Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Raquel Stephenson


Fathers are seen in contemporary society as having a significant impact on their children's development. The processes in which a person's parenting skills are shown to relate to their adult attachment orientation style. Intimate partner violence( IPV) has detrimental effects on children who are exposed to this violence, starting early in a child's interaction with a caregiver. There is a lack in research considering the relationship between children who have been exposed to IPV and the Internal Working Model (IWM) of abusive parents. There currently exists few options for professional interventions, which are often part of Batter Intervention Programs (BPs), when the perpetrator will continue to be present in their children's lives, especially as a co-parent. With few exceptions, the literature on interventions for perpetrators and their children has not included the perpetrator's role as a father and the family dyad system in an all-encompassing therapeutic holistic approach. The literature in this study focuses on IPV in heterosexual families where the father is the perpetrator, the mother is the victim, and the child is exposed to as a witness. Studies concerning the perpetrator are limited to his attachment patterns and role as a co-parent. The literature in this study demonstrates there is a need to improve BIPs and suggests a more holistic approach, especially when the perpetrator is also the father. Additionally, the use of art therapy when working with all family members affected by IPV is found to be understudied but a potential innovative approach to further explore.




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