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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Episode 10: Domestic Violence and Franklian Psychology

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some current publications from the American Psychological Association are linked here:

The Mind of the Batterer.pdf

Partner Violence: What you can do


A United States Department of Justice study found that 22% of women and 7% of men had been physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. The study also found that 1.3% of the women and 0.9% of the men had been abused within the past 30 days. Of those abused, 39% of the women and 23% of the men were injured.

Effects on the victim:

Physical abuse is often accompanied by humiliation, manipulation, and economic control. The effects on the victim include fear, the belief that escape is impossible, post-traumatic stress symptoms and sometimes substance abuse.

The risk of death or serious injury increases once the decision to leave is made.

Key Issues for Franklian Psychology

1) Sophisticated victims of domestic violence may have read Frankl or been drawn to his works in response to their trauma. It is important to know that Frankl taught that meaning in suffering is found only if the suffering is unavoidable. Frankl repeatedly taught that If the suffering can be avoided, it should be avoided.

2) Some victims may believe that they remain in the relationship for the value of love. Frankl taught that the deepest love is an awareness of the potentials of the spirit of the other. In this, the loved one cannot be replaced. If the significant other in your life wishes to control you rather than to see your true abilities and talents made real, then that is not love.

3) Frankl wrote a great deal about value judgments. Value judgments can become easily confused during and after trauma. It is true that great figures of history have sacrificed themselves for loving or meaningful causes. None of those figures, however, sacrificed themselves to another person for the purpose of satisfying the other person's violent temper.

How to respond if someone tells you of domestic violence:

DON'T minimize the abuse
DON'T blame the victim
DON'T shift the focus (to alcohol or some other problem)

DO be empathetic
DO tell the victim it is not her fault
DO offer to get her help (if you can)

Important Phone Numbers:

As always, if you are in danger in the United States, dial 9-1-1

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)

Click here to download Episode 10: Domestic Violence and Franklian Psychology.

Thank you for listening. Please email any questions or comments to and may you have a meaningful day.