To talk to a brick wall is much like scratching nails on a chalkboard. In real time, people like to be heard; people dislike voices whining and complaining about things out of their control. Unless, that is, if they are the one who complains.
During my time employed, I learned to process negative attitudes my clients demonstrated since they were required to come for domestic violence education. Many of them voiced opinions loud and long for at least five weeks while they acclimated to the group environment. During this time, myself a facilitator had to balance moving clients forward while rolling with resistance; not an easy feat by any means.
Limitations of what I was permitted to do and what was best practices often stumped me, however, I carried on until of course, COVID took over our work.
Now, I am not one to sit back idle. I started a business, created a new set of program materials, created the brochures, business cards, letterheads, and so forth, while the rest of the world shut all programs down, I was inventing a new way to do things.
My Zoom groups are flourishing right now. I seek to keep the group between 8–10 members, so it’s not overwhelming for a single facilitator. Often, I have a co-facilitator who joins my meetings once or twice a week as a guest, and to learn how to work with those who do are mandated to come to treatment.
In times of complexity, we have to find an alternate route to deliver the best quality of work for our clients. A baseline of easy doesn’t come when you deal with angry clients. The power in the purpose makes all the difference.
After four years of face-to-face work, which gave me the best training field for what I do, the Zoom platform opened up a new world to enhance what I already started. Clients noticed the difference, and new clients coming in can see the difference from what they ‘thought’ they were going to get, more of the same “blame, stigmatize, and shame.”
The work is in no way taken lightly. Domestic violence in all of its forms creates fear in victims. The victims, who we pray and hope become survivors, face much need in healing and growth.
We want to help them limit the chances of returning to someone who is not willing to change or getting involved with a new partner, who is equal to or more violent than the last partner. Both men and women can be either perpetrators or victims, so to tease out the details takes extra time and skills.
My experience helps me dig deeper, look at the bigger picture, and move forward with a client, helping them realize that no matter what happens to them, they do not ‘have’ to use violence. To choose a non-violent path is powerful.
Brené Brown shares “The thing that’s very powerful about belonging is that true belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are — it invites us to be who we are,” she commented. “When we can show up, as our true selves, bring our talents and perspectives, and be seen and know we matter and are part of something, we succeed.”
My work provides the opportunity to engage with people torn by the choice to use violence in relationships. As I continue to develop my leadership skills, I seek to empower the perpetrators of violence to find their voice without using violence on any level.
The Program adaptation to Zoom provides my clients a safe place to open up, heal, and grow. Even the toughest client expresses “We are getting so much more value than the cost of the sessions” another stated, “I’m so grateful for you, Pam, for bringing such powerful topics to group” and more.
If I can see the pain behind the choices to use violence and bring this awareness to my clients, why can’t others see the value of empathy, directness, and genuine interest in growing each client may need and desire?
It’s more than stopping the violence. It is changing lives one topic and connection at a time.
~Just a thought by Pamela
Previously published on medium
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