Change: Developmental Levels, Systems, and Diversity
The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of Domestic Abuse related to the change management and diversity. According to Burnett & Brenner (2011) domestic violence is the result of the victimization of a person with whom "the abuser has or has had an intimate, romantic, or spousal relationship." Traditionally it includes a pattern of behaviors that attempt to coerce adults or youths that are ordinarily competent, into behaviors that establish the abuser as the power figure, so that they maintain control over other members of the party in question. Behaviors of patterns that proffer control often build upon each other, setting a stage for "future violence" (Burnett & Brenner, 2011). Psychological abuse, stalking, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and isolation are all forms of domestic abuse resulting in annual economic costs exceeding $8 million dollars according to the CDC (Burnett & Brenner, 2011). This paper will examining developmental theories related to change processes that will help impact the field of domestic violence, so that counselors may develop a process more likely to help stop victimization and decrease the likelihood that women will return to abusers.
Developmental Theories Related to the Change Process
To understand how to reduce the likelihood that abuse in the future will continue, one must first understand the change process. In the article "Helping Students Think" several developmental theories related to the change process are highlighted. These include Emmerich's (1968) theories which highlight three orientations that include "individual differences" which explain the traits and attributes of individuals which explain differences among students which reflect how they interpret events and learning material. Emmerich also highlights "Ipsative" explanations for why individuals may highlight or focus on certain aspects of learning or theories rather than others; still another orientation is the "classical developmental" orientation which suggest that people must develop at different hierarchical steps, like growing up a ladder, and at each step they inhabit a different personality and cognitive developmental trait or perspective (Schmidt & Davison, 1983). This would suggest that during a change process, different variables might affect an individual during change, so that they might exhibit various personality characteristics throughout the process of change.
Other important points include the theory of intellectual development proffered by King (1977) and Kitchener (1977) which suggest a similar thought process regarding developmental orientation offered by that of Emmerich, stating that reflective judgment or RJ theory explains varying characteristics of one's personality during change processes. RJ theory posits that differences among subjects may result from various predictable developmental processes, and thus one may develop predictable stages of development (Schmidt & Davison (1983). Change, according to the RJ theory, is as much the result of structural reorganization however, more than the result of incremental leaps in development, suggesting that as a person grows developmentally, and their personality shifts and reorganizes accordingly. Thus, a counselor educator in this type of setting considering RJ theory might consider assisting others and counselors in learning to help clients adapt to the entire environment rather than one particular setting.
According to Eriksen (2008), the counseling profession's focus on the development process has applied primarily to phasic rather than stage theories to counseling and supervision practice. This continues the thought processes outlining the RJ theory, suggesting a more comprehensive approach to developmental theory is necessary, considering a kind approaching, taking into consideration the entire environment, rather than "steps" on the ladder. To rectify this situation, a shift in approach is required where constructive development takes place, one that takes into consideration the connections evident at each developmental level of the psyche as individuals adapt to changes and reach new cognitive and social developmental levels (Erikson, 2008; Hall & Chandler 2005; Wagner et al. 2005).
Most helpful of these to the field of Domestic Abuse is the RJ theory, considering Domestic Violence is a patterned process. Just as the abuser is likely to build upon previous incidents of abuse, women that are abused, and children, are likely to return to victimization-like behaviors when responding to abuse, whether they are abused for short times or throughout the course of their lives. For this reason, a counselor educator or supervisor can research and consider the…