Becoming Ethical - A parallel, political journey with men who have abused

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By Alan Jenkins

Large format paperback, 208 pages

Published 2009

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 of 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
  • address the challenges, contradictions and practical dilemmas that invitational intervention poses
  • Stress the importance of an on-going 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 intervention
  • shift 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


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