Episode 12 - Why Labels Matter: The Dangers of Casual Diagnoses in Abusive Relationships
Labeling is the act of identifying and naming a person’s behavior based loosely on information obtained by unreliable sources, usually those found on social media rather than through evaluation and diagnosis from mental health clinicians. When labeling intersects with behaviors from abusers in cases of domestic violence, a pseudo-diagnosis can follow, leaving victims of domestic violence to sacrifice their own safety for the presumed mental health needs of their abuser. Terms such as narcissist and “sociopath” are often diluted through pop-psychology leading to an increase in labeling, empathy for the abuser, and risk for victims.
We talk today with Julie Owens, a victim advocate who survived the domestic violence of attempted murder. For three decades she has consulted and trained nationally and internationally for organizations, governments, and professionals. She created a domestic violence crisis team for ERs and a transitional shelter before directing DV trauma therapy research at the National Center for PTSD. Julie consults and trains independently for organizations including the Office for Victims of Crime, the National Human Trafficking Center, and Bank of America. Her focus is survivor-centered, trauma informed victim advocacy in secular and faith-based settings. Content warnings for this episode include abuse, physical and sexual violence