Steve Halley, LSCSWSteve Halley, LSCSW

The Battering Intervention Facilitator’s Tool Box

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Welcome to our blog. These posts share some of the many tried and true tools, skills, and techniques that the Family Peace Initiative has found to be valuable through the years. We hope that this Facilitator's Tool Box will become a resource for you in your own quest to be the best facilitator you can be. We will be adding new blog posts monthly. Enjoy!

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Minimization, Denial and Blame: It is All in How We Frame It

Signpost of blame defensives

One of the first concepts that most of us learn when we are training to facilitate BIP groups is the need to address minimization, denial and blame. We learn that those who batter will use these tactics in order to avoid responsibility for their behavior, and they sure do. We are taught to challenge these tactics when they arise in group conversation, and focus on the dysfunction of using these tactics to escape responsibility. While bringing their attention to these behaviors is valuable, how we frame our response is crucial. 

Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps our participants’ use of minimization, denial and blame is a positive indicator of awareness of their behavior being wrong? If they were not aware on some level of their behavior being “out of bounds”, they would not need the benefit of these tactics. If this is contrary to how you have approached this challenging issue in your group, please allow me to explain.

“…our participants’ use of minimization, denial and blame is a positive indicator of awareness of their behavior being wrong.”

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Getting to Ownership: The Value of Making a List

Keep Calm and Make a List

Facilitating a domestic violence intervention group comes with many unique challenges. Accountability and ownership are key components to a BIP class, but it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between these while simultaneously maintaining a positive relationship.  How to help participants take responsibility for their behaviors quickly and safely without  sacrificing emotional safety can be a challenge for even the most seasoned facilitator.

Here at the Family Peace Initiative, we love to make lists. We have found that the simple act of “list making” can open doors to the ownership of behavior that can otherwise be challenging to open.  Here is how we do it:

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