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Positions constructed for a female therapist in male batterers' treatment groups
The aim of this study was to examine how male batterers regard to a female therapist in their group treatment. Of interest were the socially constructed positions for a female therapist. This study intends to examine what kind of positions the batterers construct for a female therapist in their speech and how the female therapist reacts to invitations to take up these positions. Attention was paid also to the male therapist’s positions in these situations. The topic was approached from a social constructionist and discourse analytic point of view and Grounded Theory was used as the method of analysing the data. The data consisted of five therapy groups for male batterers, each of which gathered fifteen times at the beginning of the 21st century. The groups have been implemented as a part of a Finnish batterers’ treatment program in Jyväskylä, Finland. The program functions as a collaboration of a crisis centre called “Mobile” and the Jyväskylä University Psychotherapy Training and Research Centre. Overall there were 26 men participating in these five groups and each group had a female and a male therapist as leaders. The therapy sessions had been videotaped and the researcher transcribed the significant sections of the tapes into text files for further analysis. The female therapist was many times positioned primarily as a woman in the groups. The positions of a woman were constructed in three dimensions: The female therapist was positioned as a representative for the women in general; she represented the men’s spouses and she was offered positions personally as a woman. Positions of woman were often based on constructed difference between men and women. The positions were in accordance with the constructions male batterers are known to have about women. The female therapist could diminish the difference constructed between men and women by taking up or repositioning herself to positions that challenged the men’s discourses. The male therapist usually positioned himself to support his co-worker. On the other hand he took part in the positioning of the female therapist as a woman in some of the discourses. Cooperation between the therapists is essential in treatment of batterers. Working with batterers is simple for neither a female nor a male therapist. The results of this study give support to the model where there is a female therapist leading male batterers’ treatment groups. The female therapist can make the men see their spouses’ point of view and alleviate the process of feeling compassion towards them. She can also modify the men’s constructions of women by taking up positions that challenge their production in the discourses. ...
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