The STOP Program: For Women Who Abuse

It used to be that, when we trained mental health professionals, probation officers, victims’ programs, attorneys, and correctional officers all over the world, we had to convince people there was such a thing as female domestic violence.

But over the past decade, the landscape has shifted—and instead we hear pleas everywhere for a quality treatment program for women who abuse that is specifically targeted to women’s issues.

So, after years of pilot group testing, integrating rapidly emerging new research trends, and borrowing from the tremendous success of “The STOP Program for Men” (now in its Third Edition, published by Norton in 2013), this new treatment program was hatched: “The STOP Program: For Women Who Abuse” (Norton, 2016), focusing on innovative strategies for women who abuse their partners.

Like the men’s manual, this new program integrates contemporary interventions and client-centered guidelines to successfully treat domestic violence offenders—who happen to be female.

This program is timed to address the rapidly increasing awareness of female domestic violence and need for quality treatment services. Developed and field-tested for over twenty-five years among military and civilian populations internationally, this program offers therapists, social workers, and other counselors a new level of sound, psychologically-based interventions that actually reach the very women who often seem so unapproachable in a treatment setting.

Presented in a 26-week or 52-week psychoeducational format, “The STOP Program: For Women Who Abuse” is packed with updated skills, training exercises, articles, video clips, handouts, homework, and other resources–that push participants to examine the complex roles of trauma, emotional dysregulation, self-esteem deficits, and history of personal victimization in their relationship problems. And the program gives them new tools to manage these unique issues.

This manual includes many of the same sessions as the original STOP Program for men, with appropriate changes in pronouns, vignettes, and examples. We also have developed and integrated new material specifically dealing with issues that contemporary research and our clinical experience indicate are especially relevant for female offenders: victimization (and rationalization) issues, assertiveness vs. aggression issues, shame, grief and loss, parenting and co-parenting, boundary violations, emotional self-management and dysregulation issues, jealousy, self-esteem issues, gender rules and gender roles, and need for social support.

We are offering training workshops in this new model throughout the world. COME JOIN US IN OCT 2016 FOR THE TWO-DAY “STOP PROGRAM: FOR WOMEN WHO ABUSE” CONFERENCE IN SAN DIEGO. For more info, go to

And if any of you are doing similar work, please let us know so we can all share and learn.

David B. Wexler, Ph.D.