HOPE for Battered Women With PTSD in Domestic Violence Shelters

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Do you feel overwhelmed when attempting to treat battered women with ongoing safety concerns? Could battered women in shelters benefit from psychotherapy in addition to the case management they traditionally receive? What type of treatment would be most beneficial for battered women in shelters? Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most prevalent disorder associated with intimate partner violence (IPV). PTSD is associated with severe impairment and loss of resources, which can severely impact a sheltered battered woman's ability to establish long-term safety for herself and her children. Consequently, we have developed a new treatment for sheltered battered women with PTSD, Helping to Overcome PTSD through Empowerment (HOPE). HOPE is a short-term cognitive-behavioral treatment in a preliminary stage of development for battered women with PTSD in domestic violence shelters. It focuses on stabilization, safety, and empowerment and teaches women skills to manage their PTSD symptoms that may interfere with their ability to access important community resources and establish safety for themselves and their children. A case example utilizing HOPE is offered. Future directions and clinical applications are discussed.

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