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Course: Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship
by Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD

CE Credit Hours: 9
Fee: $44

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This book discusses relationships where one person dominates and intimidates another in an abusive process called, coercive control. Coercive control is a special kind of torment because it happens within a relationship of strong personal bonds, hopes, and dreams. Coercive control continues over a period of months, years, or decades—unlike a one-time assault by a stranger. Coercive control wears down a victim’s autonomy and sense of well-being over time. This book is designed to assist all people who are controlled by their partners, whatever their culture, age, gender or sexual orientation.

This book is divided into four broad parts. Part 1 describes coercive control, the ways it shows up in some couples, and how it affects victims. Part 2 seeks to explain why some people use coercive control against their partners, and why it is difficult to break free. Part 3 discusses coercive control of LGBT people, heterosexual men, and teenagers. Part 4 offers strategies and advice for ending coercive control.

(Amended from book: Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship)

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the clinician will be able to:

  • Be able to help clients determine whether they are involved in a coercive control relationship.
  • Be able to help clients make decisions about whether they want to stay in a problematic intimate partner relationship
  • Have an increased ability to discuss with clients and other clinicians the relationship between physical aggression and coercive control.
  • Be better able to help clients cope with ways in which they are controlled by their partners
  • Have an increased ability to discuss with clients and other clinicians the ways gender influences control in relationships
  • Be better able to assure the safety of clients who may be involved in a violent or potentially violent relationship

Syllabus / Course Instructions

  • This course is suitable for CE for beginning, intermediate and advanced level clinicians.
  • The Course consists of reading the selected book, successfully completing an online posttest and filling out a course evaluation.
  • The printed book or ebook is not included. It must be purchased separately. We have supplied a link to for your convenience.
  • Purchasing your course will give you access to both a printable copy of the test and an online version of the test. Once the course is purchased, the title of the book will appear in your Members Area. When the cursor is placed on the book title a drop down menu will appear whereby you can print the test to use as a companion as you read the book and answer the questions.
  • You cannot exit the online test once you begin, so have your answers available.

Bio: Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD

Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD, has a doctorate in counseling psychology and has worked in the areas of child abuse, violence against women, and challenging family issues for over 25 years. A professor, researcher, and popular conference speaker, she teaches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She survived a relationship that included coercive control and stalking. Her website is

Dr. Fontes has dedicated two decades to making the mental health, social service, and criminal justice systems more responsive to culturally diverse people. In addition to her new book, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship, she has authored, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures: A Practitioner's Guide and the book, Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families.

She has written numerous journal articles and chapters on child maltreatment and violence against women, cross-cultural research, and ethics. She teaches at the University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts. She has worked as a family, individual, and group psychotherapist, and has conducted research in Santiago, Chile, and with Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and European Americans in the United States. Dr. Fontes is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. She is a popular conference speaker and workshop facilitator. She completed a Fulbright Foundation Grant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a volunteer, Dr. Fontes worked for three years with Somali refugees in Springfield, Massachusetts.