If asked, most counsellors will say that they have training in abuse but it is not part of the standard curriculum for most counselling programs. So, how can you figure out if your counsellor really does understand abuse or simply thinks they understand? Here are a few things you could look for:
- Do they hold your partner 100% responsible for the abuse or are they trying to get you to “fix the problems”?
- Do they know that there are many forms of abuse? Do they take all forms seriously?
- Do they know about the “Cycle of Abuse” (Honeymoon / Tension / Explosion)?
- Do they give you advice or tell you what to do?
If they don’t know these basics about abuse, chances are they do not have any specific training. If they are giving you advice or suggestions, they could make matters worse for you or more dangerous. You deserve really good, qualified support. Your local women’s shelter or transition house should know the names of counsellors or counselling programs in your community that are specifically for women who have experienced abuse from a partner.