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Introduction
While Anger Management continues to be the common term used to describe interventions designed to help others deal with their Anger and Aggression, it has been replaced and superseded by ‘Anger Therapy’. It has long been recognised that old style Anger Management was insufficient in achieving long term sustainable results. While in the short term, Anger Management achieved reasonable results, it is generally focussed upon symptoms and failed to resolve underlying causation. And thus, in the long term, symptoms return and sometimes with renewed vigour and destructive force. Also, Anger Management training offers ‘tools’ to help individuals cope with their issues. However, it is now known that many of the tools offered create more problems than they resolve. The use of ‘tools’ to overcome or mask symptoms inevitably cannot offer longevity or sustainability and the failure of many tools results in the worsening of problems and engenders feelings of failure, deficiency, hopelessness and self-deprecation, (punishing oneself and thinking ill of oneself), which further adds to one’s issues.

For example; tools like Displacement, Distraction and ‘walking away’ were and still seem to be, heavily promoted, however, they are known to either not work or be so impractical in application that they do more damage that good.

“Displacement Therapy” is based on a popular misconception amongst ‘lay people’ and some therapists and trainers which encourages the use of objects as ‘punch-bags’ for the expression of anger and aggression. It was though that to encourage the ‘healthy’ expression of built up frustration and aggression would alleviate the pressure on the individual and allow them to maintain a calmer and better adjusted state. However, this type of ‘therapy’ is has long been discredited as it fails to address the underlying causation and in fact ‘normalises’ violence. Expressing anger and aggression towards ‘punch-bags’, while ‘imagining’ striking a person or thinking about a person, is, to the mind, is no different from striking that person for ‘real’. The mind does not differentiate between what is ‘real’ and what is imagined. This type of activity overcomes an individual’s inhibitions concerning harming others and it becomes easier to do so each time one engages in it. And thus in situations where there are no punch bags and the individual feels the need, they will lash out.

Other ‘tools’ which encourage the individual to attempt to ‘Distract’ themselves from their Aggressive thoughts or ‘Walk Away’ from a volatile situation are quite simply ridiculous, impractical, cannot be relied upon and promote feelings of failure and helplessness. Avoiding an issue only pushed the issue outside of the individual’s sphere of influence and thus allows it to work unhindered. Not only that, have you ever tried to not think about something or replace it with something else while you are in the middle of it? It is a ridiculous notion. And as for “walking away”, our issues are based on our perceptions which we carry within our minds; one cannot walk away from one’s mind. Alternatively, if it is a volatile situation involving others, more often than not the others involved will either prevent the individual from escaping or pursue them. Also, turning your back on others and walking away is risky and denies the others a right to speak and thus is ‘passive-Aggressive’ in itself and may result in more violence.

Also, as is often the case, Anger Management’ trainers are not fully qualified and indemnified Counsellors or Psychotherapists. They are often individuals who see ‘Anger Management’ as a lucrative opportunity to make money and attend minimum training in order to enable them to facilitate their ‘client work’. However, they are ill qualified and untrained in dealing with the very real and often complex personal issues that lie at the centre of their client’s problems. What they actually offer to clients is a ‘sticking plaster’ in the form of a cognitive or behavioural ‘fix’ that has no depth or longevity in its application which becomes ‘unstuck’ under the pressure and strain of deeper issues.

In light or the above, and the moral and ethical need to offer clients help and support that provides for realistic long term sustainable results; regardless of their popularity and the obvious easy financial gains that such formulaic training offer, the therapists at TonicTalk do not offer nor engage in such bogus practices. Nor do we teach people not to be angry, or do we have any interest in judging an individual and their behaviour as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Anything that advocates avoiding one’s anger or judging it is counterproductive and encourages denial and psychological defences and repression.

Anger is a normal necessary psychological and physiological response to certain psychological processes and therefore we encourage a healthy, open and honest dialogue in which the individual can speak freely and openly without fear of rejection, judgement or retaliation. We facilitate a true exploration and resolution of the causation behind Anger and Aggression. We help, support and encourage individuals to discover why they are angry, how to engage with and process their issues and how to change their way of being. Our approach is proven and fully supported and while we may see fit to offer some appropriate and effective short term psychotherapeutic interventions, they are purely offered so as to help facilitate a longer term resolution.

Anger Management is somewhat of a misnomer for what we offer as our Anger Management is more properly called Anger Therapy and is offered to you and practiced by fully trained Psychotherapists and Counsellors who have completed years of training and personal development. Anger Therapy is an in depth intervention based on proven Psychotherapeutic Techniques that offer long term sustainable results. As a Psychotherapeutic and Counselling practice TonicTalk is also able to offer help to both those that have suffered at the hands of Aggressive, Angry, Bullying or Violent individuals as well as those who wish to overcome their own Angry, Aggressive or Violent behaviour.

More to come…