78075David M. Lawson knows firsthand what it is like to scour multiple texts to find the necessary research and clinical information relating to family violence for his clients. That is why the Stephen F. Austin State University professor and private practice clinician wrote Family Violence: Explanations and Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, which was recently published by the American Counseling Association. Lawson’s primary aim was to create a holistic, unbiased book about the important topic of family violence that counselors either new to the field or already familiar with the subject matter could put to good use.

 How does your book compare with similar books on the market, and why will counselors find it particularly useful?

Currently, there are few books that address both major issues related to the field of family violence as well as clinical applications. Further, many of the books focus on only one particular type of family violence, such as intimacy violence or child maltreatment. My book provides wide coverage of the field of family violence, including theory and research, along with an equally strong focus on evidence-informed interventions.

The text was written with practicing counselors in mind. The text covers a wide range of topics such as assessment and treatment of each major type of family violence (e.g., intimate partner violence in both heterosexual and same-sex partnerships, child maltreatment, dating violence, elder maltreatment), the cultural context for family violence, major explanations for family violence, same-sex violence and incidence, and descriptions of various types of family violence. Material is presented within the context of existing research and scholarly opinion. Further, case examples are offered to illustrate various issues, such as types of family violence, clinical cases and research.

On what basis did you choose the particular case studies featured in the book, and how do you believe they enhanced its content?

 Case studies were actual cases from my own experiences or from published accounts of actual clinical cases. They were chosen for particular topics in the book, such as types of abusers or maltreatment of elders, as a means to add relevance for clinicians.

 How did you first get involved with the subject of family violence?

During my doctoral degree, I volunteered to work in a crisis intervention facility in which most clients were survivors of domestic violence. I knew virtually nothing about treatment and, at the time, there was little written on the topic. After completing my Ph.D., I became involved with women’s shelters and rape crisis centers through placement of students in practicum and internships. Through these contacts, I began conducting separate perpetrator and survivor groups, as well as couple therapy. I have continued to supervise students in these settings, including child advocacy centers, as well as supervise and consult with counselors and other staff in these settings.

 What are the most important take-away messages for the reader?

Family violence is widespread and occurs in approximately one in three families in the United States. Many individuals [experience] family violence issues and yet fail to receive adequate services, often because providers lack appropriate training to identify and treat family violence. This text is intended to address some of those needs. Some survivors fail to note family violence problems unless counselors initiate the discussion or provide an opportunity for clients to respond to violence issues on checklists and inventories. Therefore, family violence issues should be included in all assessments and evaluations.

What particular issues of family violence do you feel your book addresses that others on the market might ignore?

This book provides an overview of the major issues and controversies in the field of family violence, along with relevant information on evaluation and treatment, in a logical order, from specific information and statistics on the various types of family violence to assessment and interventions most appropriate for each type of violence. Most texts focus either on violence issues and research in family violence or clinical issues. This text addresses both areas in an integrated fashion.

What are some main issues or topics in the counseling profession that relate to this book?

Particular issues currently central to the counseling profession that relate to this book are inclusion, multicultural/diversity sensitivity and evidence-based practice.

Who do you feel is the best audience for this book?

Academics will find the book to be a rich source of reference material for classes, research and as a primary text in family violence classes and/or as a supplemental text for applied courses, especially those related to counseling children, couples and families.

Professional counselors can use the book to inform their assessment and treatment of the various types of family violence. The book offers balanced research and an expert-informed presentation of family violence along with critical analysis rather than an ideologically driven work that characterizes many texts in the field.

What inspired you to write this book?

 Family violence and trauma are research, supervisory and clinical areas of interest for me. Therefore, I am always looking for a “better mouse trap.” My own experiences of having to seek out multiple sources on family violence to address research and clinical needs motivated me to write a text that is relevant to practitioners. Many texts in the field promote a particular political ideology — for example, only men are intimately violent — and/or a lone intervention model rather than a balanced, practical and evidence-informed approach to understanding and treating a broad range of family violence issues. This text attempts to provide a balanced perspective on ideology, theory, research and practice.

 Why should counselors feel compelled to read this book?

This book provides an in-depth treatment of the field of family violence, including empirical literature on the various types of family violence as well as evidence-based assessment and intervention methods germane to each distinct type of family violence — male-on-female, female-on-male, same-sex. The book will be especially helpful for those counselors who have little or no experience or training in family violence.

Click here for more information or to order Family Violence: Explanations and Evidence-Based Clinical Practice from ACA.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.