As the title implies, this site will continually update changes and trends in anger management services, research,referrals and provider training. In addition, books,CDs,videos and DVDs used in anger management programs will be introduced.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Emotional Intelligence Continuing Education Seminar a Smashing Success

Anderson & Anderson®, the Trusted Name in Anger Management, conducted an eight-hour continuing education seminar on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008. This seminar was strictly focused on Emotional Intelligence and the Personal Skills Assessment that addresses empathy. The purpose of this seminar was to coach current anger management providers (who utilize the Anderson & Anderson model of anger management) on how to assess and measure the level of empathy of each client they meet with. The Emotional Intelligence Profile measures several kinds of skills that each person uses on a daily basis. These include intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, career/life skills, and personal wellness skills.

Providers from different parts of the country attended this groundbreaking seminar. Among those in attendance were providers from South Carolina, Alabama, and several counties in California. All of these providers reported that they are doing extremely well providing anger management for court referrals, business referrals, and voluntary clientele.

This seminar was provided as an opportunity for providers to get an early start on completing continuing education units required for maintaining status as an Anderson & Anderson anger management provider. Most importantly, however, it was a great opportunity for providers to get together and learn new ways in which they can increase the professionalism of the Anderson & Anderson model and vastly improve in their methods of reaching new clientele.

Anderson & Anderson will continue to offer these kinds of seminars. The goal is to have yearly physical contact with providers so that they are kept up to date with the latest and greatest of our anger management model. We also want them to address any issues they may be having that prove to be hindrances to their success as anger management providers.

Rasheed Ahmed
Office Manager
Anderson & Anderson®
The Trusted Name in Anger Management
Ph: 310-207-3591
Fax: 310-207-6234

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Non-Psychiatric Evaluation & Coaching for “Disruptive Physicians”

Physicians who are referred or mandated to attend an anger management program consistent with the Joint Commission for The Accreditation of Health Care Organizations's guidelines (JCAHO) must be careful to protect themselves from the inherent risk of enrolling in a program that includes psychological/psychiatric assessments. Any physician who is considered by his organization to be “disruptive” should seek out approved/experienced Executive Coaching/Anger Management Programs which use valid assessment instruments designed exclusively to screen for base line functioning in recognizing and managing anger, stress, assertive communication and emotional intelligence.

The American Psychiatric Association has correctly determined that anger is not a pathological condition and is not listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Nervous And Mental Disorders. Therefore, anger management it is not subject to psychiatric intervention. Rather, anger is a normal human emotion, which is experienced by everyone.

Any type of paper trail that implies or suggests psychiatric impairment can prove to be problematic for physicians applying for medical staff privileges, teaching positions or Managed Health Care service provider contracts. Since there is still a stigma associated with mental illness, anything that implies such a diagnoses must be avoided.

Anger is considered a problem, when it is too intense, occurs too frequently, lasts too long, leads to aggression or violence, disrupts interpersonal relationships or has health consequences.

Unhealthy anger is not a mental health problem; it is not responsive to counseling, psychotherapy, psychiatric intervention nor psychotropic medication. The ideal anger management program is one that includes a comprehensive assessment for anger, stress, communication and emotional intelligence. The most appropriate intervention is Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians with an After-care component.

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

Increased Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize and respond to other peoples’ emotions. It is connected to optimism because it is through a sense of our connections to others that we see our own sense of well-being and importance. Another word for this is “conscience”. Together they govern a large part of our behavior. They are the gatekeepers of our emotional selves. When we are empathic, it affects us when we hurt others and/or when we see them hurt. We actually experience for ourselves the emotions of others. It becomes a motivation not only to do what makes us feel good, but also what makes others feel good. Thus, empathy is the force that makes the Golden Rule true.

It Starts At Birth

Some parts of empathy are instinctive. Infants will reach out and touch others in distress. In maternity wards, one infant’s tears will lead to a room full of crying babies. This mimicry is the first step toward forming empathy.

Connection Is Important

Unfortunately, this unconscious or instinctive behavior does not automatically lead to conscious empathy. Instead, these seeds must be nurtured through role modeling, reinforcement, and practice. Once people develop empathy on a conscious level, it becomes natural and self-reinforcing, because it fulfills a deep-seated need to connect with others.

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

Friday, May 23, 2008

Children Who Bully Also Have Problems With Other Relationships

ScienceDaily (Mar. 26, 2008 ) — Students who bully others tend to have difficulties with other relationships, such as those with friends and parents. Targeting those relationships, as well as the problems children who bully have with aggression and morality, may offer ideas for intervention and prevention.

Those are the findings of a new study that was conducted by scientists at York University and Queens University. The researchers looked at 871 students (466 girls and 405 boys) for seven years from ages 10 to 18. Each year, they asked the children questions about their involvement in bullying or victimizing behavior, their relationships, and other positive and negative behaviors.

Bullying is a behavior that most children engage in at some point during their school years, according to the study. Almost a tenth (9.9 percent) of the students said they engaged in consistently high levels of bullying from elementary through high school. Some 13.4 percent said they bullied at relatively high levels in elementary school but dropped to almost no bullying by the end of high school. Some 35.1 percent of the children said they bullied peers at moderate levels. And 41.6 percent almost never reported bullying across the adolescent years.

The study also found that children who bullied tended to be aggressive and lacking in a moral compass and they experienced a lot of conflict in their relationships with their parents. In addition, their relationships with friends also were marked by a lot of conflict, and they tended to associate with others who bullied.

The findings provide clear direction for prevention of persistent bullying problems, according to Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and Senior Associate Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Pepler, who is the study's lead author, calls bullying "a relationship problem."

"Interventions must focus on the children who bully, with attention to their aggressive behavior problems, social skills, and social problem-solving skills. A focus on the child alone is not sufficient. Bullying is a relationship problem that requires relationship solutions by focusing on the bullying children's strained relationships with parents and risky relationships with peers," according to Pepler. "By providing intensive and ongoing support starting in the elementary school years to this small group of youth who persistently bully, it may be possible to promote healthy relationships and prevent their 'career path' of bullying that leads to numerous social-emotional and relationship problems in adolescence and adulthood."

Summarized from Child Development, Vol. 79, Issue 2, Developing Trajectories of Bullying and Associated Factors by Pepler, D, Jiang, D (York University), Craig, W (Queens University), and Connolly, J (York University).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News Brief from Anderson & Anderson

May has been a remarkable month at Anderson & Anderson®. George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, trained 16 School Counselors in Fremont California, which resulted in 6 new Anger Management Pilot Programs in three High Schools, one Middle School, one Continuing Education Program, and an At Risk Program for Adolescents. All of these programs will be funded by the Alameda County Department of Health.

Dr. Thomas Wentz of the Anderson & Anderson faculty represented the firm at an all day conference in San Francisco sponsored by Public Defender, Jeffrey Adachi on Gang Violence. This was one of the best-attended and most successful conferences of this type held in California. Anderson & Anderson is in negations to conduct a pilot anger management gang prevention program in the San Francisco Area as a result of this conference.

In April and May, Anderson & Anderson has seen the largest number of Physicians referrals for Executive Coaching. While most have been to our Brentwood Office, two have been in Texas and one in Indiana. Information regarding our Anger Management/Executive Coaching for physicians routinely appears in references on the website of the Joint Commission on The Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

At the request of the largest Hospital Client Corporation, Anderson & Anderson will expand its Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians to include “boundaries training” for mandated physicians.

The new workbook “Practice of Control, Anger Management/Executive Coaching for Physicians” will be introduced to the public within the next three weeks. This publication by George Anderson will be the first book of its kind to focus exclusively on help for “disruptive physicians”. Dr. Tom Wentz is the Editor of this publication.

George Anderson has been approached by the California Highway Patrol to provide on-site anger management at one of its regional offices for Uniformed Personnel.

Los Angeles based Southwest College has selected the Anderson & Anderson anger management curriculum for use in its Substance Abuse Counseling Program. The Anderson & Anderson model will be used as electives for this training.

Our Beliefs Control Our Behavior

At a young age, we learn lessons from our families on how to cope, how to get our needs met, and how to protect ourselves. These strategies reinforce one another, and we develop a complex structure of beliefs to support the reasonableness of our behaviors.

Nature developed our emotions over millions of years of evolution. As a result, our emotions have the potential to serve us today as a guidance system. Our emotions alert us when any natural human need is not being met. For example, when we feel lonely, our need for connection with other people is unmet. When we feel afraid, our need for safety is unmet. When we feel rejected, it is our need for acceptance that is unmet.

Our emotions are a useful source of information. Our emotions help us make decisions. Studies show that if we have an accident in which the portion of the brain that deals with emotions is damaged, we cannot make even simple decisions. Why? Because we don’t know how we will feel about our choices.

Our emotions help us communicate with others. Our facial expressions, for example, can convey a wide range of emotions. If we look sad or hurt, we are letting the other person know that we need their help. If we are verbally skilled we will be able to express more of our emotional needs and thereby have a better chance of filling them. If we are good at listening to the emotional needs of others, we are better able to help them feel understood, important, and cared about.

As our society has become more pressured and we are constantly overwhelmed by stress, our ability to recognize and respond to our own feelings and those of others are diminished. Therefore, we are more prone to stress related disorders, including a reduced ability to manage the intense feelings that produce anger. Consequently, there is an increase in road rage, desk rage, person-directed violence, substance abuse, and other harmful displays of anger.

Our emotions are perhaps the greatest potential source of uniting all members of the human race. This is what makes us human. Clearly, our various religious, cultural, and political beliefs have not united us. Far too often, in fact, they divide us. Emotions, on the other hand, are universal. The emotions of empathy, compassion, cooperation and forgiveness, for instance, all have the potential to unite us as people. Out thoughts may tend to divide us, whereas our emotions, if given the chance, will unite us.

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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Anderson and Anderson Faculty Member an Invited Panelist for Fifth Annual Public Defender’s Juvenile Justice Summit

Anderson and Anderson Anger Management/Emotional Intelligence consultant and faculty member, T. L. Wentz, Ph.D., was an invited panelist who participated in the Fifth Annual Public Defender’s Juvenile Justice Summit in San Francisco, May 14, 2008, hosted by Mr. Jeffrey Adachi, Director, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. This year’s theme for the conference was “Less Talk, More Action: Solutions for Safe Schools and Safe Streets” and focused upon reducing violence in San Francisco’s schools and high-risk communities among students.

The host, Mr. Adachi, in his conference-opening remarks, made special note and “thanked Mr. George Anderson, Executive Director of Anderson and Anderson Anger Management, the world’s largest provider of Anger Management/Emotional Intelligence training for the presence and participation of his consultant, Dr. Tom Wentz, an expert on Anger Management and emotional intelligence.”

The keynote speaker, Dr. Francisco Reveles, Professor of Educational Leadership and Senior faculty member at CSU – Sacramento, as well as a nationally recognized leader, curriculum author, and most recently, film producer in the areas of resilience and risk-taking youth in the prevention of Latino school dropouts. Dr. Reveles, a former youth migrant worker in the agricultural fields from Texas to California, stressed the importance of “empowerment of Latino youths, and, of all young men and women, to set their sights beyond the barrio and to determine their own futures; to search beyond where they are on the streets ask themselves, does what I do have self-respect?” Dr. Reveles concluded his remarks with the high expectations he places on all his students and Latino youth and to do the same for themselves.”

The panelists included Margaret Brodkin, State Director DCYF; Carlos Garcia, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District; Nathaniel Ford, MTA Director; Angela Chan, J.D., Director, Asian Law Project; James Dierke, Middle School Principal of Visitation Valley Middle School and the National Middle School Principal of the Year, 2007; and Captain Marsha Ashe, San Francisco Police Department.

Dr. Wentz, representative of Anderson and Anderson Anger Management/Emotional Intelligence services, Brentwood, CA, drew the first ovation from the audience of approximately 300 San Franciscans and fellow panelists when he said:

“The Anderson and Anderson model of Anger Management/Emotional Intelligence is the only anger management skills building curriculum recognized by the California courts and penal system as effective in producing positive, individual change. Thirty years ago, Mr. Anderson recognized a need and continues to fulfill that need today. However, in order to appreciate Mr. Anderson’s efforts to help others, I would like to share something about Mr. Anderson with all of you.

Mr. Anderson is a 70 year old Black man who grew-up in Mississippi during World War II and has experienced things no person should ever have to endure. He was diagnosed as mentally retarded before Special Education even existed. Later, Mr. Anderson was one of six, non-medical professionals invited to attend Harvard Medical School’s training for psychiatrists. It is Mr. Anderson’s belief that we human beings share one unifying quality – emotions! Religion, economic and political systems as well as cultures do not unify us, in fact, these institutions have served to drive us further apart. It is in our emotions that we find our humanness, and as a result of our shared emotions, it is our humanness that offers the hope of unifying all of us!

I wish to extend Mr. Anderson’s apologies for not being here today. He is with his family celebrating his son and his son’s graduation from college. He sends his apologies to all of you.

Today, I was going to talk about the Anderson and Anderson Anger Management/Emotional Intelligence curriculum and training, but given the direction and compelling discussion around the need to end violence in the schools and education in particular what I would like to say is this: I have been around education for over 30 years as a special education teacher, researcher, and an assistant professor of education. And, I have to say, we educators have missed the point for these past 30 years.

We educators know how to teach math and science – we have made a science out of teaching math and science! But where we have failed is we have not taught children about themselves! Specifically, we have not taught our students about their feelings, how to identify them, what names to give their feelings and most importantly, we have not taught our children how to express their feelings appropriately! We have not taught our children their humanness!

I am moved by this entire conference and the overwhelming nature of the problem of school violence to share a personal experience. As well as being an educator, I am also an alcohol and drug counselor. I came to California six years ago to provide alcohol and drug counseling treatment to professionals – doctors, lawyers, airline pilots in the Betty Ford Center’s Professionals in Recovery Program.

Where I came from was the Midwest. Ten years ago I was a counselor and director; actually I was the entire counseling department for a Native American therapeutic school in North Dakota. We had approximately 260 students, 4th through 8th grade. Ninety percent (90%) of our students were already in the juvenile justice system, 75% were on Special Education IEPs, 64% screened positive for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and 90% were addicted to alcohol and other drugs; mind you – these children were 4th through 8th graders!

The commonality between these kids and the professionals, the impaired physicians and attorneys, at the Betty Ford Center was this – they all did not have a clue about their feelings! In treatment, regardless who I am working with, where I have to start with everyone is the recognition and awareness of feelings and then, how to express those feelings appropriately!

In anger management/emotional intelligence where we start is with the recognition and awareness of feelings primarily – anger, then how to express that feelings appropriately! When we teach about emotional intelligence, we teach specifically about how to identify and express empathy, compassion, cooperation and forgiveness to ourselves, then for others!

Nationally, there is a movement in education called Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Presently, one state, Illinois, has mandated and generated learning objectives for teacher education and curriculum requirements for students, kindergarten through senior high school on social and emotional learning. Now, according to Mr. Adachi, Texas has passed a law requiring all students in middle schools and high schools to take coursework on Anger Management for graduation. Clearly, SEL programs in the form of anger management/emotional intelligence for all students is one part of the solution for San Francisco.

The second speaker, who received an ovation from the audience, was Angela Chan, J.D. Executive Director of the Asian Law Project and Harvard Law School Honors Graduate. Ms. Chan eloquently addressed the need for an end to interracial violence stemming from people of color against other people of color through interagency cooperation and a seamless delivery of services and support for all people!

The morning session ended with a series of questions of the members of the panel from the large, and diverse audience. Superintendent Garcia fielded a series of questions concerning specific operations of the school district and responded citing the current financial and budgeting crisis in California stating there was no money for existing programs let alone adding new programs such as SEL. Dr. Wentz of Anderson and Anderson was given the final response of the morning and stated:

No new monies are needed for the initiation of anger management/emotional intelligence programs for the school district. The monies saved from not suspending or the expulsion of students due to misbehavior and the retention of ADA funds could be channeled into such a program especially for “At risk” students. Students on suspension learn nothing that we want them to learn and the school district loses $49.00 per day per student.

However, by keeping those students in school and enrolling them in an anger management/emotional intelligence skills development course, the school district keeps the ADA funds and the students, the school and the district may benefit!

In fact, based upon a meta-analysis of 288,000 students participating in SEL programs nation- wide, funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation and conducted by the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the results and changes in individual students, their classrooms, their schools and their communities have been significant and positive – behaviorally and academically! Learning about feelings, emotional intelligence, and how to express feelings appropriately helps students gain self- confidence, reduces stress and violence, creates classroom harmony, increases academic achievement in all academic areas and overall – contributes to safer and saner schools!

One very interesting finding, of the meta-analysis that has implications for ‘how to’ implement an SEL program, is the finding that students who received their anger management/emotional intelligence skills curriculum from a teacher within the school scored higher (improved behaviorally and academically) in all areas compared to those students who were taught these skills by an expert or an outsider. However, both groups who received the SEL training showed significant increases in school performance and positive behavioral outcomes compared to the control groups!

Regardless, given the social conditions described here today in the violence among students, violence among racial groups and by gangs against everyone else – we seem long past the point where we have any choice left but to teach our children how to live with themselves and with each other.

Dr. T.L.
Training Faculty, \
Anderson & Anderson

Modeling of Appropriate Communication & Interpersonal Interaction

Tips for the Anger Management Facilitator

Communication Theory deals with every manifestation of behavior in its communicative aspect. It also views behavior dynamically, representing the struggle of contrary efforts in the interpersonal stress field. Not only is it natural for one person to attempt to define the situation, the other person also has the same person in his or her response. Emotional Intelligence is at work in all communication, and it is the facilitator’s responsibility to make this a positive learning experience. Attempting to influence, via communication, another person’s behavior is positive if it ids not hurtful to either party.

One of the most powerful ways to foster group interaction is for the facilitator to be a model of positive respect and empathy. The leader should not attempt to force compliance but rather provide an atmosphere that promotes risk-taking and growth. Facilitators are the basic regulating factors in groups. Their experience and knowledge afford them the possibility of controlling the group. They use their power mainly to increase the character of the group as a cohesive system. Insofar as possible, they allow individuals to control the interaction, thus fostering an enhanced cohesiveness coupled with an atmosphere of genuine spontaneity and intimacy. Facilitators should demonstrate compassion, empathy, assertive communication, and patience. In addition, clients should practice these skills in the group when interacting with each other.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Communication by Example

Setting a good example for your children is the most powerful way to teach them positive behaviors and attitudes. Parents who behave in a negative manner (fight constantly, abuse alcohol and/or drugs, are disrespectful, are unmotivated, etc.) teach their children to behave in these ways. Parents who communicate with “do as I say, not as I do” confuse their children and damage their own credibility as parents. Hence, it is important that parents keep their actions and words consistent.

Someone is Watching

One of the most powerful ways children learn is by watching their parents’ actions. Today, it is widely recognized that children, who are abused or grow up in homes where parents or family members abuse alcohol and use drugs, will likely face emotional roadblocks as they enter adulthood. Such children experience an extremely negative example of family life.

What Kind of Messages are You Sending?

Children can also be damaged by behavior that does not seem to be harmful. For instance, parents with low motivation, or who deny responsibility for their mistakes, may convey the message to their children that hard work, determination, and personal responsibility are not important. Like their parents, such children are likely to do poorly in school and may later have difficulty finding or keeping a career. When they do find a job, it may be in an occupation that is considerably less challenging and likely to be low in income levels.

Home Environment Counts

Through lack of interest and attention, parents tell their child that he or she is not important, has little value, and may not be worthy of love. Children growing up in such a family are likely to have low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Such an environment sets the stage for difficulties and failures in school and other areas of life.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anger is an Energizer

Anger is a natural emotional state and is designed to help us stay alive. Anger sends signals to all parts of our body to help us fight. It energizes us and prepares us for action. Often, the perceived need to protect one-self comes from what amounts to psychological attacks from others.

Use Anger Wisely

When we feel energized by anger, it is smart for us to ask ourselves how we put his energy to its most productive use. As with the use of other forms of energy such as electricity, we want to use it efficiently, not wastefully.

Anger is Secondary

One of the most helpful things to remember about anger is that it is a secondary emotion. A primary feeling is what is felt immediately before we feel angry. We always feel something else first, even if we don’t notice it. We might feel afraid, attacked, offended, disrespected, forced, trapped, interrogated, or pressured. If any of these feelings are intense enough, they can lead to anger before we realize what we really felt!

Identify the Primary Emotion

An important point to remember about secondary feelings such as anger is that they do not identify the unmet emotional need. When all you can say is “I feel angry,” neither you nor any one else knows what would help you feel better. An amazingly simple, but effective, technique is to always identify the primary emotion.

Situations that Cause Anger Can Be Avoided

Here is an example. Assume someone wants us to do something we prefer not to do. At first we feel a little pressured but not enough to get angry. When they keep pushing us, we begin to get irritated. If they continue, we become “angry”.

Communicate Your Feelings

An effective way to avoid getting angry in many cases is simply to express your feeling before it has elevated to the point of anger. This helps keep the brain in balance and out of the more volatile mode where it has downshifted to a more primitive and physiological response.

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

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Civility, an Emerging Area of Specialization in Emotional Intelligence

A wide range of organizations are beginning to address the increase of incivility that is becoming pervasive throughout American society. Hospital chains, State Bar Associations and local governments are some of the organizations taking the lead in providing basic training in “civility”.

What is civility?

Civility is behavior in public that demonstrates respect for others and that entails curtailing one’s own immediate self-interest, when appropriate. Civility is made up of three elements: Civility is the common language for communicating respect for others and their views (the importance is in the gestures of respect more than the outcome of the behavior); Civility toward strangers requires that we behave in certain ways toward people who may mean nothing to us, and whom we are unlikely ever to encounter again, in the interest of hearing their thoughts; and, Civility involves holding back in the pursuit of one’s own immediate self-interest – we desist from doing what would be most pleasing to us for the sake of harmonious civil discourse with others, even strangers.

Since no universally agreed training/curricula for “civility” currently exists, the range of interventions includes the following: ethics, spirituality, emotional intelligence, anger management and etiquette.

On April 29, 2008, Anderson & Anderson® presented a successful training in civility. This training included emotional intelligence, stress management, communication and anger management. This training was the first civility-based seminar approved for Attorneys in the State of Illinois. It was well received and highly rated by those in attendance.

Daniel Goleman, the preeminent expert on Emotional Intelligence, offers the following tips on civility: “Conduct yourself with integrity, courtesy, and respect toward fellow members of our community”; “Hold individuals accountable for their actions”; and “Promote an environment where individuals feel safe and supported.”

Emotional intelligence already contains all of the skill sets needed to increase civility in individuals, groups and organizations. Anderson & Anderson® has long addressed these same issues in our comprehensive organizational training in anger management and our Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians.

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Series on Highly Effective Practices—Anger Management

by Catherine Hoffman Kaser, M.A.

It is natural for students to get angry sometimes; however, when they also have difficulty controlling their anger, the academic and social outcomes suffer. These students are often perceived as hostile, have fewer goals, are at risk for expulsion or dropping out of school, experience lower academic performance, have higher rates of juvenile delinquency and adult criminal activity, and have low self esteem (Blum, 2001; Robinson, Smith, & Miller, 2002; Tamaki, 1994). Many teachers are finding that teaching anger management skills to students is effective in helping them to regulate their behavior and deal with their feelings of anger when they surface (Rosenberg, Wilson, Maheady, & Sindelar, 1997; Rutherford, Quinn, & Mathur, 1996). Acquiring these skills makes schools safer for everyone and helps these students to control their inappropriate behavior and, in turn, more socially accepted by others and themselves (Robinson, Smith, & Miller, 2002; Tamaki, 1994).

Anger is one of the most difficult feelings for students to manage (Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy, 1996). Students may get angry because they are frustrated or anxious, feel a lack of control over their environments, or do not know how to express themselves effectively in other ways (Brophy, 1996; Burden, 2003; Gootman, 2001; Rutherford, Quinn, & Mathur, 1996; Tamaki, 1994; Wilde, 2002). These students often have trouble accurately perceiving social situations and their misperceptions may provoke anger (Brophy, 1996; Goldstein, 1999). Many anger management researchers suggest first understanding how a student is thinking and feeling (Gootman, 2001; Kauffman, Mostert, Trent, & Hallahan, 1998) and then addressing the causes of a student’s anger, if possible (Blum, 2001). Since the causes of anger cannot always be prevented, it is important that students learn methods to manage their anger effectively. The goal of any anger management program is to teach students to be able to identify when they are angry, develop management strategies for dealing with their anger, and express their feelings more appropriately (Gootman, 2001; Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy, 1996). This can be accomplished by integrating anger management instruction into the regular curriculum, choosing a packaged program of instruction, or using a multifaceted approach that includes an anger management curriculum as part of a multi-faceted intervention for students (Guthrie, 2002). A number of instructional programs contain a combination of cognitive and behavioral approaches to teach students a sequence of steps toward monitoring their thinking about their perceptions of situations and feelings of anger and controlling their angry behaviors-- using problem solving skills and appropriate social skills (Brophy, 1996; Kellner, Bry, & Colletti, 2002; Kerr & Nelson, 1998; O’Donnell & White, 2001; Robinson, Smith, & Miller, 2002; Rutherford, Quinn, & Mathur, 1996; Tamaki, 1994).

Goldstein’s PREPARE curriculum is perhaps the best-known packaged anger management program (1999). The first part of PREPARE emphasizes teaching skills and behaviors that are more appropriate than angry or aggressive responses. First, a teacher models the correct use of target skills that the students need to learn or improve, such as dealing with an accusation. Second, students practice the steps that comprise the skill they saw modeled through role-play situations. Next, the teacher or leader provides feedback to the students about their use of the skills in the role-play, which provides both guidance and reinforcement for using the skill. Finally, students are given homework to practice the skill to help them transfer the newly acquired skills to natural settings.

The PREPARE curriculum also outlines a number of steps that students can use to understand how they perceive situations that make them angry and how to remind themselves to think through alternate ways to perceive that situation and control their anger. Steps to understanding and controlling anger include: (a) learning how to think through what triggered a conflict, (b) how the student responded, and (c) the consequences of that response. Next, students learn to understand what triggers them to become angry and how to respond to those triggers through relaxing, thinking about more positive things, and reminding themselves to control their anger. They next learn to evaluate how they respond to situations that make them angry when they use these techniques and think ahead to evaluate consequences to getting angry or controlling their anger using alternative behaviors. The method in which these steps are taught is similar to that used for teaching more prosocial behaviors described above; steps are modeled, students role-play them, they receive feedback, and practice the new skills for homework.

Rutherford, Quinn, and Mathur (1996) summarize the steps for teaching anger management to students that are common to the PREPARE curriculum and other effective anger management programs (Burden, 2003; Committee for Children, 1992; Kerr & Nelson, 1998; Peterson, 1995; Robinson, Smith, & Miller, 2002; Wilde, 2002):

1. Convince students of their need to change their anger-management style.
2. Make students aware of the personal signals that indicate increased anger arousal.
3. Teach students self-talk techniques.
4. Teach problem solving skills.
5. Teach relaxation skills.

Effective programs combine a variety of teaching techniques including direct instruction, feedback and reinforcement (Rutherford, Quinn, & Mathur, 1996). These techniques can be presented in small groups or as part of a classwide or schoolwide curriculum (Blum, 2001; Cangelosi, 2000; Kellner, Bry, & Colletti, 2002; Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy, 1996; Wilde, 2002). If these techniques are used over time, students can become more effective at monitoring and controlling their anger in provoking situations (Robinson, Smith, & Miller, 2002; Rutherford, Quinn, & Mathur, 1996).

Catherine Hoffman Kaser, M.A.

Civility At Work

by Daniel Goleman, Author

“How do you handle someone who is being obnoxious?”

That was a question put to me recently when I talked to a group having their annual Civility Awareness day at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center at Worcester.

We explored how best to encourage civility – which goes beyond mere politeness. The UMass credo on civility offers these tips:

• “Conduct yourself with integrity, courtesy, and respect toward fellow members of our community.”

• “Hold individuals accountable for their actions.”

• “Promote an environment where individuals feel safe and supported.”

These rules for civility in a workplace are heartening; I’m pleased that an organization has focused on how to upgrade the quality of interactions among everyone who works there, as well as with patients.

People at work in any organization face a panoply of forces that easily overpower the urge to be civil: stress, multi-tasking, too much to do with too little time, or too little support. Stress and distractedness – not meanspiritness – are the most common enemies of civility at work.

Consider what you might call “deep civility”: being fully present and attuned to the other person, empathizing, and preparedness to do what you can for them. This attitude resonates with Martin Buber’s concept of the “I-You” connection, where two people are in rapport. These are the human moments when we feel fully engaged and contacted; these are the moments of personal connection we value the most. And, in the workplace, this is what allows for the chemistry where people can work together at their best, or where customers and clients feel most pleased.

What then, does this take? In Social Intelligence I described the varieties of empathy – cognitive, emotional, and empathic concern. These are prerequisites for the full engagement that allows deep civility. But beyond that, each of us can take responsibility for conducting ourselves so the people we contact feel attuned to. Given the countless distractions we face, this begins with paying full attention. The ingredients of a moment of human connection start with our putting down what we’re doing, stopping our wandering thoughts, and simply paying full attention to the other person.

Now, back to that question about the obnoxious person. Because the social brain makes emotions contagious, the danger comes when we take in the negativity, and fail to metabolize it – when the anger, for instance, stays with us, instead of our recovering from it. In the helping professions, the recipe for burnout begins with someone who constantly deals with others who are fearful, angry, or resentful, and who walks away from those encounters feeling that distress – and can’t recover from it. Over time this builds up to an emotional exhaustion – burnout is the end state.

So particularly among those in the caring professions, the ability to recover from such stress is crucial. Luckily for the people at UMass, they are home to the program in Mindfulness-based stress reduction. This training – which has spread to hundreds of hospitals and clinics – gives people the inner ability to stay calm and attuned, without closing down to other people.

In the emotional intelligence model, self-awareness and managing our emotions well are the keys to self-mastery. Once we stabilize in a positive state, we can become senders of that positivity to others. And that suggests one strategy for dealing with an obnoxious encounter – stay calm and clear, be firm but friendly. Because every interaction is a system, this can have a positive impact on the other person. And even if they do not change how they are acting, we can leave their negativity behind as we go on to the next encounter.

In short, the ability to pass on to others our own positive states suggests a deeper sense of “civility.”

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Interpersonal Conflict


Interpersonal conflict, like anger, is natural and normal. It occurs when people have different needs or values. When we face conflict, we react according to our personal conflict belief system. The consequences of that reaction will either reinforce or change our belief system.

Personal Conflict Belief System

A personal conflict belief system is formed from messages we receive throughout our lives from parents, religion, culture, friends, teachers, the media, and individual experiences. These beliefs affect how we react when a conflict occurs. This is similar to our response to anger.

Reaction to Conflict

Our reaction to a particular conflict is based on our beliefs about conflict itself. If we believe conflict is basically negative, we usually react in a negative fashion, for example, by complaining or fighting. If we believe conflict should be avoided, we may pretend that nothing is wrong, give in, or run away. If we believe that conflict is neutral and that it happens everyday, then we will react calmly and logically. Most importantly, how we react to a conflict has consequences for everyone involved.

Consequences of Our Reaction

The consequences of our reaction will also be negative or positive. If our reaction is to fight or pretend that nothing is wrong, the consequence may be hurt feelings, and the problem may get worse. If, instead, we agree to talk about the problem calmly, there will likely be positive consequences such as good feelings about ourselves and about the other person. A positive reaction may even help us solve the problem that is causing the conflict. Like anger management, conflict management can be useful in resolving differences between people.

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

George Anderson Blazes New Trails in Civility Training

The Property Loss and Research Bureau/PLRB became the first organization to sponsor and receive the new required Civility Training for Illinois based attorneys. This four hour training was provided to 30 Attorneys at the corporate office of PLRB in Downers Grove, IL. on April 29, 2008.

Mr. Anderson did a remarkable job of keeping those in attendance focused on the key concepts of emotional intelligence in promoting civility in all interpersonal interactions, both professional and personal. Each participant had an opportunity to objectively examine his or her strengths, current skills and deficits in interpersonal assertion, self-esteem, time management, stress management, anger management and decision making. All of the above are essential skills to assist in self-management and civility in interpersonal interactions.

The spirit of mutual trust and norms of reciprocity enables citizens and groups to cooperate spontaneously to achieve shared outcomes. Hence, training in civility benefits the entire community.

Emotional intelligence/Civility Training is currently being planned for finance managers in St. Louis, MO.

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