Monday, October 11, 2010

Can an Anger Management Class Really Help?

Is anger management really effective? That is a question asked by many with fairly limited research to support a non-subjective answer. Several studies have been done on the effectiveness of anger management treatment where the research has been published in a scientific journals and reviewed by peers. Most of these studies have looked at populations that are in jail or who have committed violent crimes.

The concern with those studies is most people who take anger management programs are not violent offenders and lead normal lives. There are other studies which can be found on the web but only offer data from their own private practice setting, which really isn't valid. This is mostly due to the fact that there is no way to prove the validity of it. Most anger management professionals, no matter how great or successful their practices are, don't have the funds or staff to conduct proper research.

That being said, much can be ascertained from what hundreds or even thousands of previous patients have reported. After providing thousands of pre and post tests and interviewing countless students of anger management, the number one predictor of success in anger management is achieved from a clients overall level of motivation. That is to say, does the client want to change? Think about it, if one doesn't want to change, change will likely not occur. Those who are highly motivated to learn, tend to do better and hold on to the information being taught longer.

The second predictor of success in anger management is a course that focuses on proven tools. Anger classes should cover skills in the following:

1. Skills in Stress Management
2. Gaining skills in Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
3. Learning to respond instead of React
4. Changing ones internal dialog from negative to positive
5. Learning skills in Assertive Communication
6. Expectation management
7. Forgive but don't forget
8. Learning to Retreat and take Time out

The type of the anger management class is less important then the content or delivery method. Clients report the same or similar results from attending live anger management classes as they do from individual coaching for anger management or online anger management classes. The delivery method is a personal choice. Some prefer the face to face courses, while other prefer to take classes at their own pace on their own time.

Anger management is not something that happens overnight. Gaining skills and sustaining change takes time. Those who are working on their own anger control need to adjust their own expectations that learning new skills and perfecting them is a timeless road.

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