A GoodTherapy.org News Update
When it comes to abuse, many people conceptualize physically violent encounters or the sort of horrific and rare events wrapped around media-crazy murder cases. But mental health professionals are likely more aware of how many different forms abuse can take. From subtle occurrences to overt instances, abuse is a part of life for many modern people, and studies of people of all ages and life situations suggest that a great deal of them aren’t cognizant of the problem.
This is especially true in the case of young people, who, when entering romantic relationships for the first time or exploring their sexuality during teen years, often decline to share details with anyone outside their own circle of friends. This is compounded by the fact that some children are raised without a solid example of a functional romantic relationship, making abuse seem ordinary or acceptable. Aiming to combat these opportunities for abuse, the domestic violence prevention program “Between Friends” in Chicago has begun offering early relationship education courses to local students in junior high and high school. Over the course of a handful of weeks, with one hour per week set aside for the special program, the courses help students explore warning signs of abuse, how to get help in abusive situations, and how to foster –and accept– healthy relationships.
From sexual pressure and non-consensual encounters to patterns of verbal and emotional abuse, the program hopes to help the city’s youth to establish positive relationship habits early on, sparing them lifelong difficulties with intimacy, teaching them how to deal with trust issues, and helping to prevent domestic violence. For the students, who are often led to place importance on other factors in relationships, the knowledge and support may be crucial.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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