Posted by: arijnovick | October 12, 2010

Do Anger Management Courses Really Work?

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

The problem with those studies is most people who take anger management courses are not violent offenders and lead normal lives.  There are other studies which can be found on the web but only offer information from their own clinical office, which really isn’t valid.  This is mostly due to the fact that there is no way to prove the validity of it. The reality is that most out-patient anger management programs don’t have the type of research results that would stand the test of what a major University’s or the APA would require for substantial data.

That being said, much can be learned from what hundreds or even thousands of previous customers have said.  After providing thousands of pre and post tests and interviewing untold numbers of 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 interventions.  Anger classes should include skills in the following:

1. How to handle stress
2. Gaining skills in Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
3. Less Reactive and More Logical
4. Improving internal dialog and self-talk
5. Learning skills in Assertive Communication
6. Expectation management
7. Skill in Forgiving others and self
8. Taking time outs and cool downs

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 type of class is a personal choice.  Some prefer the face to face interaction, while other like to take courses at their own pace on their own time.

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

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