Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Family Violence in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Michelle AhmedEmail author
  • Ryan M. Earl
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_1070


Domestic violence; Family violence; Intimate partner violence


Family violence is a highly prevalent international topic of concern that is often assessed within the context of couples and/or family therapy, because it has adverse effects on all proximate family members (Walker 1999; Knutson et al. 2009). Between 36% and 58% of couples or families who seek therapy in the USA have experienced physical assault and at least 3 million children in America witness or experience family violence every year (Knutson et al. 2009; Stith et al. 2012; Zarling et al. 2013). Thus, understanding the extent of family violence and how it can appear and be addressed in therapy is integral for couple and family therapists.


The term family violence encompasses multiple types of violence including intimate partner violence (IPV), elder abuse, and child abuse (Walker 1999). Family violence typically describes a pattern of abusive, degrading behaviors including physical,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA