While most physical scars will eventually fade, it’s the emotional ones that are often most debilitating. Abuse at anyone’s hands often leaves a victim with questions as to what they did to “deserve” it, but when that abuse comes from the person who’s supposed to love them the most, then those feelings of self blame are magnified tenfold. Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) need information, guidance, and support in determining how they want to face this issue in their life. Many find it difficult to talk to family or friends. Many feel alone and isolated. Most just want the violence to stop. House of Ruth Maryland offers private and group counseling for adults, teens and children who are affected by the issue of intimate partner violence.
Individual Counseling and Therapy is offered to women and men in both heterosexual and same sex relationships who have been abused and are in crisis. Clients and therapists together make a plan that likely will include developing an understanding of the dynamics of intimate partner violence as it relates to their experience; creating a safety plan, developing new insights and a better understanding of their trauma and how to better manage anxiety or depression; and learning and practicing new, healthy life skills.
Group Counseling and Therapy provides a supportive setting for IPV survivors to escape the isolation of an abusive relationship. Understanding that you are not alone is a first step. The group leader helps and encourages the group members to learn from one another and to give and receive support. IPV survivors find strength and affirmation in the group process; they practice using learned skills in making decisions and solving problems. Some group leaders use art and music to help members express confusing feelings. Groups are both short and long term and some groups discuss new topic areas each week. Focus for the drop-in groups are developed with the members and in the context of their current problem or crisis. All counseling services are free for survivors and their children.
Victims of Intimate Partner Violence with Disabilities often face additional barriers to safety. The person who is abusing them may also be their principle caretaker. Their disability might make it more difficult for them to communicate, to get around, or get their basic needs met. We know that people with disabilities often stay in abusive situations longer and that they are more likely to be sexually abused if they are female. Our counseling services address the additional barriers disabled clients may face. The Counseling Program is committed to working towards removing barriers for victims with disabilities seeking services from House of Ruth Maryland and seeking safety from abuse.
The Domestically Violent Women’s Program is a program for women who have used violence in an intimate relationship. Women who are court ordered or come voluntarily are helped to examine their behavior and take responsibility for the violence. We help each woman gain honest insight into the context for the violence. In some situations, IPV survivors may have used violence in an attempt to defend herself. Other women have used violence in anticipation of the next beating. The groups’ focus is on intimate partner violence education, safety planning, healthy parenting, anger management, taking responsibility for behavioral choices, and alternatives to violence.