24 October 2011

Anger management and person-centred counselling

On Friday evening I attended a workshop on anger management hosted by a lady who works with groups in an NHS setting, delivering CBT-based courses on anger management. It was an interesting evening, particularly for me as a person-centred therapist. There was discussion on how "person-centred" it is to give clients techniques for dealing with their anger, with varying opinions.

Where do I stand? If somebody is struggling with their anger, particularly if it is very destructive, their relationship is on the line or if there is violence involved then I think it is appropriate and responsible of me to use the knowledge I have of anger to offer the client directly pertinent advice. I do believe, however, that this is of limited use and does not address the reasons for the client being in that place. My aim as a therapist is to help the client understand themselves more overall, not just in terms of "their anger" and this, in my experience so far, has led to a huge reduction in their unmanageable feelings of anger (or anxiety, or helplessness...).


Jack Rainbow said...

I can't help feeling skeptical about the ability of any approach to enable me to not feel angry anymore.Even though you say oh, we work with all the client's issues to achieve understanding of the whole person where anger is only one part and so forth. Because I understand my fury alright, but how does that understanding and knowledge remove the source? The feeling still remians in me.

Amanda Williamson (She/her) said...

Hi Jack, thanks for commenting. Interesting question which I can't answer fully knowing nothing about you or your situation.
You say that you understand your fury, but do you know what's underneath your fury as anger/fury are a defence against fear and pain. I wonder if you have an understanding of any fear or sadness underneath the fury.
If the fury is impacting very negatively on your life then it might be worth considering some type of therapy to help you manage that aspect of your existence.
I appreciate your sharing your opinion, and skepticism. Counselling is not a panacea.

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