Anger Management 101
Participant’s Manual for Individual, Relationship & Group Counselling.
A psycho-educational format to develop better understanding of toxic anger, skills toward effective personal anger management, and life skills.
Wayne Coghlan, B.Sc., M.A., D.C.
Collingwood / Mississauga, Ontario
Overview of Anger Management
Most people attend an anger management program because their inability to better manage their anger has created conflict with life partners, family members, employment situations, and commonly enough, the law.
For many who attend anger management, it is perhaps a matter of not having learned the skills necessary to better cope with conflict. This program will help you learn more constructive thought patterns and skills.
For others, anger emerges from long-term conflicts and behaviour patterns. In many cases, these conflicts and behaviours are passed down in families from one generation to the next. These can be deep issues. Learning and practicing the necessary skills of anger management will help you function and think better. Such skills will help you should you consider seeing a counsellor or therapist to better help you identify, manage and resolve your hurts and conflicts.
If there are deeper conflicts a person may react with: anxiety/panic, avoidance, denial, dissociation, emotionally attacking another person, projection, transference.
Some people have just become worn out with resentment, hostility, fighting within themselves, and fighting against the world.
For many people, the issue is dealing toxic people that you have to live and work with.
Short term counselling (within four sessions or so) can be effective when relatively well integrated people (people who effectively cope with the variability of life) are dealing with a specific event or issue.
For most people, life can be absurdly complex and the skills we have learned are no longer constructive.
The skills developed through this program will help you understand your own anger, how other people’s anger affects you and how to more constructively interact with life.
This program is also suitable for people who wish to enhance their life skills for career, and relationship (marriage) success.
Format: This anger management program is a psycho-educational presentation and discussion format. The intent is to teach a better understanding of anger, and skills to more constructively manage this emotion.
Each session begins with a brief review of the material discussed the previous week and how participants have learned to apply the concepts to their daily challenges.
Typically the instructor or each person in turn, will read out loud through the manual. Thus we get to read, see and hear the information. Where there is opportunity, the instructor will elaborate on important points and/or ask participant’s for their input. (If a participant is not comfortable with reading out loud, simply ask to pass or discuss your concerns privately with the instructor).
Homework Assignments: Brief homework assignments will be given each week. As with any type of skill acquisition, anger management requires time and practice. Doing the homework assignments will improve participant’s anger management skills and allow them to get the most from the experience. Homework assignments provide the opportunity for skill development and refinement.
Limitations: Regardless of your reasons for participating in this course, it is up to you to put what you will learn into practice. If you want things to change, it has to start with you. Creating a positive change always begins by changing yourself, that is, your attitudes, the demands you make of yourself and others, developing new skills, and your pattern of interacting with others.
Individual Counselling: This program is well suited to individual counselling and allows more intimate exploration of issues that surface during our discussion. It is also private, subject to the following limitations.
Confidentiality: Your facilitator(s) are duty bound respect your privacy and dignity. However, there are limits to confidentiality. By law, reporting certain actions to authorities supersedes confidentiality laws involving clients and health professionals. These actions include:
- If it is evident that you intend to harm yourself or another person, your facilitator is legally and ethically required to take action to protect the safety of the threatened person. Possible actions could include notifying family or support system, informing the intended victim, and alerting law enforcement.
- If there is reason to believe that a child, an elder person, or a dependent adult is subject to abuse and/or neglect, your facilitator is required to report such concerns to Children’s Aid or other legal authority (police).
- If the facilitator is ordered by a court order to testify or share records, s/he must do so.
- If you name your facilitator in a lawsuit, the law states that s/he can, and sometimes are obligated to reveal information that would otherwise be confidential.
Group Counselling can be a rewarding experience for participants as they learn from each other and often find support from similar situations. Group counselling is typically less expensive, however, it is subject to availability. While group participants are each honour bound to respect each other’s privacy, it must be understood that in a group situation, your facilitator cannot guarantee what is said by others outside of the group sessions, and cannot be held liable for the actions of others.
Couples/Relationship Counselling: When counselling with couples, it may be advantageous to meet with each person individually. It must be understood that your counsellor cannot promise that issues raised by one party will not inadvertently be revealed to the other party. Issues discussed individually that are relevant to the success of the relationship will probably be raised when counselling with the couple resumes. Therefore, if one party has a concern/issue which s/he wishes to remain withheld from their partner, they are advised to seek individual counselling from another professional instead of or in addition to the couple’s counselling.
While the original manual was developed to address anger management specifically, experience with numerous participants supports the material can be readily adapted and applied to stress management; anxiety management; life, business, and relationship skills.
In this program, participants will learn helpful strategies and techniques to manage anger, express anger in alternative ways, change hostile attitudes, and prevent aggressive acts such as verbal abuse and violence.