Joseph W. James, Ph.D.
Psychologist
4400 East West Highway
Suite 712
Bethesda, MD 20814
301.657.1144
Day, Evening & Weekend Appointments
Maryland Anger Management
Maryland Anger Management: How An Anger Management Course Can Help You
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Anger Management Course - How It Can Help With Your Anger
What is it that makes anger management courses effective? How are can you tell the difference between an anger management class with substance and one without?

I've been doing this for 20 years now and  I've read probably close to 100 books on the topic, been to countless training classes and taken several anger management courses myself. After all that you can imagine that I've seen some good ones and some bad and can tell the difference.  Of course I'm a bit biased towards my approach, but whether you choose to do one of my my anger management courses or someone else's there are a few things you should keep in mind.

It might sound funny for me to say this but most anger management courses don’t work and there are two reasons for this. One is because of the course itself. Most workbooks I have seen or courses I’ve attended tend to approach the problem from only one angle – you’ve heard of them – you need to count to ten, you need to take a step back and think about things, you should try to see things from the other person’s point of view.

These are all very important anger management techniques and in fact you will see that I incorporate some of them in my anger management courses. The problem is that they are only one angle of the problem. What separates my course from others you may have taken is that I cover anger from all angles – what I call the “Four Horsemen of Anger” - biology, triggers, mental shortcuts and communication (e.g. how to offer criticism, how to deal with difficult people, etc…

The second reason most anger management courses don't work is you. Change is a process not an event, it takes time and effort. Now, this might seem obvious to you,  but knowing this and following it are oftentimes two different things. Most people approach a course like this like gangbusters – “I’m gonna lick this thing once and for all” and they go all out for five or six weeks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people about a month into the program say to me “Doc, I really think I’ve got this anger management thing l beat – I haven’t gotten pissed off in weeks”.

That’s usually my first sign that a big blowout is just around the corner. Its just human nature – just like the gym, quitting smoking or going on a diet, we all get excited , we are all super aware and super diligent about our behavior and things seem to come so easily. But enthusiasm can only carry most of us so far and then reality starts to creep back in.

The sad part is that when people have a bad day, be it skipping a workout or two, having a couple of cigarettes or getting angry they take that as a sign of defeat – that they just can’t overcome their problem. Pardon my technical jargon, but HORSEHOCKEY!!

All of these things, anger management problems in particular, are habits that you have had for years and years. Its very rare that someone is able to stop like flicking a switch. It was a gradual process that took years for you to develop a habit and its going to be a gradual process for you to be able to overcome it completely.

It takes the average person something like 7 real tries to quit smoking  for it to actually stick. You wouldn’t read a book on skiing and expect to go out the next day and be the perfect skier. You would expect to fall down a lot and learn from each fall. And, slowly but surely, you would find yourself getting better at it each day. And learning from an anger management course is no different. Its a process.

If you would like to learn more about how my anger mangement course can help you please feel free to give me a call at 301-657-1144 or e-mail me at DrJoe@DrJoeJames.com