Sarah A. Gbadebo Seeks to Combat Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) within Multicultural Communities Through New Faith-Based Curriculum, Fearless and Free To Be

Fearless and Free to BE

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has been revealed as a major epidemic in the African-American community that often does not get much press. It has been identified as the leading cause of death among black women. With limited resources to combat this problem and adverse effects on physical and mental health as a result of IPV, an urgent need has arisen for culturally appropriate interventions to address and attempt to solve this community crisis.Using faith-based instruction and solid intervention skills, author and psychotherapy professional, Sarah A. Gbadebo, provides a 12-week Christian based IPV Group curriculum titled, Fearless and Free to BE: A Faith-Based Approach to Intimate Partner Violence in the African American Community. The curriculum is accompanied with a comprehensive instructor’s manual. Through this curriculum, Gbadebo seeks to bring IPV awareness and education to the black church and to the black community. The curriculum includes specific ways in which spirituality and religion can be manipulated to become a tool of abuse and oppression for women, and remedies this occurrence by educating leaders, mental health professionals, group leaders, and women on the issue and the impact of family violence within the faith community.

Church leaders and community leaders will:
  • Receive comprehensive training on domestic violence including issues related to multiple dimensions of DV, warning signs, and behavioral cycles, utilizing psycho-educational material that is substantiated by Scripture and clinical research.
  • Learn how to assess needs and facilitate appropriate provision of community resources for survivors, including distributing an up-to-date directory of local and national resources for help and referrals.
  • Identify and outline biblical texts that assist in addressing violence while advocating for healthy unions. Outline commonly referenced passages from biblical texts that have been misinterpreted and misused to justify violence, and educate others on issues of religious and spiritual abuse.
  • Promote healthy relationships that reflect the client’s faith-based values and highlight passages from Scripture that promote non-violence.
  • Gain adequate educational domestic violence training to address DV from the pulpit, and to effectively and appropriately address survivors of DV directly through facilitating faith-based DV group counseling within the safety of the church.
  • Actively promote DV awareness, hold abusers accountable, and create a safe environment for both survivors and abusers to seek help.
  • Learn how to safely and effectively conduct the 12-week Christian based IPV group curriculum to female survivors within their faith community; facilitate emotional healing, spiritual growth, safety planning, and provision of resources.
Community mental health agencies, private practice counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, and other qualified mental health professionals will:
  • Gain greater awareness and understanding of the impact of cultural and ethnic differences in the counseling process, and enhance effectiveness in counseling African-American communities.
  • Obtain culturally-competent IPV training that focuses on spiritual, racial, and ethnic contexts when working with minority populations.
  • Enhance clinical skills integrating cultural sensitivity and competence with psycho-social and clinical training when working with ethnically diverse clients.
  • Mitigate cultural mistrust and resistance, and enhance the therapeutic process when working with clients of ethnically diverse backgrounds.
  • Reduce the existing stigma of mental health services among ethnic groups and expand diverse clientele through the provision of culturally attuned clinical services.
Sarah A. Gbadebo, MS, MFTI, a marriage and family therapist intern who specializes in intimate partner violence (IPV) and addictions, is author of Fearless and Free to BE: A Faith Based Approach to Intimate Partner Violence in the African American Community (Faith-Based Learning Publications, Inc. 2014) Gbadebo has garnered extensive experience working with individuals and families confronted with mental health, IPV, and substance abuse issues. She provides psychotherapy to children, adolescents and adults. Gbadebo has worked in community mental health settings, substance abuse facilities, and Christian based transitional living shelters for women, children and senior women experiencing homelessness, and fleeing from domestic violence. She has dedicated much of her work to providing multiculturally appropriate clinical services to ethnically diverse and minority populations.
In December 2013, Gbadebo authored her Culminating Graduate Project which focuses on the healing and restoration of African American survivors of IPV. Gbadebo also presented a workshop at the Annual Student Research Conference, titled “Developing Multicultural Competencies: A Faith-based Approach to Intimate Partner Violence within the African American Community,” which was held at Alliant International University on February 28, 2014.
Gbadebo earned her Master of Science in Counseling (with MFT specialization) with Honors from California State University Northridge. Additionally, she has received a Certificate of Biblical Theology Training.
For more information about Sarah A. Gbadebo, visit:
To book Sarah A. Gbadebo for speaking engagements and/or book signings, please email:
Fearless and Free To Be is available on and

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