Domestic violence is a serious and pervasive public health and social problem still in the early stages of being understood and addressed. The reasons for staying with an abusive partner vary; however, the most common reason is the inability to financially survive on one’s own. Housing interventions are viewed as critical for establishing safety. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions held by female survivors of domestic violence about the interventions they have experienced. The study consisted of face-to-face interviews of survivors who completed a transitional living program. Themes in the data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The major significant themes included: individual factors (nature of abuse; role of children; faith/religion; internal realizations about self and abuse), systemic factors (community support; agency support), support from other survivors, after-care support, and programmatic factors (program limitations). These themes were expanded upon to address the main research questions about the perceived helpfulness of interventions and the perceived gaps in services and/or limitations with respect to assisting survivors. Understanding the experiences of these survivors may help identify interventions that are particularly potent resources, as well as potential current gaps in services.
Bridget received her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in 2009 and is expected to complete her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Adler University — Chicago Campus in October 2016. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Magdalen College. Bridget has worked in a variety of clinical settings including a domestic violence agency, a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth, a substance abuse facility, a community mental health agency for pregnant and parenting teens/young adults, and a community mental health agency for at-risk and homeless youth. Her clinical approach is informed by Adlerian and Constructivist Theories, which understands an individual’s experience of the world based on their subjective and personal perception of reality. She believes in using the therapeutic relationship to focus on the individual’s strengths and assets in order to empower clients with the tools to live emotionally healthy and safe lifestyles. Bridget’s areas of interest include: trauma, loss and grief, substance abuse, identity development, interpersonal relationships, crisis intervention, and sexual violence.
Janna A. Henning is a Professor at Adler University in Chicago and the founder and coordinator of its Traumatic Stress Psychology Concentration. She also maintains a part-time private practice. Her teaching and research concentrates in trauma-focused approaches to intervention, death and dying, life-threatening illness, caregiving, bereavement and loss, and gender in psychotherapy. Henning earned her BA in Political Science and JD in Law at Indiana University and her MA and PsyD in Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, a Certified Thanatologist (Death, Dying and Bereavement), and certified in Clinical Hypnosis.