Becoming ethical
A parallel, political journey with men who have abused
By Alan Jenkins

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

This book is a practical guide for counsellors and therapists who work in the field of interventions with men who have engaged in violence or sexual abuse towards partners and family members.

The book argues that intervention practices must move beyond attempts to coerce, confront or educate a seemingly unwilling or unmotivated man. Instead, it offers respectful intervention practices, necessitating a parallel journey by the therapist, which:
  • assist men in finding an ethical basis and the means to cease abusive behaviour and to develop new ways of relating,
  • are informed by political, rather than psychological, metaphors of explanation and understanding, seeing intervention in terms of power relations and practices within families and communities, and within the institutional, statutory and therapeutic settings in which men participate
  • move to a restorative project which promotes: the cessation of violence and abuse; the restitution for harm done to individuals, community and culture; and a reclamation of a sense of integrity for the person who has abused.

  • Becoming Ethical builds on the invitational model, introduced by Alan Jenkins in his book Invitations to Responsibility (Dulwich, 1990), which has sold over 20,000 copies. This updated guide:
  • documents recent developments in invitational thinking and practice
  • addresses the challenges, contradictions and practical dilemmas that invitational intervention poses
  • stresses the importance of an ongoing engagement with these dilemmas, to allow practitioners to develop their own ethical, respectful and just ways of relating to their clients.

  • The most significant development in invitational theory and practice is the emphasis on the workers' parallel journey to becoming ethical. The book argues that such a parallel journey:
  • acknowledges the political nature of the intervention
  • shifts the emphasis of the intervention away from an 'us and them' attitude
  • has a far more substantial impact, in assisting their clients to challenge abusive behaviour, than any other practice methods or techniques for intervention.

  • The book is organised in five parts, with four case studies being revisited throughout the book, from initial engagement through to restitution and couple or family restoration:
  • Part One details invitational theory concerning the nature and politics of violence, resistance and restorative practice.
  • Part Two outlines the paradigm for invitational practice, including practices for addressing restraints, establishing an ethical foundation, and addressing abusive practices.
  • Part Three presents a map with guidelines for an ethical journey, and practices for facilitating this journey in the context of an restorative project.
  • Part Four concerns invitational context within a relationship and family context.
  • Part Five outlines a collaborative invitational process for evaluation of goal attainment by men who have abused.

  • Large format. 208 pages. 978-1-905541-40-9. Published 2009. £22.95.


  • Therapists and counsellors who work in the field of therapeutic intervention with men who have engaged in violence or sexual abuse.
  • Psychologists, social workers, and teachers in tertiary educational institutions.


    New developments in invitational practice
    Violence, abuse and the politics of intervention
    Violence, resistance and restorative practice
    The politics of intervention
    Becoming ready for the journey: an invitational paradigm
    Enabling ethical practice
    Attending to ethical possibilities
    Addressing abusive behaviour
    Becoming accountable
    Principles and practices for group intervention
    Overview: a restorative project
    An itinerary for the journey
    Preparing an itinerary for facing up
    Naming practices: the nature and effects of abuse
    Externalising practices: mapping and resisting pathways towards abusive behaviour
    Restitution practices
    Practices for demonstrating respect
    Broadening the journey: a relationship and family and community context
    A context for relationship counselling
    Invitational practice in situations of abuse
    Reciprocal couple violence: respecting difference
    Collaborative evaluation on the journey


    Alan Jenkins is a counsellor, consultant and trainer, and has been working for 25 years in the field of therapeutic intervention with men and boys who have engaged in violence and abusive behaviour. He conducts training workshops and seminars in the UK, North America, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. He is the author of Invitations to Responsibility (Dulwich, 1990), and contributed the chapter Knocking on Shame's Door: Facing Shame Without Shaming Disadvantaged Young People Who Have Abused to Martin C. Calder's Children and Young People who Sexually Abuse (RHP, 2005).


    "Intervention practices must move beyond attempts to coerce, confront or educate a seemingly unwilling or unmotivated man...

    "(This book) explores new ways of relating to these men... "Intervention is seen in terms of power relations and practices within families and communities, and within the institutional, statutory and therapeutic settings in which men participate." ChildRIGHT.

    "A practical guide for professionals...proposes a refreshing new perspective...thought provoking

    "Group working and principles are clearly set out, and there are insightful, helpful templates for couple working. Work is illustrated with case studies, assessment and behaviour inventory tools. Comprehensive research sources are a bonus.

    "This is an intriguing read...It will be definitely be added to my library of must have books." Addiction Today.

    "Alan Jenkins has written several books on legal and ethical counselling practice that are arguably seminal texts for all counselling practitioners. Becoming Ethical is another leader in the field, for practitioners who work with perpetrators of domestic abuse.

    "The text extends Jenkins's wisdom regarding ethical relationships, towards the development of a restorative position for abusers that can lead to a sense of integrity. Jenkins achieves this by breaking away from prevalent, limiting notions and explanations of male violence as expressions of fixed identity or reflections of a dominant cultural ideology...

    "Becoming Ethical leads the reader through a journey of discovery - from denial, acceptance, description and shame, to restitution. This is skilfully achieved by use of four case studies, in which quotes are presented from each participant that support the purpose and value of such development for both participant and practitioner. Jenkins invites the reader to reflect on and question their own responses: as he points out, the ethical journey is a parallel process for both therapist and abuser...

    "Becoming Ethical illustrates the importance and power of restorative therapy, and I recommend it as a 'must read' for practitioners who work with issues relating to domestic abuse." Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal.