There is a Very Thick Line between Anger Management and Psychotherapy

Anger management is a force to be reckoned with. Anderson & Anderson, along with many other anger management providers who are certified under George Anderson, are doing their best to promote the anger management movement. It should be made clear to all providers, as well as people who are interested in becoming providers, that anger management is useful for training clients to excel in four areas: anger management, stress management, assertive communication, and emotional intelligence. Anger management is for clients who have anger issues that have caused them to be at odds with their families, perfect strangers, the justice system (e.g., committing misdemeanors that require them to pay heavy fines or seek anger management as an ultimatum), or with themselves (if they believe it is necessary to seek anger management in order to improve in the above four areas). With this in mind, it behooves us to explain what anger management must not be used for.

Anger management is not a suitable alternative to psychotherapy. In fact, we need to go as far as to say that it would be irresponsible for an anger management provider, or any anger management facilitator, to provide services to those who are really in need of psychotherapy, psychotropic medication or hospitalization. First of all, facilitators and providers trained specifically in anger management may not be trained in psychotherapy. Second of all, for those providers who are licensed clinicians, they tend to distinguish between the two practices, which is extremely important. Someone who is not trained in psychotherapy is not authorized to treat clients in need of psychotherapy. Furthermore, a trained psychotherapist who is also an anger management facilitator and executive coach, must know the signs that show what the client needs BEFORE making the decision to provide anger management services. Just so that all are aware, let us take the time to list some of the needs that MUST NOT be addressed by anger management classes.

The “Suggested Guide for Anger Management (Facilitator’s Guide)”, written by George Anderson, M.S.W., BCD, CAMF, says that “the following categories of clients should be excluded from outpatient anger management groups: paranoid clients, extremely narcissistic clients, clients with hypochondriac dispositions, suicidal clients, brain-damaged clients, psychotic or sociopathic clients, and actively-using alcoholics or drug addicts” (page 9). Let’s say, for example, that Mr. Green shows up in your office and asks you if he can enroll in your anger management group. He follows this up with a statement going something like this: “My wife left me, and I’m so angry without her. I think I want to end it all.” The provider should know right away to tell the person that it would be better if he sought a psychiatric assessment. The facilitator’s guide also points out that it is advisable to have someone licensed in mental health work for your organization as a consultant, if you do not have any training in psychotherapy. Please refer to the anger management facilitator’s guide for any further information you may need.

Rasheed Ahmed

Intern, Undergraduate Student

Anderson & Anderson

Anger Management Services

http://www.andersonservices.com/

“Anger Management Institute of Texas is a certified Anderson & Anderson provider.”

Gregory A. Kyles, M.A., LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Director, Anger Management Institute of Texas
Diplomate, President of Texas Chapter
American Association of Anger Management Providers
http://www.ami-tx.com
https://gregorykyles.wordpress.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/gregorykyles
http://www.myspace.com/anger_management_expert
Houston, Texas

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