Patterns of Destruction: Ministering to Victims of Family Violence

Patters of Destruction  Stand Dekoven, Vision CollegesIntroduction: The Family Violent

It was 1984 when my former associate and I first began working as counselors with the Domestic Violence and Youth Diversion programs of the San Diego City Police Department. I never thought that much of my focus in therapy over the next few years would be with victims of family abuse, either past or present.

My leading in that direction should not have seemed such a surprise. We had long been desirous of developing our counseling ministry with specializations in what seemed to be the most needed fields of concern: dysfunctional families, adult children of alcoholics, adults molested as children, etc. These kinds of individual and family problems had for some time been on a steady increase. Yet, my personal interest stemmed from my own family background, since my family of origin was intensely dysfunctional and frequently disruptive. This is not necessarily the best reason to develop a counseling practice or ministry, but the combination of the exercise of personal demons and clinical training has been highly therapeutic for many, including me. My hope is that my knowledge and experience will be expressed in wisdom for those who suffer and for clinicians and pastors who desire to be "wounded healers."

How to Use this Book and the Study Guide

First, this manuscript is written for those preparing themselves for effective counseling ministry in this growing arena of concern. This manuscript was meant to be used with the study guide and teaching/seminar tapes provided for students matriculating in University or Bible College programs. The focus is to first present the various facts and figures related to family violence, and then to provide various plans of intervention for families caught in the web of violence.

Secondly, in the section on victims and victimizers, the dynamics of abuse in various areas is fully detailed.

Finally, the section on treatment and recovery details the process of change. The strategies presented are tested over time, and useful for most people, perpetrators and victims alike. When combined with God's power and good clinical wisdom, positive and permanent results glorifying to the Lord will be the result. It is my hope that the reader will grow as he/she processes through the material.

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