Archive for May 2007

Copyright Pending

In the last article entitled Change Your Language and Reduce Your Anger I introduced the idea of how a poor emotional vocabulary was linked to anger management. I suggested that anger is a secondary emotion driven by many primary emotions. This concept is not new; however, what I have been developing, that is fascinating, is how building an emotional vocabulary can be linked to reducing our tendency to be explosive.

In reality what I am encouraging is self awareness. I am also encouraging that we have a new internal conversation that allows us to be in tune with our needs, expectations and desires. To do this effectively we need a stronger emotional vocabulary. Often we have unmet needs and expectations which are unfulfilled. These represent sensitive areas in our thinking and feeling that, if threatened, we will either retreat or fight back–emotionally or even physically. This is an automatic response to the pain and anxieties associated with a need to defend the things we think are dear.

Language as power
The tendency to fight back is very evident in animals. I often tell my clients to consider a cat that is backed in a corner. The cat will instinctively “feels” vulnerable and fights back. The cat cannot converse or negotiate- it can only display overt aggression. You see, neither the cat nor any other animal has the benefit of something that humans may take for granted-language. We have the capacity to put into words our feelings to let others know what is really bothering us or what has the potential to anger us. This ability to use language has been perfected over many millions of years but sadly many take little advantage of this opportunity to access and share their emotional concerns choosing rather to engage in physical and verbal aggression.

Emotional Vocabulary
This brings me back to the emotional vocabulary. In my mind this revolution in thinking holds the key to assisting us in quickly being aware of how we feel and taking action to avert an unnecessary outburst. While there may be more than 2000 feeling words in our vocabulary the average person would be lucky to know 50. This is troubling because we need that emotional vocabulary to gauge how we feel and how those feelings can potentially lead to anger outbursts. Let me illustrate by providing a scenario and then describing a list of feelings that could have led to the aggression.

Tom’s story
Take a chain of events occurring in the life of a man we will call Tom. Tom is a successful banker having trouble in his life. On the day in question, Tom berated one of his employees calling him offensive names which led to Tom’s suspension from work. The background story is that Tom is going through a divorce and had received a letter form his wife’s attorney detailing an extensive alimony payment the morning before the incident with the employee. On the way to work Tom was driving aggressively, he refused to greet others when he entered his office building and just before the incident, Tom found out the employee he berated had fowled up a contract bid.

Tom displayed anger and aggression towards this employee but if we dig deeper one may realize that he had many other emotions which include feeling abandoned by his wife, on edge, betrayed, regretful, hopeless, vulnerable, broken, burnt out, cheated–the list can go on. The point is that Tom was driven by his emotion but was not aware of it. Instead, he displayed rage. Inappropriate anger is an extremely ineffective way of dealing with these complex emotions because in reality Tom needed to resolve issues related to himself and his wife. The employee who unsuspectingly came into the line of fire was hit by a “stray bullet.” Anger is often a stray bullet which is fired not at the source but at another often unsuspecting target.

What next
What could have Tom done? Tom essentially will need anger management but with a difference. I follow the Anderson and Anderson model which teaches anger management, emotional intelligence, communication skills and stress management. Although all four of these components are important, emotional intelligence holds important keys to long term anger management. I teach what I describe as the ADA system which is awareness-dialogue-action. With the ADA system Tom could learn a language to increase his self-awareness, engage in a dialogue with himself and others about his emotions and take action to resolve his internal and external struggles without an anger blowout. The key is emotional vocabulary. This is where Tom develops the language to define how he feels. Without this vocabulary, Tom will experience an emotional noise which will again lead to confusion and possible anger outbursts. In the next article I will detail more about ADA , introduce new emotional vocabulary words, and discuss what I mean by emotional noise



Carlos Todd, LPC, NCC, CAMF

President of the American Association of Anger Management Providers


Carlos Todd is the owner of Todd’s Anger Management Solutions in Charlotte, NC


Using Emotional Intelligence to Improve Communication

Emotional Intelligence is the most popular of the four topics taught in the Anderson & Anderson model of anger management. The other three topics are all critically important in increasing one’s emotional intelligence and enhancing interpersonal relationships. These areas are anger management, stress management and assertive communication.


What are the principal methods of communication?
Sending and receiving. Speaking, watching, listening, observing activity (of others), i.e. how people react in certain circumstances. Other senses e.g. gut feelings or intuition

Why is sight the most effective means of communication?
It most often gives a common/general interpretation of what is being communicated.

· What is meant by behavior clues?

With practice, when you are sending the message, it is possible to pick up clues about how your message is being received and then to modify or rephrase what you are saying, i.e. you get feedback and adjust the communication to make it more acceptable. Emotionally intelligent persons are able to sense the mood, feelings and needs of the speaker and respond accordingly.

· What channels of communication should you regularly use and maintain in a business organization?
Face to face, telephone (land line and mobile), fax and email, text messaging, marketing DVDs, video conferencing and direct link through computers, company intranet, memos and reports et al. This is changing all the time as IT systems become ever more sophisticated. In my experience, the most effective method by a long way is personal contact. The most difficult or challenging in communicating by e-mail.

· What are the most essential skills we need to develop to be effective communicators? It is generally agreed that there are six. These are:
Understanding ourselves and others, telling people, asking someone to do something, listening, observing and being convincing in what you say.

· Why is telling often an ineffective method of communication?
It lacks feedback from the recipient, i.e. how will you know if they understand what is required or whether they are capable of carrying out the task?

· Why is asking such an important skill in communicating?
When you ask, you obtain the information that our (subconscious) mind needs to help solve your problem.

· What sort of attitude should we have towards asking?
Ask relevant and pertinent questions that are likely to earn respect. The value in asking largely depends on your ability to listen. This helps to form good relationships and encourages others to be more open in their communications with us.

· Why is listening with your hearts such an important skill in effective communication? Listening with your heart implies that you are focusing on more than the words used by the speaker. You are connecting with his or her feelings associated with those words.

· What do we mean by observing in a communicational sense?
It helps us pick up visual clues from people’s reactions to what we are saying to them. We can see how they are responding behaviorally (body language clues) which is valuable feedback. It helps us to refine our senses to interpret how others are responding to our line or style of communication.

· Why is it vitally important to be able to understand what is going on when we are communicating to others?
Anything we perceive, by any of our senses, is only helpful if we are able to decode the messages that are being picked up by our intuitive mind. This information needs to be understood to be of any use. This is what is meant by understanding, i.e. it occurs when the (conscious) mind correctly interprets the meaning of what is perceived. In contrast to IQ, EQ or emotional intelligence is a set of skills that any motivated person can learn to improve his or her overall communication skills as well as all other aspects of managing one’s behavior.

George Anderson, BCD, CAMF

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF

Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers

Anger Management as time Management

So much time is wasted being angry. For some, years are spent holding a grudge or finding ways to get even. I have therefore had pause to ask – How much time is wasted being angry? What if there was a way to measure this. I am sure that as an entire society we would be wasting millions of hours harboring anger.

For relationships, reducing inappropriate anger could increase the quality of time spent sharing with our love. For the employer reducing anger and conflict could improve productivity. Therefore when employees, spouses, business owners or anyone for that matter learns to management their anger there will be built in an element of time management.

The Andersons and Anderson model of anger management teaches not only anger management but stress management, emotional intelligence and communication skills. Learning the skills presented in this model can help to reduce the wastage of time spent in unnecessary conflict and improve the quality of relationships at work, home and school.

Therefore for this writer anger management interventions—although indirectly—will teach time management. This is an important lesson that one of my clients taught me as they related that since they had anger management the time spent with love ones improved in both quantity and quality. As a provider of anger mangement this was both a revelation and heart warming. I can only wish this kind of result for anyone who struggles with anger. To find an anger mangmetn provider in your area visit

Carlos Todd, LPC, NCC, CAMF

President of the American Association of Anger Management Providers

Carlos Todd is the owner of Todd’s Anger Management Solutions in Charlotte, NC

Four Steps to Assertive Behavior

There are four recognized styles of communication. Each individual has a primary and secondary style of communication. Frequently, our style of communication is determined by our mood, the situation we find ourselve in or the person with whom we are attempting to communicate with.

The most commonly used communication styles are assertive communication, passive communication, aggressive communication and passive-aggressive communication. Assertive communication is the most effective style of communication and the one taught in certified anger management classes.

In order to change from any of the three styles of communication which are non-productive, it requires the following:

1.Positive motivation. Motivation is the key to any change.Positive goals can be linked to positive behavior. One simple strategy to become  more assertive is to begin using assertive self-talk. You may also place a note in some special place that says “I AM ASSERTIVE”. This may be made into a screen saver, placard in your car or postit on your mirror or refridgerator.

2.Imagine your goal. Think of how your life will be different once you have made these changes. You may wish to change because you want to develop a wider repertoire of behaviour that allow you to operate in the world at large. Changing be result in more success at work or in interpersonal relationships. Moving from aggressive behaviour to assertive may improve your over-all health. Use all of your powers of imagination to feel, hear, smell, or sense what your success will be like.

3.Make a 28-Day Plan. Commit to using assertive communication as least once each day. Record these statement daily with a simple explanation of the situation, the reactions of the listener and the success or lack of success from this interaction.

4.Enlist others to help you. One of the reasons for success in substance abuse programs is the support offered by others is sustaining sobriety. Identify people who will help you achieve your goal,or who will benefit from your success.

 At the end of your 28 day self-help assertive communication plan, evaluate your success and determine if an anger management group may also be useful.

Anderson & Anderson Offers On-site Anger Management Training Nationwide

The internationally recognized Anderson & Anderson model of anger management is now being offered throughout the United States for executives, physicians, organized sports, colleges and universities, hospitals, businesses, and various industries.

This training can be adapted for use with small groups as well as one on one executive coaching. Classes can be designed for from two hours to one day 8 hour sessions. Our Executive Coaching for Physicians is consistent with the new Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation Standards and is listed in the resources directory of the Federation of Medical Quality Assurance Boards.

The Anderson & Anderson anger management model includes a Pre and Post test along with a client workbook with skill enhancement material on stress management, anger management, communication and emotional intelligence. The workbook, “Gaining Control or Ourselves” can be used as a resource guide once the training is completed. This curriculum is the most effective and most widely recognized anger management curriculum in the world.

For information or to schedule training at your organization, please visit our website at http://www.andersonservices/ and view our DVD or contact our office at 310-207-3591. You may also email our office for any inquiries you have. The email is

Anger Management for Doctors

One of the first questions posed by physicians inquiring about resources for abusive physicians is “Do I have to undergo a psychiatric assessment”. This question is extremely important to any practicing physician as it will almost certainly affect his or her entire career if there is anything in any file suggesting impairment or even an assessment. Therefore, if the goal of a program is to help abusive physicians who are not addicted to drugs/alcohol or psychiatrically disturbed, it must not include a mandatory psychiatric assessment.

— Carlos Todd, Anger Hurts blog

Since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-IVtr) does not classify anger as a mental disorder (other than Impulsive Explosive Disorder, which is not common anger), a psychiatric evaluation is not indicated for physicians, police officers, executives, or anybody else who has an anger problem.

It is important to screen for other mental disorders. Doing anger management with a person suffering from untreated schizophrenia or bipolar disorder will rarely work until the underlying disorder has been treated. Frequently, screenings reveal dysthymia, depression, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which had previously gone undetected. This, however, is not a psychiatric assessment, but a mental health screening which can be done by any licensed and qualified psychotherapist. It need not become a part of anybody’s record.

Anger management classes or executive coaching sessions are psycho-educational. They are interventions to train the recipients in skills to help recognize, contain, and defuse anger, to help prevent aggressive or hostile situations for ever occurring, to develop emotional intelligence, to gain skills in stress management and stress prevention, and to communicate in assertive, rather than pathological manners.

None of these fall under the province of psychiatric or psychological treatment. While some cognitive behavioral interventions are taught to anger management students, this is not cognitive behavioral therapy. Participants are students, not patients.

Often, physicians, attorneys, executives, and other professionals need discretion. They fear taking an anger management class where others will know about their shortcomings. Additionally, law-enforcement officers who need anger management training fear both the stigma of an “anger management” label as well as being in a group with those whom they may have to police.

The solution for these reservations is to offer one-on-one executive coaching or professional development. Additionally, a “Law Enforcement Interaction Skills” group may be the perfect venue for helping police officers who cannot afford to pay for one-on-one sessions.

Executive coaching is inevitably more costly than tuition for an anger management class, but professionals should be able to afford this. Anderson & Anderson offers training and certification in the additional skills needed for executive coaching, above and beyond what are required for teaching anger management classes.

An interesting suggestion for anger management facilitators is to offer Law Enforcement classes at a drastically reduced rate … nearly free! Why? Because the people who are required to take these classes put their lives on the line every day to promote civil order. This is one way of showing gratitude to police officers for their thankless job. A weekly class for police officers only may not generate much income, but it will generate good will, and can be used to generate favorable publicity.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Article by John Elder

Domestic Violence Interventions and Anger Management are not Equal I gave a presentation on anger management this week and I was asked–What is the difference between domestic abuse and anger? One of my colleagues– George Anderson gave an explanation which I resonate with and which I shared with my audience. He stated that those with inappropriate anger often direct it at any and every one however domestic violence is only direct at those in close relationship with the perpetrator.

Therefore it is likely that the perpetrator of DV will appear fine to the rest of the worlds while they terrorize those in their own home. I can attest to this because I was raised in a home where DV was common place. My step-father was violent at home in public he was the nicest person—this often created confusion in the publics mind.

This difference between DV interventions and anger management is important for courts. Judges and lawyers need to be made aware that anger management is not appropriate for those charged with domestic violence. It is also the responsibility of the certified anger management facilitator to refer out anyone who was sent to their program but was has been charged with domestic violence. To find a anger management provider in your area please visit

Carlos Todd, LPC, NCC, CAMF

President of the American Association of Anger Management Providers

May 2007
    Jun »

Blog Stats

  • 228,113 hits