Diane FaulknerIvy Counselling
Hello, my name is Diane and I warmly welcome you to the MENCASA Directory, a directory which is dedicated to working together with men who have or are experiencing domestic abuse and other issues. It may well have taken you courage to take that first step to seek what help is available for you, so well done you.
I have been a counsellor for 14 years and my core model is the person centred approach, but over the years I have extended my training to include diplomas in CBT and Sand Tray Therapy. I believe my experience of ‘real life’ is as important, if not arguably more important than qualifications alone!
I am co director of a successful counselling agency called Ivy Counselling based in Ivybridge, near Plymouth, Devon. Please do visit the website http://www.ivycounselling.co.uk as this will give you an insight into how I work and a feel of who I am.
I have worked in the field of Domestic Abuse for over 20 years and in many capacities, which include a volunteer support worker in a women’s refuge for 9 years, working with perpetrators who want to change as well as within a judicial role. I am commissioned by Social Services, Children’s Services to work with families who want to remain together but need help to change their patterns of behaviour for the abuse to stop. In the 1990s I was one of three officers who set up the first Police domestic unit in the Devon and Cornwall Police; this then became the model for the force as to how police officers would deal with those reporting domestic abuse. This was probably the hardest, albeit the most rewarding challenge of my life, trying to change attitudes of officers who were entrenched with the idea that ‘It’s just a domestic’. I am pleased attitudes in society as a whole have changed for the better, however there is still so much that needs to be done.
Everyone has a basic human right to live a life free from violence and abuse
It is becoming increasingly recognised that men can experience violence from their female partners and in male gay relationships. The idea of someone being so vindictive so as to make false allegations against another is incomprehensible; however it does happen and the devastating effects are extremely difficult to come to terms with and can often be long lasting. Acknowledging that one is experiencing domestic violence and stigma often with shame attached, can be a huge barrier in accessing support.
Domestic abuse is caused by misuse of power by one person over another. Behaviour is a choice and those who perpetrate domestic violence do so to get what they want and to gain control.
Domestic abuse is mainly an invisible crime, occurring mostly behind closed doors.
The obvious physical effects of domestic abuse can include physical injury such as cuts, bruising and broken bones which are all too often minimalised and the art of concocting reasons as to how they appeared become second nature. However, the emotional suffering can have devastating effects, causing lasting damage to physical and mental health affecting all areas of life, including work relationships and social life. Recovering from the impact of domestic abuse is an ongoing process.
Domestic abuse often occurs over a period of time with the individual experiencing a range of emotions including fear, reluctance, uncertainty, worry and stress. Domestic abuse can impact on a person’s self esteem and confidence, slowly diminishing these, which can make leaving an abusive relationship a daunting and frightening step.
I hear so many times “why don’t people leave an abusive relationship” or “it can’t be that bad otherwise they would leave”; I have given up trying to justify such questions and reply “It is simply not that easy”.
Having worked in this field for many years, the reasons for not leaving are unique to each and every person who has allowed me the privilege of walking alongside them on their journey. Maybe some of the reasons I have highlighted will resonate with your own experiences:
I still love my partner; I just don’t like the behaviour
They don’t mean it, they always say sorry and often end up crying then I feel guilty
It must be my fault, I wind them up by saying and doing the wrong things If you leave me I shall kill myself and you’ll never see the children again
My belief in cultural/family/religious values encourage the maintenance of the family unit The fear of violence and the perpetrator
I continue to hope and believe the perpetrator’s promise to change when they say “I will get help”
The perpetrator is well respected, mild mannered or the soul of the party; who is going to believe me or take me seriously
Fear of losing custody of the children
Fear of loneliness, all my friends seemed to have disappeared
Fear of being ridiculed for being beaten up by my partner
I work together with all my clients in the counselling suite at Ivy Counselling. In order for me to gain an insight into what is impacting on you at this time and what you want or hope to gain from engaging in counselling, don’t worry if you are not quite sure as I offer a FREE 30 minute consultation. This time will give us an opportunity to meet and we take it from there. The only thing I cannot and will not do is ‘tell you what to do’ – your partner has been doing that. It’s about you regaining self esteem, confidence, the ability to say No without feeling guilty or fearful, a feeling of empowerment and a sense of self worth.
A dedicated and professional approach to your well being
Hope to hear from you soon, Diane