There are as many different types of Master’s programs for psychosocial counseling, as there are types of universities and colleges that offer them. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, and School Counseling are the primary areas of study for the advanced degree. Some counselors work with domestic violence survivors in corollary positions, such as survivor shelter managers or residential counselors who organize the day-to-day needs of residents while offering support and counseling. Teresa Susmaras volunteered her services prior to even beginning graduate school, putting in the work hours of a volunteer, while accumulating significant experience which could lead to a certification in the field, or excellent job experience toward a variety of other areas, including psychology and social work, field experience toward an advanced degree, and licensure.
Although Teresa Susmaras did not go on to specialize in domestic violence counseling, it was an invaluable experience. She completed a 40 hour certification program, many years ago, so she could provide counseling and resources to those who suffered domestic violence. Domestic abuse can become a generational behavior wherein the victim becomes an enabler, carrying their victimization on into adulthood in other abusive relationships. Sometimes, childhood victims of domestic abuse become perpetrators, inflicting abuse upon the next generation.
Nearly all victims carry the psychological scars of violence all their lives, as it hinders their ability to work, form positive relationships, assert themselves and achieve and keep high levels of self-esteem. The cycle of violence can often be broken with the help of abuse counselors.