Improving Communication with Others

Lack of communication is the root of many troubles, such as hurt feelings, misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and unsuccessful connections. Healthy communication in its broadest form is important in developing positive healthy relationships between family members and others. Everyone should utilize techniques useful for gaining good communication skills.

Basic skills are very important and many people do not use them well. Poor communication skills result in unnecessary problems and misunderstandings in relationships.

Good communication requires two sets of skills:

• Those required to understand the other person (accurate receiving).
• Those required to give out accurate messages (accurate sending).

Four key communication skills for improving interpersonal relationships are:

• The ability to listen without judging.
• Show understanding of what has been said.
• Acknowledge and accept another’s point of view.
• Don’t impose your personal beliefs on someone else.

Good communication skills take patience and time to acquire. We encourage participants to use all of their newly learned skills in developing positive and healthy relationships.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

Motivation is the Key to Change

“Motivation” comes from the Latin word for “to move”. It is a goal-oriented behavior. In essence, we take action because it feels good to do so. It feels right to take a break when we are on overload, then it feels right to go back to work. The real challenge is to make it feel right to take action that does not have an immediate reward. For teenagers and young adults, it is natural to want to see immediate results from any action. Their brains are still developing the ability to reason from cause to effect. In order to feel motivated, we have to tap into the part of ourselves that has a longer view, which also feels right.

Take the Long View

All of us make countless decisions every hour. What should I eat for lunch? Which book should I read first? Should I do homework? Which person should I ask? In part, we make those decisions unconsciously based on our patterns and habits – the things we learned from our families. We also make decisions based on our personal priorities. So, if we want to redirect our decision to take the longer view, we need to both shape unconscious habits and examine priorities to make sure they match. Therefore, completing the assignments between sessions is far more likely to lead to permanent change than the time spent in sessions.

Creating the Correct Environment can Motivate Others

In addition to motivating ourselves, it is important to learn how to create an environment where others can become motivated. There are many ways to do so. The most obvious is “extrinsic” motivation. For example, “If you carry my books, I will give you part of my lunch,” is a simple example of extrinsic motivation. It is a bribe or an offer made in exchange for a service. Regardless of how it is viewed, both parties benefit in some way.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

Contagious Yawn, ‘Sign of Empathy’

By Liz Seward Science reporter, Festival of Science, New York

Yawning may reveal more about a person than their boredom threshold, according to research. A susceptibility to contagious yawning may actually be a sign of a high-level of social empathy. Although many species yawn, only some humans and possibly their close animal relatives find yawning infectious, suggesting the reason is psychological. The University of Leeds research was presented at the British Association’s Festival of Science in York.” Contagious yawning is a very interesting behavior,” said Dr Catriona Morrison, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Leeds, who is leading the work.” You don’t need a visual cue, you don’t even need an auditory cue – you can just read about it or think about it and it gets you going.” We believe that contagious yawning indicates empathy. It indicates an appreciation of other people’s behavioral and physiological state,” she added. Eyes have it.

Recent neuro-imaging has shown that the same area of the brain is involved when reacting to yawning and when considering others. The University of Leeds team carried out an experiment on students studying psychology and engineering to test this concept. Each student was shown to an occupied waiting room where their companion was actually a researcher who yawned 10 times in 10 minutes. The scientists recorded how often the students yawned in response. Each participant was then asked to complete a test of their empathetic skills, in which they analyzed pictures of eyes and recorded the emotions shown. The results showed that those who had succumbed to the most contagious yawning also scored higher on the empathy tests. There was also a clear difference between the subjects studied. Psychology students were more susceptible to contagious yawning, and scored significantly higher on the empathy test than did the engineering students. Catriona Morrison said: “We thought that psychology students would be highly empathetic and that engineering students would be more systemized, more interested in numbers and formulas.” The results of the experiment appear to back this up, she added.

John McCain’s Temper Preceded Vietnam

Ronald Kessler
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006

By his own account, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, had trouble controlling his anger long before he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Back in 1999, McCain allowed reporters from the Arizona Republic, New York Times, and The Associated Press to review 1,500 pages of his medical and psychiatric records from his service in the military.

McCain would not allow reporters to copy the records. Only a few papers ran details relating to his temper.

The documents, which include the results of annual psychiatric exams after he was released from a North Vietnamese prison in 1973, indicate McCain was not diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder and had adjusted well to his ordeal. McCain’s imprisonment began in October 1967 when he was shot down over Hanoi. However, in response to the question, “What traits do you have that others object to?” McCain answered, “Quick temper.”

In one of the documents, a Navy psychiatrist, Dr. P.F. O’Connell, who examined McCain in 1973, said McCain thought he had made progress in controlling his anger during his captivity. “He learned to control his temper better,” the evaluation said. McCain learned while a prisoner “to not become angry over insignificant things: not ‘to go to the mat’ over some minor provocation by a guard that resulted in needless torture.”


A July 5 article quoted former Sen. Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee, as saying, “I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues . . . He would disagree about something and then explode. It was incidents of irrational behavior. We’ve all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I’ve never seen anyone act like that.”

McCain’s outbursts often erupted when other members rebuffed his requests for support during his bid in 2000 for the Republican nomination for president, the story said. “People who disagree with him get the ‘f*** you,'” said former Rep. John LeBoutillier, a New York Republican who had an encounter with McCain when he was on a POW task force in the House.

“He had very few friends in the Senate,” said former Sen. Smith, who dealt with McCain almost daily. “He has a lot of support around the country, but I don’t think he has a lot of support from people who know him well.”

An Aug. 2 NewsMax story quoted Andrew H. “Andy” Card Jr., President Bush’s former chief of staff, as saying he also has observed McCain’s outbursts of anger. “Sometimes he was pretty angry, but I felt as if he was putting on a show,” Card said. “I don’t know if it was an emotional eruption or it was for effect.”

McCain Notes

At other times, McCain is simply nasty, those who know him say. Last February, McCain sent Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a mocking letter, saying he wanted to “apologize” for “assuming” Obama’s private assurances of working together were sincere.

“I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics, I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble,” McCain said sarcastically. “Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.”

McCain and Obama later talked and agreed to “move on,” as McCain put it. Senators joke among themselves about their collection of “McCain Notes” — apologies McCain sends after he has unleashed a tirade.

Democrat Paul Johnson, the former mayor of Phoenix, saw McCain’s temper up close. “His volatility borders in the area of being unstable,” Johnson has said. “”Before I let this guy put his finger on the button, I would have to give considerable pause.”

“I think he is mentally unstable and not fit to be president,” former congressman LeBoutillier said.

McCain’s office did not respond to requests from NewsMax for comment.

Not a Result of Captivity

Many have thought that McCain might have developed his out-of-control temper while a POW. But as described in his military records, McCain’s anger pre-dated his captivity.

McCain has alternately denied he is given to angry outbursts and has admitted he struggles to control his anger. On Oct. 31, 1999, for example, The Associated Press quoted him as saying, “Do I insult anybody or fly off the handle or anything like that? No, I don’t.” But in his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For,” McCain said, “I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public’s.”

This year, the Baltimore Sun quoted McCain on March 20 as denying he had a temper. “Just because someone says it’s there, you would have to provide some corroboration that it was,” McCain said. “Because I do not lose my temper. I do not.”

McCain continued: “Now do I speak strongly? Do I feel frustrated from time to time? Of course. If I didn’t, I don’t think I would be doing my job. But for someone to say that McCain became just angry and yelled or raised my voice or – it’s just not true. It’s simply not true,” McCain said.

Just two days earlier, however, McCain said at a forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., “I have had a bad temper in my life.” Saying he displayed his temper in his early days in office, McCain said, “Every time I ever lost my temper, I regretted it since then.”

Charmed Media Life

If McCain has had trouble keeping his story straight, he has enjoyed a charmed life with the national media. Besides largely ignoring McCain’s anger issues, the media have run few details of McCain’s bouts with malignant melanoma, a deadly form of cancer that can spread quickly throughout the body, and have rarely cited a litany of inappropriate comments by McCain over the years.

For example, only a few news outlets, like the Phoenix New Times in Arizona and the National Journal, have run an Associated Press story reporting McCain’s 1998 joke suggesting that Chelsea Clinton was ugly and that Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton were lesbians.

“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?” McCain said at a GOP fund-raiser in Washington. “Because Janet Reno is her father.”

When running stories on Sen. George Allen’s recent reference to a student of Indian descent as a “macaca,” a genus of monkey, the media referred to inappropriate remarks by other political candidates but never mentioned McCain’s 2000 statement, “I hate the gooks,” a racial epithet for Asians. McCain later apologized and said he was referring to his wartime captors.

When McCain recently said it “grieves me so much” that the American people were “led to believe that this [the invasion of Iraq] would be some kind of a day at the beach,” 177 news outlets ran the story. The Washington Post referred to McCain’s criticism in 10 stories. The New York Times referred to it in three stories. But only two media outlets — MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume — referred to an AP story quoting McCain’s March 2003 statement on Hardball that U.S. forces would “absolutely, absolutely” be greeted as liberators.

In part because he gives reporters access and charms them with his apparent openness, and in part because they relish his condemnations of President Bush and agencies like the FBI and CIA, McCain is a darling of the press.

In contrast to the buttoned-down Bush press operation, McCain’s handlers allowed reporters to spend hours schmoozing with him on bus tours during his 1999 campaign. That strategy has worked.

In a major exception to what it called the “fawning” treatment the national media give McCain, the Arizona Republic, in a front page article and separate editorial in October 1999, said it wanted the nation to know about the “volcanic” temper McCain had unleashed on top state officials.

“McCain often insults people and flies off the handle,” the editorial said. Moreover, he is often “sarcastic and condescending.” The paper said that it was “time the rest of the nation learned about the John McCain we know in Arizona.” The editorial said there is reason to “seriously question” whether McCain has the “temperament” to be president.

Healthy Enough to Serve?

McCain has had a lengthy battle with cancer, yet only the Arizona Republic has fully covered McCain’s health history. McCain has never allowed his doctors to talk directly to the press. However, according to his office, a melanoma was removed from McCain’s left shoulder in 1993. In 2000, McCain had surgery to remove two more melanomas on his left temple and left upper arm. As a precaution, all lymph nodes were removed on the left side of his neck. Also, part of the parotid gland was removed.

According to McCain’s office, his doctors at the Mayo Clinic said surgical margins around the melanomas were clear of cancer. The lymph nodes were negative. McCain’s office said his prognosis was “very good,” and the new melanomas were not related to the 1993 melanoma.

According to Dr. Bill Halmi, a dermatologist with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, it is unusual to have three melanoma lesions in a lifetime. The chances of developing one is only 1 percent to 2 percent.

“The fact that he [McCain] has had several means he’s someone that you have to keep a close eye on,” he said.

However, “It doesn’t sound like he has any risk at the moment,” said Dr. Burton J. Lee III, White House physician to former President George H.W. Bush. Lee, who specialized in lymphomas at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said, “If any one of them [the melanomas] had recurred, then you have a bad situation. You either get them out or you don’t. Most of the time, if you have a good surgeon and get them early enough, you get them out.”

Given that McCain just turned 70, his health would be expected to be an issue in a presidential run. If elected president, McCain would be three years older when elected than Ronald Reagan was when he won his first term. At 69, Reagan was the oldest man elected president.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of

Anger Management Guru to Present “The Business of Managing Anger” At a Social Work Conference

George Anderson, B.C.D., L.C.S.W. is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion with a focus on Alternative Careers for M.S.W.s in Business and Government Sectors. This training is part of the Smith College School for Social Work, its 90th Anniversary alumni panel. The training will take place on July 19, 2008 on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Anderson & Anderson anger management curriculum is the industry standard in anger management worldwide. A documentary on this model will appear on the British Broadcasting Channel in this Fall.

Rasheed Ahmed
Office Manager
Anderson & Anderson
The Trusted Name in Anger Management

John McCain, the New Poster Boy for Anger Management

The combination of the Jack Nicholas/Adam Sandler Movie, Anger Management, along with the tragedy of 9/11 has made anger management a daily topic in the news, comedy and sports. The current interest in John McCain’s long history of aggressive outbursts is rapidly making anger management one of the most popular topics in the media worldwide. In fact, political analysts, generals and pundits are questioning John McCain’s competence in leading the nation based on his inability to manage intense feelings of anger.

As portrayed by the mainstream media, McCain is an engaging war hero, a man of political moderation, positioned between the left and the right. But to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that makes many of them question whether he is fit to serve as our president and commander-in-chief. Nowhere is this sentiment stronger than in the Senate, where McCain has few friends or supporters. In fact, when McCain ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2000, only four Republican senators endorsed him.

“I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues,” said former Senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee and on Republican policy committees. “He would disagree about something and then explode. It was incidents of irrational behavior. We’ve all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I’ve never seen anyone act like that.”

This unprecedented interest in the emotional intelligence of a major political figure offers an opportunity for professional anger management facilitators to educate the public on the value of this intervention as effective for skill enhancement in recognizing anger, stress, communication and empathy.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

An Open Letter to JCAHO, Hospital H.R. Managers/Administrators

As the Nation’s largest provider of Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians, Anderson & Anderson is committed to advocating for the Best Practices in providing mandated or volunteer services for “disruptive physicians”. With this goal in mind, we would like to bring to your attention an evasive tactic currently being used by some physicians to avoid enrollment in Coaching Programs designed exclusively for “disruptive physicians”.

Some physicians are enrolling in on-line or Home Study Classes, which are presented in a Self-Help format unrelated to Medical Professionals or Health Care Organizations. These classes are in no way consistent with JCAHO standards and should not be accepted.

The two legitimate providers of intervention for “disruptive physicians” are: Management for Healthcare Professionals at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, and Anderson & Anderson®.

The Anderson & Anderson class is available at our Brentwood office or on-site anywhere in the United States. This class is consistent with the new Joint Commission requirements for abusive physicians. The Anderson & Anderson® Anger Management/Executive Coaching program is listed in the Directory of Physician Assessment And Remedial Education Programs, Federation of State Medical Boards.

For more information, visit our website at or contact our office at 310-207-3591.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

Anger, a Contagious Emotion

The recent ABC Televised debate between Senators Obama and Clinton was an excellent demonstration of how contagious anger can be when sensed, observed or felt by others. The two television Commentators who served as moderators for this debate exhibited anger and disrespect toward Sen. Obama. Their mean spirited questions regarding lapel pins worn or not worn, comments made by his pastor, his relationship with someone suspected of committing a crime when Obama was 8 years old, and his comments regarding the tendency for persons to  cling to their religious beliefs and guns during stressful times created counter anger in listeners all over the nation.

ABC News and the moderators were stunned by the volume of blog entries that were overwhelmingly angry and negative. According to Daniel Goleman, “When someone dumps their toxic feelings on us–explodes in anger or threats, shows disgust or contempt–they activate in us circuitry for those very same distressing emotions. Their act has potent neurological consequences: emotions are contagious. We “catch” strong emotions much as we do a rhinovirus–and so we can come down with the emotional equivalent of a cold”.

ABC and its staff may well consider Organizational Training in Civility/Anger Management.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

Personality Disorders Cause Emotional Reactions in Staff

ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2008 ) — A new study suggests that the way in which professional care workers respond emotionally to substance abuse patients with personality disorders depends on the type of disorder.

Birgitte Thylstrup and Morten Hesse of Aarhus University, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, in Copenhagen, Denmark, explain that while previous research has shown that antisocial and aggressive behavior in patients can affect how professionals manage them, no previous studies have investigated the distinction between the full range of different personality disorders and their effects on professional health care workers.

The idea that the emotional reactions of a professional to his or her patient may play an important part in psychotherapeutic treatment dates back to the work of Sigmund Freud. He coined the term ‘countertransferance’ to describe the observation that a patient’s influence on the analyst’s unconscious feelings may interfere with the patient’s treatment.

In order to test whether this hypothesis holds for the interaction between health professionals and substance abuse patients, the researchers asked staff members to complete an inventory of emotional reactions to their patients. Concomitantly, the patients, most commonly men in their thirties, were asked to complete a personality disorder questionnaire.

The researchers then sought to determine if there were any correlations between the emotional reactions reported by staff and the type of personality disorder in the patient.

Not unexpectedly, they found that patients with features of antisocial personality disorder induced feelings of distance in their careers. Interestingly, feelings of helpfulness were induced by those with features of avoidant personality disorder.

“The patient with antisocial personality disorder tends to be manipulative and aggressive. It is natural for staff members to react to such behavior with some negative reactions, and this is not a sign of unprofessional conduct”, says Morten Hesse. “On the other hand, the patient with avoidant personality disorder is often cautious and appears vulnerable and needy. In that context, many clinicians feel that they can be useful to the patient, and feel secure in their role as treatment providers.”

The researchers point out that by using self-reporting, rather than disorders assessed by the staff, they have, for the first time, avoided the problem of a confounding diagnosis. “Staff reactions should be considered in supervision of staff, and in treatment models for substance abuse patients with personality disorders,” the researchers conclude.

Journal reference: Substance abusers’ personality disorders and staff members’ emotional reactions. Birgitte Thylstrup and Morten Hesse. BMC Psychiatry (in press)

Spirituality and emotional IQ can drive business

Boston Business Journal – by Jay S. Sidhu

John Ruskin said: “Education does not mean just teaching people what they do not know, it also means teaching people to behave as they do not behave.”

Today, more than 150 years later, Mr. Ruskin’s words still ring true, as it is no longer enough to just have a high IQ. In fact, new research at Harvard University reveals that 90 percent to 95 percent of success now depends upon Emotional Intelligence — EQ or EI — and only 5 percent to 10 percent on IQ.

Emotional Intelligence is developing universal values of dignity and trust gained through open and honest communications. It is adding intelligence to emotions and gaining wisdom.

My own personal journey has convinced me that you cannot reach your potential as a leader if you are not using your potential as a human being first. And you can’t achieve your potential as a human being if you are not authentic.

And yet companies and organizations across this country invest about $25 billion a year on training for technical skills and very little on developing authentic leadership skills. I call it the “Great Training Robbery.”

My experience has been that “authentic leadership” can be developed and should be considered as a viable option for you, personally, and your team members. Authentic leadership based upon emotional intelligence, leads to mutual trust and respect and sustainable superior performance.

There are four conditions of authenticity, and none of them will come as a surprise to you. In fact, they are traits our parents and mentors instilled in us during our development years. They are:

The absence of defensiveness.

The absence of manipulation or the presence of truthfulness.

The presence of sincere empathy.

The presence of values.

Couple those traits with what I identify as the five components of emotional intelligence-based authentic leadership and you are creating greatness.

The five components are:

Self-awareness: The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, drives and values as well as their realistic effect on others.