Anger management vs. Crisis Counseling

I turned on the evening news here in Baltimore and heard a news alert regarding a murder suicide at a local diagnostic engineering company. The initial news was very sketchy. It reported that an employee had met with his supervisor. At some point later, gunshots were heard and both were found dead in the supervisor’s office.

Little is new or novel about this story. We have all heard it repeated many times throughout history. Unfortunately, crisis counseling does not offer any lessons in preventing such occurrences. Rather, crisis counseling is a strategy useful in helping those affected manage their grief following such tragedies.

In contrast, anger management is more likely to prevent tragedies like this from occurring. The United States Postal Service is an organization that has implemented a proactive anger management program. Any employee of the postal service can enroll in a ten-session anger management program during his or her workday without cost. Any supervisor or manager can recommend anger management for an employee who appears to be exhibiting signs of stress or anger. These classes are mandated for recalcitrant employees. The days of ‘going postal’ are rapidly becoming passé.

Effective anger management classes contain the following components:

  • An assessment administered at intake to determine the client’s level of functioning in managing anger, stress, assertive communication and empathy.
  • A client workbook with material designed to teach skills in recognizing and managing anger, stress, effective communication and enhancing emotional intelligence. 
  • Professionally trained anger management facilitators are selected to provide all anger management classes.
  • Following the completion of the course, each client should have a posttest to determine the effectiveness of the course.

Individual Executive coaching should be made available for people who manage others. These classes must be offered on a one on one format.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAPDiplomate, American Association of Anger Management ProvidersAnderson & Anderson, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

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