How Do You Treat A Mental Illness That Does Not Exist?
According to the American Psychotherapy Association, anger is a normal human emotion. Everyone gets angry from time to time. Anger is seen as a problem when it is too intense, lasts too long, impacts health, affects interpersonal relationships, occurs too frequently or leads to person or property directed aggression.
Mild forms of human anger may include displeasure, irritation or dislike. When we react to frustration, criticism or a threat, we may become angry – and usually this is a healthy response. Anger is a secondary emotion that is a common reaction to stress. Anger may be a response to feeling sad, lonely or frightened. When anger becomes full-blown rage our judgment and thinking can become impaired and we are more likely to do and say unreasonable and irrational things.
While anger may be a symptom of many mental and physical illnesses, anger is not listed in the latest edition of the Statistical Manual of Nervous and Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Therefore, it is unreasonable to attempt to offer counseling, psychotherapy or psychotropic medication for anger.
Attempting to diagnose poor impulse control as mental illnesses detracts from the very real, very serious and very dangerous mental illnesses that are indeed caused by very terrible things that happen within sufferers’ brains. Unlike schizophrenia that can’t be willed away, anger management is a learned skill. Any skill that is learned can be unlearned or replaced with a more useful skill.
Emotional Intelligence based Anger Management coaching is the most appropriate skill enhance intervention for self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, empathy and relationship management. All of these skills are critical for proper impulse control. Anger management is a procedure for acquiring the skills to recognize signs that you are becoming angry, and taking action to deal with the situation in a positive way. In no way does anger management mean holding the anger in or trying to keep from feeling anger.
Generally, an Emotional Intelligence Assessment (Bar On EQi 2.0) is given on-line to each client prior to starting the coaching or classes. Debriefing and client workbooks are provided at the first session.
Certified Anger Management Facilitators/Coaches can be found in most states in the U.S. as well as many Provinces in Canada.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF.CEAP
Bar On Certified Provider
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers