“Treating Abusive Controlling Relationships”, “Track 9 Successfully Using 2R’s, RET, and B-A-D questions” - CR
Successfully Using 2R's, RET, and BAD Questions is an excerpt from the Online Continuing Education Course intended for Social Worker CEUs, Psychologist CEUs, Psychology CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs
This powerpoint video is part of the continuing education course “Treating Abusive Controlling Relationships”, “Track 9 Successfully Using 2R’s, RET, and B-A-D questions” for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and MFTs.
Many clients blame themselves for their situations. In controlling and abusive relationships, this self-blame often causes the abused individual to stay. In this track, we will discuss three techniques to reframe these beliefs: recognize and remember, RET, and BAD questions.
The 2 R’s: Recognize and Remember
Often client’s abusive relationships are made and perpetuated by an eroding self-image. By blaming the abused individual, the individual feels he/she is responsible for their abuse which in turn makes them feel they need to stay in the relationship. Rhonda, a 41-year-old mother of two and a schoolteacher, confessed that her husband of 20 years, Jeffrey, often made her feel like she was a bad wife and that she was incapable of doing anything on her own.
The first tool for the abused individual, like Rhonda, is to reconstruct the reality of their self-blame based upon her story and discuss the meaning it holds for them.
I have found that by pointing out the 2 R’s of recognize and remember, it helps the client develop a new narrative and introduces them to opportunities for making new choices for themselves. I asked Rhonda, "Have you ever thought about your relationship with Jeffrey from the point of view of who's in control? It sounds like Jeffrey constructs the story, or his version of reality was pretty much have accepted by you. Is that right?" After Rhonda remembered detailed circumstances this seemed to fit.
As a second technique, using Albert Ellis’ Rational-Emotive Therapy has been beneficial to reframe client’s beliefs. I encouraged Rhonda to distinguish between what is objective fact and what was her subjective interpretation of her behavior and Jeffrey’s. However, there is a triangular tightrope to walk in distinguishing objective fact from subjective interpretation:
1. Help the client become cognizant that by justifying and tolerating the abuser’s behavior they perpetuate the problem.
2. Steer the client away from self-blame.
3. Steer the client away from externalizing the problem and making the abuser the scapegoat.
These techniques are part of continuing education intended for psychologists, counselors, MFTS, and social workers.
A third technique I find helpful in reframing the beliefs of abused clients is using BAD Questions. Through the course of several sessions, I ask my clients the following three questons.
1. B represents bear. I ask my client, “Do you think that you can bear this type of treatment for the rest of your life?”
2. A represents acceptable. I then ask my client, “Your partner is not behaving in the way he should toward you. Is that acceptable to you?”
3. D represents deserve. I finally ask my client, “You mentioned there have been good times between you and your partner, but that’s not what I am hearing from you now. You sound unhappy. DO you think you deserve to be happy?”
Notice that I phrase the questions so the focus is on the client’s responses and choices rather than the behavior of their partner. When I asked these questions to Rhonda, through reflection she began to realize she was spending more time anticipating Jeffrey’s needs than she wanted to. Rhonda began establishing boundaries regarding Jeffrey’s outbursts and insisted that Jeffrey get help. Rhonda explained to me “I feel the cure for my horrible feeling of powerlessness is to be aware of my power in my relationship with Jeffrey.”
The three techniques that clients dealing with controlling relationships can use to reframe their beliefs are the 2R’s, RET, and BAD questions.
The preceding video is an excerpt from the continuing education course “Treating Abusive Controlling Relationships”, “Section 9 Controlling Relationships… Successfully Using 2R’s, RET, and B-A-D questions” and is written for counselors, social workers, psychologists, and MFTs who must meet CEU requirements for licensure renewal.