Steven Stosny

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Steven Stosny is the founder of CompassionPower in suburban Washington, DC and author of several books on improving relationships. He has taught at the University of Maryland and at St. Mary's College of Maryland.[1] Stosny argues that marriage counseling, psychotherapy, anger management, and abuser treatment often makes relationships worse because, among other things, the therapists make hurt women feel ashamed of their natural (albeit irrational) feelings of guilt; because the therapy is too slow-acting, requiring a great many weekly one-hour sessions; and because in their efforts to build working alliances with reluctant male clients, counselors reinforce that the husband has been mostly right and the wife mostly wrong. Stosny argues, "Abuser groups fail because they focus on negative attitudes, rather than the core hurts that cause them."[2]

Stosny model[edit]

Stosny is the creator of the Stosny model of behavioral intervention programs for intimate partner abusers. Its focus is on nurturing compassion,[3] in contrast to the Duluth model, whose focus is on getting offenders to embrace feminist principles. Stosny's program seeks to use tools such as the Stosny-created[4] 20-minute video "Shadows of the Heart", dramatizing spouse abuse from the viewpoint of a young boy, to dissipate client resistance by providing internal motivation to control violent behavior.[5] Stosny's research shows that self-esteem enhancement during treatment for partner violent men is correlated with violence reduction, and does not increase the risk for subsequent relationship aggression.[6]


  1. ^ "Experts: Steven Stosny, Ph.D." Psychology Today.
  2. ^ Stosny, Steven (2006). "Why Marriage Counseling, Psychotherapy, Anger-Management, and Abuser Treatment Made It Worse". You don't have to take it anymore: Turn your resentful, angry, or emotionally abusive relationship into a compassionate, loving one. Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-8469-1.
  3. ^ "Feeling Their Pain". Washington City Paper. 27 April 2001.
  4. ^ "Shadows of the Heart". Intermedia.
  5. ^ Stosny, Steven (1994). ""Shadows of the Heart": A Dramatic Video for the Treatment Resistance of Spouse Abusers". Social Work. 39 (6): 686–694. doi:10.1093/sw/39.6.686.
  6. ^ Murphy, Christopher M.; Stosny, Steven; Morrel, Tanya M. (August 2005). "Change in Self-Esteem and Physical Aggression During Treatment for Partner Violent Men". Journal of Family Violence. 20 (4): 201–210. doi:10.1007/s10896-005-5983-0.