Has anger management helped you?

I have a kid, well he’s 22, who thinks maybe he needs an anger management program.

All of my family have kind of bad tempers. Some with short fuses and quick explosions, some with longer fuses and a longer time till they’re back to normal. I believe I would call some of my family members rageoholics (can’t get enough of that rage-ohol).

Now what I do is tell myself that I’m going to calm down eventually so it would be better to calm down now, and it works. Although sometimes someone else has to mention it to me. Obviuosly though I am the most well balanced of all of us.

But this doesn’t work for my son. I’m wondering if it might work better if somebody else, not his mother, recommended this technique or some other.

I’ve really only ever heard of court mandated programs. And of course the movie. (Please tell me it’s not like the movie.)

I would love to hear if anybody has actually gone through an anger management program, and if it worked.

NO! Goddammit! :mad:


Yes, with the right program and people, it can work. My son has been tackling this for several years (since he was about 8). I can report that he has had a few back slides, but the violence is under control. Keep looking for a good counselor for your son to work with, and remember it won’t happen overnight. Patience is key.

I have been through therapy and one of the benefits was anger management even though it was not a specific program for anger management.

Behavior therapy will help a lot. Anger needs to be managed, not suppressed and not vented, both of which can produced undesirable results.

Unfortunately there are a lot of bad programs out there and even the good ones don’t always work, because each person’s reasons are so different.

This isn’t exactly 100% spot on, but I recommend a very good old book called “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie. Your library should have it.

It’s not focused on anger but a lot of the issues it focuses on can be cross applied to anger. It’s a good place to start because it’s going to set you up to show you how to start altering bad behavior patterns.

Flash tempers don’t so much run in my family as be a requirement, so we get training on managing them since we’re little. Carryon’s advice is completely spot-on.

A good therapist will teach those same techniques: how to see that you’re getting angry before it gets out of hand, how to calm yourself down, how to communicate to others that you need a timeout/walk around the block, healthy/acceptable ways to redirect the anger, etc.

I didn’t go to a specific, dedicated anger management program, just to a counselor who includes anger management with his other services. I found it very helpful, but be aware that it can be a long process. It took me several months to get to the state I wanted to be in. A big part of my anger was, I think, related to underlying depression. When I became a father, the things I used to count on to counteract my depression (time with my wife, sex, personal hobbies) largely vanished from my life, leaving me resentful and very short tempered. Going on antidepressants helped a lot. I don’t walk around all the time feeling like my bark has been stripped off.

Anyway, I would encourage you to consider both counseling and medication.

Best of luck to you and your son.

I’d echo Defensive Indifference’s and others’ sentiments. I go to a counselor with my husband - he has some challenges when it comes to reasonable expectations of our children and not getting mad at them the moment they fail to meet them. Originally he wanted to visit a therapist to learn how to “fix” our kids, but he’s the first to admit that he gets angry far too easily and too fast, and stays that way for quite some time, so the focus has turned more toward developing healthy relationships with our kids and finding a way to deal with everyday frustrations and emotions, including anger, in a healthy way.

I don’t think you can stress enough that this stuff can take time. I’d also recommend that your son and you (if he’s comfortable) speak with any therapist for a few minutes before a first session to make sure they’re someone he feels comfortable speaking to and taking advice from. The first therapist we talked to was nice and probably helpful to many people, but my husband is far more technical/scientific minded while she was very new agey, so he found it hard to talk with her or take her recommendations seriously. The therapist we see now is able to provide more detailed scientific reasons for her recommendations, which helps a lot. So find someone who can speak to your son on his level and prepare to be very patient.

Yeah, finding the right fit with your therapist is important. Like overlyverbose’s husband, I’m a techie, “fix it” kind of guy. My first therapist was really big on meditation. While I accept the value of it, I was just really having a hard time making it a priority. My current therapist was also a techie/scientist before becoming a therapist, so we relate well on that level. When he saw me not really getting into meditation, he moved on to other ideas instead of just pushing me to meditate more.

Obviously I don’t know your son, but I found my early 20s to be very difficult. Looking back, I can see I should have had counseling then, and probably medication as well. Anyway I really struggled with the transition out of college. I wasn’t succeeding in the career I wanted, I was feeling the loss of a lot of close friendships, I was terrified of the future. And at the time I was really short tempered. Anyway, just saying again that the anger may be a symptom of other issues that may respond to counseling or medication.

Most 22-year-olds with known anger issues, regardless of any different status they may have, are unlikely to accept a therapist that their parents have shared details of their situation with - outside of being forced by a court. I guess there might be an exception with those who don’t mature mentally past a certain point, and even then at 22 I’m not so sure.

I can see recommending someone, but not the part about talking with their therapist and “filling them in”. There’s going to be a perceived broken trust there, regardless of how it feels or looks to you.

Dialectal Behavior Therapy might be an option for him. It was developed for those with personality disorders, but it helps other people too. It has the regular features of CBT, and an extra component (like with a group) which focuses on interactions with other people and all the stressors and emotional upsets that can result, and practicing mindfulness and management. A 20-year-old I know says it has helped him when nothing else ever did, and we were pretty nervous about him at one time…not so much now. There’s a definite change, a sense about him now that he’s managing his emotions rather than his emotions managing him. So just wanted to pass that on.