12 November 2011

Existential Anger Management

I went to the 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.


David Seddon said...

Did you find the REBT useful and very eye-opening? I guess some would try CBT or NLP, but I have heard good things about it. I am not a CBT fan. I think of it as a "one size fits all" sledge hammer. I think the other two are better.

Amanda Williamson (She/her) said...

Hi David, I have a soft spot for REBT - my approach of choice for short-term, limited work. James wasn't even aware that he was using REBT - he thought is was CBT-based, which of course, there is a crossover. But I recognised the lingo straight away. They use it in SMART Recovery too - meetings for people with addictions issues. I wrote a blogpost which the UK Director of SMART UK got wind of and endorsed:


NLP looks pretty good - we covered a module of it in training. I prefer REBT though. I haven't analysed the reasons why, but perhaps because I prefer Ellis to Bandler.

Unknown said...

I am interested in studying existentialism further, being very interested in Irvin Yalom's take on life. I am an integrative counsellor, new to the South West, 12 miles from Exeter and am interested on hearing of any courses delivered in the area? Thank You. Cheryl Barthorpe(Reg MBACP)

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