We’ve all felt it. From low-level annoyance to fully-fledged rage, anger is a common emotion. At times, anger can even be healthy, helping us deal with unfair or unjust situations.
Sometimes though, anger can get out of control. From shouting, swearing, verbally or physically abusing our partner to losing our temper on the roads or at work, anger has many destructive effects. At these times it is important that we learn to deal with our anger in constructive and useful ways.
In this article I will summarise everything you need to know about anger management courses in Auckland, including:
Anger management courses are group or individual counselling sessions that help people to deal with problematic anger. Although anger management issues are as old as the human race, it is only in the last two or three decades that anger management classes have been held. The Oxford English Dictionary for example, states that the first reference to the term anger management came in 1975, connected with the work of American psychologist Raymond Novaco.
These days anger management courses are common in Auckland. Typically these courses are run either in groups of up to 16 people, or individually. These are discussed in more detail below.
How Do I Know if I Need an Anger Management Course?
There are many signs that you may need an anger management course. These include:
you have frequent arguments with your partner
you shout, swear at or belittle your partner
you experience considerable anger on the roads, including shouting at, swearing at or chasing other drivers
your boss or workmates say you have a quick temper
your children avoid you when you are angry
you go hours or even days after arguments without talking to your partner
other people say that you need to do an anger management class.
If you score highly on either of the above tests it is likely that need to take an anger management programme.
Should I Do a Group or Individual Anger Management Course?
Most organisations that run anger management courses deliver courses in both group and individual settings. Both of these settings have a number of benefits. These include:
Group Anger Management Courses assist people to:
learn basic anger management tools and techniques
understand thoughts and beliefs behind anger and violence
understand that they are not alone in experiencing issues with anger
get feedback from other group members as to how they would deal with certain situations
learn in a supportive environment
learn from experienced anger management group facilitators.
Group anger management classes are usually run by two facilitators. Often these facilitators are a man and a woman. Having both a man and woman in the anger management programme give participants balanced feedback as to the effect of anger on their partners and children.
Individual Anger Management Courses include many of the above topics but also allow people to:
conduct deeper and individual explorations of their anger
have individual feedback from an experienced counsellor
talk about issues that people may find difficult in a group setting, such as sexual abuse and extreme violence.
After running both group and individual anger management programmes for almost 20 years, I find that group environments are usually the most beneficial for those people trying to learn anger management techniques. This is largely due to the motivational aspect of the group and the support offered by other group members.
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North Harbour Living Without Violence is based in Takapuna, Auckland. They are a non-profit organisation whose main purpose is to reduce violence and abuse in the North Shore community. Their services include:
Inner City Women’s Group is a charitable trust that runs programmes for women throughout Auckland. Their vision is to support women and families to break the cycle of domestic violence. Their services include
To find out more visit Friendship House‘s website or phone 09 262 2322.
What happens in an Group Anger Management class?
Group anger management classes are usually run by two facilitators and have between 10 and 16 participants. These facilitators are likely to be counsellors who are highly trained in the dynamics of domestic violence. Some facilitators have also been in anger management classes themselves as participants and later trained to run classes themselves.
Participants in anger management classes tend to come from all walks of life and include a large variety of ages, ethnicities, professions and backgrounds. Research by North Harbour Living Without Violence indicates that roughly:
35% of men are aged from 20-30
30% of men are aged from 30-40
25% of men are aged from 40-50
Group anger management classes usually include a mix of input from class members and instruction from the facilitators. The topics covered in these classes vary depending on the organisation that is running then, but often include topics such as:
understanding anger, abuse and violence
anger management techniques
identifying thoughts and feelings that may precede anger, abuse and violence
communication skills, including listening, speaking and negotiation skills
understanding the effect of abuse and violence on others
understanding verbal, emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuse
understanding the causes of anger, including the influence of our childhood and upbringing.
What Happens in an Individual Anger Management Class?
Individual anger management classes combine a mix of counselling and programme content. The content of individual programmes is often similar to that of group programmes. However in individual programmes the content of the programme can be tailored to the individual needs of the person seeking anger management.
As a facilitator of anger management courses for twenty years, I believe that these courses assist many men to make substantial changes in their lives. This is especially for men who come into these programmes seeking to make positive changes. In my experience, this is most men in the programme.
For other men, it is possible that anger management programmes help them to disguise tactics of violence, abuse and control. In my experience this only occurs in the minority of men. Often these are men who are mandated to attend the programme and may not have intrinsic motivation to change.
Overall research generally suggests that anger management programmes provide an opportunity for men to learn respectful and non-abusive ways of being in relationship with their partners and children. In the twenty years I have been running anger management programmes I would say that once a man has completed a programme, approximately:
90% of men stop using physical violence in their relationship
70% of men significantly reduce or stop using emotional or verbal violence in their relationship
99% of men would recommend the programme to other men
Are Anger Management Courses Different for Men and Women?
The content of anger management courses for men and women is usually mostly the same. Both men and women will be very likely to learn basic anger management tools and techniques. They are also likely to understand some deeper causes of anger, including underlying thoughts and beliefs.
While most of this content will be the same for men and women, there will also be some differences. These differences are largely due to the different socialisation of men and women. In addition, women who experience anger issues themselves have often been victims of abusive relationships. Most women’s anger management courses thus include sections on recovering from abusive relationships.
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It is surprising difficult to find good books on anger management, especially those written from a New Zealand perspective. Largely because of this, I am in the process of writing a book myself on simple and effective tips for managing anger. If you would like more details on this, please contact me.
In the meantime the following books provide a good introduction to anger management and can be powerful in helping people change their lives. Please note that I have also linked these books to my Amazon.com affiliate account, meaning that if you buy this book I receive a small donation. This does not increase the cost to you of the book in any way.
Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men is a great book for helping men understand if they have an anger management issues and if so, what to do about it. Highly recommended!
What is the First Step in Getting Help for Anger Management?
Often the first step in getting help for anger management is to pick up the phone and call any of the organisations listed above. This can be a difficult and brave step for many people. However few people regret enrolling in an anger management programme.
If you are unsure which organisation or course is right for you, I am happy to advise on any issues around anger management. Please use the contact button below to contact me with any questions you have on this topic.
Alastair Duhs is a highly experienced anger management counsellor who has been running anger management courses for over 20 years. For any questions or enquiries please contact him on 021 137 0228 or via www.narrativecounselling.com.
Alastair Duhs has been a professional counsellor for the last 17 years. In this time he has helped thousands of people overcome the problems that they have been facing and create happier, healthier and more joyous lives. read more...