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Understanding and Addressing Intimate Partner Violence

Globally, intimate partner violence (IPV) is a severe problem that has an impact on individual lives and relationships. It describes any abuse that takes place in an intimate relationship that is physical, sexual, or emotional (Makhubele et al., 2018). It is not relevant what color, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic position a pair is from; this can happen between partners, spouses, or romantic partners. IPV should not be taken lightly since it can have detrimental effects on the victim’s physical and mental health. It is fundamental for folks in the human services sector to comprehend intimate partner violence (IPV) and how treatment can support victims.

The Cycle of Violence: One trend that is frequently observed in abusive relationships is the cycle of violence. According to Sangeetha et al. (2022), there are three stages to it: the building of tension, the acute explosion phase, and the honeymoon phase. The perpetrator becomes more agitated and judgmental of the victim during the tension-building phase, which can result in verbal and emotional abuse. Walking carefully is the hallmark of this phase, which might extend for several months or even years. When the tension reaches a breaking point during the acute explosion phase, physical violence follows. In the third stage, known as the honeymoon phase, the abuser could express regret and remorse, giving the victim hope that the abuse will not recur. But the cycle persists, and the partnership becomes a violent rollercoaster with reconciliation periods.

Safety is Key: As professionals, the victim’s safety should always come first when handling IPV instances. Establishing a safety strategy and working with the victim to draft a safety contract is essential. The protocol provides access to resources like phone lines, shelters, neighborhood support services, and instructions on what to do in an emergency (Lynch et al., 2021). It is imperative to acknowledge the diverse manners in which individuals may encounter intimate partner violence (IPV), as it is not limited to physical abuse but can also manifest as emotional, financial, or sexual assault.

Ethics and Ethical Challenges: Therapists may face moral dilemmas when handling IPV patients. Finding a balance between the victim’s protection and the secrecy of the therapeutic connection can be challenging. In certain situations, the therapist might have to disclose the abuse to the police, endangering the safety of the client in the process. Because they can affect how they deal with the couple, therapists must also be conscious of their prejudices and preconceptions. Maintaining ethical limits requires constant self-evaluation and seeking guidance or assistance when necessary.

Pros and Cons of Working with Both Partners: Couples therapy can be advantageous because it offers a secure environment where couples can discuss and work through their problems. However, collaboratively working with the couple can be difficult if there is a history of IPV. It is important to carefully assess the possibility of the victim suffering additional harm or becoming a new victim. Working with both partners has several benefits, such as improving communication, recognizing triggers, and creating more positive interaction patterns (Stata, 2019). But it is critical to put the victim’s safety and well-being first and act only when it’s safe.

Addressing IPV in Therapy: When it comes to managing IPV and fostering wholesome relationships, therapy can be extremely important. According to Tarshis & Baird (2019), it can offer a secure and encouraging setting where the victim can work through their experiences and recover from the trauma. Additionally, therapy can assist the abuser in recognizing and altering their violent habits, leading to the development of more positive and non-violent interactions with their spouse. Furthermore, treatment can help the couple address underlying issues that may be contributing to the violence and help them establish good communication skills.

In summary, IPV is a severe problem that needs to be understood and addressed by human service experts. It is fundamental for therapists to put the victim’s safety first, recognize moral dilemmas, and proceed with caution when working with both partners. Addressing IPV and fostering beneficial connections can be accomplished with the help of therapy. Together, let’s break the cycle of violence and assist people impacted by intimate partner abuse in their quest for empowerment and healing.


Lynch, K. R., Logan, T. K., & Hatch, E. (2021). Examining the role of safety planning and firearms in community professional advice and perceived helpfulness for female IPV victims. Journal of family violence36, 163-173.

Makhubele, J. C., Shika, F. L., & Malesa, S. E. (2018). Knowledge of students at higher learning institutions on intimate partner violence (IPV). Gender and Behaviour16(1), 10889-10901.

Sangeetha, J., Mohan, S., Hariharasudan, A., & Nawaz, N. (2022). Strategic analysis of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the cycle of violence in the autobiographical text–When I Hit You. Heliyon8(6).

Stata, R. (2019). Organizational learning-the key to management innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review30(3), 63.

Tarshis, S., & Baird, S. L. (2019). Addressing the indirect trauma of social work students in intimate partner violence (IPV) field placements: A framework for supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal47, 90-102.


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