Answer and Rationale for FREE Couples Counseling Question

By Heidi Tobe on January 9, 2018

In our FREE ASWB practice question blog yesterday, we explored the topic of couples counseling, specifically looking at what to do when domestic violence is disclosed. Did you answer this practice question correctly? Find out below as we share the answer and rationale!

Couples Counseling Question and Answer Discussion


A social worker has been meeting with a couple for 6 months to work on issues related to physical intimacy. During a recent session, one partner shares that during recent arguments she has slapped her partner, but notes that it has never left a mark. What should the social worker do?:

  1. Develop a safety plan
  2. Explore what is leading to the physical aggression
  3. Continue seeing them as a couple and refer the abusive partner for individual therapy
  4. Refer each of the clients to individual therapy


The best answer is D.

  • Answer (A) sounds like a good idea, but this is not something you would do if both the victim and perpetrator are present. Safety planning is something you would want to do individually with the victimized partner.
  • Answer (B) is also not something you would do with the perpetrator present. This could also easily lead to victim blaming if you try to identify what the victimized partner did that “made” the other partner engage in physical aggression.
  • When physical violence is present, we do not continue seeing the couple until the physical violence has fully stopped occurring. So, it would not be appropriate to continue meeting with the couple while the abusive partner receives counseling (C).
  • As soon as any physical (or emotional) abuse is reported between a couple, we want to refer each member of the couple to individual counseling with two separate therapists. If and when the physical violence ceases, the couple can return to their couples therapist to continue couples counseling.

Did you answer this question correctly? Does our rationale make sense within your understanding of this subject area? You can always check in with a TDC coach if you have any questions about this rationale-know that we are here to provide answers and support throughout your studying journey.

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