This article originally appeared on New Harbinger Publications.
Those who experience psychological abuse from an intimate partner often suffer from mental health problems as a result. In order to get treatment, they consult therapists and other mental health professionals. But the majority of mental health professionals don’t have enough knowledge of psychological domestic abuse to provide treatment that these individuals would find truly helpful—perhaps because psychological abuse is much more difficult to detect than physical abuse.
A 2013 study of mental health professionals was conducted on the premise that a large percentage of “psychiatric service users experience domestic violence, yet most cases remain undetected by clinicians.” The aim of the study was to “assess mental health professionals’ knowledge, attitudes and preparedness to respond to domestic violence.” The results showed:
- Only 15% of mental health professionals asked clients about domestic violence.
- Upon disclosure (either self-initiated or from being asked by the therapist) only 27% of therapists provided helpful information.
- Most professionals (60%) felt they lacked sufficient knowledge of helpful support services for their clients.
The study concludes that mental health professionals need more training to address domestic abuse—both physical and psychological—with their clients.