This paper provides an existential analysis of male batterers' perceptions of the interventions they received. The data was collected from qualitative interviews with batterers in a series of studies, in a variety of settings in Israel. These include probation departments, community-based domestic violence units, a residential hostel for court-mandated batterers and a therapeutic community for batterers in the prison system. The analysis focused on the batterers' understanding of the intervention experienced, as reflecting their existential struggle around meaning and being in the world. The intervention forced batterers to examine their relationship towards self, others and their values, in a world that is perceived as hostile and lacking in significant meaning. It therefore focused on attempts to regain a sense of meaning and coherence. Batterers perceived their spouses as dangerous; as powerful agents that threaten their meaning system. In light of this, therapy is focused on the struggle between relinquishing or regaining control over meaning of self in the world. This process is associated with rediscovery of shame, loss and fear and thus involves much anxiety. The complexities and paradoxes emerging from the men's narratives of therapy are analyzed and discussed. Some principles of existential therapy with batterers are suggested.
- Batterers' treatment
- Existential therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science