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The Abusive Personality: Violence and control in intimate relationships

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About the Course:

This book demonstrates that intimate partner abuse by men is more than just a learned pattern of behavior — it is the outgrowth of a particular personality configuration. Findings from the author’s research with more thana 400 batterers are integrated with the literature on object relations, attachment, and psychological trauma to trace the development of the abusive personality from early childhood to adulthood. The volume concludes with a discussion of clinical outcomes, and a detailed practical overview of a 16-week group treatment program. For the paperback edition, the treatment chapter has been revised and expanded to reflect the ongoing development of the author’s clinical approach. Included are new guidelines for working with borderline personality disorder and attachment disorders in the context of batterer groups.

This course is based on the book, The Abusive Personality: Violence and control in intimate relationships created by Donald Dutton, Ph.D. and Donald Dutton, Ph.D. in 0.

Publication Date:

2003 / Paperback edi

Course Material Authors

Donald Dutton, Ph.D.

Donald Dutton received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1970. In 1974, while on faculty at the University of British Columbia, he began to investigate the criminal justice response to wife assault, preparing a government report that outlined the need for a more aggressive response, and subsequently training police in “domestic disturbance” intervention techniques. From 1979 to 1995, he served as a therapist in the Assaultive Husbands Project, a court mandated treatment program for men convicted of wife assault. In the course of providing therapy for these men, he drew on his background in both social and clinical psychology to develop a psychological model for intimate abusiveness. He has published over one hundred papers and three books, including the Domestic Assault of Women, The Batterer and The Abusive Personality : A Psychological Profile. Dutton has served as an expert witness in criminal trials involving family violence, including his work for the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson trial. He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Donald Dutton, Ph.D.

Donald Dutton received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1970. In 1974, while on faculty at the University of British Columbia, he began to investigate the criminal justice response to wife assault, preparing a government report that outlined the need for a more aggressive response, and subsequently training police in “domestic disturbance” intervention techniques. From 1979 to 1995, he served as a therapist in the Assaultive Husbands Project, a court mandated treatment program for men convicted of wife assault. In the course of providing therapy for these men, he drew on his background in both social and clinical psychology to develop a psychological model for intimate abusiveness. He has published over one hundred papers and three books, including The Domestic Assault of Women, The Batterer and The Abusive Personality : A Psychological Profile. Dutton has served as an expert witness in criminal trials involving family violence, including his work for the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson trial. He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Course Creator

Keith Gibson, Ph.D.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about domestic violence and batterer treatment programs. It is appropriate for intermediate to advanced levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify some of the cultural, political and scientific factors that have contributed to the development of past and present batterer treatment programs.

  2. Understand the impacts of borderline personality organization, insecure attachment and chronic trauma on the development of the abusive personality.

  3. Explain the effects of early traumatization on the development of abusive behavior.

  4. Explain how the politicizing of spouse assault has hampered effective batterer treatment.

  5. Identify factors predictive of success or failure in group batterer treatment

  6. Describe an effective group treatment program for wife assaulters.

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American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

10 credit hours

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American Psychological Association (APA)

10 credit hours

CE Learning Systems is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)

10 credit hours

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

10 credit hours

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Course Retired
Course Number 100909
10 credit hours
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Exam Fee: No Longer Available
4.45 out of 5
144 members have taken this course