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Mitigating violent tendencies with cognitive behavioral therapy

Violence can disrupt domestic relationships, jeopardize community safety and have lasting repercussions for both victims and perpetrators. Resources such as cognitive behavioral therapy may help mitigate violent tendencies.

With proactive intervention and a bit of empathy, perpetrators of violence may have the support they need to develop healthier methods of responding to their environment.

Understanding violence

Domestic violence often follows a pattern of behavior where perpetrators exert control, overreact to stressors and then show remorse before the dangerous cycle repeats itself. For many people, reacting violently may be their only answer for dealing with triggers. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risk factors that may influence violent tendencies include the following:

  • Emotional distress
  • Early exposure to violence
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Low IQ
  • Behavioral or mental disorders
  • Low economic status

Implementing therapy

Arguably the most rewarding benefit of therapy is that it targets the root cause of a person’s violence. PositivePsychology.com describes the process of restructuring long-held beliefs. Therapists help participants recognize cognitive errors that could trigger false beliefs. Through a guided process of challenging long-held conclusions, more objective and controlled responses can replace faulty ones.

Even if charges of domestic violence or other violent crimes result in prison time, perpetrators can work on their emotional response. Their ability to improve their understanding of cognitive control may improve their future and allow them to minimize the impact of past behaviors. Despite what many people believe, criminal charges do not have to conclude a person’s life and potential. A conscious resolve to improve can make a considerable difference in preventing recidivism.

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