Concept of the Month -- June 2005

The Problem with "Anger Management"

Offenders, especially those who commit domestic violence, are often ordered by judges to attend "Anger Management" classes. The inevitable outcome is failure! This is because the entire concept of "anger management" is flawed. It implies that one is going to be angry, but that the anger just needs to be handled appropriately.

The criminal is angry because of unrealistic expectations that he has of himself and other people. His anger arises out of fear of being putdown. It is his thinkiing processes that must change. If they do, there will be far less anger to deal with. The objective should be elimination of anger, not managing it!

For example, if he learns to accept criticism and not take it personally ( even benefit from it), he will not feel put down or diminished. If he is realistic about what he expects from other people, he will seldom experience frustration and disappointment.

Thinking is basic. Behavior is a product of thinking. The most meaningful and effective approach to anger for any of us is to change the way we think. This
is essential for criminals to become law-abiding.

Stanton Samenow

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