If Psychological Abuse In Couples Is Criminalized, Treatment Will Be Key

France is considering legislation that "would make psychological violence in marriages and among cohabitating couples a criminal offense," NPR's Eleanor Beardsley will report later today on All Things Considered.

As she writes:

The bill's aim is to protect women from the verbal threats and intimidation that often lead to physical violence. But skeptics say verbal violence is next to impossible to prove, and that the law would clog the courts with "he said, she said" cases.

Also on ATC, co-host Michele Norris speaks with therapist and author Stephen Stosny, who has studied domestic and psychological violence. He tells her that it's likely that such a law would end up putting most couples into counseling and that "a really good marriage counselor ... will either be able to eliminate the abuse or let the people see that it's really bad for them to stay together."

Success is easier to achieve in counseling for psychological abuse, Stosny says, than in cases of physical abuse. With physical abuse, he says, there's often "traumatic bonding" between the parties.

Here's some of Michele's conversation with Stosny. Much more will be on ATC. Click here to find an NPR station near you. Or, check here later for when the story is posted online.

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