Finding Common Ground Across Batterer Intervention Models

In response to research finding batterer intervention programs to be limited overall in their ability to reduce rates of recidivism, stakeholders in the field of domestic violence have been calling for more evidence-based treatment models.  Meanwhile, because of the limitations of state standards, lack of information and other factors, providers are often polarized and confused. The recent literature review by Julia Babcock and colleagues on what works in batterer intervention indicates that while there are some serious conceptual flaws to gendered models of treatment, such as Duluth (including the unsupported focus on the power and control motive and patriarchy as a major risk factor for violence), outcome studies have not found CBT to always be more effective, and that certain approaches (e.g., developing a strong facilitator-client relationship) may in fact account for successful interventions regardless of the program’s stated philosophy.

Based on this common factor research, discussions with facilitators and clients from various programs, and a comparison of my own program with observations of a gender-based model in action, I have put together a training for treatment providers, with suggestions on how to reduce polarization among providers and increase treatment effectiveness.  Let me know if you want to know more.  Meanwhile, I highly recommend the second edition of the book, The Great Psychotherapy Debate, by B. Wampold and Z. Imel (Routledge, 2015).  The book showcases a new psychotherapy meta-model, the Contextual Model, that nicely accounts for findings from recent RAC batterer intervention outcome studies on the importance of the facilitator-client relationship and the value of Motivational Interviewing.