Worksheets for Abusive Men’s Groups

Worksheets improve your interventions and make your counseling easier.

The question of structure vs. spontaneity in running groups is one of the most common issues that therapists face. On the one hand, we want to give batterers opportunities to talk because we know they learn best from one another. On the other hand, time is precious and we want to keep things focused. Worksheets for abusive men’s groups can combine the best of both worlds: they contain structured learning activities interspersed with relaxed conversation.

Advantages of using worksheets for abusive men’s groups:

  1. Maintain focus on an exploration of a particular topic. Unstructured discussions can ramble from one topic to another.
  2. Encourage individual thinking. If you pose a question to the group, the most active members will give you the answers. Less enthusiastic men will demur, not thinking much about the question or the answer. If you use worksheets for domestic violence intervention groups, everyone in the group is forced to write an answer.
  3. Present opportunities for rewarding and validating. It can be helpful to write responses to questions on worksheets on the white board: “What I said was so important that the group leader put it on the board.”
  4. Disclose and take responsibility for abusive behavior. When clients are required to identify and admit their acts of domestic abuse on a worksheet, they are more likely to inventory their behavior and be accountable than if they are simply responding to a question in a discussion.
  5. Encourage personal inventory. Many abusive men do not analyze themselves in a constructive way. Worksheets in which they are asked to identify destructive thinking and abusive behavior provide a window for self-examination.
  6. Make ideas concrete with writing. Writing a definition or explanation increases the likelihood that they client will remember and incorporate ideas in his life.
  7. Increase participation. Clients are more likely to speak up if they have something that they’ve written in front of them. Worksheets can produce more lively discussions.
  8. Provide records of client activities and progress. Collect worksheets. Your clients will take them more seriously if you do and you can file them in their records as tangible evidence of their participation and improvement in group.
  9. Rivet their attention. Using a worksheet to accompany DVDs (such as the Jackson Katz’s Tough Guise or Tony Porter’s series, A Call to Men) propels them to pay attention, looking for answers to question as they watch. I often run through the questions before starting the DVD.

Take a look at the worksheets in my book, Interventions for Abusive Men: Worksheets for Facilitating Domestic Abuse Groups. They can make you a more effective treatment provider and make your life easier.

How have you found worksheets to be helpful in your therapy practice?