Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

“I wanted to update you…the clients attending are very responsive. I have been getting positive inputs from all the participants. (CDVS) Program is amazing and so much better than the Duluth Model.”                                            
- Jennifer, H., Probation and Parole Officer, Indiana
The Certified Domestic Violence Specialist (CDVS) training course is the result of Dr. Ronald Potter-Efron and Patricia Potter-Efron's clinical work and experience in providing domestic violence and anger management treatment for 30 years. The combination of their experience and wealth of knowledge in the fields of neuroscience and cognitive-behavioral therapy has earned the endorsement of the National Anger Management Association (NAMA). The integration of brain studies, domestic violence and anger management cognitive behavioral skills, techniques and concepts provide the basis for effective treatment of domestic violence offenders. The course video and curriculum offer helpful information on both power and control and safety for all. This Leader's Manual accompanies Participant Workbooks for 13, 26, or 52 sessions.


Dr. Ron Potter-Efron and Pat Potter-Efron present an effective and innovative training course for helping offenders of Domestic Violence. The training emphasizes ‘safety’ for everyone involved and offers an individual cognitive-behavioral program as well as focusing on anger and power/control issues. The training includes skills for being in healthy relationships.
Ronald T. Potter-Efron, MSW, PhD, is a clinical psychotherapist who specializes in domestic violence, anger management and the treatment of addictions. He is a Distinguished Diplomate of the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) and the author of over 20 books including Angry all the Time, and the Handbook of Anger Management and Domestic Violence Offender Treatment.


The Certified Domestic Violence Specialist (CDVS) course offers:
  • Effective DV Offender Treatment Techniques
  • 13, 26, 52 Session Programs
  • Session by Session Descriptions
  • Logbook and Homework
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Changes
  • Anger Management Skills
  • Stress Management Skills
  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Substance Abuse Issues
  • Interpersonal Relationship Skills



CDVS- I credential is for providing Domestic Violence Education services


CDVS-II credential is for providing Domestic Violence Treatment services


NAMA provides two levels of certification (Educational services ONLY and Offender Treatment services). Some certificate seekers primarily want to utilize their skills and credential by providing educational programs (such as in school or community organization programs) or short-term informational intervention programs. Participants who complete CDVS-I receive essential conceptual and practical training in this field.

However, the standard in the field for treating domestic violence offenders is a minimum of 40 hours of training. Anyone planning to offer extended or intensive treatment (such as court ordered 26- or 52- week programs) should take both CDVS-I and CDVS-II training. The CDVS-II training adds material on ethical aspects of DV counseling, treating female DV offenders, and integration of anger management counseling. Participants will also be provided with materials to conduct a 52-session treatment program. 




The CDVS Cognitive-Behavioral treatment courses are endorsed by the National Anger Management Association (NAMA), but are not necessarily recognized by every court.  Many states have guidelines or specific requirements regarding becoming a certified domestic violence counselor and/or creating a DV program. It is in your best interest to consult these guidelines directly yourself or by consulting with practitioners in your area. NAMA cannot guarantee that our training meets the requirements in every state since these requirements are quite varied. You must check with your local court to determine if the CDVS certification is acceptable for court mandated clients.




CDVS I (Certified Domestic Violence Specialist I) – CDVS I is meant for Domestic Violence EDUCATIONAL purposes only. It is not recommended that a CDVS I conduct groups or work one on one with offenders without a supervisor or mentor who is already working in the field. Professionals who have experience or are currently working in behavioral health, schools, corrections, hospitals, security, housing shelters, foster care, child and family services, etc. are eligible. CDVS I candidate needs at least one of the following: a BA degree, professional field experience, peer support experience, and/or volunteer/community service. 12 hours of coursework.

CDVS II (Certified Domestic Violence Specialist II) – CDVS II is achieved upon approval of a CDVS NAMA Authorized Supervisor. Additional supervision and successful completion of the CDVS I training. Required coursework: Ethics course, assigned reading, and (3 or 4) supervision hours. Pre-requisite for CDVS II:  CDVS I, mental health state license or drug and alcohol certification, liability insurance.

NAMA Requirements for CDVS-I:

Participants for this certification are required to complete of a minimum of 12 hours NAMA authorized live or distance learning training. It trains individuals to provide community Domestic Violence educational programs and services including Domestic Violence Classes and Domestic Violence Educational Programs for individuals, couples and groups.

1. Basic Domestic Violence Content Component – Completion of a 12 hour live or distance learning Basic Domestic Violence course sponsored by NAMA. Approved programs include (at minimum) an understanding of the nature of Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence skills & concepts, an understanding of brain functioning and brain change, cognitive distortion, the role of communication and assertiveness, the role of empathy, the role of stress, and the role of consequences.

2. Supervision Component – Two hours of supervision with NAMA Approved Supervisor 

3. Application Component – Complete Application (include processing fee $125) and provide Resume for NAMA Review.     

Tuition and Certification Fees for CDVS-I (web-based):

$199 Web-based videos

$400 Supervision

$125 CDVS-I NAMA application 

$724 TOTAL


NAMA Requirements for CDVS-II:

This certification requires successful completion of the NAMA CDVS-I requirements.

1.     Pre-requisite: CDVS-I 

2.     Candidates must possess a mental health state license and professional liability insurance.  

3.     Required Supervision: Four hours (4) or three hours (3) required if you have the CAMS credential. Supervision provided by a NAMA Authorized Supervisor Domestic Violence Specialist provider. These are arranged directly with the CDVS Authorized Supervisor. 4 credit hours.

4.     Required Components of training in addition to supervision:

  • Completion of six-hour DVD (or download): Ethical Concerns and Moral Neuroscience Considerations in Anger Management and  Domestic Violence Offender Counseling. Note: Test of material will be administered. 6 credit hours

  • Completion of Level One NAMA anger management certification program or completion of Handbook of Anger Management and Domestic Violence Offender Treatment (second edition). Note: If Handbook option is selected, a test of material will be administered. 8 credit hours.

  • Completion of: Domestic Violence Treatment for Abusive Women (Ellen Bowen; Routledge.) 4 credit hours.    AND ALSO   Treating the Trauma Survivor: An Essential Guide to Trauma-Informed Care. (Carrie Clark et al. Routledge.) 4 credit hours.      Available through Amazon and bookstores.

  • Completion of any one of the following books: Letting Go of Shame (Ron and Pat Potter-Efron, Hazelden Publications); Rage (Ron Potter-Efron, New Harbinger); Healing the Angry Brain (Ron Potter-Efron). 2 hours.

Note: Participants may, with approval from their supervisor, substitute another book or learning experience instead of the books listed. Such a substitution would reflect the participant’s particular learning objectives.

Tuition and Certification Process and Fees for CDVS-II:

$600 (with CAMS) or $800 fee for Supervision 

$100 approximate cost of required books

$89.95 Ethics course

$150 – NAMA application fee which includes CDVS-II certificate and one    year NAMA Active Status and Profile listed in Directory.


For further information about CDVS I or II contact: Char Richardson at