Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Behind the Anger?

Oftentimes school counselors get "angry" kids referred to them and instead of trying to figure out what is behind that anger, we put them in a group to teach them how to manage it.  Anger management groups can be a great way to teach students that anger is a normal emotion. Talking about anger can teach students that they have power over their anger and how they handle it. However, if you want to move beyond anger management, it is important to figure out what is behind the anger.

Anger management concerns are often masking a bigger and/or different issue. While facilitating anger management groups last year I realized that the majority of students in my groups had or were currently experiencing the incarceration of a loved one. I was interviewed by Counseling Today and mentioned this in the article. This realization made me much more purposeful about the activities we did in our group.  It also helped me to recruit students for future groups focusing on specific topics and issues.

This year I have facilitated a large variety of groups. I have found that my topic based groups, such as grief/loss and children experiencing incarceration of loved ones, have so much more energy on the students' end than any of the other groups I facilitate. There is more energy from the students because they are working through things that have deep meaning for them. These groups have been extremely powerful not just for the students, but for me as the facilitator.

So, if you are thinking about running an anger management group, you may want to see if you can find out what issues and circumstances are affecting the "angry" students before you even put them in a group. You can do this by administering needs assessments and screening for groups. You may find out that instead of running an anger management group, your time could be better spent running a group where the energy is coming from students' end. 

If you have questions about resources for other types of groups comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page! I have so many ideas and lessons I haven't written about yet because their never seems to be enough time in the day.  However, if I know there is a particular interest I will try my best to get it out as fast as possible.

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.
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