The Drayton Valley Comprehensive Family Violence Institute is once again offering its fall program.

Stephen Dodds, the facilitator of the program, says that currently, the women’s program is full, but there are still some spots available for men who are interested.

The program was originally started by Rita Dillon and her husband nearly 30 years ago. Over time there have been a few other facilitators, but the program still stays true to its original material.

Dodds says he’s spent the last year going through their manual and making updates as needed. However, he didn’t remove anything that was in there already.

“The program is supposed to always be kept up to date to make sure we get new resources and other things in,” says Dodds.

Right now they are raising funds to update the educational videos used throughout the program.

Dodds says it’s important for people to know that though the program is run by the DVCFVI, it is not just for abusers or those who have suffered from domestic violence. The program helps to address the root cause of behaviour that can be the result of feeling angry.

“The principles that it’s based on are very solid principles, dealing with anger and dealing with anxiety,” he says.

Using the Choice Model, clients analyze their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Dodds says this gives people the opportunity to engage high-level thinking that can help come up with alternative ways they can make a better decision. 

“We also don’t try to demonize anger. It’s a very natural feeling. Everyone gets it,” says Dodds. Instead, the problem is often found in the way a person chooses to deal with or express their anger. He says they focus on retaining control of their body and decisions, rather than letting their emotions control them.

During the program, the women and men are in separate groups. Each of the groups will go through the exact same program.

One issue they often have is a lack of men in the program, says Dodds. He says the stigma surrounding men reaching out for help can make it difficult for men to sign up for the course. However, he feels they can sometimes benefit the most from the course.

“I often find the guys get so much out of the course because it’s such a foreign concept to be able to talk about abuse,” says Dodds. “They often think of the physical stuff with abuse, and don’t really consider any of the other stuff.”

By learning about the different types, they sometimes can find things that happened in their own life that were problematic. “It really can be a life-changing thing,” he says. “And it’s free, so people should take advantage of the opportunity.”

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 07, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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