Counselling the Abused Christian Woman
A Step by Step Guide
About the Book
This book sets out a simple guide for counsellors to help an abused woman move from being a victim to taking control of her life and relationships. First the woman is helped to understand if her positive personality traits such as hopefulness and deep empathy have resulted in her missing potential warning signs in an abusive relationship. We then move on to determine whether the person abusing the woman has features of a personality disorder. Such individuals are often abusive because of their unhealthy beliefs and attitudes towards others. If this is the case then the woman needs to let go of the hope that she can change her abuser as well as the guilt she may be carrying for the relationship not working. Other unhealthy past relationships are explored and these include her parents or other family members which may have predisposed her to tolerate abusive behaviour. The next stage includes educating the woman about practical strategies of assertiveness to deal with the abusers in her life. Throughout the sessions we provide her with the compassion of a listening ear, and validation for her courage. We help her understand that even though she has not received the love she had hoped for, she is still a beloved worthwhile child of God. She is then able to make a decision as to whether to stay in the abusive relationship or leave. In either case the goal is for her to take control of her life, deal assertively with the unhealthy people who are abusing her and learn how to choose healthy friends and become a healthy person herself.
About the Author
Dr. Laraine Birnie is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist who has worked in inpatient, outpatient and family court clinic settings in Canada and Jamaica. She was chief psychologist at a psychiatric rehabilitation center and appeared as an expert witness in family court regarding child custody cases. She spent 3 years as assistant professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia. In addition to being a guest lecturer at Acadia Divinity School, she has given workshops and provided consultations to pastors, churches and other Christian groups in Nova Scotia. She has also led women’s bible study groups for many years. She has worked in private practice for almost three decades with women suffering from emotional and psychological abuse. This book is a culmination of the strategies she developed working with those women. Dr. Birnie is the mother of two cherished daughters (Sarah and Carolyn) both psychologists, and five grandchildren (Owen and Miles in Halifax and Mira, Nathan and Noelle in Ottawa. Her children’s book, The Adventures of A, B, and C was published in 2023 as a gift to them.