Friday, July 23, 2010

What is Anger Management?

Anger management is a relatively new field and is often confused with other mental health professions. The most common myth is that anger management is psychotherapy. While many licensed psychotherapists offer anger management, the intervention itself is not considered "therapy". On the contrary, anger management is an educational course that teaches skills in a variety of areas such as stress management, forgiveness, assertive communication, empathy, improving judgment and impulse control, expectation management, and much more.
Classes are typically taught by one of two professionals. Either a licensed psychotherapist with additional training, experience and education in anger management or a certified anger management professional with at least 40 hours of training during the certification process. Since this field is a relatively new, there is limited regulation on the training standards for anger management class professionals or providers. We recommend that every class be taught or offered by one of the above professionals.
Anger Management is also offered using a variety of techniques and models. While most of the empirical research is limited to prison or inmate populations, it is hard to say what is the best approach. Most of the research points to using an educational and/or cognitive-behavioral approach/model to helping clients manage anger vs. a group psychotherapy approach or what is commonly referred to as a psycho-dynamic approach. One such model which incorporates both an educational approach and utilizes some of the previously mentioned skills is the Century Anger Management model of anger management.
Classes can be taken in a large range of contexts as well. There is one/one anger coaching, which is a more personalized approach to teaching skills in anger management. Classes can be taken in an accelerated workshop format. This is when a class is taught usually on a weekend and is four to eight hours in length. Another common format is the weekly anger class, in which classes are taught once a week for a series of weeks, typically lasting about 10 weeks. Classes are taken either voluntarily or for a court order, employment or legal requirement. Finally, online anger management classes can also be taken. Quality online programs typically offer an online format similar to those used by major universities such as UCLA, Stanford or Harvard.


Ari Novick, Ph.D. is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified anger management provider for both adults and adolescents. Dr. Novick is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. His corporate website is http://www.ajnovickgroup.com and his innovative online anger management class is available at http://www.angerclassonline.com. He can also be reached at 949 715-2694.

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