Intimate Warfare: Regarding the Fragility of Family Relations

Author(s) : Martine Groen, Author(s) : Justine Van Lawick

Part of The Systemic Thinking and Practice series - more in this series

Intimate Warfare: Regarding the Fragility of Family Relations

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The community in which children are nursed; the family, should by all means be a safe haven. However, it is not. People in family relations are more likely to be threatened, hit, kicked, raped or beaten up. Such violence in the domestic circle conjures up a lot of questions. The authors have been engaged with this problematical issue for years and are now trying to make the dynamics of violence within the family more comprehensive. This book is a reflection of on their dialogue.

Reviews and Endorsements

It is in families that people have the biggest chance to be threatened, slapped, beaten, molested, sexually abused or murdered. The authors, both systemic therapists, address the dynamics of intimacy and violence in family relations. In this book they integrate theory and clinical practice that captures the central themes around violence in families. They deal with the dynamics of violence from different perspectives. Issues of power, gender, shame, revenge and politics are addressed. When violent behaviour has ceased, revenge feelings of the victim can be the starting point for a new cycle of violence. In this book revenge rituals are suggested to negotiate this phase. The authors present clearly how harmful it is for children to grow up in a violent home. They also outline the possible harm to psychotherapists themselves, in a chapter that deals with the consequences for psychotherapists that work frequently with violent cases. Burn out and symptoms of secondary traumatisation are described as well as possible methods to prevent this. A special chapter of a guest author deals with the treatment of violent men.

'Intimate Warfare describes brilliantly how tensions build up in families, how these can spiral into violence, how such violence can be curbed and how people can be taught different ways of managing confl ictual situations. The book refers to the changing roles of men and women in recent decades and the confusion and tensions that go with this. The authors convincingly relate their approach to the ever changing historical and political settings and contextualize violent behaviours by embedding these in the social and family environment. Intimate Warfare deserves a wide readership and not only amongst systemically oriented clinicians. It is essential reading for all those who are passionate about working with violence in families. This book not only complements other recent publications on this important subject, but is an important new contribution to make the family - and the world - a safer place.'
- Dr Eia Asen, MD, FRCPsych, Systemic Practitioner Consultant; Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatrist

1 Home and hotbed
2 Together you will progress
3 The downward spiral of violence between partners
4 From ill-behaviour to relational behaviour
5 The coherence between shame and violence
6 Rituals of vengeance
7 The reproduction of violence
8 Of young rulers and terror at home
9 Perpetrator-counseling
10 The therapist as a person
11 Apprehensive heroes

About the Author(s)

Martine Groen is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, who has specialized in the effects of violence and trauma in families. She is also a trainer, consultant, coach and mediator in non-profit organisations. She consulted and trained traumatized women, families and organisations from 1995 to 2005 in former Yugaslavia, and took part in a conflict-resolutions scheme between various organisations in Bosnia. She has published several books on prostitution, intimate war, domestic violence, shame and violence.

Justine van Lawick is a clinical psychologist and registered psychotherapist specializing in systemic therapy, and has worked as a family therapist in adult psychiatry and child psychiatry. In 1984 she was co-founder of the LORENTZHUIS centre for systemic therapies, training and consultation in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Together with Martine Groen she developed a systemic model for conjoint work with family violence, and is a specialist in systemic work with violence problems in families. She has edited and published many papers and books.

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