The Most Important Rule in Choosing an Anger Management Specialist

How do you pick an anger management specialist/anger resolution therapist? They could present you with credentials and letters from universities, certificates, a copy of my resume, or something like that. However, even if they have all that, what makes you listen to them, heed their words and follow their training program? Well, why does anyone really ever listen to another person?

I believe the most important rule is found in the old saying, "No one cares how much you know unless/until they know how much you care." I've spent over three decades living that philosophy. It inspires me to study helping professions and guides me as an educator and social worker. Moreover, it helps me connect with people in serious pain who desperately need a friend who understands not only how they feel but also how they can get past what hurts. Drug addicts, abused children, confused, lonely, and angry people. I've been able to connect with tons of them.

The funny thing is, as much as the people I've helped could have sworn I walked in their shoes, most of the time, I just really cared enough to pay attention to them and help in any way that I knew how. I've never been a drug addict; never had cancer; never been divorced; never been a veteran yet, many of my clients who have lived these lives could have sworn I was because we connected. How is that possible? Was it trained "empathic response," or "reflective listening"? Truthfully, the answer would be "not really." It was just being there and realizing, "Holy smokes, that could 'a' been me. If I had those choices, in those circumstances, that could easily have been me. What would I want someone to do for me?" Sometimes, I just sit in awe of the person I'm listening to and think, "What a beautiful and strong person to still be alive and to be trusted by."

One thing I do know from all these incredible people who have taught me about life is this: if I have learned something, I should be ready to share it. Anger is something that I struggled with for years, even after achieving degrees and some professional success. Finally, I started to get a grip on it. Consequently, a voice in my heart said that other people need someone who "gets it" to be on their side helping them cross over.

I believe this is an essential value to providing successful help in any medical or educational profession. Some disagree because they feel such perspective damages objectivity. All I can say to that is that if a surgeon does not care about his or her patients to maintain objectivity, then what prevents that surgeon from treating anyone merely as a cadaver in a class? Clients, patients, and students deserve better than that because at any moment anyone of us can and might become a client, patient, or student to another helper. Even if the condition might be minor or common, if it is major to us, life altering to us, then that experience warrants a personable and compassionate response to those seeking help.

Yes, there are those people who habitually seek attention through various services and providers of those services. Even they deserve some compassion. After all, that's what often motivates their attention seeking behavior. Any one who has helped rehabilitate orthopedic patients knows that a person who develops a way of walking to compensate for a bad appendage must retrain their behavior even after the structure problem has been corrected. Therefore, it makes sense that although the conditions that prompted the behavior might be gone; the person still needs to learn a new way to behave that is more functional, useful, and productive.

That's why I work to help people resolve their anger, not just their anger issues. People who are angry may have a really good reason for it. When professionals tell them they don't have a reason for their feelings, they violate the client's sanctity as a person. Additionally, to leave people isolated and powerless to change in a cage of rage is flat-out cruel.