Anger Management Classes
Anger Management Training Institute LLC
Anger Management Classes: An Overview for Counselors
Anger. Everybody experiences it and everybody expresses it. It is a natural and healthy human emotion when managed effectively. But it can be a source of various physical, mental, emotional, social, or legal problems when not managed effectively. It is often a problem in one of these areas that brings a client in for counseling, either on a voluntary or a mandated basis. As a counselor, there are numerous and varied options for intervention. And there are numerous and varied aspects to consider before selecting an appropriate intervention.
There are many different views from which to consider the construct of anger. Dahlen and Deffenbacher (2001) identify three main ingredients to anger. First, there is an anger-eliciting stimulus, typically an easily-identifiable external source (e.g., somebody did something to me) or internal source (e.g., emotional wounds). Second, there is a pre-anger state, which includes one's cognitive, emotional, and physical state at the time of provocation; one's enduring psychological characteristics; and one's cultural messages about anger and about expressing anger. Third, there is one's appraisal of the anger-eliciting stimulus and one's ability to cope with the stimulus. All three of these ingredients interact to create a state of being angry.
Dahlen and Deffenbacher (2001) also identify four related domains in which anger exists. First, in the emotional and experiential domain, anger is a feeling state ranging in intensity from mild annoyance to rage and fury. Second, in the physiological domain, anger is associated with adrenal release, increased muscle tension, and activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Third, in the cognitive domain, anger is associated with biased information processing. Fourth, in the behavior domain, anger can be either functional (e.g., being assertive, setting limits) or dysfunctional (e.g., being aggressive, withdrawing, using alcohol and drugs, etc.).
Rhoades (n.d.) provides additional ways to understand anger. What is the source and expression of the anger? Is it intense and situation-specific or chronic and generalized? What is the extent of the anger? Does it easily and quickly evolve into deep feelings of resentment? Is it coupled with intense aggression or explosiveness? Has it become uncontrollable? What is the anger hiding? Is it a cover-up for fear, being used as a shield to keep other people at a distance so they are unable to see one's insecurities and weaknesses?
The expression of anger can take many forms. Some common means of expressing anger include venting, resisting, seeking revenge, expressing dislike, avoiding the source of anger, and seeking help (Marion, 1997). However, in many cultures, people are taught that while expressing anxiety, depression or other emotions is acceptable, expressing anger is not (Controlling anger before it controls you, n.d.). As a result, many people never learn how to handle their own or others' anger effectively or to channel it constructively.
Gorkin (2000) distinguishes between the intention and the usefulness of anger expressions. In terms of intention, the expression of anger can be purposeful or spontaneous. The purposeful expression of anger is intentional, has a significant degree of consideration or calculation, and yields a high degree of self-control. The spontaneous expression of anger is immediate, has little premeditation, and yields little to moderate self-control.
Although much of the work in anger management focuses on helping people understand what triggers their anger and on learning a healthier response, or expression, of that anger, the debate continues regarding the healthiest ways to express anger. Interestingly, some sources (e.g., Schwartz, 1990) indicate that repressing anger can be adaptive for coping with certain emotions. Other sources (e.g., Controlling anger before it controls you, n.d.) document that suppressing anger can lead to headaches, hypertension, high blood pressure, depression, emotional disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, genitourinary disorders, arthritis, disabilities of the nervous system, circulatory disorders, and even suicide. It is important to learn to identify whether or not a client's reactions to and expressions of anger are a problem.
How does a client know when his or her anger is more of a problem than a help? Few formal assessments exist to quantifiably measure the level of one's anger. However, there are numerous qualitative indicators to review with clients to understand the extent of their concerns about their anger and anger management strategies.
• Is the anger chronic, long-lasting, too intense, or too frequent (Rhoades, n.d.)?
• Does the anger disrupt the client's thinking, affect the client's relationships (Rhoades, n.d.), or affect the client's school or work performance?
• Does the client exhibit frequent loss of temper at slight provocations, passive-aggressive behavior, a cynical or hostile personality, chronic irritability and grumpiness?
• Has the client begun to display low self-esteem, sulking, or brooding?
• Is the client withdrawing socially from family and friends?
• Is the client getting physically sick or doing damage to one's own or others' bodies or property?
• Is the client experiencing physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, or increased adrenaline flow (Controlling anger before it controls you, n.d.)?
Although some of these symptoms may be indicative of other issues, they are also often related to unresolved anger. The bottom line is that when a person becomes a victim to his or her anger, the anger is a problem.
According to Wellness Reproductions (1991), there are three main methods of dealing with anger. First, there is "stuffing" one's anger, a process in which a person may or may not admit his or her anger to self or others and in which one avoids direct confrontations. A person may stuff his or her anger out of fear of hurting someone, fear of rejection, fear of damaging relationships or fear of losing control. Often, a person who stuffs anger is unable to cope with strong, intense emotions and thinks that anger is inappropriate or unacceptable. Stuffing one's anger typically results in impaired relationships and compromised physical and mental health.
Second, there is escalating one's anger, a process in which a person provokes blame and shame. The purpose is to demonstrate power and strength while avoiding the expression of underlying emotions. A person who escalates his or her anger is often afraid of getting close to other people and lacks effective communication skills. Escalating one's anger typically yields short-term results, impaired relationships, and compromised physical and mental health. Sometimes, escalating one's anger also leads to physical destruction of property or to abusive situations, thus adding the potential for legal ramifications.
Third, there is managing one's anger, a process in which a person is open, honest, and direct and in which one mobilizes oneself in a positive direction. The focus is on the specific behavior that triggered the anger and on the present (past issues are not brought into the current issue). A person who manages his or her anger avoids black and white thinking (e.g., never, always, etc.), uses effective communication skills to share feelings and needs, checks for possible compromises, and assesses what is at stake by choosing to stay angry versus dealing with the anger. Managing one's anger results in an increased energy level, effective communication skills, strengthened relationships, improved physical and mental health, and boosted self-esteem.
It is this process of managing one's anger that is the primary goal of counseling people to effectively deal with anger. The goal is not to eliminate anger. Anger is a natural and healthy emotion. After a client acknowledges he or she is angry, a counselor can help the client learn how to reduce the emotional and physiological arousal that anger causes and learn to control its effects on people and the environment. To be more effective, practitioners should attempt to understand the extent and expression of the anger, the specific problems resulting from the anger, the function the anger serves, the underlying source of the anger, and the domain the problems occur in (e.g. emotional, physiological, or cognitive) before choosing interventions for the client. Specific strategies and skills as well as some additional considerations in helping clients manage anger are reviewed in Anger Management Counseling Strategies and Skills.
Source: Eileen Hogan link
The 2003 movie "Anger Management" starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson gave us some insight into the increasing problem of anger. While we sat in the theater or watched the DVD, we were able to take a break from the pressures of our real world. We were given an insight into an ordinary guy who seems to have some of the worst luck in the country. His bad luck leads him to anger and at times rage.
Nicholson is able to 'push every button' Sandler possesses. We thought to ourselves the name of that individual who seems to push our buttons also.
We all get angry. For some of us when we get angry, we act out. Our actions have reactions - oftentimes resulting in very serious consequences. Some of those actions have brought about the end of a relationship, loss of employment, or legal action against us.
Our "anger resolution" approach is to deal with the anger situation head-on and to determine what triggers the anger. Then we determine how the anger emotion is translated into actions with negative consequences. Finally, we work with the individual to end those actions. You can make positive and permanent change before it is too late.
Anger and Rage issues may become a focus for change in our lives through:
* Being served with divorce papers
* School ordered
* Employment directed
* Court ordered
Regardless of what prompts the need for change - You Can Make Positive Change!
Anger Resolution is managed through different approaches:
* Individual counseling
* Couples counseling
* Group sessions
The important point is to start now.
Call us at 281-597-9291 or find out more information at Contact Us page to discuss which anger resolution approach is best suited for you. You, and your loved ones, will be glad you followed through this time.
*** Take the Anger Management Inventory to check your level of anger