CompassionPower, the heals technique, developed by Dr. Steven Stosny:
I found out about this program through an in-service training that was given to the VAN (Victim Assistance Network, in northern Virginia) volunteers (VAN operates a domestic violence and rape crisis hotline, plus offers support groups). I was volunteering with VAN in a search to find an effective treatment method for the domestic violence and domestic abuse in my marriage.
In the in-service training, Dr. Stosny explained the heals technique (an older version than what he teaches, now), and I immediately saw how effective it would be.
I was able to have my husband court-ordered into Dr. Stosny's program, but (using my advocacy skills :) ) as a volunteer, which Dr. Stosny wanted because he specializes in working with the abusers, who at that time (the 1990's) were mostly men. That said, I was impressed that after every training session, at that time he was calling the wives afterward, during the week, to see what the abuser's reaction had been: more angry, not less? able to use the technique? upset about something that had been said in the training class? Then Dr. Stosny would adjust his next lesson, based on that, so that he could respond.
Dr. Stosny always encouraged the wives/female partners to come to the courses, so that the couple could go through the training as a couple (even though at first they might sit on opposite sides of the room! :) ). By the end of the course, usually they were sitting together, and at apology night, people cried, and my husband and I brought roses. A rose was given to each person, after he or she had given his or her apology. This was based on a technique that I had experienced in a self-esteem course, at the Women's Center of Northern Virginia. For some, it was the first time that they had ever been given a rose. Dr. Stosny used the rose as a metaphor for relationships, that the thorns could hurt, but a person can handle that, and the rose itself is beautiful.
The heals technique was effective for my husband and me. It teaches not to even hurt the feelings of a person who has hurt you. However, Dr. Stosny is not very aware of nonviolent protest strategies (not passive-aggressive ones), and at that time he didn't have a very effective assertiveness training element in his course. Also, he has changed his course, now, to promote couples staying together, but at that time he felt that it was an individual decision for each person to make, and he didn't try to promote healthy relationships/staying together as part of his course, which now he does.
As an example of that, my husband was brought on as a trainer, which he continues to do, and although he has always been a really good teacher (not his profession), I wasn't brought on in the same way.
In fact, I was dropped from the volunteer part of the program because I was willing to challenge Dr. Stosny on some of these, and other issues, and my husband, doing paid work for him as a teacher in the evenings, chose instead to maintain his contact with him. That has worked out well, since now I'm beginning to develop a more effective relationship with Dr. Stosny.
Although my husband and I are now divorced, my husband has remarried, and I'm friends with both him and his wife, who live not far from me. That is all due to Dr. Stosny and the heals technique.
Domestic violence programs and shelters don't seem to have rushed to bring in Dr. Stosny's program, as I would have thought (I value it incredibly highly - I think Dr. Stosny deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for it) so it's super to see this discussion group (the peace conference call last night referred us to the discussion groups, today).
I would like to hear from domestic violence programs and shelters who haven't brought in Dr. Stosny's heals technique, to find out what their concerns are, and to share my story. Also, I might be able to work with Dr. Stosny to get changes that people think are needed.
Thanks very much for listening,
it would be super if his program could become more well-known,
I consider it a great gift, that I was able to find effective training for domestic
violence, in my lifetime,
when so many women, in the past, weren't able to,
thanks very much for listening,
it will be super to be able to talk with people in the field about this,