The Freedom Programme
About the Freedom Programme
The Freedom Programme© is a domestic violence programme which was created by and is run by Pat Craven and evolved from her work with perpetrators of domestic violence. The Programme was primarily designed for women as victims of domestic violence, since research shows that in the vast majority of cases of serious abuse are male on female.
However, the programme is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of domestic abuse themselves. They currently also offers a two day Men's Programme in the UK, which is open to all men, regardless of whether they are abusive, or concerned that they may be, or victims of abuse. Please check out the Freedom Programme website for upcoming dates (beware: the programmes are few and far between, so if you want to attend, get yourself booked in asap!).
If you are not able to attend one of the Men's Programmes in person, or there are none planned for the immediate future, the Programme can be followed by reading the Dominator book and accompanying Home Study Course to learn about the issues, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours which make up domestic abuse (see below for purchase options).
The Freedom Programme© examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of women victims and survivors. The aim is to help women who have experience domestic violence to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, instead of the whole experience just feeling like a horrible mess. The aim for abusers, is to help them understand the underlying issues which allow them to resort to any form of abuse and in so doing, become more aware of their behaviour and the effect it has on loved ones.
For further information and to find out if there is a Freedom Programme© running near you, please check their website.
Freedom Programme Home Study Course
To accompany the programme and help get the message out there, Pat Craven has also written a book called "Living with the Dominator", which clearly sets out the basic beliefs, values and behaviours which underpin abusive behaviour. This book is one of the best books available to help us understand the dynamics of abuse and the tactics employed by perpetrators to keep us hooked.
Since 2010 there is also a home study course to accompany the book for all those people who cannot attend the Freedom Programme© in person.
What to expect when attending the Freedom Programme
This domestic violence programme is really like no other!
The Freedom Programme© is usually delivered as a rolling programme, which means that you can join at any time, and comprises 12 sessions, looking at the different aspects or personalities within the Dominator, together with the effect of domestic violence on any children living in the home.
Every week (or session) concentrates on a different aspect of the Dominator. Each aspect or persona employed by the perpetrator looks in turn at the tactics used to control the victim, then examines the beliefs and values held by both perpetrator and quite often the victim too, and where these stem from, and finally it looks at how these behaviours and beliefs affect us as victims of abuse.
Each session ends by looking at the healthy counterpart of the Dominator and has a quick look at their behaviour. For instance, the healthy opposite of the Liar is the Truthteller, the healthy opposite of the Bully is the Friend.
The sessions are fairly informal and friendly and nobody has to explain why they are there or disclose any personal information. There are quizzes (it's okay, nobody is being tested!), loads of examples are used, there are activities, roleplay and information sheets to help clarify and understand the topics. Also, there is no pressure on you to ACT, ie nobody will be telling you what to do in your situation, to leave, or that your experiences are not as bad as someone else's.
Anyone who has attended the sessions comes away feeling liberated, often thinking clearly for the first time in years and ready to change their life around.
Certain Curtain Theatre
The Certain Curtain Theatre have for some time been working together with Pat Craven to produce a production of a couple of plays: "Lady in Red" which follows the experiences of 'Rose' trying to escape from an abusive relationship, and "Mockingbird High" which looks at the effects of living in a home with domestic violence on children. The performances are followed by a discussion on domestic abuse issues in conjunction with facilitators of the Freedom Programme.
In This Section:
Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is the book to accompany the Freedom Programme in the UK. This book should be compulsory in schools - the information is so clear and so obvious and such an eye-opener! After studying domestic violence issues for years, this is the one book which finally enabled me to click it all into place and answer all my whys. Just read it:
To order in the US: Living With the Dominator (Kindle version only - and well worth buying a Kindle just to get this book!)
To order in the UK: Living with the Dominator: A Book About the Freedom Programme: 1
Life after getting out of an abusive relationship often continues to be a struggle, and It's My Life Now offers guidance to overcoming common pitfalls, blending worksheets with insights on self exploration and ongoing growth. From handling feels of loss and guilt to overcoming feelings associated with having loved an abuser, this book continues to offer invaluable lessons and be a real source of help and strength:
To order in the UK: It's My Life Now
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According to therapist Engel "even the most loving person" is capable of emotional abuse-that is, "any non-physical behavior designed to control, intimidate, subjugate, demean, punish, or isolate." In a reasoned, sensible tone, she encourages readers to become responsible for their behavior and for changing it. Identified are ten "patterns of abuse" (verbal assault, character assassination, etc.), different kinds of abusive relationships, action steps for cessation, and suggestions for recovery. Engel clearly shows how this type of abuse, either intentional or unconscious leads to low self-esteem and misery for one or both partners. Engel also looks at the difficult relationships where one partner suffers from Personality Disorder. A difficult and draining yet important read for those who suspect that their relationship has entered abusive territory, this book is highly recommended.
To order in the US: The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing (Paperback or Kindle version avaialble - and well worth buying the kindle to be able to start reading immediately!)
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