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The Gift of the Magi: Can Attachment, Altruism, and Hope be Mobilized in Treating Domestic Violence?

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The debate concerning the Duluth model of domestic violence policy has centered on its assumptions concerning gender and its limitations as conceptual basis for practice. Here we both broaden and deepen that analysis by exploring the institutional context and political use of language that maintain the hegemony of that model. Particular attention is devoted to how the Duluth policy and practice framework produces a cynical and fatalistic view of both perpetrators and victims. Causal attribution to the vague construct “patriarchy” both ignores empirically supported risk factors as well as strips clients of their uniqueness and autonomy. This is juxtaposed with the common factors theory of therapeutic interventions, which calls attention to how acknowledging client strengths and instilling hope can produce superior outcomes.
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Keywords: ALTRUISM; ATTACHMENT THEORY; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; SOCIAL POLICY; TREATMENT OUTCOMES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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  • Partner Abuse, a peer-reviewed journal, recognizes that physical and emotional abuse among dating, cohabitating and married partners is as a major public health and social problem in North America and around the world. Its purpose is to advance knowledge, practice and policies through a commitment to rigorous, objective research and evidence-based solutions. In addition to original research papers and literature reviews, the journal welcomes viewpoints and commentaries on the topic of partner abuse, as well as clinical case studies, book reviews and letters to the editor.
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