In my experience, the most striking characteristic of anger is its ability to override a person’s basic decency and reason. The human part of us vanishes and something animal takes over.
My anger management work initially involves helping you to become aware of the features and sources of your anger so you can use specific strategies to manage it in the moment or simply avoid being triggered altogether.
I use recall exercises to examine representative angry outbursts to help you see exactly what happens to you as your anger escalates. Once you know your anger better, I will recommend specific strategies and tools to help you manage it as it arises. With your input, we will customize these strategies to fit your personality and circumstances. I will also help you to anticipate and plan for (or avoid) challenging situations.
With most clients I will also explore deeper question relating to your anger:
- What role does your life history play in all this?
- Were you a victim of abuse or maltreatment?
- Is an addiction making things worse or masking deeper issues?
- Are you unhappy with your life and yourself?
- Why do you get into conflict with certain people?
- Is there sometimes inconsistency between your values and your behaviour?
This deeper exploration sometimes leads to:
- Communication and conflict resolution skills training
- Addiction recovery work
- Trauma work
- Couples/Family counselling
A flexible and adaptive maintenance program is also an important piece of the work. People tend to improve while in treatment but often backslide when treatment ends. I will help you to:
- Make and follow long-term anger management and well-being plans
- Schedule regular check-ins with yourself and others to track your progress
- Use practices to help you remember to remember to do what you need to do to be successful in the long term.
If you prefer a more structured anger management program, I offer a customized 6-10 session program. Clients will:
- Be given and develop a number of tools, including a map of escalating anger, a list of triggers, practices to manage anger in the moment, communication and conflict resolution skills, an anger log, and a maintenance plan.
- Learn to develop healthier relationships with women, children and workmates
- Learn to better understand their anger within the bigger picture of their life
- Be introduced to the concept of a Democratic self as a model of masculinity that promotes self-awareness, healthy practices and healthy relationships
Mandated clients generally must take at least 8 sessions and should check with their probation officer and lawyer to make sure this program meets their legal conditions.
In Richmond BC, at Touchstone Family Association, I developed and co-facilitated Men, Anger and the Family, a group for men who had been in some way abusive towards their partners and/or children. The group encouraged democratic relations over master/slave or top dog/bottom dog relations. I gave presentations about this group at the Healing Families/Healing Communities and Ending Relationship Abuse conferences. I also facilitated one of the province’s Review of Abusive Men’s Services focus groups (Richmond).