West Country Association of Counselling meeting on Thursday evening where Existential therapist James Banyard talked to us about how he delivers anger management courses in a way which correlates with his existential approach.
I was particularly interested in attending for a couple of reasons; I had attended a course recently on how anger management is being delivered in an NHS setting using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Also, struggling with anger is something that clients very often bring. Being a person-centred therapist (with a distinctly existential edge) I think that anger issues, indeed any emotions that manifest problematically, can be addressed indirectly through a deep and meaningful therapeutic relationship rather than "managed" through techniques. However, I do also believe that educating clients about anger (e.g. the neurochemical, addictive nature of it and specific techniques for breaking the learned cycle of response) can contribute to a sense of understanding and acceptance of oneself and lead to empowerment i.e. the client is confident that there is something they can do to change. This does not address the underlying issues but can, I believe, in conjunction to 1:1 therapy, lead to a favourable development for the client.
The content of James's course impressed me. He uses a variety of sources to build a picture of anger to help his clients get to grips with what they are dealing with. He illustrates that there are choices that can be made, and by the selective use of REBT techniques (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy - in my opinion much more sophisticated and philosphically sound than CBT) he helps to empower the clients with the conscious awareness of what is happening when anger gets out of hand.
I am very interested in working in group therapy as I think that it can prove to be a very useful to clients already in 1:1 therapy who are committed to change. It may also be a useful introduction to therapy and therefore a stepping-stone towards 1:1 therapy.