Statistics had shown that cases of domestic violence range from 960,000. These include violence against existing or former couples, boyfriend and girlfriend, and women who are battered by their men or partners they live together with. Women are mostly victims of domestic violence. Their cases are 7 times more than men. Violence by partners totals to about 21% of abuse experienced by women and about 2 % of the abuse occurring to men. About 31,260 of women were killed by partners from 1976-1996 while 39% females receive hospital emergency for abuse-related injuries. In every year 2 million to 4 million US women are abused by their partners. At least 12 million of women (25% of the female population) will be assaulted every time, 35% of women and 22% of men going to the hospitals have encountered domestic violence.

From the above, we can come to a conclusion that the rate of domestic violence in general US population is 65%. This is confirmed by the above statistics.

Seven Defensive Mechanisms

Defensive mechanism is a way of hiding or changing unwanted feelings, desires that are difficult to cope with or express.

The seven defensive mechanisms include:

  1. Denial – which is the refusal to agree with reality or fact. Behaving as if a bad situation has not happened or does not exist.
  2. Repression – is unknowingly blocking of unwanted thoughts or feelings.
  3. Displacement – is taking out of negative feelings meant for one person on another one.
  4. Sublimation – is changing of unwanted activities into more acceptable ones.
  5. Rationalization – is the changing of opinion about someone or something to avoid the reality. This mostly happens in relationships where if one is dumped he/she tends to degrade the partner who he/she earlier upgraded.
  6. Reaction formation – is the changing of unwanted thoughts or feelings into good ones in order to show lack of these bad thoughts.
  7. Projection – is accusing another person of having unwanted thoughts, desires which are not true .This comes as result of lack of accepting one’s own feelings.

From the above we can conclude that Carla displays two defensive mechanisms which are:

  • Rationalization because at first she describes Brian as being sweet during the start of the relationship but later says she made a mistake in choosing a boyfriend who is just like her father.
  • Projection because she is causing her father of being controlling instead of accepting that she the one who is wrong. She is also somehow blaming her father for causing her to move in with Brian.

Which is the best theoretical approach to take for Carla?

Theoretical Approaches

  1. Psychoanalysis

This applies to cases where unwanted thoughts of childhood are taken out of the mind but continue to affect thoughts, emotions and behavior. They can surface again as conflicts or through dreams.  This therapy is used by people suffering from distress and can be a long process.

  1. Psychodynamic

This therapy stresses the importance of the past experience in determining current behavior.  The patient is encouraged to spill out childhood relationships with parents and other important people and the therapist focuses on the dynamics and specifically the transference.  The Psychodynamic approach is similar to Psychoanalysis but provides a fast solution to emotional crisis, (Norman, 2001).

3.  Humanistic approach                                                                                                                   This therapy encourages people to take their feelings into account. It majors on self-development and attaining the almost all of potential. The patient’s creative instincts are used to look at and rectify his/her issues.

4. Behavioral Therapy

This therapy approach states that behavior is related to past experience and can be undone without looking at the past to find the cause for that behavior.  It is effective for obsessive behavior and fears.

Key features of psychodynamic are:

  1. Free association using as the main way for looking for internal problems and conflicts.
  2. Concentrating on definitions of transference and recent symptoms.
  3. Have a strong belief in insight as being important in therapy.

The therapist can associate with Carla in order to know the causes of the conflicts between her and Brian. And this can help the therapist to know if Carla had in anyway contributed to the conflict which may in turn help in the therapy. The therapist can use transference to make Carla understand that her father’s control is not as bad as she perceives it. Insight can be used in order to assist Carla to separate her reactions  to boyfriend from her feelings towards her father.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Goals

  1. To have the ability to cope with frustration and emotional feelings.
  2. To have self-understanding.
  3. To develop insight.


She will be able to move on without being affected by earlier situations because she can cope with them .This will also avoid further discomfort. It also allows one to rectify any mistakes that might have triggered conflict between her and Brian. Lastly, it enhances new ways of coping with situations instead of relying on childhood methods.

Importance of Achieving These Goals

Help in the emotional healing of the patient in the fact that she will be able to ignore the earlier frustrations from childhood and even from the recent relationship with Brian. This is will also help the therapist in knowing the progress of the patient. It can be achieved through free association. By being able to develop insight, Carla will be able to decide or make decisions from a new perceptive. For example, she will not view her father’s control as being negative like she did earlier. Also in gaining self-understanding, Carla can be able to know herself and rectify her negative side. This will in return assist her in future relationships with other people (Target, 2003).

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