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Advice needed please...



Well-known member
Aug 21, 2014
Can anyone tell me how counselling sessions with a regular (person-centred) counsellor differ from seeing one specifically trained in domestic abuse? How are their approaches different?

I was referred to a Counsellor via Women's Aid several months ago, primarily because I was depressed, anxious and suicidal. Over the course of the weeks, it became clear that the main reason for my feeling like this is because of my home situation. However, she now seems to be taking the tack that 'I am keeping myself in this situation' - i.e. depressed, because I can't find the courage to leave (and stay away)... ergo, being depressed is my fault because I am helping to perpetuate the causes of it. So I am now thinking that it is 'negative thoughts and faulty thinking' which is making me depressed rather than anything emotionally/psychologically that my OH might be doing.
Of all the posts I've on this subject, without exception, it is reiterated time and time again, that abuse is never our fault, it is down to the perpetrator.
So bl**dy confused! Any advice/thoughts on this would be welcome.


Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
The West Country
I don't think your counsellor saying that is very wise.
Whilst I see that her tactic is probably to (ultimately) build you up enough so that you can leave, the way in which she's said this to you has some really unhelpful implications.

It's difficult because I was in a situation of domestic abuse from my brother in the family home.
My psychiatrist at the time said to me "I could give you all the therapy and medication in the world, but you will never feel better until your home environment is safe".
It makes sense to me, but then it's a totally different dynamic when the abuse is coming from a family member than when it's from your partner who you love in spite of the way they're treating you.

I think that a 'regular' counsellor will probably take an approach that looks at the bigger picture of your life, and will give you the space to talk about what you want to talk about.
With someone specially trained in cases of domestic abuse, it's inevitable that that's what you'll be talking about.

By the way - it absolutely is the fault of the perpetrator. I suppose your counsellor may have been trying to say you have a choice, though obviously it's not an easy one (my refuge key worker once told me, on average, it's only on the sixth attempt a woman makes to leave her violent partner that she actually sticks to it... so that's five times she'll leave and then go back.. it's so complex and so difficult).

Sending love your way. I can remember seeing you post previously and have wondered how you've been getting on. x