Metaphors of transformation: Change in male batterers.

Background: People use language to construct, frame, and give meaning to life experiences. Metaphors are a common means of representing and expressing experiences. They create a space for the interpretation and extension of their meaning, thus serving both a revelatory function and as a force for change. This article analyzes how male batterers use metaphors after having received intervention to understand their experiences and changes. Method: We use a pooled sample combining 4 qualitative studies based on in-depth semistructured interviews with 62 male batterers, aged 26 to 66 years, who underwent therapy for intimate partner violence in Israel. Results: Two pivotal thematic axes emerge from the interviews. The first is the axis of metaphors portraying the construction of a self-reflexive process that enables abusive men to understand stressful emotions and behaviors, thus attaining self-control. Aligned along the second axis are metaphors that reflect changes in the experience and understanding of the gendered-self and the gendered power relationship that manifest in the dynamics of abusive men’s violence. Discussion and implications: Male batterers use metaphors to describe the changes in their worldview, attitudes, and relationships and in their emotional and gendered-selves. Metaphors are powerful indicators of how male batterers construct their reality and can be useful as a heuristic instrument for understanding and evaluating batterers’ changes as a result of professional intervention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)