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March 15 2024 Workshop: Couple Treatment of Low-Level Partner Aggression
Friday, March 15, 2024, 7:15 PM - 9:15 PM EDT
Category: Workshops

Presented by Daniel O'Leary, Ph.D.

Physical aggression is present in approximately 35-45% of couples in their mid-thirties (Slep & O’Leary, 2008), and in about 50-60% of couples seeking treatment for relationship problems (Jose & O’Leary, 2009). For decades many have argued that no couples should be treated together because of the possibility of increased risk of physical aggression after a therapy session. In addition, there was concern that if partner aggression is seen as a dyadic problem, wives would feel increased self-blame.  However, there is now evidence that couples with low-level aggression can be treated conjointly. This workshop has four goals:

  1. Describe a dyadic non-aggression-focused treatment for couples with low-level aggression (Simpson, Gattis & Christensen, 2008)

  2. Describe a sequenced treatment for couples with low-level aggression in which men and women are treated separately for anger issues and later treated as a couple (Stith et al, 2005). 

  3. Describe our own online brief treatment program for couples with low-level aggression: 3 individual sessions of value clarification and 5 sessions with the couple (O’Leary & Sullivan, 2023). 

  4. Describe a qualitative interview study with a dozen expert clinicians who have published on the prevention or treatment of partner abuse and discuss how they would assess for partner aggression (Sullivan & O’Leary, 2024). Their opinions about who should and who should not be treated conjointly will be discussed.

Daniel O'Leary is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University. He is a clinical psychologist who received his B. A. from Penn State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois.  At Stony Brook, he served as department chair from 1978-1981 and Director of Clinical Training from 2002-2010. He was President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts/NY (Jan 2016-Dec 2017), and now serves on their Board of Directors (2022-2024). 

He is a divorce/family dispute mediator with attorney, Dawn Murphy, in Smithtown, NY, and he has conducted forensic custody evaluations for numerous judges in Supreme and Family Courts of Suffolk County, NY for thirty years.

He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 7, 12, and 25).

He was president of the American Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy.

He is author or co-author of thirteen books, and those published since 2000 are as follows: Psychological Abuse with R Maiuro (2001), Understanding Psychological and Physical Aggression in Couples: Existing Evidence and Clinical Implications (with Erica Woodin, 2009), and Couples Psychotherapy Treatment Planner, (2nd Ed, 2015, with Richard Heyman and Arthur Jongsma). He has published over 300 manuscripts, and he was among the top 100 cited psychologists in the English-speaking world (American Psychologist, December, 1978).

He received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the clinical division (12, Section III) of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1985. He was installed to the National Academies of Practice in  Psychology in 1986. He received the Family Psychologist of the Year Award in August 2105 at the American Psychological Association meeting in Toronto, and on November 14, 2015, he received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust Award for Mentoring graduate students that included a $25,000 cash prize. In February 2019, he was inducted as Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. 

He has served on the following scientific boards: H. F. Guggenheim, Distilled Spirits Council of the US, Center for Disease Control (Control and Prevention of Partner Abuse), National Institute of Mental Health (for 10 years).

His research focuses on treatment of partner aggression, the relationship between marital and child problems, the etiology and treatment of spouse abuse, and the alcohol abuse/partner abuse link.


Register for this workshop