The Etiology of Anger Does Not Offer Solutions to Its Management

Posted on: October 27, 2007

If one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner is which he arrowhead was fashioned. Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling out the arrow.

-Shayyammuni, the Buddha
It is a popular notion in some anger management programs to focus on identifying the “the triggers” that cause a person to behave angrily. It is common to observe participants of anger-management process groups explaining how someone “pushed my buttons”.
This notion takes away the responsibility of the angry perpetrators for his or her aggression and violence. We are responsible for our own behavior, regardless of the circumstances.
Rather than focusing on the cause of one’s anger, it is far more productive to learn to recognize the initial signs of irritation, frustration, discomfort or whatever other emotions precede your anger, labeling these feelings and developing tools to stop the anger from becoming destructive to you or someone else.
While assessments are useful in anger management intervention, rarely is it worthwhile to examine “triggers or buttons” which may lead to anger. Think of a Juke Box, if you push the button for a particular tune and something else plays, over time you will give up pushing that button because you do not hear the tune you expected. Similarly, if the person who is responding to the “triggers” ceases to respond, that issue is closed to resolution.
Anger management assessments should assess for anger, stress, communication and emotional intelligence. Skill enhancement in these four areas should be taught in all anger management classes.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAPDiplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers


1 Response to "The Etiology of Anger Does Not Offer Solutions to Its Management"

so what should be the solution? thanks

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