Hui Wen Tong: Families Under Fire — Unveiling Domestic Violence | All Together #47

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Hui Wen Tong, a mental health therapist based in Singapore

In this episode, Hui Wen Tong discusses her role in assisting individuals and families dealing with domestic violence. She mentions working with both the aggressor and the victims, helping the aggressor to stop their abusive behavior, supporting the victims in coping with their emotions, and developing strategies for dealing with the abuse.

Meet Hui Wen Tong

Hui Wen Tong is a mental health therapist in Singapore. She is a dedicated and empathetic professional passionate about helping individuals overcome their mental health challenges and achieve personal growth. Hui Wen specializes in anxiety and stress management, depression, trauma recovery, and self-esteem issues. 

She believes in the power of a strong therapeutic alliance and works collaboratively with her clients to develop personalized treatment plans. She utilizes modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based interventions, and solution-focused techniques to empower individuals to overcome obstacles, enhance self-awareness, and build resilience.

About the episode

The episode focuses on the topic of domestic violence within families and features. Hui Wen explains that her role is to assist both aggressors and victims of domestic violence by addressing and stopping abusive behaviors as well as helping victims cope with the aftermath.

One interesting approach mentioned in the episode is the use of rabbits during therapy sessions to create a safe and comfortable environment for clients. This technique aims to help clients feel at ease and open up about their experiences.

She uses the term “silent epidemic” to describe domestic violence because many victims do not feel empowered to seek help. According to her, cultural factors and close family relationships with the aggressors often contribute to the reluctance of victims to reach out for assistance.

The episode also emphasizes that violence within families can manifest in various forms beyond physical abuse, such as emotional neglect. She notes that domestic violence often has intergenerational roots and can be connected to different parenting styles.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence may develop feelings of guilt and may even blame themselves for their parent’s well-being. They may also take sides or distance themselves from one parent as a coping mechanism.

When it comes to dealing with domestic violence, there are several suggestions discussed in the episode. Seeking help from a counselor or domestic violence organization is crucial. These professionals can provide support, guidance, and strategies for safety. 

Victims should also learn coping mechanisms and establish firm boundaries to deal with abusive situations and regain a sense of empowerment. If a victim is in immediate danger, contacting the police is essential, and in some cases, legal intervention may be necessary.

On the other side, aggressors need to take responsibility for their actions, understand the underlying causes of their abusive behavior, and be willing to change. Long-term counseling can be beneficial in facilitating this transformation. 

For victims, creating a safety plan is important. This involves identifying a safe place to go, having a bag packed with essential items in case of emergencies, and informing trusted friends or family members about the situation. Children exposed to violence also need support, and there are support groups and counseling available to help them process the trauma and heal.

To address domestic violence as a community, fostering open dialogue is key. Encouraging conversations about domestic violence can help reduce stigma and create a supportive environment for victims. 

Rebuilding broken family relationships after domestic violence is a long and complex process that involves remorse, honesty, and rebuilding trust over time. Lastly, developing self-awareness of patterns and triggers is important in breaking intergenerational cycles of abuse.

In conclusion

Domestic violence is a complex issue involving trauma, power dynamics, and intergenerational patterns. Addressing it demands compassion, nuance, and understanding from multiple perspectives. Children suffer its immediate and long-term effects, blaming themselves and internalizing behaviors. Empowering victims and reforming abusers requires counseling, mediation, and professional support. 

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