Posted by: arijnovick | December 15, 2010

Do Anger Management Classes Work?

Does Anger Management really work?  That is a question asked by many with fairly limited data 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 reports is most people who take anger management classes are not violent offenders and lead normal lives.  There are other reports which can be found on the web but only offer data from their own clinical setting, which doesn’t carry much weight.  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 clients have reported.  After providing thousands of pre and post tests and interviewing untold numbers of students of anger management, the single predictor of success in anger management comes from client 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 retain the material being taught longer.

The second predictor of success in anger management is a class 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. Less Reactive and More Logical
4. Improving internal dialog and self-talk
5. Gaining Good Communication and Listening Skills
6. Expectation management
7. Skill in Forgiving others and self
8. Learning to Retreat and take Time out

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

Anger management is not something that happens overnight.  Learning skills and maintaining change takes time.  Those who are working on their own anger control need to manage their own expectations that learning new skills and perfecting them is a journey.

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