This project seeks to fill a void in the mental health field by providing a combined treatment model program to address the needs of survivors of intimate partner violence. As such, the primary purpose of this project is the development of a treatment program with services that are easily accessible by survivors that is intended for future implementation in shelters or agencies that have contact with this population of women. This program offers a means to engage an underserved population in access to services and self-development to improve overall mental and physical health outcomes and attempt to prevent recurrent intimate partner violence traumatic experiences.

This program will utilize a psycho-educational approach to addressing specific lack of knowledge about intimate partner violence, family systems, and healthy relationships. Additionally, participants are integrated in both individual therapy and family therapy while being connected with community-based resources and support groups. Two key conceptual foundations of this program are Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory and Family Systems Theory. Ecological theory is proposed as the meta-theory in the conceptual foundation of the program with Family Systems Theory integrated within the scope of ecological theory. The implementation of the two theories aims to improve educational awareness, mental health, and social support of individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence. The four components of the program include providing resources, access to educational material, receiving and connecting to support, and engaging in therapy. This fluid process of services aims to allow clients to access priority services while acquiring knowledge and improving their mental health that will prevent recurrent intimate partner violent situations.

The initial contact with the program is with a service navigator who completes enrollment paperwork, background information, facilitates assessments, and creates a priority service plan for each individual client. This is an important process in the program implementation in order to ensure clients are accessing their most crucial needs first. Participants will be linked to the various services offered by the service navigator. Participants will ultimately access all program components. By building relationships with others in support groups and psycho-educational classes, an increase in social support will happen organically and sustainably.

The service navigator will check in with participants as needed and will be available during the opening time of psycho-educational classes to discuss changes that need to be made among service plans and order of services offered. The support groups are highly malleable to specific group needs as the facilitator will continually assess client feedback and the topics that were presented that week within the psychoeducational classes. The group sessions can take multiple directions based on group needs and specific cohort necessities. This aims to help group members feel like the topics can be personalized and the needs that are present are being specifically addressed through education, support, resources, and therapy.

The culmination of the program includes completing assessments to determine overall effectiveness of the program per participant. Participants have continued access to needed services such as resources, continued support groups/connections, and therapy. The last unit of the psycho-educational classes is a ‘Healthy Relationship Unit’ where focus is maintained on what a healthy relationship looks like, creating boundaries, understanding the equity wheel, identifying healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and planning for the future. Continuing to focus on healthy relationships while engaging in work in therapy and accessing connections to community support is the culminating goal. This program aims to build a foundational base for each participant that is focused on improved mental health, access to education, connections to resources, and engagement in support groups to stay on a path of eliminating incidents of intimate partner violence within their lives.

LLU Discipline

Marital and Family Therapy


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Nichola Seaton Ribadu

Second Advisor

Zephon Lister

Third Advisor

Solomon Wang

Degree Name

Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy (DMFT)

Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Intimate Partner Violence; Psychotherapy; Psychoeducational methods


Doctoral Project

Page Count

xv; 258 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives