Anger and Anger Treatment Programs
Anger is a normal emotional arousal state that can range from mild irritation and annoyance to blinding rage. Some people live at a low level of constant irritation, frustration and annoyance. Even minor events such as a change of schedule may lead to feelings of upset. They notice they are raising their voices more, saying or doing things they may later regret. Statements such as “They make me so mad,” may often be uttered or behaviors such as slamming doors and throwing things may occur. These individuals would benefit from learning to identify what triggers their anger, how to identify their needs and develop better strategies to get their needs met. They may benefit from knowing that they are the ones in control of their emotions and can take responsibility for the experiences of their life.
At the other end of the spectrum are individuals who are always throwing tantrums and blaming others when they don’t get their needs met. These individuals are often suffering from various addictions, domestic, social and legal problems and would benefit from a longer course of treatment, possibly combined with addiction recovery or mental health counseling. They may need to obtain an evaluation before deciding on a course of treatment.
The treatment program utilizes education, individual counseling and group processing to offer support, direction, insight and feedback from peers who are experiencing similar issues. This format allows the necessary re-direction of irrational thinking, challenging of core beliefs, processing grief and loss and development of new behaviors to get needs met.
The goal of the program is to help clients identify their dysfunctional thought-feeling-behavior chains and replace these with more rational alternatives. This program teaches skills for healthy conflict resolution, communication of emotions and stress reduction.
The basic program is 8-hours. This is typically two 4 hour sessions on weekends of psycho-educational experience, providing solid research-based information on: Neurobiology and socio-emotional roots of anger and violence; conflict resolution; communication; discussion of needs; analysis of anger styles; time out and stress reduction techniques. Evaluations are a separate process and can be easily arranged.
For some individuals, anger has escalated past the point of minor irritation and has become a habitual response to fear, grief, frustration, addiction and difficult situations. Even though their actions may have created legal consequences, many of these individuals have begun to convince themselves that abusive behavior born out of their heightened anger is justified. People who have reached this point in their lives are often not happy with the consequences of their behaviors and feel powerless to change. These individuals require a longer more intensive course of counseling to break the chains of abusive thinking. This additional counseling is typically offered in weekend sessions at a time to be arranged.
Some people suffer from chronic rage embedded in core beliefs and unresolved grief they have held for years. This may be reflected in multiple and overlapping offenses (DUI, DV, etc). This type of anger also needs the longer course of treatment. Often this is concomitant with Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Programs. Longer treatment allows for more humanistic and transpersonal work with the individual on core issues of meaning and direction in life as well as cognitive-behavioral treatment designed to target thinking errors and ingrained habits that must be replaced with healthy modes of thinking.
Violence cycles must be identified and broken or the cycle of violence will continue for generations.
It is important to remember that the successful completion of this or any anger education program does not guarantee that future anger or inappropriate behavior will not occur.
These programs are not intended to replace the recommended treatment for domestic violence convictions as described in WAC 388.60.
If you have any questions about the philosophy, theory or course of treatment, please contact me.