negative cognitive shifts pertaining to gender and power. Participants experienced decreased trust in relationships, feelings of powerlessness, and shifting parental values as a result of the cognitive shifts pertaining to gender and power.
vicarious trauma , violence against women , gender and power , trauma survivors