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Jukes, A. (1994). Working with men who are helpless, vulnerable and violent. Free Associations, 4(4):577-603.

(1994). Free Associations, 4(4):577-603

Clinical Issues

Working with men who are helpless, vulnerable and violent

Adam Jukes

In a recent article (Jukes, 1993a) I described the hypothesis of a universal encapsulated psychosis underlying the violent behaviour of wife-batterers. In that article I attempted to account for the ubiquity of the abuse of women by men — and, by implication, not only by those in intimate relationship with their victims. I was critical of traditional analytic models of understanding such behaviour, and stated my belief that such models can be not only misleading but implicitly dangerous for women. Rather than exhaustively restating the content of that article, in this one I want to describe how we work with abusive men from the understanding of male psychology and behaviour which we have reached, and which it described.

There are a number of fundamental beliefs which follow from our understanding. These beliefs form a basis from which we can understand abusiveness and intervene to change individual men's behaviour without the necessity of instigating the deep and fundamental changes in character structure which can be brought about by intensive psychoanalytic work. Before giving some detailed accounts of how we work with abusers, I will state the primary beliefs from which we proceed.

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