USE OF THE 12-STEP PROGRAM AS AN APPROACH FOR VIOLENCE
The 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has been applied in the
of male batterers, in group and individual therapies. Its application is
based on several assumptions: a. Similarly to substance-dependents,
male-batterers find themselves powerless over their violence, a situation
which causes constant suffering to themselves and those around them; b.
Recognition of their powelessness and personal suffering can serve as an
initial motivation for entering therapy; c. The behavioral violence
and verbal) is symptomatic of a deeper "dis-ease" of violence; d. Three
levels of the violence dis-ease are definable - physical, mental and
spiritual; e. Since the 12-Step program relates to those three levels of
dis-ease, it can be implemented in the treatment of battering.
Three modular goals were determined for the treatment, in parallel
the three leveled dis-ease: a. Defusing any violent manifestation before
reaches the powerlessness stage; b. Diverting the attitudes, expectations
and emotions of the batterer away from stimulants to violence; c. Totally
transforming the individual by impacting on his belief system, morality,
attitudes and affect to attain non-violence. The transformation remains
binding as long as the practice is adhered to. Men who attained this final
goal discover the ability to display unconditional love, achieve serenity
abstain from violent even in violence-provoking conditions. This
transformation process is beyond limits of the therapeutic intervention and
should be carried over into the individual's way of life.
After a two-year implementation of this program, several beneficial
effects were noted: a. It provides the individual with a structured
value-system which supports him in the face of social norms which enable
violence, and assists him in situational frustrations; b. Since the program
is totally voluntary, it helps the individual assume responsibility for his
behavior, and releases him from feelings of guilt, shame and victimization;
c. The program's spiritual approach offers a solution to the present-day
existential emptiness; d. Its modular structure enables the approach to be
applied flexibly; e. In accord with the 12-Step wisdom, the combination of
newcomers to the group with veterans to it, benefits both.
For substance-dependent clients, the 12-Step self-help groups can
serve as a community-based extension of the intervention. For other
clients it is advisory to establish 12-Step self-help groups focusing on
the suppression of violence.
Return to Main Menu