Domestic Abuse Counseling
Why Therapy by Phone Helps Couples
in Abusive Relationships

Dr. King



by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

I have been doing telephone psychotherapy for over a decade now. With each passing year I understand more and more about why this modality is so effective in working with couples in abusive relationships.

For years I credited much of the efficacy on my own experience of being able to dip deeply into patientís felt meaning expressed vocally. The tunnel vision of my focus fosters keen accuracy. Itís as though I exist in the session as a vessel with absolutely no agenda other than to be as clear as is possible so that the patient sees himself/herself.

I recently recognized that this modality of phone psychotherapy facilitates the patientís access to himself or herself unencumbered with the presence of their partner.

Being You in Your Partner's Presence

The tendency to modify oneís communications as a function of the feedback one sees from their partner is one of the main reasons couples therapy doesnít work with couples in abusive relationships.

Think about it. Letís say that Theresa is sitting next to Stan in their therapy session. And when she speaks about something bothering her, she is aware of Stanís reaction to her comments. Reflexively, she will modify her message so as to regulate his approval/disapproval. Itís the habit of survival in their abusive relationship.

Now if you place Theresa in one room and Stan in another room (or another location all together), watch what happens. Suddenly, Theresa speaks more authentically. Her statements are more in keeping with her experience over her perception of his experience and his reaction to her.

The mere physical logistics of being able to have one partner in one room and one in another room apart from one another opens the door for each person to see, hear and feel oneself more clearly. And as mentioned, it allows both people the platform for freer expression and a cleaner sharing with one another.

No one has to be the other in the otherís presence, because for a moment in time you are both with your partner and with yourself openly and honestly.

Communication and Abusive Relationship

Communication is significantly stunted in relationships characterized by intimate partner abuse. Interaction around ďdifficultĒ topics is a tiptoe at best. Permission is not the norm; rather it is the exception.

When you introduce a platform that encourages and supports permission, people stumble upon being free in themselves and in their dialogue. It will amaze you to see the impact this has on moving therapy forward especially for individuals in abusive relationships. Couple this platform/venue with the principles of domestic abuse counseling and you have a recipe for effective abuse therapy.

For more information about effective therapy for abusive relationships, visit and get instant access to free survivor success insights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse.

© Jeanne King, Ph.D. ó Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.